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1945: The French Occupy Mauser and Make Lugers

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In July 1945, just a few months after the first French troops entered Oberndorf, the Mauser factory began assembling guns under French oversight. In addition to HSc pistols, P38 pistols, K98k rifles, and Model 45 training rifles, Mauser also had sufficient stocks of Luger parts to assemble several thousand for French use (as well as occasional sale to Allied occupation soldiers). The highest recorded serial number is 3334, and there are five different variations of markings. Today, we have a 1st type and a 3rd type to look at.

In 1945 and 1946, the French Army was in need of really any functional arms, and the Luger was happily accepted as a front-line service handgun (in fact, the Spahis who made up French General Koenig’s personal bodyguard carried Lugers). These Lugers were used early in the fighting in Indochina, but they were phased out of service once the MAC-50 pistol was put into production. They were then used to replace even older guns like Rubies and Mle 1892 revolvers in second-line service, and eventually transferred to the Gendarmerie. They were used by the Gendarmes until the 1970s, when the last ones were surplussed. At some point, a batch of them was given to the Austrian Army, presumably in the early/mid 1950s after Austria was once again allowed to have armed forces.

For more information, I highly recommend “The Parabellum is Back!” By Gerben van Vlimmeren and Mauro Baudino:

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