Contacting K31 "previous owner" (soldier tag)

The country that avoids war and the country that fights but has a hard time winning have been combined. The Swiss made some excellent firearms and the French made some unique and occaisonally inspiring ones.

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NRAJOE
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Contacting K31 "previous owner" (soldier tag)

Postby NRAJOE » Fri Dec 08, 2006 8:37 pm

What do you do now that you have found a little plastic tag with a bunch of numbers and German writing on it under your butt plate? If you want to try and make contact with the previous owner......

1. Determine the individuals name. The last name is most often listed first, then the first name. Vorname=Last name

2. Determine the street name. They usually end in "str." Strasse=Street but not always.

3. Determine the town/city name and Canton (district in Switzerland abbreviated by 2 letters).

4. Now go to www.tel.search.ch for the Swiss phone book and type in your info. Hit "suchen" and hopefully you will get a list of names. You can send a cover letter to all the names listed and hope to get a reply from the "correct" name. It costs about .85 cents postage per letter.

Most of the Swiss speak German and many speak English so write your letter in English. If the previous owner can't speak English odds are he knows someone who can.

There are often other things on the tag. The soldiers age, company and battalion, division etc. Ask him about those in your letter. A photo or copy of the tag and rifle will immediately let the gentleman know what this strange letter from the USA is about whether he speaks English or not.

If you get a letter back and it's in German you can find many online translators with a google search.

Thats about it and good luck.

How to read the tag:

http://www.swissrifles.com/sr/tags/

A good translator:

http://www.systransoft.com/index.html

The translator will also let you turn your words into German and you can copy/print it out and send the letter in German instead of English if you wish...

I have a beech K31 and a walnut K31...both excellent number matching condition with soldier tags under the buttplates.

I received a return letter from the soldier who had the walnut, but no return on the beech.

I had a beech that I sold last year and got a return letter on that one also.

Too cool... :cool:
Last edited by NRAJOE on Fri Dec 08, 2006 9:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
U.S Army 1976-79
237th Combat Engineer Battalion
Wharton Barracks
Heilbronn, Germany

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Postby NRAJOE » Fri Dec 08, 2006 9:17 pm

Making this a sticky would be cool...hint..hint... ;)
U.S Army 1976-79
237th Combat Engineer Battalion
Wharton Barracks
Heilbronn, Germany


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Postby NRAJOE » Thu Dec 14, 2006 5:25 pm

Or maybe not.... :shock:
U.S Army 1976-79
237th Combat Engineer Battalion
Wharton Barracks
Heilbronn, Germany


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DuncaninFrance
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Postby DuncaninFrance » Fri Dec 15, 2006 3:35 am

If you get a letter back and it's in German you can find many online translators with a google search.


Can't say I have EVER found an accurate auto translation site on the net. If anyone knows of one, and Bablefish and Professional Translation are not accurate, then let me know as I would love to have access to one for French / English / French!
Duncan

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You can't fix Stupid, but you can occasionally head it off before it hurts something.

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Guisan
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Well...

Postby Guisan » Thu Apr 03, 2008 2:31 pm

..check this, we have example letters in several languages available...

http://theswissriflesdotcommessageboard ... topic/3203

Guisan. :D
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LoLo25643
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Postby LoLo25643 » Mon Apr 07, 2008 4:50 pm

I used one of those in French to make contact with a former owner of one of my K31's.
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Postby Guisan » Thu Apr 10, 2008 2:56 pm

Cool ! what kind of reply did you get ?

Guisan. :D
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Niner
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Got the tag out from under the butt plate

Postby Niner » Thu Apr 10, 2008 4:23 pm

I had dug this up before, but not sure what it is telling me as to address.
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Postby LoLo25643 » Thu Apr 10, 2008 5:23 pm

I think it is in the canton of St. Gallen (SG) The town is Balgach and the street is Eichholz, house number 1078. Try this link and see what comes up.

[url]http://tel.search.ch/index.en.html[/url]
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Postby LoLo25643 » Thu Apr 10, 2008 5:49 pm

Guisan, I got a reply from his grandson via e-mail. Here is what it said.

Hello how are you?

I'm sorry I took time to answer you but was not there for a few weeks and my grandfather wanted to wait for me to write you directly in English. Of course you are not disturbing us and for him it's a pleasure to talk about this rifle, he was very happy to know that someone interested on swiss weapon, and particularly his own old rifle!

My grandfather received this swiss rifle when he did the army in the year 1945. In Switzerland army last about 118 days, I did the same 4 years ago but now it's a little bit longer since one year. After this period of 4 month, every year a swiss soldier has to go back in the army 3 weeks for the repetitions courses.

There is a third part of the army. Every year a serviceman has to go to his city shooting range to do his obligatory shooting. It's a special program of shooting. You have a loader of twenty cartouches and you have to shoot on defferent target (c4, A5), following a special time, like you have 20 second to shoot 5 cartouches on target A5. It's a 300 meter shooting range.

So we concluded me and my grandfather during his years of service, shooted about 1000 cartouches in about 243 days of active service. Apart the service he did some extra shoots like concour shooting etc.

Obviously the weapon stay fit after more than half of century! After this rifle swiss army developed two other rifle, one start in 1957 and the other one I have in 1990.

So I hope my english was not so bad, and we hope that you know more of the weapon now, but if you have some others questions, dont hesitate to ask us, it would be a pleasur to answer you.

We wish you a good day,

Better salutation.

Thats a direct copy of the e-mail I last received but have not heard anything further. Nice to have made communication with him. It adds a lot to the pleasure of owing the rifle now.
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Niner
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Thanks LoLo

Postby Niner » Thu Apr 10, 2008 6:04 pm

I had about figured out that Balgach was a town and Jean Zwygart was the person. The marks under his name are something I haven't figured out and I hadn't figured on what the Eichholtz with the number after it meant until you made it clear that it was the street.

I used the link you gave me. Seems there is a person with that name..same town, different address.
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Postby LoLo25643 » Thu Apr 10, 2008 6:39 pm

This is a guess as I'm terrible at this but the info under his name might mean that he was a Fusilier or soldier of unit 3 company 79.
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Great detective work again

Postby Niner » Thu Apr 10, 2008 7:47 pm

Fusilier makes sense. Unit III maybe good too. But company 79? Maybe a training cycle number?
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Postby LoLo25643 » Thu Apr 10, 2008 8:33 pm

I told you I was terrible, well not like Ivan but :lol:
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Terrible?

Postby Niner » Thu Apr 10, 2008 10:14 pm

You read this a heck of a lot better than me. Thanks.
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Postby Guisan » Fri Apr 11, 2008 2:26 am

Well, this kitchen chief might be him or it's a relative like a son or so.

http://tel.search.ch/result.en.html?nam ... rt=balgach

I'ts in the German speaking area and Jean is a typical French name so I'm pretty sure that this guy knows more.

I think that 1078 should read as 10/B as there are not that many houses in that street

3rd fusileers company of the 79th batallion Landwehr (reserve troops), 7th division of the 3rd army corps based in St. Gallen.

That's a nice reply you got there LoLo, as you can see the youngsters have less problems writing English as the seniors have.

Guisan. :D
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Thanks Guisan

Postby Niner » Fri Apr 11, 2008 10:20 am

Now that explains it completely.
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Postby Guisan » Fri Apr 11, 2008 3:34 pm

Is that letter on it's way yet ?

Guisan. :lol:
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Postby Niner » Fri Apr 11, 2008 7:48 pm

It will be. I'll report if I get an answer.

You'll translate if need be, won't you Guisan?
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Postby Guisan » Sat Apr 12, 2008 2:38 pm

I'm good in flemish, frisian , dutch and sometimes a few other languages so you can count on me !

Guisan. ;)

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