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Article created: Saturday, November 17, 2007
Article modified: Thursday, November 20, 2008

1928 Dutch Royal Navy Parabellum manual







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The Royal Dutch Navy Parabellum AUTOMATISCH PISTOOL Nº. 1.

In 1928, the Dutch military adopted the P.08 style Luger for the Royal Dutch Navy. Several contracts were placed through the years from 1928 through 1940. The 1931 contract batch of Mauser Dutch Navy Parabellums delivered to the Royal Dutch Navy were assembled from DWM parts but were finished by Mauser. They were stamped with double crown U Mauser proofs on the barrel, receiver and breechblock. The 1931 batch of 100 was unusual in that at least some had an "experimental" finish and are considered quite rare. There were some equally rare Mauser commercial Lugers manufactured several years later with the identical finish in the V suffix serial number range described as: DWM Oberndorf: 4 inch 9mm barrel; blank chamber and DWM toggle; large C/U proof; very high polish blue on toggle assembly, mostly dispersed in the 630v-1240v serial range. Estimated production: 300. These were produced in about 1933-1934 and overlap the Nazi era. Some have a sear safety and went to the German police.1

Of the 7,093 pistols built for the Dutch military in 1930-40, 5,304 were made at the DWM/BKIW factory; 664 were assembled (and proofed) by Mauser and marked DWM.2 That would include both the 1931 100 special finish Royal Dutch Navy Parabellum contract delivery and the special finish V suffix series discussed above. To have such a wide chronological dispersal or range, i.e. 1931 to 1933-1934, suggests that both these special finish Mauser Lugers were manufactured sporadically. Because, if all Mauser commercial and contract Lugers manufactured between 1931 and 1934 were of this special finish one would expect to see more examples.

The toggle link assemblies of the 1931 small batch contract Dutch Navy Parabellum (Automatisch Pistool Nº. 1.) delivery and the later circa 1933 630v-1240v letter suffix series where identified, did indeed have a higher polish finish appearance. However, the entire gun including the receiver, barrel and frame were finished in the same manner. In fact, the finish of these early 1930s Mauser Lugers, termed immersion-salt "speed" blue3, closely resembles the 1970s Mauser Parabellum series which were advertised as a "Mauser blue" and consists of a highly polished bright bluing applied by the hot dip (salts) process.4

Dutch Navy Parabellum holster

The Royal Dutch Navy Parabellum was designated the AUTOMATISCH PISTOOL Nº.1 in 1928. The holster used or supplied with the KM (KONINKLIJKE MARINE) contract batch deliveries was of the standard P.08 style with a strap and stud closure, a single magazine pouch attached to the spine and two belt loops stitched to the rear. The holsters were not marked by the Dutch. They are distinguished by the addition of a strap and pouch under the flap cover for a screwdriver tool and steel handle cleaning rod. There are a few holsters identified where a small brass identification plate was affixed to the holster body lip.

Dutch Navy Parabellum leather lanyard

Another Royal Dutch Navy Parabellum accessory not shown or specifically identified by existing Luger publications is a special leather lanyard used with the Royal Dutch Navy Parabellum. The pistol leather lanyard usually shown is described as a leather strap, ending in a loop at both ends…marked with the letters "C.W."5 and is associated with the KNIL Dutch East Indies M.11 grip safety Lugers. The pistol leather lanyard used with the Royal Dutch Navy Parabellum is different inasmuch as its construction consists of “braided or twisted” leather strips with a loop at one end and a metal swivel and clip at the other end that attaches to the pistol frame lanyard loop. Interestingly, the Royal Dutch Navy Parabellum pistol lanyard is discussed in the Dutch Luger Book on page 215 stating that: no accurate description of these has been found, i.e. a Dutch Navy Parabellum lanyard hasn’t been identified, yet it is clearly shown in three pictures in the same book on page 96, page 98 and page 206.

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Per correspondence with Nico Van Gijn of The Netherlands, a noted Dutch collector states the following: …that the same type lanyards were used after the war (WW2) again by the Dutch navy. Only postwar lanyards have the sewing done with nylon which will reflect in ultraviolet light. This is an original old lanyard; sewing is done with linen6, not responding to ultraviolet light. Nico Van Gijn further states: I have no idea why the books (The Dutch Luger) say the (Dutch) navy pistol lanyard is not identified. I know of these lanyards as naval lanyards for years. The style was used with all (Dutch navy) pistols before and after the war. I was able to buy several old used lanyards that were coming from a (Netherlands) navy depot. I checked them and only two were stitched with linen, the others were nylon. Stitching with linen is old fashion so I know these two were old, but they are not dated in any way. Interesting however is the length. They are short and people were shorter in those days.

Dutch Navy Parabellum Instruction manual

The rarest Royal Dutch Navy Parabellum accessory, by far, is the Dutch Navy Parabellum instruction manual appropriately titled AUTOMATISCH PISTOOL Nº. 1. It is shown in Luger Holsters and Their Accessories by E. Bender on pages 402, 405 and 406 with a page 405 caption text stating: Printed and issued in 1928, this first edition manual of instructions for the Dutch Naval Parabellum is extremely rare. Cover of the manual is red, and very few now exists. Nico Van Gijn further states: I think it is the rarest manual in Holland so far as I have never found any other one. An excellent, rather detailed description of the subject manual contents can be found on page 231 of The Dutch Luger book.

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The front and rear cover are a deep red color with bold, black lettering with the inside of the front and rear cover being a lighter tan color. The outside cover appears to be a cloth type, possibly water proof materiel. The cover and inside cover are blue inked stamped with an official KONINKLIJKE MARINE seal stating * DIRECTIE MARINE * WILLEMSOORD * (Old Naval Dockyard Willemsoord). The print process used is letter offset and the manual is bound with string (flax) with a later added stapled addendum. The instruction manual is typical for a first edition issue inasmuch as it contains many corrections, additions, modifications, including official paste-in modifications/changes to (unofficial) hand written changes in the margins to complete multi page added addendums at the rear of the manual, spanning 1928 through 1932, possibly 1938 to even the most innocuous of changes on page 32 of correcting the original printed reference from the Revolver to Pistool.

Dutch Navy Parabellum Ammunition

The final accessory, actually a necessity, is the ammunition that was packaged specially for the Dutch Navy Parabellum by contract with Rheinisch – Westfälischen Sprengstoff-Acten-Gesellshaft (RWS). The first packaging being a 48 cartridge rectangular tin box and the final packaging being a 48 cartridge circular tin lead sealed ammunition box. Both packaging containers are also extremely rare with most identified having been opened. Unopened tins are rarely found.

1931 Contract Delivery Royal Dutch Navy Parabellum

Featured in this article is one of the special finish 1931 100 pistol contract delivery Royal Dutch Naval Parabellums, no letter suffix serial number 1857. This particular Royal Dutch Navy Parabellum, serial number 1857 is featured in Luger: The Multi-National Pistol book on page 117 and again on page 141 with an opposite page description of the Netherlands contract titled: DWM/BKIW Mauser Royal Netherlands Navy. Page 117 shows a color picture with an opposite page text caption stating, as part of the description: The example shown is from the early Mauser manufacturing era of 1930-32 and has a 4" (Cal. 9mm) barrel, Dutch safety marking "rust" accompanied by a down arrow indicating the safe position, and a new style extractor marked on both sides “geladen” or loaded. This is a truly fine specimen of the BKIW/Mauser transitional period of the early 1930s. The accessories shown however are inappropriate for the pictured KM Royal Dutch Navy Parabellum being a Koninklijke Nederlandsch Indisch Leger (Royal Netherlands Indies Army) or KNIL Model 1911 or M.11 Dutch East Indies army holster and twin magazine leather pouch with Vickers Luger type magazines. The leather lanyard attached to the Dutch Royal Navy Parabellum pistol is also incorrect as it is for the KNIL M.11 Dutch East Indies Army grip safety Luger.

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Featured herein is a correct early contract Dutch Royal Navy Parabellum ensemble, less a holster and period ammunition.


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