While the Luger P08 was a sought-after souvenir for returning GIs in both World Wars, the rarely encountered long-barreled model was especially prized.
 
We've seen hundreds of Lugers come through the Guns.com Vault in the past few years, ranging from Swiss-made guns to American Eagles, Black Widows, and 1980s commemoratives, but the "Artillery Luger" is more of a unicorn.
 

German LP.08 Artillery Luger 9mm
The LP.08, with its long barrel, is over 12.3-inches long and weighs upwards of 37 ounces. This example is in the Guns.com Vault.

 

German LP.08 Artillery Luger 9mm
While German Naval Lugers used a 6-inch barrel, and the Kaiser's Army carried a 4-inch model for most purposes, the LP.08 was designed for use by artillery troops to use in lieu of seperate carbines and sidearms. 

 

Officially dubbed the Lange Pistole 1908, or LP.08, while the rest of the Imperial German Army was using the regular P08, it was decided the cannon cockers of the field and fortress artillery, in 1913, were to be issued a lengthened (lange= long) version with a 7.87-inch barrel and a graduated tangent leaf rear sight marked to a wildly optimistic 800m. The LP.08 would take the place of both the short carbine and the revolver for the artillery, making it something of a Ragtime-era PDW.

Put into production in mid-1913, the Royal Prussian rifle factory at Erfurt produced the LP08 for 1914 only while DWM (Deutsche Waffen- und Munitionsfabriken), the commercial maker of the Luger, by far delivered the most, keeping the gun in production until 1918 with the end of the Great War. The gun was typically supplied with a wooden shoulder stock that slid into a locking lug in the heel of the grip, like the C96 "Broomhandle" Mauser and the early Browning Hi-Power.
 
Besides the standard capacity magazine, late in the war, a special 32-round snail drum magazine was often issued alongside LP.08s, while the same magazine was used by the Bergmann submachine-gun in 1918, especially in the hands of trench-raiding German Sturmtruppen in the final offensives of the conflict.

 

German Uhlan in the armory with an LP.08, outfitted with its standard detachable flat-board shoulder stock
A German Uhlan in the armory with an LP.08, outfitted with its standard detachable flat-board shoulder stock. Note the Prussian-pattern cavalry sabers behind him.

 
These guns were sought-after by the Doughboys who encountered them.
 

Doughboys with German LP.08 Artillery Luger 9mm
Official caption: "167th Infantry (Alabama National Guard), 2nd Battalion, Co. F. –Cpl Howard Thompson holding pistol of German whom Sgt James W. White killed in No Man’s Land with the butt of his pistol. A patrol of five men met 10 Germans in No Man’s Land on March 7, 1918. Cpl. Thompson went into No Man’s Land in the daytime and found the pistol of the dead German, Ancerville France" U.S. Army Signal Corps photo 111-SC-7748 via NARA #55176278

 
While a lot of LP.08s were made in the Great War-- some reports say 180,000, some 205,000-- stockpiles of these guns were impounded and destroyed during the Allied occupation, as the guns were considered especially bannable. Compare this number to the standard 4-inch 9mm P.08 military variant by DWM and Erfurt, who made over one million of the guns, which did not have such a warrant out for their demise.

While the standard P.08 was allowed to remain in some limited production for commercial sales in the 1920s, the Inter-Allied Commission or IMKK restricted barrel length to 4-inches, ending the reign of the Lange.
 
This has not stopped the gun's popularity, and they continued to show up in unusual places.
 

British commando with German LP.08 Artillery Luger 9mm
Official caption: "Captain Gerald C S Montanaro of 101 Troop, No.6 Commando, Special Service Brigade, leads one of his men during combined operations training in the presence of the King at Inverary in Scotland, 9 October 1941. The officer is carrying a Luger pistol with a drum magazine." Imperial War Museum Photo H 14599. Montanaro was later decorated for a commando raid on a port in German-occupied France six months after this image was taken.

 
The guns were encountered around the world and brought back as trophies even far from European battlefields. They showed up with the IRA in the 1920s during the Irish War of Independence. A Marine with the 4th Marine Division liberated a 1914-marked LP.08 from a Japanese soldier on Okinawa in 1945.
 
With two inches more panache than the German Naval Luger and twice the length of the standard P.08, the Artillery Luger has appeared in more than 40 films over the years, including The Guns of Navarone, The Land That Time Forgot, Layer Cake, Warhorse, and King Kong.
 

King Kong movie screenshots with German LP.08 Artillery Luger 9mm
Thomas Kretschmann's Capt. Englehorn carried an Artillery Luger as late as 2005's King Kong remake. (Photo: IMFDB)

 
A closer look

 

This circa 1917 DWM model in the Guns.com Warehouse, SN 8749 has the full serial number on side of the receiver and the underside of the barrel while the abbreviated "49" is on the side of the side plate, the takedown lever, the sight body and leaf, the toggle, and the toggle link.

 

German LP.08 Artillery Luger 9mm details
(Photo: April Robinson/Guns.com)
German LP.08 Artillery Luger 9mm details
(Photo: April Robinson/Guns.com)
German LP.08 Artillery Luger 9mm details
(Photo: April Robinson/Guns.com)
German LP.08 Artillery Luger 9mm details
As well as a beautiful DWM company logo. (Photo: April Robinson/Guns.com)

 

German LP.08 Artillery Luger 9mm details
As well as a series of proof house marks. (Photo: April Robinson/Guns.com)

 

German LP.08 Artillery Luger 9mm details
And the production date. (Photo: April Robinson/Guns.com)

 

German LP.08 Artillery Luger 9mm details
The magazine has a wooden bottom. (Photo: April Robinson/Guns.com)

 

German LP.08 Artillery Luger 9mm details
And the leather holster, while it has seen better days, is included. (Photo: April Robinson/Guns.com)
German LP.08 Artillery Luger 9mm details
Meanwhile, the lug for the shoulder stock is prominent on the rear of the grip.  (Photo: April Robinson/Guns.com)

If you like interesting finds such as this fine period firearm, be sure to check out our Collector's Corner and Military Classics selections to put a piece of history in your own museum.

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