Why buy fifteen collectible SKS carbines when you can have just one Krieghoff Luger?
(GM, the follow part of the post is for you. As a C13 Mechanic, I'm sure you'll be able to relate. And thank you for your service to Country!)
Sgt. Eugene "Gene" Townsend of the 32nd Squadron of the 301st Bombardment Group kept the following War Trophy from 1945 until his passing in 2009. A local collector bought it from his widow, and I bought it from the collector over the weekend.
Aside from the excellent condition of a grail Luger, I also received quite a surprise when I researched Sgt. Townsend's service records. "Gene" M. Townsend, noted on the War Trophies document, was an MOS Engineer for the B17 Bomber and has a history of moderate celebrity with the 32nd Bombardment Squadron of the 301st Bombardment Group (H) AAF.
In addition to keeping the bombers mechanically sound, the Nose Art designs of over forty B17 Bombers are attributed to Townsend's painting skills, and is well documented on Boyd Thompson's 32nd Bomb Squadron, 1942-1945, Web-Site.
The names of two other Servicemen which appear on the document, George E Kolodziej and Richard E. Blodeau, were also from the 301st Bombardment Group. War Trophy firearms whereabouts from those two men are unknown, but are documented by serial number. And although John H. Lurhs does not appear on the document, his name appears on the roster for the 32nd Squadron of the 301st, and on the body and shoulder strap of the US M3 1911 holster which accompanied the Krieghoff Luger.http://www.301bg.com/32nd_squadron_servicemen.cfm
Only 13,000 HK Lugers were contracted and built specifically for the Luftwaffe from 1935-1945, with approximately 1,100 made in 1940. To put these production numbers into perspective, the Mauser Factory was producing almost as many units per month (10,000) as Krieghoff did over the entire ten years of output.
As one might conclude from the low overall production, the high desirability among collectors and the ample realized prices for the scarce specimens, the HK Luger is one of the most highly faked guns in history. It's a jungle out there if you're a motivated buyer. So some serious homework is recommended before purchasing. If not for the assistance from noted expert, Pete E. of Luger Gunboards, I'm not sure that I could have taken the plunge with confidence. But with his help, I was able to authenticate. Thanks a bunch, Pete!
The pistol itself is matching to include the magazine, and in incredible condition at 95% with some expected holster edge wear. A small issue, it is missing the toggle hold-open device, and I'll try to locate an unmarked piece for replacement. Fortunately, not all HK hold-open devices were numbered or Luft-2 inspected, and it is also a commonly broken/replaced part. All other parts are properly inspected with matching numbers.
Pics don't do it justice, as the straw colored parts are much more vibrant than depicted. Note the "thumbprint" existence which appears in the finish on the rear of the frame above the lanyard staple. This is phenomenon is a result of flame polishing which causes the bluing to take differently than the non-flame treated areas. The front legs of the "ears" on the rear frame were also flame treated to promote durability, and took on a higher polished look. If a pistol has been refinished, these flame polished areas would not appear at all, or would be highly diminished.
I did not detail strip the pistol, but did take pictures of all the visible Luft-2 inspected parts. I have full confidence that all parts which are supposed to be marked would have the proper inspection stamps as well. It's a nice, clean and honest Krieghoff Luger. I feel privileged and very lucky to have an original one for the collection.
Enjoy, and thanks for looking.