Collection E.H. van Essen
For pictures and info about the different P.38's just click on the links below.
The real start to the P.38 began with the Model MP (Militar Pistole). This Model MP was the real forerunner to the later Model AP( Armee Pistole) and Model HP (Heeres Pistole) and Model P.38 pistols in innovation and looks. (See for pictures the links or the other webpage's.)
Walther started its mass production with the P38 in 1940 but due to manufacturing problems, 39.500 pistols were produced that year. They were stamped with the factory code 480, ac and later ac40. All the Walther P.38s made after 1940 had the factory code of ac (see also the Walther section)
The order from the German Army was so big that the Walther company cooperated with other factories to help meet production needs, in 1942 the Mauser Waffenfabrik was also selected to produce the P.38. All Mauser made P.38s went to the military or the police forces. There were no commercial sales. The code was byf (see also the Mauser section)
Also in 1942 Spreewerk (Berlin) was asked to join in the production of P.38's. The code was cyq/cvq. And although the firm of Spreewerk was headquarted in Berlin, the actual factory producing P.38's was in Hradec nad Nisou (Czechoslovakia) and was designated Werk Grottau. The code cvq is probably because of a broken die theory. It's until today a discussion between experts all over the world if there was been used a broken die in the factory. (see also the Spreewerk section).
Also in the occupied country’s where parts made for the P.38 to mass produce the gun. The Fabrique Nationale d' Armes / Wapenfabriek in Belgium, this company made slides and frames. The code was fn. most of these slides went to Mauser, then followed by Spreewerk. Very few actually went to Walther even though they were stamped with the code of "ac" in a slightly larger font.
The Bohmische Waffenfabrik in Prague made barrels. The code was fnh.
Click on the pictures to enlarge.
This is an original manual ( H. Dv. 254) which was given by the Walther P38 in 1940.
Even the original "deckblatter" (updates) from 1941 and 1942 are there.
Collection E.H. van Essen
There were also plans to increase P38 production by adding other makers. These included: J.P. Sauer, Erma, BSW, and Krieghoff. However this never happened. Before the plans were realised the war was over.
Americans are searching for warprices in the Walther factory .
For the Allied capture of the Walther factory , just read the stories below.
With the ending of World War II also ended the production of the P.38 in the Walther and the Spreewerk factory. It was different for the Mauser factory . On 20 april 1945 at 15:00 hours the French Allied Forces took over the Mauser factory in Oberndorf am Neckar. Till the last minute the Germans made the P.38 and the other guns and rifles like the K98K.
The factory workers believed after the Allied invasion the production would end directly. But after 6 days the French organized the new production of the weapons, against the agreement of the Allied Forces, to make no more weapons in Germany. On 10 may ( the day of the truce) the production of the K98K, smallcalibre rifles, P.08 the HSc pistol and the P.38 started again. But the production was now made totaly for the new rearnament of the French Army. Untill 2 may 1946 where there 37.000 pieces made ,of the P.38, for the French. But under the pressure of the Russian Forces the factory was destroyed by explosives, because the Russians would not have any weapon factory anymore on German ground. The French took out all the machinery and tools first, off course. This was the end of the P.38. In 1957 the German Army took the P.38 again in production but under the name P1.
For more info and pictures about the postwar P38 click on the button.
On the shooting range