Optics in general

Optical devices had in most cases a multi-role function. With a periscope one could observe the environment in general. But with the built-in reticule is was also possible to calculate a rough distance. Some hand held binoculars had the same feature. During the night the cross hairs were lighted by a small lamp, which was powered by batteries. For extra precise measurement, aiming circles were used. Tripods provided the needed stability. These and other related devices will also presented.


In this part we cover the optical devices that have a more general observation function which is not used for directly aiming a weapon. The menu is also restricted to the heavy instruments, those which can not be held by hand. An example is the central pericope in the 6-Schartenturm, the Panzer Rundblick Fernrohr 5(a).


The equipment noted here, presents the gunner a small “V” or cross. The ZielFernrohr (ZF, aiming optic) moves with the weapon. The cross is calibrated with the weapon. Many have an adjustment ring which makes it possible to aim at multiple distances. An example of this category is the Zielfernrohr 12. The oculairs of this type are rather simple. The mechanics however gave the gunner of the MG 08/15 an acurate aiming at multiple distances.


Construction workers need very acurate instruments, for instance for placing the foundation plates of gunbunkers and firecontrol stands in the correct position. This category of fine optical instruments has not earned the respect it deserves.


This category covers the larger and more complex instruments which were used for measurement of distance. In fact: the larger the gun, the larger the rangefinder. Some coastal batteries had them in lengths of 10 m. The artillery for a shorter distance, sea, land or air, used a portable Entfernungsmesse (EM), which has a length of 0,8 till 1.5 m. Some rangefinders had quick search binoculars on top, such as the 10×45 Richtfernrohr and the Richtungsweiser-Fernrohr 12×60.

Hand held

The German forces used an extend range of binoculars. Fernrohr, Fernglas and Feldstecher are used designations. New binos were made in the war. Due to the great numbers needed for the warfare, many civil owned glasses were requisitioned in the late 30-ties. This means that a glass without any military markings, such as “birds” and swastikas, can well have been used by a German officer during the war. Making this section has low priority.


In this section we present the extra equipment that could be used on all sorts of optics or that was needed for mounting.


Here we present the various optics on a testsite looking at the same object. Henk Adriaanse assisted with the through-the-lens-fotography.


There is no official classification of German optics. The categories that we use try to give you a clear view.

Just a collection.