WWII German M1911 K98 Rifle Ammunition Pouch - Kriegsmarine Acceptance Marks
The letter "M" stamped into the back of K98 leather pouches indicates acceptance into the German Kriegsmarine (Navy). Three general designs are known; the first design is the Weimar eagle and was phased out in April 1935 although it has been found on leather goods as late as 1939. The wings of the Weimar eagle are swept down along the side of the legs. The second design consists of two circles vertically aligned. The top circle encloses a swastika and was simply placed over a circled letter "M". It has been named by the author as the "stacked circle" design. The third design is an eagle with the claws grasping a circled swastika. All have a letter "M" under the graphic. The Kriegsmarine seems to have discontinued the practice of stamping K98 pouches sometime in 1943.
First Design - Weimar Eagle
The First design, shown left, is the Weimar eagle with its wings swept downward. The eagle is aligned vertically and centered over the letter "M". The Weimar era of Germany is considered to have ended when Adolf Hitler took power in 1933. The use of this eagle continued until April 1935 when it was replaced with an aggressive style eagle. The Weimar eagle acceptance stamp continued to be used for many years and has been found on leather goods dated to 1939. Image on the left shows the Weimar eagle on a 1935 dated K98 pouch manufactured by Eugen Huber of München Germany. Authors Collection
Second Design - Stacked Circles
The Second design, shown to the right2, consists of two circles vertically aligned. The top circle partially overlaps the bottom circle. A canted swastika with well defined corners is enclosed in the top circle. A simple letter "M" for "Kriegsmarine" is located in the bottom circle. The top of the bottom circle is broken where it meets the top circle. The stamp measures 5mm wide by 10mm high. This design is not common and it is not known when it was first used on leather goods. This acceptance stamp design is known to exist on K98 pouches dated 1935 through 1940. 2Foto used by permission - Shannon Griffin
Third Design - Eagle Over Swastika
The Third design, shown below, is an Nazi era eagle with horizontal wings. The eagle grasps a circled or wreathed swastika aligned vertically over an unattached letter "M". The eagle faces to the left. This is the most commonly found Kriegsmarine acceptance stamp. From this third design, two types of Nazi era eagle stamps are known.
Third design / Type I consists of simple lines to create the eagle and a circle representing a wreath. A canted swastika is enclosed below the eagle. Each of the outstretched wings has three straight horizontal pinions. The eagle is a general representation with no specific detail in the head, wings, arms, and a body.
From this type, at least four eagle body varieties are known; hollow, solid(thick/thin), and stick. The hollow body variety is an outline of the eagle body and arms with a raised area in the center body. The solid body variety has a thick body and arms that has a solid impression throughout (shown left). The stick variety uses thin lines to create the body and wings. Minor variations of each body variety can be found including overall eagle size and font differences in the letter "M". The images shown below illustrate these varieties.
The Third design, Type I, solid body (thick) variety eagle pictured above was found on a 1938 early natural leather dyed black K98 pouch with no visible manufacturer stamp. The canted swastika is poorly shaped almost resembling a fan with the ends forming a point. The "M" looks similar to a Diamond Gothic style letter with its distinctive middle leg. The eagle wing span is 10 mm across, the plain circle wreath below the eagle is 4.5 mm wide, and the "M" is 3 mm high by 4 mm wide. Authors collection.
(Left) This Third design, Type I, solid body (thin) variety and shows a Courier style "M" below the eagle. Eagle body has a thin yet solid impression with a proportionately larger circled swastika. The swastika shown in this example is not well defined.
This Kriegsmarine acceptance stamp was found on a 1941 dated transitional pattern K98 pouch manufactured by G. Genschow & Co A.G. in Berlin, Germany. Black pebbled leather construction. Authors collection.
(Right) This is the Third design, Type I, hollow body variety eagle stamp. The center of the body has a raised area almost in the shape of an elongated diamond. Letter "M" below is in a Courier style font. This small Kriegsmarine acceptance stamp is on a belt strap of a 1938 dated early pattern K98 pouch manufactured by Gustav Sudbrack of Bielfeld, Germany. The eagle wing is 8 mm wide, the plain circle wreath below and "M" are 2 mm. Authors collection.
(Left) Third design, Type I, stick body variety of the eagle over swastika using simple lines to create the design. The inside of the eagle is not impressed and retains the original pebbled leather pattern. The circle enclosed swastika is well defined with sharp corners. A Courier style font used with the letter "M" is vertically aligned under the eagle and swastika.
Another similar eagle of this variety is on a 1941 dated pouch manufactured by Stecher of Freiberg, Germany. Authors Collection
Third Design, Type II consists of a well detailed stylized eagle grasping a wreathed canted swastika. This type is not often found on K98 pouches. The large "M" below the eagle is in an Arial style font and measures 5.5mm high and 4.5mm wide. The right tip of the wing in this example is off the strap but it was determined the stamp would have had a total wing span width of 21mm. The wingspan is wider than the lid straps. Image shown is from a 1943 transitional pattern pouch made by Franz Brehme of Walsrode, Germany. Another transitional pouch in my collection with the same stamp was produced in 1940 by Carl Hepting & Co. Authors collection