My Uncle Chuck’s WWII Souvenir: A Walther P38
For years my cousin David has talked about the “Luger” pistol that his dad (my uncle) brought back from the war when he came home in late 1945. My uncle Chuck passed away a few years ago and over the years, since my cousin and I live in different states, I was never able to get a look at his Dad’s war souvenir. The Luger was a much sought after war souvenir by G.I.’s during the second world war and several were brought home by soldiers returning from the war.
At the end of October of this year, I took a road trip to Texas. On the way back to my home in Washington State, I stopped in Camarillo, California to see my cousin and his wife. While I was there, I asked my cousin if I could see his Dad’s “Luger”, when he brought it out and opened the locked case it was in, I was quite surprised, it wasn’t a Luger at all, but an awesome Walther p-38 in perfect condition.
There is some question as to how my uncle managed to get his hands on this pistol, but one thing is certain, this particular pistol was at one time, a German Wehrmacht officer’s sidearm. As you can see from the photos, it has the Nazi eagle stamp on the weapon and the date it was manufactured in 1941.
One thing I impressed upon my cousin, was that he NEVER sell this pistol and that it should always be kept in the family.
The P38 concept was accepted by the German military in 1938 but production of actual prototype (“Test”) pistols did not begin until late 1939. Walther began manufacture at their plant in Zella-Mehlis and produced three series of “Test” pistols, designated by a “0” prefix to the serial number. The third series pistols satisfactorily solved the previous problems for the Heer and mass production began in mid-1940, using Walther’s military production identification code “480”. After a few thousand pistols the Heer changed all codes from numbers to letters and Walther was given the “ac” code.