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P38 under French control.

Posted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 11:57 pm
by Hammerdown
Are there any numbers on how many were made under French control in 1945-46? This would be the P38 referred to as "the gray ghost".

Re: P38 under French control.

Posted: Sun Dec 09, 2018 5:56 pm
by indy1919a4
You know, I have been rooting for that number and I can not really find it.. But just looking at the serial numbers

If this is true the last French p38s is 500L

And the German stopped making them in the Mid Fs and the French started somewhere in the Gs

Then there may be about 50 thousand made assuming full runs of G, H, I, J & K

Did read that Interarms imported over 30,000+ of them??

But from the ad in the lower link, looks like they sold these in the $400 range in the 1980s,
that seems high.. Of course the fact they were found in secret German sub pens :) , that has to be worth something.

Re: P38 under French control.

Posted: Mon Dec 10, 2018 9:42 am
by RWS
Orville Reichert was possibly the most knowledgeable P.38 expert in the U.S. I used to correspond with him a bit before his untimely death in Jan., 2013. His main interest was Nazi P.38's but he also did a lot of research on post-war French P.38's.

His best guess was that about 35,000 French post-war P.38's were made. He also believed that the J block was skipped for reasons unknown and that the French never attained full production of 10,000 pistols in each block.

I can't prove the accuracy of Orv's assessment but he certainly was light years ahead of me on P.38 information and I would accept his opinions over a lot of other self-proclaimed P.38 "experts".

Going off-topic a bit but one interesting thing that occurs with the French P.38's is their post-war grips. Most you see are steel. Although it's a bit of an over-simplification, by 1943 Mauser and Walther both generally used AEG (Allgemeine Electricitats-Gesellschaft) manufactured grips on their Nazi P.38's. However, Mauser switched over to what is referred to as the "soft" grips about the start of the V block in 1944. These grips looked the same externally as the AEG grips but could be flexed to a degree that would cause AEG grips to break (both black and red AEG grips were a composite of Bakelite and sawdust, with more sawdust in the latter).

It appears that some of the soft grips were stored in the Mauser factory when the French occupied it and you will occasionally see SVW 45 and (a few) 46 pistols sporting these grips. My K block SVW 45 P.38 came in the red Interarms box and was wearing a set of these soft grips. If you look at the last link in Indy's initial post you can see that the G block P.38 pictured is also wearing a set of soft Mauser grips.

It appears that the Mauser grips were not used up in the initial runs of French pistols but were more likely substituted if steel grip production lagged. They appear sporadically throughout the entire production. I have no idea though of how many post-war P.38's were produced with the Mauser soft grips. It's really just an interesting side note and nothing to obsess over, IMHO.


Re: P38 under French control.

Posted: Tue Dec 11, 2018 1:41 am
by indy1919a4
Came across this link.. According to this 40,500 French p-38s ... 8Chart.pdf

Re: P38 under French control.

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2018 1:05 pm
by Hammerdown
40,500 total, I thought there would be a lot higher number built. They don't seem to bring the money a WW2 built P38 that was produced in the 300,000+ would.

Re: P38 under French control.

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2018 1:40 pm
by indy1919a4
Well, it is understandable... They were released later then the german ones... They were released in mass compared to the German war time pistols that came over in peoples duffle bags and much smaller batches. Many people cast a jaundiced eye toward them because they are not original. And of course there is more a public mystique of a gun that comes from the German/nazi era vs guns that come from the French after the war..

Look what poor Interarms had to do, make up some story about these pistols being found in U-boat pens.

But it all depends on what you like.. Personally, I love guns like this that start out for one side then end up going to other nations as time marches on.. I love how the French just took over these factories and just keep them producing for them..

I would like to know some details in the Post WW II german factories.. My guess they were getting German factory workers to work for packs of cigarettes, which were used as money in Germany almost till 1948..

Re: P38 under French control.

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2018 3:42 pm
by indy1919a4
Got to thinking about this later, and another factor is I think there is alot of these still out there in the box, My suspicions that people purchased these as collectors pieces, never played with them and now still out there in great condition. I am amazed if you go on gunbroker how many are in the box.