Author Topic: 1906 Gem.98 Military Rifle  (Read 2647 times)

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1906 Gem.98 Military Rifle
« on: January 06, 2021, 07:20:03 PM »
I have a 1906 8mm Mauser German Military rifle made in Oberndorf, metal tag Unit # 171.R.12.206. It has been in our family for the past 75+ years and it belonged to my grandmothers brother who fought in the Spanish American War and WW1. I inherited it in 1955.

The serial number is 4808. My question, the butt plate is marked 4808 and it also has 4 additional markings. The plate is also stamped with a "S" above the center mounting screw, above that is the number "5", and to the left of the center mounting screw is a "H"? There is also a Imperial German acceptance mark on the lower end of plate. I have never seen this on any other Mauser military weapon. Most butt plates only have the serial number.

What does the "5" stand for and what does the "H" stand for?   

Why the “H” and why the “5” on the butt plate, I think I know why.
There is a technical paper written by William F. Friedman on Field Codes used by the German Army during World War I. That technical paper is now unclassified and has a reference ID # A57075 issued in 1935 by the War Department. The paper is registered #156 by the US War Department, Office of the Chief Signal Officer Washington. On page 2, Table 2, it outlines the names, sectors, and group sectors (subdivisions of the main sector) that are closely allied by reason of the topography in German Army military war occupation.   

Briefly, there were 4 main German military sectors designated as; F, G, H, and I. The sectors identified the territorial limits of the German Army’s coverage. At the start of the war, Germany had 19 Army Divisions deployed throughout the country. Each of the armies were made up of Corps, Divisions, Regiments and occupied different areas in Germany.
Section   Territorial Limits
F:   The Aisne River to the eastern limit of Argonne Forest.
G:   Eastern limit of Argonne Forest to Moulainville.
H:   Moulainville to the Moselle River.
I:   The Moselle River to the Plaine River.

Prior to the war, the Imperial German Army included 217 infantry regiments that grew to 251 during the war, plus an instruction unit. Regiment #171 was assigned initially to 39th Infantry Division garrisoned in Colmar (1906-1913) as part of the 15th Corps and the infantry division became part of the 7th Army at the start of the war in 1914. The paper referenced above indicates that 15th Corps District territorial limits were designated as sector G. As a subsector to G, there is a sector named VAUX that used the territorial Codes H-5 or H-6. The left boundary of the German 15th Corps was extended and made to include the region formerly occupied by the right wing of German unit detachment “C”. Area H-5 became part of the German unit detachment “C” which was part of the main H sector. I believe that the H and the 5 on the butt plate may certainly signify the district area where the rifle was serviced and repaired. An early Gem.98 Mauser (pre-war) still showing markings of this type can be a rare find.

« Last Edit: July 09, 2021, 02:24:56 PM by gator943 »