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Thread: The LK5 marking - A new track

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    aka 8x57IS Stephan98k's Avatar
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    Default The LK5 marking - A new track

    For years we've been trying to figure out what the LK5 marking means and we still haven't found an answer to this question.

    Some of these rifles are in American collections, bringbacks without import marking, and another hotspot is France. From my observations the most of these rifles was manufactured in Germany (K98k 25% and M98 16,67%). French rifles have 33,33% and Czech, Yugoslavia, Greece and Russia share the remaining 25%. Of course it's important to know where these rifles were made and you can draw a lot of conclusions from that. In the same way important is, where these rifles were found or even better, where these rifles were captured and unfortunately this is known only in very rare cases. Some weeks ago I saw another LK5 marked K98k, this time a byf 41 and it's reported where this rifle was captured.

    On September 16, 1944 the German Major General Botho Henning Elster surrendered with nearly 20,000 soldiers at the Loire bridge of Beaugency and this LK5 marked byf 41 was captured during the Elster passage. That made me curious, and I wanted to know where the Major General came from and where he was stationed before. From April 1943 to April 1944 Major General Elster was Feldkommandant (Field Commander) in Marseille and from April to August 1944 he was Feldkommandant in Mont-de-Marsan. On August 15, 1944 started the Operation Dragoon, the Allied invasion of Southern France. There was the danger of being kettle by this military Operation, and on August 16, 1944 Adolf Hitler ordered that Armeegruppe G (Army Group G) withdraw from southern France. During Operation Dragoon many German troops got kettled and surrendered to the American and French troops, but a lot tried to escape.

    I have made a map:
    LK5 Map.jpg
    At the bottom is the Feldkommmandantur in Marseille and in western direction the Feldkommmandantur in Mont-de-Marsan, were Major General Elster was stationed. The path of Elsters withdraw is marked in red color. The withdraw of other German units is marked in blue color. The black dots are places were bigger German units surrendered and I didn't marked the withdraw route of these capitulating units, otherwise it would have become too confusing.

    You can see, at Major General Elster withdraw route is a captured LK5 rifle and at the other main withdraw route are several captured LK5 rifles. I would say the unit were the LK5 rifles belong to, was stationed in Southern France. We always assume the LK5 have something to do with the Luftgaukommando 5, but maybe we should think about an other possibility. In this area served also a lot Ostlegionen (Eastern Legions), as example Indian Legion and Freiwilligen-Stamm-Division (Regular Volunteer Division) with Freiwilligen (Kosaken) Stamm-Regiment 5. Legion Kosaken 5 ? I don't think so. Maybe somebody has a good idea and we can finally get a answer to our question.

    Certainly I forgot something important, but I'm busy now and I will write later more about this topic. I'm curious about your opinion.

    Regards,
    Stephan

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    aka 8x57IS Stephan98k's Avatar
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    I forgot to put a link to a video clip. Here is the surrender of German Major General Botho Henning Elster with his men: Surrender in Beaugency

    At 04:38 it's interesting, in the close up you can see a lot K98k rifles and other types of rifles, notice the different sling attachment and they don't have take down discs.

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    Very interesting theories! The LK5 threads are always interesting due to the different ideas regarding the marking. I would assume these Eastern Legions would have gotten any weapons available which could explain the various Beutewaffen often seen? Ammunition supply would seem a headache. Waiting to see what others here think. To me it looks like possibly one Lebel rifle buttstock near the top right of the surrender pile.
    Last edited by Stan; 05-23-2019 at 09:41 AM.

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    No War Eagles For You! mrfarb's Avatar
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    With unit marking forbidden by decree just prior to the outbreak of war, I would say this is not a viable theory. Add to that many of the examples I see show signs of rework, with electro pencilled numbers on replaced parts, with random numbers stamped at the wrist which don’t seem to be rack numbers, etc.

    I like the work of narrowing down where these rifles come from, I hadn’t seen the byf41 evidence.


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    I agree with Mike. Not a unit marking.

    This one I found in Bavaria.
    http://www.k98kforum.com/showthread....9-Mo-1917-1920

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    aka 8x57IS Stephan98k's Avatar
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    I agree with both of you, I also don't think it's a unit marking. I rather think it's a marking for weapons, which was used by non-German combatants. I found already something promising, the background, time frame and area suits, I believe I'm close to the answer.

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    Another excellent thread due sticky status, thanks Stephan. I look forward to digging into it this evening.
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    Senior Member Pat's Avatar
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    I agree with mrfarb. All of my LK examples with the possible exception of a MAS 36 show German modifications of some kind, to include bluing the bolts, modifying the magazine follower, and numbering small parts. That sounds like depot work to me, and would seem to suggest that the LK indicates a processing facility of some kind.

    Stephan, nice job on the map showing the movement of MG. Elster's unit. I agree with you that these all seem to have been recovered in France.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephan98k View Post
    I agree with both of you, I also don't think it's a unit marking. I rather think it's a marking for weapons, which was used by non-German combatants. I found already something promising, the background, time frame and area suits, I believe I'm close to the answer.



    Do any of the German K98k LK5 examples show evidence of depot repairs?

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    Moderator˛ Loewe's Avatar
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    I think there is merit in your line of reasoning, not a unit marking but possibly related to some irregular units, its worth consideration. Naturally, most of the ones I have recorded are G98's, though French and 98k are close in number. Recently another showed up on GB (https://www.gunbroker.com/item/812754013) and like the rest show little signs of use, though all passed through depots at one point or another, typically for re-barrels (early barrels, but they stopped making G98 barrels before the war) or at least upgrades. Which suggest to me these rifles were not used much in the early phases of the war and could have been slated for some irregular or volunteer organizations later in the war. The latest 98k I have recorded is a dou/43, most are early pre-war production, but I do not follow this marking closely.

    I still think LW related is most likely, but the truth of it is we are a long way from an answer... Stephan and Mike are good at this sort of reverse engineering of a problem, looking at a problem from its components or indirect approaches, naturally this often comes with speed bumps... but I think Stephan is on to something with the French angle, and possibly the volunteer/irregular angle.

    Maybe see if you can see how these foreign "volunteers" were armed? How many were in France? How long, because most of these rifles look like they weren't trained with or used much. Many have original stocks or pretty clean stocks, nothing you would think a clumsy foreign recruit would put a rifle through...


    Quote Originally Posted by Stephan98k View Post
    I agree with both of you, I also don't think it's a unit marking. I rather think it's a marking for weapons, which was used by non-German combatants. I found already something promising, the background, time frame and area suits, I believe I'm close to the answer.

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