When taking a second look at my recent post (http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2016/12/07/brazils-pasams-mauser-schnellfeur-pistols-plus/) on the PASAM modified Mauser Schenellfeur selective-fire pistols used by PMERJ – Polícia Militar do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro State Military Police), I happened to notice something unusual in one of the photos (featured above): in the middle of a mountain of wooden holster-stock units, part of a different gun was barely visible. By enlarging said picture on the computer screen, it immediately looked like the mystery gun was a… German-made Bergmann MP18-I.
Phone calls to my always-helpful contacts allowed me to go back to the warehouse where I had found and photographed the Mausers in order to try to locate the crates where they were stored. And I did! There they were, in a dark corner of the building. Feeling somewhat like an Indiana Jones in search of a lost treasure, I eagerly started moving the pile of Mauser holster-stocks aside and, in fact, found something: a bunch (half-dozen or so) of rusty Bergmann MP18-I submachine guns!
Well, having figured out the guns’ basic ID, it was time to learn their origin, something almost impossible given the local caretakers’ obvious surprised look from my finding. The only markings visible were “Brevet Bergmann” on top of the magazine housing, an apparent serial number (e.g. “4099”) in the same area, and a large “S” (for Sicher, or Safe) in the cocking handle recess. Other than that, nothing. So, I’m guessworking from now on.
The MP18, specifically the so-called MP18-I variant, has been known to have been used by some Brazilian police forces as early as the 1920s and, for sure, the 1930s, mainly in the 7.63 Mauser (7.63x25mm) caliber. One of its known users was the Força Pública de São Paulo (São Paulo State Public Force), the forerunner of the present Polícia Militar do Estado de São Paulo (São Paulo State Military Police), but I haven’t found clear references to its official employment by Rio de Janeiro’s LE agencies, either military or civil, in the past. But maybe this discovery may throw some light on the mystery.
Anyway, I was authorized to take one of the “lost” Bergmanns to outside the depot so that some photos could be taken. No, not a single 20- or 32-round magazine was spotted in the many boxes and crates I searched there. Enjoy!