Third Party Press

Lazy S deaths head research

mrfarb

No War Eagles For You!
At this time, there are a few prevailing theories about "deaths head" Lugers - we'll refer to them as DH Lugers. These theories are espoused on various forums and dealer sales ads. I suspect none could be considered recent manifestations, rather decades old stories.

Remember - Luger collecting is an old soul. Some of the theories around are simply passed down like a fruit cake from Christmas long ago. If you ever get a chance to read some Luger books from the 70's, you will find some hilariously wrong information. While it would be easy to make fun of them, we really can't because 98k books from then are just as full of crap. There are more modern books, but the old books seem to keep holding on. These older books use best guess dead reckoning and some very weird though processes which we consider foreign today. It seems most are gun show stories told amongst collectors which made their way into books of the period. I mean actual stories, like in order to explain them you have to sit around drinking beer making shit up that seems to fit. Lets debunk the top ones, I will start with one of my favorites:

A - DH Lugers are from Weimar era flamethrower units. This is based on the idea that the "Lazy S" is reminiscent of the motion of using a flamethrower as you sweep it across the enemies positions. OK. I'm not sure we need to actually debunk this one. While the use of skulls in the Weimar era is correct, the idea of the Lazy S being flamethrower motions is....well....I don't know how you take that serious.

B - The DH is from WW1 Sturmbattalions. This explanation is probably the oldest and has the most legs. There are plenty of instances where the skulls were used. But, that pesky lazy S. No examples of that being used.

C - These are SS from the 20's. Ok, I do believe they are SS, but from the 30's. Why?

As we have chronicled in the rifle field, the SS used the "lazy S" skull as a depot stamp, beginning in 1936. We can debunk A and B above pretty easy - when you see a lazy S skull stamped on a 98k barrel that is dated 1936-38, it places it in the later period. "Not so fast, its just a continuation of use.". Ok- if you are going to use that logic, you have to present proof that the skull was used earlier on any single item. Nothing exist with that skull that can be tied to the WW1 period. "Not so fast sport - WW1 dated Lugers have it". Got me, you find it on WW1 Lugers. Except, those WW1 Lugers are reworked later, so that isn't proof.

Examples of the Lazy S skull tied to the SS depot system are numerous. We know that lazy S skull is an SS depot stamp from 98k barrels stamped with it, along with the wrist of early 98k Gew reworks. This thread chronicles their use based on observations. Link to "SS Skull Research" thread from the 98k section - this establishes the time period of use for each type of skull, the lazy S is included ( 1936 - 1939 ) : https://www.k98kforum.com/showthread.php?35803-Lets-talk-SS-Deaths-Heads

Updated timeline image included here.
 

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mrfarb

No War Eagles For You!
Example of lazy S DH on 1936 dated depot marked 98k barrel. This stamp seemingly is used in this instance in the chain of waffenamt inspections (a common occurrence is for the lazy S DH to be used this way, on WA stamped barrels, almost as an acceptance). These Lazy S barrels are not exclusively used on lazy S DH reworks either, they show up on "+" marked skull examples as well.
 

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mrfarb

No War Eagles For You!
Time to dig in - this can't be reiterated enough - the skull stamped on the SS Gew. conversion rifles is NOT A PROPERTY MARKING. This is the the biggest disconnect with the current Luger collecting establishment (well, half of them). These skulls were stamped on rifles to accept the reworked rifles as safe. The SS did not have the ability to purchase new military weapons and were forced to improvise, so they reworked vast amounts of rifles to be used by their new troops. We know this, not by documents, but by studying reworked 98k rifles from the army as well. In that study, we need to include the study of rework pistols. The most common of which are Lugers.

The SS copied many habits of the Army depot system. Why? Probably because the SS was populated with ex-Army people, so they copied the successful Army depot system. It is very common for Army depots to stamp the wrist of reworked rifles with the depot stamp, so it was with the SS rifles. Early SS Gew conversions have lazy S DH stamped wrists. I don't have time this minute to post every comparison photo to illustrate my point, that is coming though. Over time I will add photos as I find them again.

So why stamp a skull on the pistols on top of the chamber then? To duplicate one of the contemporary practices of the Army depot system. Have you ever seen a KL 1933 Luger? No, its not "Konzentrationlager", stop it. That marking, stamped boldly on top of the barrel extension is "Kassel 1933", the time it was reworked. Some army manual somewhere made that a thing, so the SS most likely copied it at the time. Its just logical.
 

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mrfarb

No War Eagles For You!
Fakes. Its clear there are a shit ton of fake DH Lugers. How to wade through the hype and root out what is real and what isn't? Study them.

Either ALL of them or fake or some of them, thats what we plan to find out. We can see fake SS DH 98k's pretty easily now. At one time it was difficult at best to know what was good and bad. With diligence, we will be able to spot the tell tale signs of fakery in the rifle field. We can also do that with the pistols. Some are easy to spot (kind of like the Frankenberry SS fakes).

If you come across a DH luger, feel free to post it up in this forum for discussion. Don't rely on the old Luger dogma, today we start fresh - like we've never seen a single DH luger in our life.

Whats similar to fake DH 98k's, the fakers usually overplay their hand, adding too many skulls, the wrong skulls, or supporting stamps which make no sense. Some of the fake skulls are laughable, some are really good. More than likely what will happen in the end is the DH Lugers will be classified into "Typical, Atypical, and Fake". There is a "type" of SS Luger that is very standard, well as standard as possible for a reworked firearm. Reworks are a minefield in and of themselves due to the "one off" nature of every one of them. But, generally we accept some standard variants in rifles which happens in pistols too.
 

Bigdibbs88

"Ach du lieber!"
Here’s one currently on gunbroker that is IMO fake. No commercial proofing
 

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heavy_mech

RKI- Reasonably Knowledgable Individual
..Have you ever seen a KL 1933 Luger? No, its not "Konzentrationlager", stop it. That marking, stamped boldly on top of the barrel extension is "Kassel 1933", the time it was reworked. Some army manual somewhere made that a thing, so the SS most likely copied it at the time. Its just logical.

I've read this pretty thoroughly and while I agree with what you've laid out I'll play devils advocate... or whatever you'd choose to call those stuck in the old stories.

I have not seen one of these BUT 'the system' is being set up early (March of '33) and early they WERE called KL before they became know by KZ. What's to say it couldn't be for that? I've seen pictures of some of the earliest camps (including one outside the gates of Oranienburg) supposedly from 1933 that shows 2 armed SA guards but I can't make out if they carry Lugers as sidearms. It appears the man standing to the right has a holster on his left hip?

Now if that Army document detailing that depots were to mark items in this manner that would put an end to this discussion. Or question.

Oranienburg 1933.jpg
 
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mrfarb

No War Eagles For You!
Heavymech - we NEED dissension, we encourage it. We don't need yes men and cheerleaders, we need robust debate. Just be able to defend you chosen position. We will eventually get to your point, starting this and populating the forum is taking time I don't have, but in due time. A fake which I consider ridiculous (haven't we seen this little guy?):
 

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mrfarb

No War Eagles For You!
Here’s one currently on gunbroker that is IMO fake. No commercial proofing

Agreed. So - what we do is find the fake "skulls" and tag other pistols with the same skull as questionable. Usually a faker has 1 stamp and uses the hell out of it. With all of the past shenanigans, we are about 70 years behind the 8 ball.
 

heavy_mech

RKI- Reasonably Knowledgable Individual
Heavymech - we NEED dissension, we encourage it. We don't need yes men and cheerleaders, we need robust debate. Just be able to defend you chosen position. We will eventually get to your point, starting this and populating the forum is taking time I don't have, but in due time. A fake which I consider ridiculous (haven't we seen this little guy?):

Yes, laughable now. 30 years ago? Maybe not so much. I posted not to challenge you but rather 'the idea'. If nothing get questioned but rather just accepted, even from one who's studied the entire system as much and as long as yourself and others then are we really reexaming things? I'll try to keep any comments both lucid and somewhat 'fact' based. Promise
 

RyanE

Baby Face
These Lazy S barrels are not exclusively used on lazy S DH reworks either, they show up on "+" marked skull examples as well.

One is also seen on an '=' skull also.


Here’s one currently on gunbroker that is IMO fake. No commercial proofing

That skull is the same fake seen on all the Phoenix Investment DH Lugers.



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heavy_mech

RKI- Reasonably Knowledgable Individual
That skull is the same fake seen on all the Phoenix Investment DH Lugers.

So that goes directly to Mike's point "Usually a faker has 1 stamp and uses the hell out of it"

Ryan do you have a timeframe when these 'enhanced' pieces were first offered? Any guess as to the number?

This sounds quite similar to the Notzi enhancement job on the Star B pistols where the fake WaA251 was added and they were passed off and passed around as being part of the real German contract pieces.
 

RyanE

Baby Face
Ryan do you have a timeframe when these 'enhanced' pieces were first offered? Any guess as to the number?

I don't, sorry.

Here is another common fake (IMO). Hopefully these pictures post in order. The last one (1916) is currently on Gunbroker after a flipper bought it from Simpsons just a week ago. Should have bought the good one he had.

dh2.jpgdh5.jpgdh3.jpgLuger-Nazi-Death-Head-9MM-Pistol_101141579_76935_D828580444D3CFCA.jpgLuger-Nazi-Death-Head-9MM-Pistol_101141579_76935_80BC571BCC69D33A.jpgLuger-Nazi-Death-Head-9MM-Pistol_101141579_76935_A412F29CF27C296B.jpgLuger-Nazi-Death-Head-9MM-Pistol_101141579_76935_78004833D9707B44.jpgimg_1166.jpg_thumbnail0.jpgScreenshot_20210407-091654~2.jpg

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RyanE

Baby Face
One more fake skull because I have a few minutes. Seen a couple with this one. The 1918 actually had appropriate 1930s commercial proofing on the receiver, barrel is apprently proofed also but I don't have a pic. Faker is either lucky or smart. Probably smart.Deaths Head luger 010.jpgIron Cross 003.jpgH19536-L178649094.jpgH19536-L178649093.jpgH19536-L178649092.jpg

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mrfarb

No War Eagles For You!
I like all of the examples posted. Ryan has done some really great work on how to classify these, once its polished he will post a thread about it. It will make spotting the fake skulls a little easier, but the fakes have been produced so long its going to take time to sharpen the point. Like this last pistol, a terrible job making the fake skull - a good die maker could make a good lazy S skull. If you find the right pistol to put it on, it will be hard to know for sure -- but, the "right" commercial proofed Luger seems to be as rare as legit DH Lugers.
 

rockisle1903

Senior Member
I like all of the examples posted. Ryan has done some really great work on how to classify these, once its polished he will post a thread about it. It will make spotting the fake skulls a little easier, but the fakes have been produced so long its going to take time to sharpen the point. Like this last pistol, a terrible job making the fake skull - a good die maker could make a good lazy S skull. If you find the right pistol to put it on, it will be hard to know for sure -- but, the "right" commercial proofed Luger seems to be as rare as legit DH Lugers.

+1000. Legitimate commercial proofed ex-army pistols are tough. Commonly found in police Lugers. I will post pics later.
 

RyanE

Baby Face
I don't know if this is the best place to put this, just something interesting I came across looking into this stuff.

The Sonderfahndungsbuch Polen was a secret list of Polish individuals to be arrested in the event of a war drawn up by the SS (or the RSHA/Gestapo) in 1939. What's interesting about the document is that the various groups of people were categorized, strangely, using math symbols. Those to be arrested for Geheimes Stastspolizeiamt, Abteilung IV/III J were marked with a '÷'. Those to be arrested for Amt IV/II were marked with an 'x'. This is a really weird way of doing things.

The symbols on early SS depot stamps are all math symbols too: '+', '=', '∞'. Too strange to be just an odd coincidence, no?
 

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mrfarb

No War Eagles For You!
I don't know if this is the best place to put this, just something interesting I came across looking into this stuff.

The Sonderfahndungsbuch Polen was a secret list of Polish individuals to be arrested in the event of a war drawn up by the SS (or the RSHA/Gestapo) in 1939. What's interesting about the document is that the various groups of people were categorized, strangely, using math symbols. Those to be arrested for Geheimes Stastspolizeiamt, Abteilung IV/III J were marked with a '÷'. Those to be arrested for Amt IV/II were marked with an 'x'. This is a really weird way of doing things.

The symbols on early SS depot stamps are all math symbols too: '+', '=', '∞'. Too strange to be just an odd coincidence, no?

This is the kind of anecdotal evidence that illustrates a pattern of behavior, absolutely this is interesting. It shows the use of math symbols on a secret document used for internal communication in regards to different Amts - your sentence says arrested FOR, I think you meant arrested BY. So each Amt was assigned a math symbol for this list - usually, things like this usually carry over into other aspects of operations. All of the "math symbol" skulls disappear by 1939, as the depot system matured and expanded. Wonder if there are any other documents related to this.
 

RyanE

Baby Face
...your sentence says arrested FOR, I think you meant arrested BY.

Well, the German reads "Festnahme für Geheimes Staatspolizeiamt". Arrest for the Gestapo, right? I imagine these lists were handed out to SS and Orpo units who would actually track down and arrest most of these individuals. It's not important in any case...



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Absolut

Senior Member
The Deaths Head with Lazy S above them ONLY are very rare to be found. I only have such a variant with my 98a. This would support the theory that those which have more than one have been to the arsenal more than once - because the bolts were bent. What was not necessary with those made based upon 98a rifles.

Attached a few pictures (think I have already posted it in here) of my 98a. Anyone else can share the stock stamps? Are stock stamps known in different variations? Secondly, would appreciate exact comparison, including dimensions, to possibly proof if there were different sizes of the Lazy S DH stamp applied to rifles.

The possibility that these DH stamps are depot stamps is a bit too simple. Knowing the SSZZA2 stamp on SS DC sniper rifles was the APPROVAL stamp for sniper rifles set up somewhere else it very well could be that these DH stamps also were only APPROVAL stamps. Remember we were discussing the possibilities the Gew98 could had been converted to K98k rifles by Suhl companies who also proofed them. If this was done, why should it then had been done with Luger pistols as well?
 

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mrfarb

No War Eagles For You!
Something I never noticed or thought about before, the lazy S isn’t actually and S laid in its side - it’s actually backwards if you stand it up. So, that’s interesting with the other observations.


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