The M1 Carbines
|The American Occupation Zone||The British Occupation Zone||National Agencies||Additional Info|
|Bavaria||Berlin||Lower Saxony||Border Guard||Accessories|
Bavaria encompasses 27,240 square miles and is slightly larger than the State of West Virginia. It is the largest land in Germany. The population, as of January 1947, was 9,121,000 (compared to West Virginia's 2006 population of 1,818,000). The largest city was Munich, with a population of 751,392. Over one third of Bavaria is covered by forests. After the war, Bavaria's northern and eastern borders included 236 miles bordering the Soviet zone of Thüringen, 25 miles bordering the Soviet zone of Sachsen, 222 miles bordering communist Czechoslovakia, and 30 miles bordering the Soviet zone in Rohrbach, Austria. Of Bavaria's total border of 1681 miles, 513 miles of it faced hostile adversaries that would soon become outright enemies.
The size of Bavaria and it's population was of concern to the Western Allies, especially the American forces, in whose occupation area Bavaria was located. The capital of Bavaria, Munich, was considered the birthplace of Nazism. The number of police officers that would be required to police Bavaria was equivalent to an army division with three or four brigades totaling 15-20 battalions. Decentralizing the power of the government and police in Germany extended to include decentralizing the government and police of Bavaria.
||Bavaria Border Police|
Courtesy of DWJ Magazine
The manner in which this was accomplished was to create various agencies using the American policing model of law enforcement, while avoiding a statewide police force. The heads of the police agencies answered to the elected officials in the jurisdiction in which they served. The "Municipal Police" existed in cities (Stadt) with populations greater than 5000. Many larger cities had populated suburbs that elected their own government (locale known as a Stadtkreis). These were policed by the adjacent city. Rural areas similar to rural counties, known as Landkreis, were policed by the Bavaria Rural Police, known to the Germans as the Landpolizei. This should not be confused with the Landespolizei, a statewide agency which did not exist until 1972.
The border area facing communist held territories required a large force, which was established as the Bavaria Border Police (Grenzpolizei). The size of the forests within Bavaria warranted establishing the Bavaria Forestry Police and Bavaria Game Warden.
The U.S. Office of Military Government Bavaria (OMGB) consisted of a central command with a military governor and his support staff. The staff included a Civil Affairs Branch with Public Safety Officers who helped re-establish law enforcement in Bavaria. OMGB HQ in Munich assigned and supervised Civil Affairs administrators and their support staff to each of the cities and Landkreis throughout all of Bavaria.
In 1952 West Germany established a paramilitary quick response emergency police that consisted of all officers in their first four years of training and tenure, known as the Bereitschaftspolizei. These units responded to events within their state, but were also subject to being pooled with their counterparts in other parts of West Germany should the need arise. The Bavaria Bereitschaftspolizei were referred to as the "State Police" on the stocks of the M1 carbines they carried.
Bavaria had hundreds of police posts and police offices. While OMGB dictated the carbines would be marked with the agency type, a few jurisdictions added initials to their carbines that identified where in Bavaria the carbine was used. As it is not known how common this was, the below chart may be of assistance to those who find additional letters on the top of the recoil plate they may identify the jurisdiction.
|13a & 13b are Bavaria|
Upper Franconia + Middle Franconia
Lower Bavaria + Upper Palatinate
In December 1945 OMGB established a Waffenamt (Ordnance Department) at Holbeinstrasse 11, Munich, staffed by Germans and administered by OMGB. Initially their main duty was to collect guns of the defeated Wehrmacht from various locations throughout Bavaria and guns outlawed for the civilian population by the military government. Their role soon expanded to include managing weapons for all of the police in Bavaria. On April 1, 1947 control of the Waffenamt was transferred to the Bavaria Ministry of the Interior, as a separate independent office from the police and other government agencies. On December 30, 1949 it was renamed Bayerisches Waffenamt. With the pending return of control of Bavaria to their elected officials, on April 9, 1952 it shed it's independence and became part of the Bayerisches Landesbeschaffungsamt für Polizeiwesen (ordnance department and supply for all police equipment).
Prior to February 6, 1946, a limited quantity of U.S. weapons had been provided on a local basis in Bavaria, but the primary weapons the police had been allowed to carry, when they were allowed to carry a weapon, were Italian Carcano carbines. When the M1 carbine replaced the Italian Carcano, the police in Bavaria were happy to get the U.S. M1 carbines. The M1 carbine was the only rifle approved for use by the police of Bavaria during the entire ten years of occupation. The vast majority of U.S. weapons were provided (on loan only) to the Waffenamt between 06 February 1946 and 30 July 1947.
U.S. Weapons to Bavaria 06 Feb 1946 - 30 Jul 1947
Allied Control Council Directive #16 on 10 Oct 1945 had allowed the occupation governments in each of the four occupation zones to arm the city police with pistols, the "rural" police and new "frontier" police with carbines. The Control Council directed that the weapons be marked in a manner that identified the police agency, but did not specify the manner in which this should be done. Within the American Occupation Zone, how this would be accomplished was left to each military governor and their staff. OMGUS Bavaria ordered the weapons to be marked with the type of agency, in English, as opposed to the name of a city, Statdtkreis, or Landkreis. Thus the markings "Bavaria Rural Police", "Bavaria Municipal Police", Bavaria Border Police", etc. Bavaria was the only jurisdiction in West Germany that used these names on their weapons.
For the M1 carbines, OMGB ordered Bavaria to place these markings on the top of the receiver to the left of the bolt. Bavaria agencies were the only agencies in Germany and Austria to use this specific location for their markings. On January 7, 1946 the Chef des Sicherheitswesens, Polizeipräsidium München (Chief of Security Branch, Munich Police Department), not the Waffenamt, was ordered to do the actual markings on the weapons. After they were marked the Waffenamt distributed the weapons to the various branches and districts of police throughout Bavaria.
A report on the weapons of the Bavaria police submitted by the Bavaria State Ministry of the Interior, 10 Mar 1976 [Nr 1 C 5 - 2302/54 - 3] indicated that by November 1946 the following agencies in Bavaria had received the following number of M1 carbines and pistols from the U.S. Military Government, Bavaria. Note this does not include those given to the Bavaria Forestry Police, Bavaria Game Warden, or Bavaria Prison Guard.
U.S. Weapons to Bavaria Agencies by Nov 1946
|# of Bavaria|
|Stadtpolizei (Municipal Police)||24||6,218||7,200|
|Landpolizei (Rural Police)||5,456||1,021||6,025|
|Grenzpolizei (Border Police)||2,598||300||1,834|
The revolver was alien to the police in Bavaria. The 1911A1 pistols were available to the police only in limited quantities and considered very heavy, the small German manufactured semi-automatics had been the norm for their culture. They found the M1 carbine accurate to 200 meters, but unreliable at low temperatures, especially below -10 degrees centigrade (17 degrees F).
Ammunition for the .30 caliber carbine was provided to Bavaria in very limited quantities. The beginning of the Korean War in June 1950 compounded the lack of available ammunition. Bavaria considered the lack of ammunition a crises from the time they received the carbines in 1946 until well after the time they began selling the carbines in 1952.
OMGB transferred control of the U.S. firearms to the Bavaria government administration on 09 Feb 1948 . On 25 Apr 1948 the Waffenamt conducted an inventory of their weapons and prepared a report for the OMGB Public Safety Branch. Seventy carbines had been "lost" between the time Bavaria received them and the time of this inventory [not unlike the personal duffel bags headed home after WWII].
U.S. Weapons in Bavaria - Inventory Report 25 Apr 1948
|M1 carbines||S&W Revolvers|
1945 to 1955 was a period of frequent change in Germany, and Bavaria was no different. Initial assessments of who needed carbines changed. It was not uncommon for carbines issued and marked for one police agency to be given to a different agency if the need arose. Sometimes the agency markings were changed, sometimes not.
About 1950 the Bavaria Game Warden and the Bavaria Forestry Police were phased out. Their carbines and ammunition were provided to other agencies in Bavaria. By then the markings on the carbines had become almost a non-issue, as on 23 May 1949 the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG or West Germany) was born and the British, French, and American Occupation Zones were merged. OMGB and OMGUS were replaced by the U.S. High Commissioner for West Germany, who retained parts of the prior military government that were a necessity.
In the beginning of the 1950's discussions were held on the conversion of some of the M1 carbines to selective fire with full automatic capability, like the M2. With the introduction into Bavaria of the Beretta MP M38/49, the modification of the M1 carbines were unnecessary.
As West Germany progressed towards self sufficiency, the Bavaria police wished to replace their U.S. weapons with more traditional German police weapons, 7.65 mm pistols, 9 mm pistols, MP's (machine pistols), and 6.35 mm pistol for special investigators. The M1 carbines were deemed to be no longer necessary. Further information specific to each agency in Bavaria that used M1 carbines is listed below in alphabetical order by agency type.
Despite this agreement, Bavaria did not pay for the weapons. There were those within the government that insisted the weapons had been provided as a gift. This was stated in a letter to the State recording company dated 31 March 1953. When the other areas of West Germany that had been provided M1 carbines heard the lack of payment was being ignored, they complained to the West German government and Americans that they had already been made to pay for their weapons. Baden-Wurttemberg's agreement for its U.S. weapons in 1948 was 7.46 DM (about $31.30 U.S.) per M1 carbine and 6.99 DM (about $29 U.S.) per revolver.
In 1953 Bavaria ignored the previous agreement and stated the carbines were worth 9.18 to 9.68 DM each (about $38.50-$40.50 U.S.) and the revolvers 2.28 to 10.90 DM each (about $9.50 - $45.70). They also produced a current inventory of U.S. weapons in their possession. [Bayern War Baby by Gerhard Ortmeier, Deutsche Waffen Journal December 2009]
U.S. Weapons in Bavaria - Inventory Report 13 Jan 1953
|Agencies||M1 carbines||Revolvers||1911A1 Pistols|
|Cities & Stadtkreis||711||6248||842|
|Land & Border||9935||1385||835|
By 1955 the Americans gave up trying to collect from Bavaria and allowed the West German Treuag in Frankfurt, established for settling financial matters, pay for the weapons. The Treuag obtained reimbursement from Bavaria 29 May 1956.
On August 25, 1952 the Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony) Ministry of the Interior offered to trade Bavaria 25,000 .38/200 cartridges and money for 500 U.S. M1 carbines. Bavaria was in need of the ammunition. An agreement was reached on September 16, 1952 and 500 U.S. M1 carbines, all marked "Bavaria Rural Police" were "loaned" to Niedersachsen on October 1, 1952. The Bayerisches Staatsministerium des Inneren (Bavarian Department of the Interior) ordered the Bayerisches Waffenamt to remove the Bavaria Rural Police markings from these carbines before they were turned over to Niedersachsen.
On July 27, 1954 Niedersachsen "borrowed" 1000 more U.S. M1 carbines from Bavaria. Between 1952 and 1954 a total of 1800 U.S. M1 carbines were provided to Niedersachsen by Bavaria.
On January 25, 1955 the Bavarian Finance Ministry announced that as of April 4, 1955, the sale of M1 carbines to Niedersachsen was no longer an issue as the Treuag in Frankfurt had paid the Americans. This cleared the way for Bavaria to sell it's M1 carbines to Niedersachsen and others.
In 1955 Niedersachsen purchased an additional 900 M1 carbines from Bavaria. This brought the total number of carbines from Bavaria to Niedersachsen to over 2700 (refer section on Lower Saxony for further details). How many of these carbines had the Bavaria agency names removed is not known. The order was issued, but at some point it was no longer obeyed, as revealed by Bavaria's sale of carbines to Austria. In 1955 another 900 M1 carbines were sold by Bavaria to Baden-Wurttemberg for their police.
From 1956 until 1959 Bavaria also sold M1 carbines to the civilian market. On January 13, 1956 the Belgian company Sidem International, based in Bonn, purchased 2000 M1 carbines which were sold on the open market. On April 14, 1956 Bavaria sold 2000 M1 carbines to Austria, via Sidem International. These carbines were purchased for the Austria Gendarmerie and had been the topic of negotiations between Bavaria and two representatives of the Austrian Gendarmerie, Major Hock and Oberleutnant North, on April 9, 1956 in Munich. The Austria Gendarmerie purchased another 13 M1 carbines from Bavaria via Sidem International in May 1956.
Not long after the sales to Austria other private companies also purchased M1 carbines from Bavaria. One such company was Genschow & Co. of Cologne.
|Summary of Sales of M1 carbines by Bavaria 1952-1956|
|Austria Gendarmerie via Sidem International||2000||1956|
|Austria Gendarmerie via Sidem International||13||1956|
Research is continuing in an attempt to identify other buyers and further information.
One of the priorities after the end of World War II was securing Germany's borders and the flow of hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the war. Although initially not a major concern, the border became an even higher priority as it became obvious there was a deepening rift between west and east. The Border Police in Bavaria were some of the first to be re-armed. The rifle they were re-armed with was the U.S. M1 carbine. The Bavaria Border Police were not disbanded when the Federal Border Guard was founded in 1951. The two agencies complemented one another until the reunification of Germany in 1990. Bavaria's Border Police handled the airports in Bavaria and the Austrian border until they were dissolved in 1998.
||Bavaria Border Police training 22 Jun 1954|
Courtesy of DWJ Magazine
M1 carbines used by the Bavaria Border Police
The agency markings found on the U.S. M1 carbines used by the Bavaria Forestry Police were based on the regional district within Bavaria that the particular Bavaria Forestry Police served.
M1 carbines used by the Bavaria Forestry Police
|Bavaria Forestry Police-U|
Unterfranken (Lower Frankonia)
|Bavaria Forestry Police-N+O|
Niederbayern (Lower Bavaria) and Oberpfalz (Upper Palatine)
|Bavaria Forestry Police-O|
Oberbayern (Upper Bavaria)
|Bavaria Forestry Police-O+M|
Oberfranken (Upper Franconia) and Mittelfranken (Middle Franconia)
|Bavaria Forestry Police-S|
Some of the carbines used by the Bavaria Forestry Police have been found to have been drilled and tapped for a scope mount. The location of the holes for the mount differ, indicating they used more than one type of scope mount. The below scope mount was discovered attached to an M1 carbine marked with the Bavaria Forestry Police markings, which did include a letter designating use by a particular region. The carbine and scope mount were being sold on an auction website in Europe in April 2008. The meaning of the number below the name is not yet known.
The Game Warden did what Game Wardens do. They enforced hunting laws and limits, monitored the wild animal population, and dealt with injured and sick animals. They arrested poachers, protected animals, and protected people.
M1 carbines used by the Bavaria Game Warden
The American terms "Municipal Police" was applied to those police working for a city which often included the population surrounding the city, known as a Stadtkreis. Of all the Bavaria agencies that used M1 carbines, the Bavaria Municipal Police carbines are the rarest. This may be due to the city police being armed primarily with handguns versus carbines or rifles. The few carbines examined to date have not indicated which city within Bavaria they served in.
M1 carbines used by the Bavaria Municipal Police
After the war there were a number of different types of prisons in Bavaria, each defined and administrated based on it's prisoners. The prisons containing criminals who had violated Bavaria's laws, were staffed by Bavaria's prison guards. These were the prison guards that used the U.S. M1 carbines. During the period of OMGB these prisons were organizationally restructured with a complete review and overhaul of personnel by the Legal Branch of the Civil Affairs Division in cooperation with the Public Safety Officers. The prisons were managed by the Bavaria Ministry of Justice. The current day prison system is called the Bavaria Prison Service.
M1 carbines used by the Bavaria Prison Guard
The few Prison Guard markings that have been observed so far, the Prison Guard markings were placed over an earlier Bavaria agency name. The Waffenamt in Munich is known to have removed the names of agencies that no longer needed the carbine. If another police agency used the carbine, then they stamped the name of that agency. This practice was not followed for all of the carbines all of the time. As the Waffenamt changed masters, so did the practices.
"Bavaria Prison Guard" on left side of stock
||Bavaria Rural Police|
Courtesy of DWJ Magazine
M1 carbines used by the Bavaria Landpolizei
The vast majority of the U.S. M1 carbines marked Bavaria Rural Police do not indicate where in Bavaria they were used by the Landpolizei. A couple of exceptions have been found.
|Bavaria Rural Police Lauf|
To the right of the Bavaria Rural Police on top of receiver is the name Lauf. This is an extremely rare addition to the Rural Police markings that allows identification of where in Bavaria this carbine was used. Lauf was a Landkreis (county) located 15 kilometers east of Nuremberg in the Bavaria administrative region of Middle Franconia. The largest town in Landkreis Lauf was Lauf an der Pegnitz. After the Occupation, Landkreis Lauf merged with Landkreis Nuremberg. Lauf an der Pegnitz is now the capitol of Landkreis Nuremberg.
The below carbine has had the Bavaria agency name removed from the receiver to the left of the bolt (refer oddities, above). The stock, handguard, trigger housing, slide, and bolt have the last four digits of the receiver serial number, consistent with how the carbines were marked in Bavaria. The recoil plate has letters stamped in it that are only partially visible.
The L.K. is believed to stand for Landkreis. All of the Landkreis have initials they are commonly known by. Of the seventy-one Landkreis, only one has initials that match these partial letters. REG, which stands for Landkreis Regen. Landkreis Regen is located within Lower Bavaria, along the eastern border with Czechoslovakia. The Landpolizei handled law enforcement in this Landkreis.
A second M1 carbine marked Bavaria Rural Police has been found that also has partial letters on the recoil plate that are not L.K. REG, but are the same size as those above. Unfortunately the letters are illegible other than it is clear they are not the same ones as above.
The carbines used in Bavaria may or may not have part upgrades or other obvious work done on the finish and other parts of the weapon. Their condition and configuration ranges from all original GI to obviously refurbished, appearing to never have been used heavily under poor conditions. It depended on the condition in which they were received, who used them, how long, and a variety of other factors. Generally, the carbines used in Bavaria were well maintained.
As shown on the other pages on this website, usually the last 4 digits of the receiver serial number were stamped inside the stock slingwell, under the handguard, on the outside of the slide, on the rear of the trigger housing at the top, and etched in the top of the bolt.
This is not true for all of the carbines used by Bavaria.
Some have the last three digits of the receiver serial number instead of four, with the digits on the bolt being stamped instead of engraved. Others have the entire serial number stamped into the slingwell or elsewhere on the sides of the stock towards the rear, as well as inside the handguard. A few carbines used in Bavaria have been found with two, three, or four of the last digits on the receiver, stamped on almost every part big enough to hold the stamping. Sometimes a part is stamped more than once, including some parts with two or three digits and once more with four digits.
|A few of the carbines used by the Bavaria Rural Police had the last 2-3 digits of the serial number on a variety of small parts.|
left side of push safety
recoil plate and screw
barrel band swivel for sling
The majority of M1 carbines used by Bavaria did not have an inventory number in addition to the receiver serial number. However, a number of carbines have been found with a three or four digit inventory number, as shown below.
Replacement stocks made for the M1 carbines used by Bavaria sometimes have the letters LP in script on the bottom of the stock handgrip. The LP is short for Landpolizei, who used the carbines marked Bavaria Rural Police.
Although it is not common, a few of the M1 carbines used by Bavaria have been found to have a marking or metal plate on the bottom of the stock handgrip. Some of these appear to be rack marks (visible identification for when the carbine is in an upright storage rack), some have a letter that obviously represented something that has yet to be identified.
A number of sources have reported seeing the name "State Police" on the stocks of M1 carbines used in Bavaria. Most of these carbines were used by the Bereitschaftspolizei but some of them may have also been used by the Landpolizei.
ERMA Werke was located in Bavaria and at some point between 1952 and 1955 began servicing, repairing, and manufacturing parts for the M1 carbines in use by Germany. Refer to the page regarding ERMA Werke for further details.
Bavaria Police M1 Carbine User Manual
In 1955 the Bavarian Procurement Office for police equipment published a very basic User Manual for police officers
for the M1 carbine and U.S. Revolver cal. 38 Smith & Wesson. The manual is approximately
3" wide x 4.5" tall with 16 pages covering the handling, treatment, care, and storage of the M1 carbine,
Smith & Wesson revolver, and their ammunition. The manual has no illustrations or photographs.
Care, and Storage for the
U.S. Police Weapons
Change provided by the Bavarian Procurement Office