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Can you identify these holsters used by prewar Polish Officers

Article about: In Jerzy Majka's book on the 10th Cavalry Brigade, I noticed there are a number of photos of officers wearing holsters that are not the Vis 35 issue one. (pages 69, 58 - showing Maj. Francis

  1. #1

    Default Can you identify these holsters used by prewar Polish Officers?

    In Jerzy Majka's book on the 10th Cavalry Brigade, I noticed there are a number of photos of officers wearing holsters that are not the Vis 35 issue one. (pages 69, 58 - showing Maj. Franciszek Skibinski armed with Colt .38 pistol). Sorry no scans at this time.

    These holsters appear smaller and more like my Finnish Lahti holster. What sidearm would these holsters be used for? Polish Nagant pistols perhaps?

    Also in the book it mentions that the officers in the 10th Cavalry Brigade were allowed the exception of wearing their sidearms on the left instead of the right. (photos on page 47 shows officers with binocular cases on the right and left but holsters on the left). Anyone know why? Thanks.
    Last edited by dastier; 12-06-2011 at 05:04 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Can you identify these holsters used by prewar Polish Officers

    Dastier, please try to post scans of the photographs.

    Regards,
    Tony
    All thoughts and opinions expressed are those of my own and should not be mistaken for medical and/or legal advice.

    "Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday." - John Wayne

  3. #3

    Default Re: Can you identify these holsters used by prewar Polish Officers

    I would love to Tony except I don't have a scanner. I am trying to find these photos on the web.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Can you identify these holsters used by prewar Polish Officers

    Vis was stil rare pistol in 30's (except war in 1939) ... Despite that it gradually replace older models there was still a huge amount of 7,65 / 6,35 mm pistols in the army. Each officer usually own two personal pistols. One for garrison duty - usually 6,35 or 7,65 mm - mostly FN's and second - combat one - mostly 7,65mm (various FN's etc) or 9mm - like P-08 and finaly Vis. If the photo is from the 30's and it is not a wartime (or Zaolzie in 1938) there is a strong chance that he is wearing some of those smaller pistols - probably one of FN's ...

    Here is a good sample: Major on the right side of picture got FN 1910 while lieutenant in the greatcoat behind him wears Vis.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Can you identify these holsters used by prewar Polish Officers

    Hi Pat, Thanks you for clearing up the mystery of the holsters in Jerzy Majka's book and the excellent photo. The photo first...

    Quote by pat15567 View Post
    Here is a good sample: Major on the right side of picture got FN 1910 while lieutenant in the greatcoat behind him wears Vis.
    Can you tell me when and where the photo was taken and what the occasion was. As well as identifying the officers.

    Second... as shown in the photo, do you know why the 10th BK was allowed to carry their sidearms on the left side of their belt? Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the standard practice in the Polish Army to carry the sidearm on the right?

    Third with respect to your post...

    Quote by pat15567 View Post
    Vis was stil rare pistol in 30's (except war in 1939) ... Despite that it gradually replace older models there was still a huge amount of 7,65 / 6,35 mm pistols in the army. Each officer usually own two personal pistols.
    When you say personal pistols do you mean private purchases? Do you know if the holsters were acquired from the manufacturers or locally made?

    Quote by pat15567 View Post
    One for garrison duty - usually 6,35 or 7,65 mm - mostly FN's
    Are the identities of the 6.35mm pistols known? I'm assuming these were private purchases but if Polish Army issue were there any markings or stamps?

    Quote by pat15567 View Post
    and second - combat one - mostly 7,65mm (various FN's etc) or 9mm - like P-08 and finaly Vis. If the photo is from the 30's and it is not a wartime (or Zaolzie in 1938) there is a strong chance that he is wearing some of those smaller pistols - probably one of FN's ...
    As both the FN 1910 and Luger were first manufactured in 7.65mm then 9mm do we know if these combat sidearms were private purchase or Polish Army issue and if Army issue, in which caliber? Do you know if the holsters were acquired from the manufacturers or locally made? Were there any markings or stamps?

    Finally were any other sidearms used besides the FN 1910 and the Luger? What about the Polish made Nagant revolvers? Browning Hi Power? In Majka's book there is mention of a Colt .38, I'm thinking Colt .38 Super which was in production by the late 1920s. The Colt .38 Super uses a 9x23mm cartridge and looks like a Colt M1911. Thanks.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Can you identify these holsters used by prewar Polish Officers

    This photo of col. Maczek and its officers was taken in november of 1938 during operation of re-taking Zaolzie. Maczek's 10th Cavalry Brigade was one of units of striking force. Unfortunately i can't identify all officers, sorry. Yes there was a kind of special manner in 10th Cavalry - they were allowed to wear pistol holster in "german style" on the left side of belt. Whole brigade was wearing them this way and it was unique in pre war army. Another sample from Zaolzie - Cieszyn:






    Speaking about the pistols: officers were allowed to buy all of their gear. They didn't had to use only army gear. They could buy all of their gear wherever their wanted only if the equipment meets the specified quality and requirements. This specialy is seen on pistols, binoculars, compass etc. Of course majority of them were using standard army gear. So when officer decided for example to buy his pistol at local dealer he was going to the shop and buying complete pistol there - in a box with magazines, holster etc. I have never seen this type of private bought pistol with army signatures. They look the same way as "normal". Revolvers were not popular and they could be used only in early 20's right after the war with Bolsheviks ended. During years army regulations changed and there was general regulation of avoiding revolvers and having 7,65-9mm pistol.

    Most popular were:

    1) 9mm
    - Browning wz.03
    - Browning FN wz.22
    - Browning FN wz.30
    - Browning FN wz.35
    - CZ wz.28

    2) 7,65-7,63mm
    - Cebra wz.16 (French)
    - Frommer wz.11 (Austro-Hungarian)
    - Mauser wz.10 (both 7,65 and 6,35)

    In early afterwar years there were a lot of different pistols and revolvers in use but during the years in 20/30's this state ordered. So thats why you can noticed photos with really exotic pistols/revolvers in polish army - like C96, Colt 1911 etc ... but this was ordered and finaly they were removed from the army. 7,65-9mm pistol was basic weapon of officer. As i mentioned before they usually also owned something smaller caliber - for garrison use only (not combat) - and that was mostly 6,35-7,65 pistols. Nagant revolvers were used only by the police in the late 30's.

    Acording to A. Konstankiewicz's books on July 1st 1938 in Polish Army 29416 Vis wz.35 pistols, 9958 7,65mm pistols (various), 1481 9mm pistols (other than Vis) + 218 8mm Steyr pistols.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Can you identify these holsters used by prewar Polish Officers

    Thank you Pat. This is all very informative and completely new to me. I have more questions but it is late and tomorrow is a workday.

    But a few questions before I go... the Mauser wz. 10 - I don't recognize this. Which Mauser model was this? What about the Luger P08 - did Polish officers purchase this pistol?

    Cz wz. 28 - do you mean the Cz 38 pistol? It is .380 ACP caliber. I know of a Cz 24 and a Cz 27 but not a Cz 28 pistol.

    The various other 9mm, 7.65mm pistols and Steyr pistols after 1938 - would these have Polish Army acceptance stamps or markings on them. Why both a garrison pistol and a combat pistol?

    I'd like to hear your opinion as to why the 10 BK was given such leeway to carrying their sidearms on the left in the 'German style'. I find it interesting but also confusing. German/Austrian M16/M17 helmets are issued to a experimental unit evaluating mechanized warfare tactics. Sidearms are carried in the 'German style'. Was this a manifestation of admiration for German military doctrine and methods?

    Mike

  8. #8

    Default Re: Can you identify these holsters used by prewar Polish Officers

    Sorry, i'm not always sure about english nomenclature so that's why i'm using polish "wz.". Mauser wz.10 is both versions - 6,35 and 7,65 mm Mauser pistol:




    Luger P08 was not really popular. This type of pistol had a bad opinion in polish army. Officers mostly didnt use it. Specialy in second half of Second Republic. Most of P08's from the army were used by soldiers which function required the pistol (like armoured vehicles crews, HMG gunners, some of mortar crews etc.). Here you got the samples - NCO's/soldiers:


    Cz wz.28 was a Czech wz.24 9mm pistol (export version to Poland was renamed to wz.28). Here is original czech wz.24:


    And here is a drawning with polish version with eagle (i'm not sure if they really had such modification):


    Speaking about types of pistols used by officers (combat and garrison duty). There was a kind of fashion that for non combat occasions officer should have something lighter and looking better than big combat pistols. So for all "peacetime/non-combat/official" occasions like parades, holidays etc they mostly used smaller pistols than big combat ones like Vis, Luger etc ... It is very easy to be noticed when You compare photos from garrison duty/parades with those taken in field on manevoures and in 1938/39 (Zaolzie and war in 1939).






    Carrying a sidearm on the left side of belt for sure can't be named as a admiration of german military doctrine. Please remember that Poland and Germany were and still are neighbours. Before regaining indenpendence in 1918 many Poles were serving in German Army. Same with Russia and russian army as well as Austro-Hungary. After 1918 young polish army was a mix of those countries doctrines. Many things were the same as in german army - it is easiest to spot in infantry. The best example is drill - it is very similar. Even the first pattern of polish uniform - wz.19 - is very similar to german WW1 feldrock. 10th cavalry brigade was first mechanized brigade in polish army. As an experimental unit they were allowed to some modifications. That's all

  9. #9

    Default Re: Can you identify these holsters used by prewar Polish Officers

    Quote by pat15567 View Post
    Sorry, i'm not always sure about english nomenclature so that's why i'm using polish "wz."
    No problem Pat. I know that wz. is the Polish designation for model. I just needed clarification over which Czech pistol we were talking about. I have a CZ vz.38 which is legal to own in Canada but the CZ vz.24 (Polish - CZ wz.28) is prohibited for ownership.

    Quote by pat15567 View Post
    Luger P08 was not really popular. This type of pistol had a bad opinion in polish army. Officers mostly did'nt use it. Specialy in second half of Second Republic. Most of P08's from the army were used by soldiers which function required the pistol (like armoured vehicles crews, HMG gunners, some of mortar crews etc.). Here you got the samples - NCO's/soldiers:
    The photo you provided leads into my next question. Although it shows Polish machinegunners carrying Lugers, my question is whether or not NCOs/soldiers were issued the Vis 35 and which groups of NCOs/soldiers would be equipped with sidearms. If not Vis 35 then what type of sidearms? Can you also tell me where and when this photo was taken?

    This question is important for me as I plan to create a Polish military display based around my father's service in both the prewar 10th BK and the his service in the 10th Dragoons, Polish 1st Armoured Division in the United Kingdom. Unfortunately my father passed away some time ago. I recall him mentioning his prewar service but he didn't say very much. I know more about his service in France and Holland, where he fought and how he was equipped. But in prewar Poland very little. I do know he was in a reconnaissance unit in the 10th BK. He mentioned driving motorcycles as well as the Polish 7.92 mm rkm Browning wz. 1928. I have a prewar photograph of him in a black beret and black leather coat. If you follow my posts here in this Forum it has been mostly (of late) an attempt to gain knowledge about the 10th BK and how its officers and soldiers were equipped and dressed.

    Given financial limitations and the difficulty of obtaining authentic items here in Canada, I may have to use reproductions or recreate a Polish item from another country's equipment. But I want my display to be as accurate as I can make it. Your information on the types of sidearms has been most helpful - I thought all Polish officers used the Vis 35. Although my father was not an officer, I now have another excuse to try to obtain a 9mm FN model 22 which is legal to own in Canada. (6.35mm, 7.63mm and 7.65mm calibers are not and barrels must be at least 105mm in length so the FN model 10 - Browning FN wz.30 is prohibited). Ultimately I would like to know what personal weapons my father might have been issued in the 10th BK. (I already have a P35(p) and German holster, Polish wz.98 and wz.29 infantry model rifles as well as Polish canteen and gas mask, possible Polish ammo pouches and am in the process of acquiring a Austrian M17 helmet. I plan to someday acquire a Polish Vis 35 and wz. 29 cavalry model rifle). Thanks.
    Last edited by dastier; 12-13-2011 at 01:07 AM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Can you identify these holsters used by prewar Polish Officers

    I just needed clarification over which Czech pistol we were talking about. I have a CZ vz.38 which is legal to own in Canada but the CZ vz.24 (Polish - CZ wz.28) is prohibited for ownership.
    Acording to Konstankiewicz's book polish pattern "CZ wz.28" was a rename of czech "vz.24" 9 mm pistol. It was only renamed in Poland. I believe nothing else changed except this possible polish eagle version on the grip.

    The photo you provided leads into my next question. Although it shows Polish machinegunners carrying Lugers, my question is whether or not NCOs/soldiers were issued the Vis 35 and which groups of NCOs/soldiers would be equipped with sidearms. If not Vis 35 then what type of sidearms? Can you also tell me where and when this photo was taken?
    This photo presents some of single MG crew from infantry regiments HMG company. Guy with binoculars and pistol is this gun-team leader (NCO). Guys on the left holding ammo belt are ammunition carriers. They role was to provide a proper amout of ammo to the gun. One of them could be gunner's assistant or even a gunner - but both of them should have pistols instead of rifles (so they shouldn't have ammo pouches for rifle). Guy in the back wearing greatcoat is probably a horse-keeper (? ... sorry ...) of the HMG-cart "biedka"

    This is biedka with Browning wz.30 HMG and some of its 9 men squad:


    Speaking shortly - in pre war polish army carring a pistol was reasoned of soldier's function. Not all of them were armed with rifles. Some had pistols - mostly guys from support weapons like HMG, Mortars, AT guns, AA guns, etc ... so if one is interested in details it is nesesaty to take a look on lists of gear of unit, companies, squads etc ...

    You've mentioned that Your Father served in 10-th Cavalry. Do You know anything else except recon battalion ? Here is a useful link -
    Dywizjon Rozpoznawczy 10 BK

    Structures of 10th Cavalry Recon Battalion: 1 officer, 8 NCO's, 21 motorcycles drivers and 29 privates (summary: 1 officer, 58 soldiers). They were armed with: 6 LMG (Browning wz.28), 51 rifles (kbk - short), 2 pistols. So it is almost sure that pistols were for an officer and probably one of NCO's. Drivers and Browning gunners did not used rifles. Platoon got also 21 bikes and one truck PF-621. Can You post this photo of Your Father in 10-th Cavalry uniform ? Maybee it will help a bit.

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