K31 Identification Tags


Many K31 owner have discovered, much to their delight,  a small slip of paper under the buttplate of their rifle.  This slip of paper give was an identification tag, put there by the soldier to who the rifle was issued.   While these tags often attach a name to the rifle, interpreting these tags can be somewhat challenging.  With the invaluable help of Roger Rebmann, a member of the Swiss Army Re-Enactment Group Rust & Verdigris, this page will attempt to aid in the translations of these tags.

The basic layout of the tags are as follows:

Soldier's Name Year of Birth
Place of residence or where served.

Thus the tag pictured at the top of the page could be interpreted as follows.

The former owner was gunner Max Rösch, born in 1919. He served with platoon No. 1 of light anti-aircraft battery No. 24. His home address at the time he served: 69 Peter Rotstrasse  in Basle.

However, there does tend to be a bit of variation from tag to tag.  For example:

The tag above follows the same general format, however, in this instance, the year of birth as well as the owners national insurance number are printed on the back of the tag (not shown.)  Also, the address has been seperated into to line.  Thus the tag may be translated as follows:

The rifle's owner was Charles Fahrion.  He served with the local defense company No.8.  At the time of his service, he lived at 26 Gemeindestrasse, in the city of Zurich, mail district 7.

On a side note Roger speculates

"Charles was possibly a man found not fit for service
with the regular army, but drafted into a local defense unit during the war.
These units were armed with older M 1896/11 or 1911 rifles."

A third tag provides us with still another slightly different format.

The above tag omits the date of birth altogether.  However, in this instance the name also includes a title.   It reads as follows:

"The former owner of the carabine was Pontonier (amphibious engineer) Willi Schenk. There is no numeral that tells us more about his age, but he served with engineer support company 1 of amphibious engineer battalion 2. He lived at the address of 7 Willi - Brüglingerstrasse  in Basle.

Of interest to most collectors will be the unit designations.  Below are a list of unit codes and their translations.

Abt (Abteilung) = Unit

AK (Armeekorps) = Army Corps

Art (Artillerie) = Artillery

Aufl (Aufklärung) = Recon

Ausz (Auszug) = Category of Troops, Soldiers under 30 years of age

Bk (Bäcker) = Baker (Soldier or Unit)

Bahnbewachung = Railway Security

Bat (Bataillon) = Battalion

Bttr (Batterie) = Battery

Br (Brigade) = Brigade

Det (Detachement) = Detachement

Div (Division) = Division

Drag (Dragoner) = Dragoon

Eidg. Zaughaus = Swiss Federal Arsenal, usually accompanied by Canton name

F (Feld) = Field (by example F Hb Bttr: Field Howitzer Battery)

Fhr (Fahrer) = Driver (or in case of mountain troops "Guide")

FAK (Feldarmeekorps) = Field Army Corps

FW (Feldweibel) = Sergeant Major

Fest (Festung) = Fortress

Fl (Flieger) = Aviation

Flab (Fliegerabwehr) = Anti Aircraft Unit

Four (Fourier) = Fourrier/Pay Master

Funk (Funker) = Wireless Transmission Soldier

Füs (Füsilier) = Fusilier (Soldier of Unit)

Geb (Gebirge) = Mountain (unit)

Geb AK (Gebirgsarmeekorps) = Mountain Army Corps

Gfr (Gefreiter) = Lance-Corporal/Private 1st Class

Gst (Generalstab) = General Staff

G (Genie) = Corps of Engineers

GR or Gren = Grenadier

GZ (Grenze) = Border

Hepo (Heerespolizei) = Military Police

Hb (Haubitze) = Howitzer

HD (Hilfsdienst) = Auxiliary Service

Ik (Infanteriekanone) = Anti Tank Gun of Infantry

Kan (Kanonier) = Gunner or Gun (Artillery)

Kol (Kolonne) = Column/Convoy

Kp (Kompagnie) = Company

Kpl (Korporal) = Corporal

Lastw (Lastwagen) = Transport Truck

Ls (Landstrum) = Home Defense Company (for soldiers over the age of 46)

Lw (Landwehr) = Category of Troops, Soldiers over 30 years of age

Mech (Mechaniker) = Mechanic

Mil (Militär) = Military

Mitr (Mitrailleur) = Machine Gunner (Soldier or Unit)

Mot (Motorisiert) = Motorized

Motf (Motorfahrer) = Motorcar Driver (Soldier or Unit)

Mun = Munitions

Mw (Minenwerfer) = Mortar

Nd (Nachrichtendienst) = Intelligence Service

Of..Ord. (Ofiziersordonnanz) =  Officer's Valet

Pz (Panzer) = Tank

Pzw (Panzerwagen) = old fashioned for Tank

Pzaw (Panzerabwehr) = Anti Tank

Pi (Pionier) = Engineer (Soldier or Unit)

Pk (Park) = Support (unit with heavy material of specific branch of arms)

Pol (Polizei) = Police

Pont (Pontonier) = Pontoon (Soldier or Unit)

Rdf (Radfahrer) = Bicycle (Soldier or Unit)

Rgt (Regiment) = Regiment

Rekr (Rekrut) = Recruit

RS (Rekrutenschule) = Recruits School

S (Schützen) = Rifles (unit not weapon, by example S Bat: Rifle Battalion)

San (Sanitaets) = Medical

Sap (Sappeur) = Sapper (Soldier or Unit)

Sat (Sattler) = Saddler

Schw (Schwer) = Heavy

Sdt (Soldat) = Soldier

Sig (Signal) = Signal (by ex. Sig Sdt: Signal Transmission Soldier)

Stabs = Staff or Headquarters

Str (Strasse) = Street (by example Str Pol Sdt: Street Police Soldier)

Tamb (Tambour) = Drummer

Tg (Telegraf) = Telegraph

Tf (Telefon) = Telephone (by example Tf Sdt: Telephone Soldier)

Ter (Territorial) = Territorial

Tr (Train) = Horse Transport Unit

Tromp (Trompeter) = Bugler

Uem (Uebermittlung) = Transmission

Uof (Unteroffizier) = Non Commissioned Officer

Vsg (Versorgung) = Supply

Wm (Wachtmeister) = Sergeant

Wafm (Waffenmechaniker) = Weapons Mechanic

Zerst (Zerstörung) = Destruction (by ex. Zerst Det: Destruction Detachement)

Z (Zug) = Platoon



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