1919 Vickers Dutch East Indies (M11) 

Genuine German Luger - Largest Variety of Lugers Offered
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In the beginning, the Netherlands was one of the first countries to adopt the Luger officially, their initial order having been placed before 1908. They reordered at least once before the outbreak of the First World War and possibly twice. Despite the fact that they are one of the world's smallest nations, the Netherlands were good customers of DWM. Not only did the Army use the Luger but also the Royal Netherlands Navy and the Royal Netherlands Indies Army (K.N.I.L.).


The Crown W proof represents Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands (Wilhelmina Helena Pauline Marie  from 1890 to 1948) and there are three recognized versions of this proof. Early DWM which appeared on the pre-1914, a second DWM which increased the crown elements and then the Vickers proof that again enhanced the crown and widened the "W".  Note also the Geladen ("Loaded") on the left side of the extractor.

This thumb safety is marked "RUST", the magazine is the early style DWM with the wooden base and coil spring. Most examples of this Luger have suffered extreme surface damage due to the climate in which they were deployed. The Dutch were not known for marking their magazines so it is always unknown if there was any systematic matching of the magazines with the guns. This Luger is in extraordinarily good condition for its age and service. It can always be assumed on Dutch guns that they underwent several factory re-finishings.

One of the idiosyncrasies of the Dutch Luger was the requirement for the extractor to be marked Geladen on both sides (exposed only when loaded).  This example has the original extractor marked on the right side.

See Kenyon "Lugers at Random" Page 208  These Lugers deployed to the East Indies suffered mostly from the climate as Holland was neutral in WWI.  The guns were scheduled for factory refinish every six or seven years.  The original factory refinish was a rather dull blue or "semi-matte" in appearance, while the original blue was the bright rust blue of the DWM factory.


 The Treaty of Versailles forbid the Germans from producing 9mm pistols with barrels 100mm and longer.  The Dutch contract was resolved through the Dutch representative of Vickers (Nederlandsch-Engelsche Technische Handel Mastschappij).  It has been believed that the guns were actually assembled by DWM (in the white) in Berlin, shipped to Vickers who proofed and finished the guns and then shipped to the Netherlands.


The serial number places it within the 1919 order for the The Dutch East Indies (4182-10181) which was delivered in 1922.    British proof marks (London Proof House) in the form of a "V" surmounted by a crown appears on various parts of the pistol. These original proof marks make this barrel and original. On the military production contract the Crown "W" proof appeared on left side of the receiver.  The Dutch requested that the thumb safety be engraved with an arrow and the word "RUST" (safe) parallel to the safety. For whatever reason it was produced as seen making it forever unique in Luger variations.

This gun is unusual in that the left grip is the fine diamond patter of the original DWM grips while the other is the large diamond of the replacement grips used in the East Indies.

Note Right: The grips, although both styles are serial numbered to the gun and so mark them as original. Replacement Dutch grips are recognizably of a courser checkering.  This adds to the collector value of this piece.

Below: The date 1930 is commonly misunderstood.  This is the date that the barrel was placed in service.  So we have a 1922 delivered gun that was actually placed in service in 1930.  The Dutch estimated that due to the weather in the East Indies that barrels would only last 6 or 7 years and therefore numbered the barrel.   However this barrel bears the original British proofs meaning it was the original barrel.

The brass plate that was brazed to the side of the gun was used as a unit marking for accountability for weapons not issued to officers.  The explanation of the code reflects: M.L. = Militaire Luchtvaartdienst (Military Air Service). Tjil. = Tjilitan (Air Field close to Batavia, now known as Djakarta) and 160 was the pistol number.

   Tjilitan was the headquarter of the (light) Bomber – recon group VLG3 (Vlieg Groep 3). From here 3 squadrons were commanded:

1st squadron stationed in Singapore: 9 (+ 2 reserve) Glenn Martin 139 WH-3/3A

2nd squadron stationed in Kalidjati: 9 (+2 reserve) Glenn Martin 139 WH-2

3rd squadron stationed in Singapore: 9 (+2 reserve) Glenn Martin 139 3/3A

When the Singapore air field had to be abandoned due to Japanese hostilities squadron 1 and 2 came to the air field in Tjilitan. When the Japanese Naval Air Force attacked the Military installations on the isle of Java the squadrons saw action, but many of them were shot down as the Glenn Martins were to slow for the Japanese fighter planes. During a Japanese air raid on the Tjilitan and Kalidjati air field on February 9, 1942, many Glen Martins were lost. The remaining were destroyed at the moment that the Japanese set foot on the isle of Java.

(Our appreciation to Joop van de Kant for his assistance in identifying the unit and unit history for this historic Parabellum).


So How did these guns that were ordered in the Netherlands from the Germans and made by the British and then shipped by the Germans to the Dutch which sent them to their East Indies Army after WWI survive WWII and come to the US?  What we believe:

When it became clear that the Dutch Forces could not stop the Japanese Invasion on the Isle of Java, (March 1942), many officers and NCO’s left Java on the last moment with small boats to Australia. All heavy weaponry was destroyed and left behind; personal arms were carried on the man. Most of the Dutch Military were enlisted in Australian / British units to defend Australia against the Japanese. It is only presumed that  they were allowed to keep their personal side arms.  

From the remaining small arms in Java only few were captured by the Japanese; it is clear now that a good number were taken home by the Indonesian soldiers of the KNIL (Koninklijk Nederlands Indisch Leger = Royal Dutch Indian Army) who burned their uniforms to escape Japanese execution and they hide their arms. When the Dutch came back in 1945 many of the former inland soldiers, encouraged by the leaving Japanese, formed the guerilla force “Merdeka” under the leadership of Sukarno and declared independency (08/27/1946) . The Luger pistols that emerged with them  were marked with a five pointed star – the symbol of the Indonesian revolution forces. Eventually the Dutch conquered most of the isle of Java during three expeditions between 1946 and 1948. At that moment the USA and the U.N. voted for a free Indonesia and the Dutch went home. The Dutch recognized the independency of the Republic Indonesia on 12/27/1949.


As Dutch Lugers go this one is in extraordinary condition.  Mostly found in rusted and pitted condition from years of service in the jungle they were dip blued by the East Indies armourers and  rarely surrendered to collectors a nice specimen to fill out their Vickers collection. 

On the breach block you can see the Crown V or British acceptance proof mark. This one is in good condition and has obviously been re-conditioned during it's life during WWII. See The Dutch Luger, by Martens & de Vries Page 132

This 1922 Vickers was inspected by the Dutch (Queen Wilhelmina Proof), not German proofs. You can also see the distinctive British NP (Nitro Proof) and GP (London Proof House). The all matching Luger has the distinction of possessing both the original grips as delivered by DWM and serial numbered to the gun. Most Dutch were delivered without the grips and in the white and shipped blued only.  The grips were installed by a local armory and usually were a larger diamond pattern. This Luger has one of the original DWM fine checkered grips  and and East Indies grip which apparently survived WWII as they are still numbered to the gun.

This picture captures the specifics of the 1919 Model Vickers made for DWM's contract for the Dutch.  The British proofs, and serial numbers  in the commercial (hidden) location. Vickers and the Swiss Bern were the only factories outside of Germany licensed to manufacture the Luger.  It is written that DWM manufactured the parts and shipped them to Vickers for assembly who then shipped them back "in the white" for DWM to blue and ship to the Dutch; thus avoiding the manufacturing limitation imposed on Germany after WWI.


This is a excellent example of the 1919 Model Dutch Vickers East Indies Army contract that is in excellent condition with all matching numbers, original parts and finish and a Dutch modified magazine making is highly attractive for the serious Dutch collector.  


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