Smith & Wesson .38 Special
Victory Model - U.S. Navy
Ship Date: December 21, 1943 S/N V484563


This revolver was shipped as part of a United States Navy order. It was shipped on December 21st, 1943 to United States Navy, Rosslyn NY "Rosslyn Navy Yard".  The original contract for this order was W-478-ORD-3847 and was signed on 5/15/1943 with a original price of $20.50. According to Charles Pates book the Navy Strategic Services was in Rosslyn and was responsible for supplying large quantities of S&W .38s to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) which was the predecessor to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). At some point some one replaced the walnut grips  with high quality period production (1940s) genuine Ivory grips signed with a single makers mark on the inside. They show nice aging and are of the finest quality I have seen. Pictured below is a image showing the standard American Walnut grips as well.

The Victory model was so named for the "V" prefix which was placed before the serial number and represented "Victory" against the Axis powers in World War II. The pistol shown below is a late 1943 production Victory model revolver in the .38 special configuration.

Serial numbers for the .38 special Victory model began at about V1 in early 1942 and ran until VS811119 with a date of late August of 1945 (end of production). V1 to approximately V39,999 were predominately .38 S&W Caliber (I have observed revolvers in the 1-40000 range in .38 special caliber).  Serial numbers are located on Inside right grip, frame butt, Cylinder, extractor star, and bottom of barrel. Crane and crane recess are also serial numbered to each other, but this is a different number then the revolvers serial number as is correct for Victory model revolvers.

Regarding the WB-S-STG 144 stamping - The District of Wurttemberg-Baden was indicated by the letters WB. The following letter(s) indicated whether the police agency was a city (Stadtpolizei, the letter S), or Landkreis under the control of the Landespolizei (the letters LP). If the weapon was within a city a third set of letters identified which city, in the above case STG stood for Stuttgart. The 4 digits following the letters was the inventory number used by the particular German agency. Thus, WB-S-STG was the American Occupation Zone district of Wurttemberg-Baden, city police, Stuttgart.

The Semi-Annual German Police Personnel and Equipment Report dated 30 Jun 1949, prepared by OMGUS-Civil Administration Division, Bad Nauheim on 08 St 1949 indicates the German police in the district of Wurttemberg-Baden had been issued 4,226 pistols and 3,743 M1 carbines.

In 1952 the tripartite agreement between the Western Allies merged the American, British, and French Zones as far as the German government and commerce. The district of Wurttemberg-Baden ceased to exist. It was merged with the other two districts from the French zone and became the new state of Baden-Wurttemberg.

It is not know how long the city police carried the U.S. pistols. Technically occupation didn't end in Germany until 1955. The M1 carbines given to the German police became property of the Germans. Between 1955 and the early 1980's various German agencies sold their carbines to German gun brokers. These carbines and revolvers went all over the world via various gun brokers, including thousands back to the USA. Some before the 1968 Gun Control Act, some after. Those after have the required importer marking. Those before, do not.

Special thanks to James Mock for contributing this information to CoolGunSite.com.


Right
(Ivory grips)

Left
(standard grips)

Top strap

S&W Letter Pg. 1

S&W Letter Pg. 2

S&W barrel legend

.38 Special

Frame "P" proof mark

Serial number and
barrel proof

Back of cylinder with
serial number and proof mark

Numbers on crane
and crane recess

Butt serial number and W's

Back strap marking
(WB-S-STG 144)

Navy marked holster

USN BOYT 1944

US emblem

"KlikiT"

U.S. Naval side arms
  • Reference:
    -US Handguns of WW II - The Secondary Pistols and Revolvers by Charles W. Pate
    -Americas Right Arm - The S&W Military and Police Revolver by John Henwood
    -Smith and Wesson 1857 - 1945 by Robert J. Neal and Roy G. Jinks

  • The grips on this revolver had been replaced with genuine Ivory grips by a previous owner, profile images above are actual gun with World War II vintage American Walnut grips restored.

Images courtesy the T. Moore collection