1918 Bavarian Freikorps Erfurt Luger

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This is a completely matching, 1918 Dated, Royal Arsenal at Erfurt manufactured Parabellum which was issued to the paramilitary Freikorps of Bavaria known as the Einwohnerwehr Bayern.  To separate the property of the Einwohnerwehr from the fledgling Reichwehr (Weimar army) the weapons were branded with the EW and then the State (Bavaria).   This is chambered for 9mm and has a standard 4" barrel fixed sights and walnut grips with a 100mm barrel. This Luger is woven with the history of post Imperial Germany and is a treasure to those that collect Erfurts or Weimar period Lugers.    (1511)

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The Armistice on November 11 freed up the German troops on the Western Front, and they began to trudge home. As the Armistice was an agreement to stop fighting and not a surrender, these troops still had their weapons. The active troops tended to stay under the command of the Oberste Heeresleitung, and therefore of General Groener, but others organized locally into several hundred local Freikorps, each varying from a few hundred men to brigade size. The German Freikorps were originally militia, but in 1918 they became anything from homes-away-from-home for returning soldiers who felt alienated from German society and its rapid dislocations, up to full-fledged and well-armed paramilitary organizations. The Einwohnerwehr (formed by the Republican government in April 1919 to allow citizens to protect themselves from revolutionaries and brigands, and commanded and blatantly supplied by local Reichwehr units), and the Sicherheitspolizei (formed by the Prussian government in 1919, for the same ostensible purpose as the federal Einwohnerwehr) were and the Allies ordered Germany to disband them in 1920.


The extractor is marked "Geladen" on the left side and the safety is marked "Gesichert" with the safe position being downward. The proof marks are the amazing story of this guns; telling us the gun served in WWI and then to Weimar Reichswehr who provided it to the Bavarian Freikorps. The barrel length is 4" (100mm) and is chambered for 9mm. The serial number appears on the front of the frame, on the left side of the receiver, on the side plate sear and trigger. This Luger is all matching including the two magazines.  This Luger bears a stock lug and a hold-open.

On the right side of the receiver are the production proofs of Erfurt and the Imperial German acceptance stamp including the test proof on the barrel. On the left side the military numbers are stamped along with the extensive "Crown" proof marks which make Erfurts' a must have in any Luger collection.

Serial number placement is in the military ("exposed") style. This example has all matching numbers. The barrel is numbered and proofed and matches the frame. The first toggle link is marked with the Erfurt monogram, and there is the "V" rear sight on the last toggle link.

The EWB was branded on a 1918 Erfurt to recognize it's ownership by the Einwohnerwehr Bayern. It's survival in such minty condition probably means it was a hidden gun that escaped the ordered disbandment of the Einwohnerwehr Bayern in 1922.


The meaning of the word "Freikorps"  after 1918, the term was used for the paramilitary organizations that sprang up around Germany as soldiers returned in defeat from World War I. They were the key Weimar paramilitary groups active during that time. Many German veterans felt disconnected from civilian life, and joined a Freikorps in search of stability within a military structure. Others, angry at their sudden, apparently inexplicable defeat, joined up in an effort to put down Communist uprisings or exact some form of revenge (Dolchstoßlegende). They received considerable support from Minister of Defense Gustav Noske, a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, who used them to crush the German Revolution of 1918–1919 and the Marxist Spartacus League and arrest Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, who were killed on 15 January 1919. They were also used to defeat the Bavarian Soviet Republic in May 1919.


The Einwohnerwehr was a paramilitary police force formed by an order of the Prussian Ministry of the Interior dated April 15, 1919, to allow citizens to protect themselves from looters, armed gangs, and revolutionaries. It was subject to the command of the local Reichswehr regiments which supplied its guns.  In Bavaria the Communist declared a Soviet State and the Einwohnerwehr Bayern (EWB) was instrumental in suppressing this uprising and restoring the power of the German Government.

All the proofs of the Erfurt Arsenal are present on just about every part of the gun including the extensive numbering of the small parts. This is a classic 1918 Erfurt in very good condition with the EWB branded on the matching wooden grips.

The barrel and the receive are marked with the full serial number and suffix.  Additionally there is 8.85 reflected on the barrel which was the proof marking of land diameter of the barrel. The grooves designed to be 9mm.This is an all matching Parabellum with the barrel, frame and magazine bearing the same numbers plus the Erfurt Imperial proofs on the front of the trigger guard and magazine bottom.  Truly a journey for any Luger but fortunately it left us many clues to follow its history.


Franz von Epp

During the First World War, he was the commanding officer of a Bavarian regiment, For his war service, he received a large number of medals and was also knighted, being made Ritter von Epp on 25 February 1918

After the end of the war he formed the Freikorps Epp, a right-wing, paramilitary formation mostly made up of war veterans, of which future leader of the SA Ernst Röhm, was a member. It saw action against the Münchener Räterepublik in Munich Apr-May and in the Ruhr Apr 1920. It took part in the crushing of the Bavarian Soviet Republic in Munich in May 1919, being responsible for various massacres.

The Bavarian Soviet Republic, also known as the Munich Soviet Republic (German: Bayerische Räterepublik or Münchner Räterepublik) was, as part of the German Revolution of 1918–1919, the short-lived attempt to establish a socialist state in the form of a democratic workers' council republic in the Free State of Bavaria. On Palm Sunday, April 12, 1919, the Communist Party seized power, with Eugen Leviné as their leader.It sought independence from the also recently proclaimed Weimar Republic with its capital as Munich.

The new government set up a Red Army and appointed Toller, the former leader, as the commanding general. At the suggestion of Vladimir Lenin, Leviné took hostages from among the elite. When his troops refused to execute the hostages, Russian soldiers were sent to do it. On 30 April 1919, eight men, including the well-connected Prince Gustav of Thurn and Taxis, were accused as right-wing spies and executed. The Thule Society's secretary, Countess Hella von Westarp, was also murdered.  Bavarian leaders lost any say in the matter when Gustav Noske, the notorious Minister of Defense declared that “The Munich insane asylum must be put in order”, and handed Major-General von Oven the task.

Soon after, on 3 May 1919, remaining loyal elements of the German army (called the "White Guards of Capitalism" by the communists), with a force of 9,000, and Freikorps (such as the Freikorps Epp and the Marinebrigade Ehrhardt) with a force of about 30,000 men, entered Munich and defeated the communists after bitter street fighting in which over 1,000 supporters of the government were killed. About 700 men and women were arrested and summarily executed by the victorious Freikorps troops. Leviné was condemned to death for treason, and was shot by a firing squad in Stadelheim Prison.

On 5 May 1919, 12 workers (most of them members of the Social Democratic Party, SPD) were arrested and killed by members of Freikorps Lützow in Perlach near Munich based on a tip from a local cleric saying they were communists. Though officially "disbanded" in 1920, many Freikorps attempted, unsuccessfully, to overthrow the government in the Kapp Putsch in March 1920. Their attack was halted when German citizens who were loyal to the state went on strike, cutting off many services, and making daily life so problematic that the Putsch was called off.

Freikorps leaders symbolically gave their old battle flags to Hitler's Sturmabteilung (SA) and Schutzstaffel (SS) on November 9, 1933 in a huge ceremony.[


The inside of the gun is clean and well cared for.  The exterior shows honest wear on the muzzle, barrel and high points on the sides. The barrel is shiny and shows distinct lands and grooves.

The Luger has all matching numbers including the Grips.  This Luger shows characteristic holster wear on the side plate and front exposed edges of the rails and end of the barrel.

This is a very clean gun and has been well maintained.  The barrel is still strong and has definite lands and grooves. The grips are clean and show about 95% of the diamonds remaining. This is a very rare piece of history and an excellent example of the best that Erfurt produced.


Freikorps in the early '20s using WWI tanks and vehicles decorated with the Totenkopf (Deathhead) which was still evolving into the organized symbol of the WWII era Schutzstaffel, or SS.  In 1920, Adolf Hitler had just begun his political career as the leader of the tiny and as-yet-unknown German Workers Party (soon renamed the National Socialist German Workers Party, NSDAP) in Munich. Numerous future members and leaders of the Nazi Party had served in the Freikorps, including Ernst Röhm, future head of the Sturmabteilung, or SA, Heinrich Himmler, future head of the Schutzstaffel, or SS, and Rudolf Höß, the future Kommandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp.  Freikorps leaders symbolically gave their old battle flags to Hitler's Sturmabteilung (SA) and Schutzstaffel (SS) on November 9, 1933 in a huge ceremony.


This is a very rare  example of the 1918 Model  Royal Arsenal at Erfurt Parabellum that was used in WWI, evolved to the Reichswehr of the Weimar Republic and eventually into the Freikorps of Bavaria. Historically significant as a weapon that put down the Bolshevik uprisings that were sweeping Europe at that time and endangering Germany, this one is a worthy collectible.  We reserve the right to withdraw any firearm from an auction site that is sold over the counter. Prices are adjusted for cash  transactions. Questions to: This rare EWB (Einwohnerwehr Bayern) Parabellum of the Bavarian Freikorps is is offered for $3,950.00 to the discerning collector.   


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