U.S. Carbines in Germany and Austria

Germany
and the
U.S. M1 Carbine

The M1 Carbines
in the
American Occupation Zone

Hessen













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Wurttemberg-Baden Labor Service Parts

The territory of the original German state of Hesse was altered at the end of the war. The remaining area was known as Hesse-Nassau from 08 May 1945 through 19 Sep 1945, Greater Hesse from 20 Sep 1945 through 30 Nov 1946, and finally the Federal State of Hesse on 01 Dec 1946.

Hesse had a post war population of approximately 4,025,000 within 13,117 sq miles, an area slightly larger than the State of Maryland. The Office of Military Government, U.S. (OMGUS) divided Hesse into three regional districts: Darmstadt, Kassel, and Weisbaden.

The eastern border of Hesse faced the Russian zone/East Germany. The Hesse border police were established in March 1946. In October 1949 the Hesse Border Police were absorbed into the regular state police of Hesse and the Federal Republic's new customs police.

Frankfurt was the largest city in Hesse and had the largest city police force. Altogether they had 24 police stations as well as 14 land posts and district branches. In October 1945 each district branch received one Colt 1911 with three rounds of ammunition. Frankfurt had it's own police school until 1952, when it merged with the police school of the Greater Hesse Police. [800 years Frankfurt Police - A Time Journey of Frankfurt Police History by Kurt Kraus]

Frankfurt was the headquarters of U.S. Forces Europe, whose staff occupied the old I.G. Farben building (chemical cartel that had produced chemical weapons, and the gas used in the Nazi death camps), renamed the General Creighton W. Abrams Building, the current day Humanities Building of the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University. Many of the U.S. Army Office of Ordnance depots that contained small arms were scattered between Frankfurt and Stuttgart, located approximately 130 miles to the south south-east.

By June 1949 the Hessen Polizei had received 2,458 M1 carbines and 4,590 pistols from the U.S. Military Government (OMGUS), Hesse. [OMGUS Civil Administration Division, Bad Nauheim, 08 Sep 1949, Semi-Annual German Police Personal & Equipment Report as of 30 Jun 1949]

    Regierungsbezirk Darmstadt

    Stadtkreis

    • Darmstadt
    • Giessen
    • Offenbach
    Landkreis
    • Alsfeld
    • Bergstrasse
    • Büdingen
    • Darmstadt
    • Dieberg
    • Erbach
    • Friedburg
    • Giessen
    • Grossgerau
    • Lauterbach
    • Offenbach
    Regierungsbezirk Wiesbaden

    Stadtkreis

    • Frankfurt
    • Hanau
    • Wiesbaden
    Landkreis
    • Biedenkopf
    • Dillkreis
    • Gelnhausen
    • Hanau
    • Limberg
    • Main-Taunuskreis
    • Oberlahnkreis
    • Obertaunuskreis
    • Rheingaukreis
    • Schluechtern
    • Untertanaukreis
    • Usingen
    • Wetzlar
    Regierungsbezirk Kassel

    Stadtkreis

    • Fulda
    • Kassel
    • Marburg
    Landkreis
    • Eschwege
    • Frankenberg
    • Fritzlar-Homberg
    • Fulda
    • Hersfeld
    Regierungsbezirk Kassel

    Landkreis (continued)

    • Hofgeismar
    • Hünfeld
    • Kassel
    • Marburg
    • Melsungen
    • Rotenburg
    • Waldeck
    • Witzenhausen
    • Wolfhagen
    • Ziegenhain


Configurations & Markings on the U.S. M1 Carbines in Hessen

So far only bits and pieces have been found regarding the carbines used by Hessen. As more becomes available it will be added here.


Municipal Police (Stadtpolizei)

OMGUS Bavaria spelled out Bavaria followed by the American word for the agency, in English (i.e. Bavaria Rural Police). OMGUS Wurttemberg-Baden abbreviated the land to WB followed by an S for the Stadtpolizei (city police) and an abbreviation of the city name. WB-LP was used for the Landpolizei (Rural Police).


S&W Victory revolver used by Hessen Municipal Police

The revolver above has been confirmed by the Hessen police as a Smith & Wesson Victory revolver provided to Hessen by OMGUS and used during the American Occupation.

In 2009 Austria returned several thousand U.S. M1 Carbines previously used by the Austrian Gendarmerie to the U.S. Army. Many of these carbines had been purchased by the Gendarmerie from Bavaria in 1945, therefore having both Austrian Gendarmerie markings in addition to Bavaria police markings. A number were found to have the markings of Wurttemberg-Baden instead of Bavaria.

A recoil plate on one of these carbines had the markings HE-M stamped into the top. Unfortunately this recoil plate had been separated from the carbine it had been on when returned.


Rural Police

A recoil plate with the markings HE-R was located on a post war commercial carbine on which it had been used as a spare part by the owner. The owner did not recall where he obtained the part, only that it had been provided as a spare.

From 1945-1952 the Hessen "rural police" in the districts of Weisbaden and Darmstadt were called the Gendarmerie. In the regional district of Kassel they were known as the Landjägerei. [Die Geschichte der Hessischen Polizei und mehr .... by Kraus, Grimminger, & Schmidt].

The carbine below is located in New Zealand where it had been imported for retail sale. The initials HE-J.P. appear on the top of the recoil plate. The Landjägerei are believed to have been referred to by the Americans as the Jagd Polizei.


The sling is unmarked. Note the buckle style.


HE-J.P. (Hessen Landjägerei Polizei)


Bottom of trigger housing has last 3 digits of receiver serial number.


Unknown Hessen Police Agency

It is not known which agency used the carbine depicted below or if perhaps it was provided by the U.S. Military to the Hessen police prior to the decision to issue them weapons and/or how those weapons would be marked in accordance with the Allied Control Council Directive of November 1945.

U.S. Karabiner .30 M1 - Waffe und Zubehor by WolfDieter Hufnagl, provided the above carbine picture and states the Hessen Polizei removed the U.S. markings from their carbines, restamped a serial number other than the original, and placed the Hessen Crest as depicted above. A number of M1 carbines with restamped serial numbers and obvious work on the receiver area behind the front sight have been found. At least a dozen of these were used by the Bavaria Police and the Austria police or Gendarmerie, having the markings of the Bavaria and Austria agencies. The information regarding the removal of the U.S. markings has been confirmed by several different sources in Germany, who have seen the Hessen carbines.


Hessen Police Custom "Sniper" Rifle

The following carbine was found in Small Arms Today, 1st Edition (1984), by Edward Ezell, p. 90.


"A custom 7.62 x 33mm (.30) M1 Carbine as used by the Hessian State Police in West Germany. The stock was made by Messrs Wolfe, a noted sporting stock manufacturing company. The scope is a Zeiss-Diavari 1.5 to 6 power variable telescope. About thirty of these special rifles were made" for the Hessian State Police, who used them as sniper rifles.

In April 2008 the below carbine was placed on auction on EGun.de, basically the European version of Gunbroker.com. The seller was Waffen Merle GmbH in Göppingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, who was kind enough to share the pictures below. Unfortunately the rifle was unavailable for photographs of the U.S. and/or West German markings.


The wood in the thumbhole and on the handgrip is custom checkered.

In 1983 the Hessen police sold thirty of these carbines to Peter M. Busch Import-Export of Höchberg, Würzburg Kreis, Bavaria, Germany.
Busch indicated all were marked with his company logo on the bottom of the trigger housing and on top of the barrel under the handguard
and sold to collectors in West Germany.


This logo, a capitol B with a black powder pistol through the middle, appears
on the bottom of the trigger housing and on top of the barrel under the handguard.
(Company logo of Peter M. Busch Import-Export of Höchberg, Würzburg Kreis, Bavaria, Germany)

Those of us familiar with the M1 carbine would rightfully question the logic of using scopes on a rifle meant for distances of 300 yards or less. The answer is simple, accuracy. Given the limited amount of ammunition with which to practice and use, the danger of shooting unintended targets, and the fact the police were not issued rifles with greater distance and accuracy, they made do with what they had. It's difficult to consider the M1 carbine a "sniper rifle", until you take into account the history of West Germany in regards to arming their police 1945-1972. ["Munich" movie editorial, Visier Magazine 25 Jan 2006]

It should be remembered that the T3 version of the carbine, utilizing an infra-red night vision scope, was used by the U.S. during the Korean War. The T3 had only the scope, no other sights. A number of M1 carbines used by the Bavaria Forestry Police had their receiver drilled and tapped for a scope mount. Scopes on M1 carbines were also used by the police in Niedersachsen.

The 25 Jan 2006 issue of Visier Magazine had an editorial regarding the film "Munich". This editorial discussed the situation in regards to sniper rifles and tactics used to deal with the terrorists at the Olympic Games in Munich in 1972. This editorial makes it clear West Germany had not prepared or trained to deal with such situations, especially in regards to the correct weapons and tactics for the police. The social culture of West Germany at the time was vocally opposed to arming and training the police with high power rifles, even though hunting rifles were socially acceptable and used by the civilians, or off duty officers.

The author indicates that in Hessen and in other parts of West Germany in 1972 there were still large numbers of U.S. M1 carbines available to the police. A supervisor at the Hessen Police armory acquired the Diavari 1.5 - 6 x 36 by Zeiss from the commercial market. He also arranged for the manufacture of the above thumbhole Mannlicher type stock by Wolfe. The stock was made from high quality walnut and featured a featured a redesigned recoil plate. It is described as luxurious. Hessen made between 15-30 of these carbines, with "a few" of the carbines placed in special gun cases lined with green felt with an interior form that was fit to the carbine and included compartments for magazines and accessories. These carbines that were placed in service were no longer used after 1974/1975 due to the changes implemented after the incident at Munich.

Approximately 50-100 of the stocks manufactured by Wolfe were later sold in America by Interstate Arms.


Hessen Police Regulations for the M1 Carbine - User Manual

In September 1954 the Hessen Ministry of the Interior published a User Manual for Hessen police officers for the M1 carbine. The manual is approximately 3" wide x 4.5" tall with 35 pages covering the function, operation, disassembly, cleaning, and care of the M1 carbine. Eight of the pages are excellent illustrations depicting the carbine parts, names (in German), disassembly and reassembly of the rifle.

The example below is ink stamped for the Hessen Police Administrative Office in Wiesbaden-Kastel.


Regulation for the Hessen Police

Table of Contents

M1 carbine physical data

General Information

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