1906 DWM Werft Danzig Imperial Navy Altered

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This is a 1906 DWM (Deutsche Waffen und Munitions Fabriken) Navy, 1st Issue (Altered) military gun. This piece is a 6 inch (150mm) barreled all-matching 9mm Parabellum with the Navy adjustable rear sight and matching Navy magazine. This Navy is a very hard to find from the Werft Danzig with unit marks WD (1546)


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In August 1904 the German Navy underwent testing of 5, 9mm Selbstladepistolem Model 1904 from DWM. The trial was successful and in September 1904 the Navy asked the Kriegsministerium to order 2,000 Model 1904 navy pistols as soon as possible.  Thus began to first acceptance of the 'Luger' by the German military.  The 1904 Navy incorporated the new coil mainspring, the new extractor with the loaded-chamber markings.  These "improvements" were underway during the testing an acceptance of the navy model. Beginning in the Spring of 1906 delivery was begun for the true 'Pistole 1904'. By that time all the changes had been made to the toggle lock (eliminating) and changing the 60° dicing on the toggle-grip. There was the retention of the grip safety but the controversy over the direction of the thumb safety had begun. 


This is a very difficult gun to find in such a pristine condition. The German Navy was a salt-water service and the survivability of the German Imperial fleet was not enviable.  The Parabellums' were initially issued with the safety down but then with the 1908 conversion to safety down the Navy recalled all the Luger's and had the thumb safety modified.

This Navy is the classic; complete with matching magazine. The first toggle link is marked with the DWM logo.  There is the two-position (100-200m) sight on the rear toggle link and the last two digits of the serial number appear on the rear toggle.



Since 1871, Danzig had belonged to Germany. The city, with a predominantly German-speaking population and a hinterland which was inhabited by a partially Kashubian, partially Polish and to a smaller extent German-speaking population and had grown in size and economic importance.


On 26 June 1844 a piece of land on both sides of the Toten Weichsel at Danzig became property of the Royal Prussian Government. It was originally meant as a depot at anchoring space for the Amazone, the only warship they had at the moment.


In 1848 Prussia started constructing more warships and needed its own shipyard for these means. This became the Kaiserliche Werft, Danzig.


In 1850 new grounds were bought, further constructions followed and in the late 1870's there was a very large extension of the facilities. In 1906, for example, the Emden was constructed at the expanded Werft Danzig.


WWII, in part was advanced by the large German population in the "Polish" Corridor and the connection to Prussia.


Serial number placement is in the civilian ("hidden") style.   The serial number appears on the front of the frame, on the bottom of the locking bolt, on the trigger, on the bottom of the barrel, the side plate,  the left side of the receiver, and under the first toggle. The safeties include both the grip safety and the thumb safety.

This Luger has all matching numbers. The magazine is the ringed type with the Marinen Crown Proof and the matching serial number. Here you can see the matching serial number of the barrel, the front of the frame and the bottom  of the locking lever, plus the grips are numbered to the gun.

The interior of the Luger is in excellent condition with all the parts matching. Additionally there is a wide flanged rear toggle pin which began to appear in the Navy's as a way to protect the toggle pin when the heavy load bullet pushed the toggle into full recoil,.  See Kenyon Lugers at Random Page 150.

This is a very seldom seen method of "Altering" the safety markings once the thumb safety was change to "up" for firing. On the left you can see the (Gothic) GESICHERT in the original position with the white removed from the lettering. On the right you see the upper case "G", lower case "esichert" from modification in a serif style.  We have only seen two Werft Danzig in 38 years and both bear the same characteristics.  A very rare example.

On the left side of the Navy are the Crown M(arinen) proofs and the Crown  Imperial Military Acceptance.


At the Versailles Conference, Germany had to accept the cession of most of the provinces of Posen and West Prussia to Poland; Danzig was declared a FREE CITY (formally declared on January 10th 1920) under the protection of the LEAGUE OF NATIONS, which was represented in Danzig by a commissioner. As through much of its history, Danzig was a political unit of its own, distinct of and separated from its hinterland; the city had an overwhelming German-speaking population; many Danziger's resented the free city status and were German patriots.


LEFT: Here is a close-up of the 100-200 meter Navy sight on the rear toggle extended by depressing a button on the sight.  RIGHT: One can see the "old" GESICHERT and the wide flange rear main axel pin while the toggle is in full recoil.
The inside of the grips bear the last two digit of the serial number of this Parabellum.



It seems as that the very first plans for construction of a submarine on the shipyard date back from 1865, but it was never realized. In the autumn of 1904 works started on initiative of Grandadmiral von Tirpitz. But the final order came only on 4 March 1906 with the U 2. It was found to be no success and the boat was spending more time along the pier than in service! The following constructions from the yard, U 3 and U 4 and also the U 9 - U 12 series were much improved designs.

In 1909 parts of the yard for U-boat construction were enlarged and more buildings rose on these grounds for the U-boat construction. With a few exceptions most of the U-boats were constructed here until the war broke out. In 1916 followed also the construction of a few UC boats, the UC 55 through UC 60.

Later in the war more UC's of the Type III were to be constructed however the series UC 80-86 were not completed and annulations followed in 1919. The same happened to the UC 139-146, UC 147-152 and U 213-218 series.


Above the "21" (the last two digits of the serial number) is under the 1st toggle and directly above on the breach block along with the Imperial Crown acceptance stamp. Also visible are the fire blued pins in the toggles and in the rear sight.

In addition to the matching serial numbers throughout this fine Luger, and the matching Navy magazine this weapon is unit marked.

The German military in WWI marked a large percentage of the individual weapons with unit markings.  These were a rather simple code that consisted of initials of the unit and then the weapon number.

The few (comparably) Lugers issued to the German Navy, plus the losses suffered by the sinking of ships and submarines makes the unit marked Navy very hard to find.

The unit markings raise the collector value of those guns to show that not only were they of a specific model but that the individual weapon was issued to a military person, and then survived. The W.D. represents Werft Danzig (the Naval dockyard at Danzig) weapon  #907.  Danzig Marked Imperial  Navy Lugers are seen by few and owned by fewer.

In the 1919 Treaty of Versailles, the victorious powers of World War I (the United States, Great Britain, France, and other allied states) imposed punitive territorial, military, and economic treaty terms on defeated Germany. One provision required Germany to cede West Prussia to the newly reconstructed state of Poland. Danzig, largely an ethnically German city, became a "free city" under the protection of the League of Nations (the worldwide organization of states established by the treaty), but with special administrative ties to Poland.


This Luger is identified as a curio and can be send directly to C&R licensees and above.   Questions to:  


So within the German WWI official designation of the Pistolen 1904 (Navy) collectors have established four categories briefly distinguished as Old Model (Unaltered) with the right rear toggle lock, - extremely rare); the 1906 1st Issue Unaltered (thumb up-safe, no toggle lock), the 1906 1st Issue Altered (thumb down-safe, milled/filled and re-stamped Gesichert) and finally the 2nd Issue with the manufactured down-safe configuration.



The original 1904 Model (with the toggle lock) were issued with the 'up-safe' thumb safety configurations.  So too were the original 1906 Models. The 1908 model came out with the safety reversed to reflect "down-safe" since it was felt more natural to push up to fire.

The German Navy then wanted the safety moved to the upward position to match the '08 models that had been issued. This resulted in the recalling of all the weapons issued and the thumb safety was reversed; a the Gesichert was milled out (in some instances crudely filled).  So now we have the down-safe model. 

The original 1904 Model (with the toggle lock) were issued with the 'up-safe' thumb safety configurations.  So too were the original 1906 Models. The picture at left is a 1906 1st Issue (Unaltered) and is a very rare specimen of this series. (This is not the gun for sale.)

Some of the originally issued guns were not sent back to the factory for the conversion of the safety and as such became are rarity.

This gun is known as a 1st Issue Altered. This is an early altered example where the Gesichert is simply milled out.

Collectors refer to these as the 1st Issue Altered.  Then came the 2nd Issue (collector name) where the safety was filled, buffed and stamped in the down-safe configuration like the 1908 model.

Once Altered either by milling out the Gesichert or filling in old lettering and smoothing out the mill, the new Gesichert was stamped in the upper position in Romanesque font type.  It is a sure clue when you are examining a '06 Navy if you see the upper case "G" and the lower case "esichert" that you have a 1st Issue Altered.

The picture at left:  is a 1906 Second Issue meaning that that gun was factory manufactured with the safety in the Upward Position. (This is not the gun for sale.)

Note the Return to the Gothic All-Capital letters in the GESICHERT and under the thumb safety the surface is smooth and there is no evidence of it being milled or filled.

As with the other Imperial DWM the thumb safety was 'straw' blued.


Navy Lugers were always marked in an non-exposed manner as opposed to the Army guns which marked on the face of the side plate and locking lug. The magazine is matching with the Marinen Crown Proof & the matching serial number. The concentric ring magazine base is the characteristic of the German Imperial Navy Lugers.


The Free City of Danzig became a major  manufacture of arms and artillery is carried on to a great extent, and the imperial and private docks and shipbuilding establishments, notably the Schichau yard, turn out ships of the largest size. The town is famous for its amber, beer, brandy and liqueurs, and its transit trade makes it one of the most important commercial cities of northern Europe, Freistadt (Free State) Danzig.

Hitler was determined to overturn the military and territorial provisions of the Versailles treaty and include ethnic Germans in the Reich. In preparation for war with Poland, in the spring of 1939 Hitler demanded the annexation of the Free City of Danzig to Germany and extraterritorial rail access for Germany across the "Polish Corridor," the Polish frontier to East Prussia.

In summer 1939, Hitler demanded Poland to grant the so-called KORRIDOR (a road connecting the isolated German province of East Prussia with the remainder of Germany, to be placed under German sovereignty); Poland rejected. On August 23rd, Danzig Gauleiter Albert Forster staged a coup d'état (the day of the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact).

On September 1st 1939, a German battleship, the Schleswig-Holstein, on visit in Danzig, opened fire on the Westerplatte (held by a Polish garrison), thus opening WW II; the same day, Danzig was formally annexed by Germany.


This is a very unusual 1906 Navy with the Marinen (Imperial Navy) proofs on the inside of the side plate and under the rear of the slide.  In the 38 years of working with Lugers and photographing Navy's we have never seen this proof patter before.


This is a  rarely seen Luger variation from the Imperial port of Danzig, now part of Poland and renamed Gdańsk, in this extraordinarily fine condition.  This is an Altered '06 Navy but you can still see the old Gesichert. All matching serial number plus the matching Navy magazine.


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