Copyright by Claus Espeholt,
Special credit to: Peter Rasmussen, Denmark, David Franchi, California, Joe R. Steen, Texas, Michael Heidler, Germany, András Hatala, Czech Republich + Brian Conkle, California for the Introduction
(From various sources: Emil Leeb: Aus der Rusting des Dritten Reiches, Handbook on German Military Forces 1945 (US War Department), Richard D. Law: Backbone of the Wehrmacht, others)
Collectors and other observers of WWII German military artifacts, especially weapons, often see small die stamps on them with a stick figure representation of the German Reich eagle and a number. Commonly referred to as "Waffenamts", they were inspection stamps which identified the item as being inspected and passed, at some stage of its manufacturing process for the German Army. Complex items such as firearms would have multiple Waffenamts on them. When the Nazis took power in 1933, Germany started a massive rearmament program. A part of this process was the Heereswaffenamt (He.Wa.A. - Army Ordnance Office) hereafter referred to as the HWA. The beginnings of the HWA were in the Waffen und Munitions besschaffungsamt of the First World War but the Waffenamt was founded officially by orders dated Nov. 8., 1919 and renamed as Heeres-Waffenamt on May 5., 1922.
German weapon inspections in the factories themselves were overseen by the Heeresabnahmewesen (Army Acceptance Organization), also known as the Abnahmeabteilung des Heeres Waffenamts (Wa.Abn. - Acceptance Section of Army Ordnance Office) hereafter referred to as the Abnahme. This group was a subsidiary of the HWA. The Heereswaffenamt was headed by General der Artillerie Professor Becker until sometime in 1940, when it was taken over by General der Artlillerie Emil Leeb until its end in 1945. Starting in 1935, the HWA grew along with Germany’s growing military rearmament program. With the onset of actual military operations, the HWA was dramatically expanded as the Army’s need for equipment and weapons increased rapidly.
Collector's Comments and Feedback:
1. One of the most thorough and comprehensive listings of German WaA (Waffenamt) manufacturing marks and sub-contractors codes I have ever seen. An invaluable tool for the serious German military firearms and militaria collector. (Feedback by "Badger")