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Thread: 1916/26 Simson Zn build

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    Moderator² Loewe's Avatar
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    Default 1916/26 Simson Zn build

    Recently a new collector asked for some help with his rifle, he is technologically challenged, as am I, but we muddled through some pictures via email.

    The receiver markings are not completely clear, some are weak or worn to the point of confusing the identification, but it is a Simson/16 receiver and the build date fits 1926 best. More on this below... The barrel is a mid-1930's JPS salvaged for the purpose of re-barreling, not German done imo, but possibly Spanish or Balkans? If anyone has some thoughts on the "RF" and the squiggly markings, that would be helpful, but either way the manner of serializing and these markings suggest official work and not some bum in a basement.

    These (Zeithain's) are known 1924, 1926, 1927 & 1928. It is incredibly doubtful any were made before 1924. Germany was in a real mess during 1923, probably as bad as 1919 in some areas, things were far too chaotic prior to 1924 for any significant ordnance programs to be undertaken. Further, Germans and Germany took a more pragmatic view towards the west after 1923 (learned direct confrontation was counter-productive and ineffective), they were far more prone to circumvent the diktat subversively and systematically, this would last until Locarno in 1925, but would linger well through the late 1920's in covert re-armament. 1928 probably ended the program, the Germans not wanting to jeopardize the departure of the IAMCC in 1927 or the advantages she was achieving through further negotiations. Only a few 1928's are known, all low serials, 1926 the strongest year and the only one that would fit such a high serial on this rifle. Unfortunately the lack of numbers on the RR means we are stuck speculating, such numbers would aid dating the assembly, but a bad combination of a weak date and worn waffenamt means we are stuck speculating... I had hoped the barrel would offer clues, no such luck as you can see, but the OP did make an excellent attempt!

    Anyway, he is a lurker on this topic, so if anyone has some thoughts or identification of the barrel markings, or ideas for a restoration, don't be shy, he wants to restore the rifle is my understanding.
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    Senior Member flynaked's Avatar
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    I’ve got to say, the Swiss screwdriver is pretty cool lol. I want one now.

    These are super interesting and definitely deserves to be thrown back in military trim at least, not sure I would bother finding the perfect parts for it though. As to the marking, just a wild shot from the hip, but maybe French border guard related??


    A good bit later but here’s a document listing Zeithain!
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    Senior Member chrisftk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flynaked View Post
    I’ve got to say, the Swiss screwdriver is pretty cool lol. I want one now.

    These are super interesting and definitely deserves to be thrown back in military trim at least, not sure I would bother finding the perfect parts for it though. As to the marking, just a wild shot from the hip, but maybe French border guard related??


    A good bit later but here’s a document listing Zeithain!
    My guess would be a 1926 based on comparing the faint # to my 1926 rifle.

    I'll second the French border guard guess Clay. Hard to say though.

    To the owner, keep checking out GunBroker/eBay for stocks, they do show up. A correct stock will have a takedown ferrule and grasping groves.



    Sent from my XT1635-01 using Tapatalk

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    I would like to thank you guys for your help. It’s much appreciated. I have quite a few nice items I could post if I ever figure it out. Thanks again! Larry

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    RKI- Reasonably Knowledgable Individual heavy_mech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loewe View Post
    ..it is a Simson/16 receiver and the build date fits 1926 best.
    For those who know or might know, where was this receiver for a decade between '16 and '26? Hope I don't sound like a boob but it's interesting as Clay said.

    Loewe partially answered this but also piqued my interest when he wrote about another Simson, this one a 16/24 Zeithain build without the 1920 property mark in this thread from nearly a decade ago. "The Zeithain (Zn) build is the most interesting of the lot" "it was a known HZa depot and built rifles from spare receivers" "Is your 1916/24 Simson property marked? (1920 marked?) I know of only one Simson receiver built by Zeithain and it is a 1924 build too. Serial 137. By far the majority of receivers used in these Zn builds are leftover Spandau (many S&H or Pieper made) receivers, but one Simson is known, as is one CGH". Also from the thread discussing rifle s/n 3269 "the rifle was built in 1924 at the HZa in Zeithain, - more than likely it was never built in WWI, but it is possible. The right receiver markings will tell for sure. Most were not rifles previously, rather essentially new production using a left over, previously rejected receiver from the war."

    This would suggest to me that 'thousands', possibly tens of thousands of previously rejected receivers were lying about somewhere. Trying to understand how these could have been hidden or stored and not found/destroyed? Thanks for any knowledge or theories!
    "Wen Tausend einen Mann erschlagen, das ist nicht Ruhm, das ist nicht Ehre, denn beinsen wird's in späteren tagen gesiegt hat doch das Deutsch Heer. Podest nicht die Paten der Soldaten doner die da Sterben sollen, soll man geben was sie wollen, sahs sie Herzen, sahs sie Küssen, den sie wissen nicht wann sie sterben müssen"

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    Moderator² Loewe's Avatar
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    Germany had a population of roughly 60 million in the 1920's, the IAMCC rarely numbered its full complement of Officers and men, which was 1300 total, typically it was a much smaller, especially the further 1918 faded into the past... further many of these inspectors were supervising the factories, - 7000 of which required some form of supervision/monitoring... Factories like Krupp had a in-house IAMCC presence. While the IAMCC technically had the authority to do inspections on their own, they rarely attempted them, they worked closely with German military liaisons and staff, almost always with police support, especially in hot spots like Bavaria or where factories were at risk of closure (workers didn't take too kindly to factory closures). In short the IAMCC worked with German counterparts who did all the disarmament and destroyed the material. All they did was supervise and confirm the actions taken by German counterparts. In real terms Germany disarmed itself (the SPD government), it would have gone smoother and easier had the Entente allowed Germany to sell the material, Finland, China, the Czechs and the Poles all wanted to buy the material, even the Russians (and some of the material made it to the Russians - or through the Dutch to China), but in the end the vast majority was destroyed.

    It is literally impossible to account for all the small arms in Germany 1919-1926, the German authorities didn't even know where most of the weapons went (Germany was in free-fall December 1918-January 1919, the military had essentially dissolved, the communists had seized Spandau and many weapons), small things like components were easily forgotten, hidden or possibly stored away as scrap (WMO did everything they could to re-purpose illegal material, stocks, they got caught with T-Gewehr parts also) and rightly so.* Even today rifles are discovered in walls, basements, attics and under staircases (see attached - A Courthouse in Lower Saxony, SE of Hamburg), this after all the chaos of 1919-1923, 1929-1933, the barbaric nazis and the savage occupation 1944-1955 by the "Allies" (one massive collective guilt trip that was eerily reminiscent of Versailles and modern day politics... "collectively" Germans were as powerless as we are in controlling our government, - we can't even control an Obama or a Trump, how the hell can you control a Kaiser and his Generals needless to say a Hitler...).

    Anyway, the use of left-over receivers from WWI was not as common as one might think. In observations they are a small number, though I do not save data on unattributable (lacking stocks) rifles. A good number show up in the NS era, mostly ordnance depot builds, mostly unattributed builds (lacking stocks or identifiable features, plain jane builds) some seem to be "replacements" of sorts, serialed to another rifle, - with a high suffix that seems to exclude a typical depot build. You also see 1919 dated G98's, mostly just receivers built later (these rarely show anything but the receiver, so who the hell knows what they are - the only 1919's I have seen original are S28 hybrids), the Simson's are rarer, mostly only seen in these Zn builds, which does support a Saxon connection. Simson had a good relationship with Saxony, Simson receivers figure strongly in Dresden's sterngewehr program too.. as for Simson's in Zn configuration "today", 1924 (3), 1926 (2), Spandau's most common by far, but one Amberg, one for each of the Suhl Consortium. Simson is actually the second most common of the known makers, through only 5 rifles. This I think supports Zeithain as the origin, probably Dresden's machinery/leftovers moved here to keep it safe from the IAMCC. I had toyed with other possibilities, other training ground in the east, where it is known large numbers of rifles were hidden and used to train right-wing paramilitary (not nazis) and irregulars (in case Poland became a problem).

    Really, besides these unattributables and a couple Luftamt e-ee block builds with these un-used Spandau/17 receivers they are not that common, but seemingly many of these Spandau/16 and Spandau/17's (Pieper mostly, but S&H also, almost never a Spandau make) seem to have been sold off to make commercial shotguns. I think there is an article on Rempt and a few others peddling these receivers built into shotguns.

    As for what I wrote a year or two ago, or 10 or 20 years ago, things evolve as new observations are made, as they are compiled in trend sheets things often reveal themselves, little patterns that weren't apparent earlier (seems things are easier to understand if you see rifles grouped in spreadsheets, you see similarities and patterns that aren't as noticeable individually) and of course the historical context changes as I learn more about this mysterious and obscure period (most modern material on this period relates to the rise of Hitler, most of it is written by left wing academics that bend over backwards to distance his economic and social views and actions from socialism, whereas if you read contemporary books and journals from the period this was the case. 80 years ago journalism and academia was far more diverse in views, classically educated, true differences existed in intellectual circles, there were true conservatives and Liberals writing popular publications, even then it was dominated by progressives, but a different sort of progressivism, one that tolerated dissent and capable of objectivity).

    *=Even the Versailles Treaty of 1871 allowed negotiations between the two parties, also some reconciliation between the parties before the ratification (Frankfurt)... Versailles of 1919 was a diktat and illegitimate (signed under a threat, without negotiation or comment) and as diverse as Germany was, this unified almost all Germans. (Peace Treaties between the great powers had always been generous, with a view towards the future (between Kings, - it is easy to vilify democracies - democratic republics - or a republican form of government, especially after a long and cruel war, this accounts for the harshness and arbitrary nature of Versailles 1871 & 1919), Bismarck wanted this in 1871, but under the pressure of Generals and some of the "new" German States, Alsace-Lorraine was stripped from France. It was foolish and shortsighted, but absent Napoleon III and considering the history of French meddling in German affairs for 200 years and the ethnic background/history and linguistics of the areas, there was at least some justification - most spoke German, though Metz and many of the border areas spoke French. In 1894 the "Man of Peace", Kaiser Wilhelm II (prior to WWI Wilhelm was often praised for his efforts to maintain peace) considered reconciling the disputed areas with France, picked up some press at the time, but never materialized, I am sure Metz was the sticking point.).

    Quote Originally Posted by heavy_mech View Post
    For those who know or might know, where was this receiver for a decade between '16 and '26? Hope I don't sound like a boob but it's interesting as Clay said.... This would suggest to me that 'thousands', possibly tens of thousands of previously rejected receivers were lying about somewhere. Trying to understand how these could have been hidden or stored and not found/destroyed? Thanks for any knowledge or theories!
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    Last edited by Loewe; 10-17-2019 at 01:10 PM.

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