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Night Binoculars for the P-61 Pilot

Night binoculars for the P-61 Black Widow night fighter as described in the Pilot Training Manual for the Black Widow, P-61, Office of Assistant Chief of Air Staff Training, Headquarters AAF, Washington, D.C. The night binoculars combined 5.8 power night glasses with an optical gunsight. The P-61 pilot could use the night binoculars for both general flying and as a accurate gunsight.

p61-night-fighter-night-binoculars

Night Binoculars

P-61B’s have night binoculars for the pilot. With these binoculars, he can see to shoot accurately about four times as far at night as he can without them.

The night binoculars are mounted on a carriage that travels along a track straddling the windows to the left of the pilot’s seat. Normally, when not in use, they are stowed behind him, approximately over the front entrance door.

The night binoculars are a combination of 5.8 power night glasses and optical gunsight. They are mounted on gimbals, which prevent all vibration from affecting them, and are set in a frame which swings out from the carriage like a door.

When starting out on a mission in which he expects to use the night binoculars but doesn’t need them right away, the pilot usually pulls the binocular carriage forward as far as it will go but leaves the binoculars swung back against the carriage until he needs them.

When he’s ready to use the binoculars, the pilot swings them forward and then locks them in position directly in front of him by turning a handle at the top of the frame.

There’s a pistol grip at the left side of the binocular frame. With this grip, the pilot can rotate the binoculars from side to side and up and down, for searching. He must return them to the gunsight position before using them for shooting. A rheostat on the binocular frame controls the lighting of the gunsight.

With a little practice, the pilot can fly the P-61 at night while he’s looking through the binoculars. In place of the circle and dot of light in his regular gunsight, there is a horizontal row of four illuminated dots in the gunsight of the night binoculars. The pilot lines these dots up with the wing of the plane he is following and uses that combination for an artificial horizon. The inner dots of the gunsight are 10 mils apart and the outer dots are 70 mils apart. This scale enables the pilot to determine the enemy’s range with remarkable accuracy.

K-14 Gyroscopic Gunsight

The following operating instructions for the K-14 Gyroscopic Gunsight are reproduced from the Pilot Training Manual for the Thunderbolt P-47N, Headquarters, Army Air Forces, September 1945.

K-14 Gyroscopic Gunsight

As you adjust the K-14 gyroscope gunsight, it automatically gives you the correct lead and shows you the range of the target. In other words, it’s the answer to a poor deflection shooter’s prayer.

Though exceedingly complicated internally, the sight is easy to operate with a little practice.

Actually, the K-14 contains 2 sights: The compensating sight, and an ordinary fixed electrical sight. In the fixed sight, a cross has been substituted for the pipper.

The fixed sight, may be used alone, but ordinarily the cross is employed (with the ring extinguished) to show the amount of lead the gyro sight is allowing.

The gyro sight consists of a dot surrounded by six small diamonds. Your problem is to place the dot squarely on an enemy plane by maneuvering your Thunderbolt, and keep him properly surrounded by the six diamonds until you shoot him down.

Here’s how you do it:

On the front of the device is a span scale, reading 30 to 120 feet. Set this scale to the wing span of the enemy plane. It’s a good idea to leave it set at the wing span of the enemy plane you’re likely to encounter. This forethought might save a couple of seconds at a critical time.

In case your aircraft identification is feeble, set the wing span as shown:

Target Size Gunsight

Continue reading K-14 Gyroscopic Gunsight

German Tank and Armored Car Sights

Summary of German panzer and armored car gunsights from TM-E 30-451: Handbook on German Military Forces, War Department, March 1945. [As with all U.S. wartime intelligence, the data may be inaccurate or incomplete. The source text has not been corrected.]


TypeUsed OnGuns and AmmunitionRange
Scales
(meters)
Magni-
fication
(X)
Field
(Degrees)
Overall
length
(less eye
guard)
(inches)
Weight
(pounds)
Exit
Pupil
distance
(mm.)
Entrance
Pupil
diameter
(mm.)
Remarks
Turret Sighting Telescopes
T.Z.F. 2 and 2X.Pz.Kpfw. I. Models A and B.7.92 mm MG 13.8002.52819195.5It is not known with what gun the T.Z.F.2 was used, nor in which vehicle. Monocular.
T.Z.F. 3a.4-wheeled armored car. Sd.Kfz. 222 and semi-tracked A.C. Sd.Kfz. 250/9.2 cm Kw.K. 38.
7.92 mm M.G. 34.
1200Little is known about this telescope. Monocular.
T.Z.F. 4.Pz.Kpfw. II Models A to C.2 cm Kw.K. 30.
7.92 mm M.G. 34.
12002.52522.520717.5First confirmed Leitz design. Monocular.
T.Z.F. 4/36 and 4/38.Pz.Kpfw. II Model F.2 cm Kw.K. 30.
7.92 mm M.G. 34.
1200
800
2.52522.521717.5The range of 800 metres applies to T.Z.F. 4/36 and that of 1200 metres to T.Z.F. 4/38. Monocular.
T.Z.F. 5a.Pz.Kpfw. III Models A to D.3.7 cm Kw.K. (AP and HE).
7.92 mm M.G. 34.
2000
800
2.52532.2524512.5Monocular.
T.Z.F. 5a. (Vorl) 5 cm.Pz.Kpfw. III Model E, etc. (See Remarks).5 cm Kw.K (AP and HE).
7.92 mm M.G. 34.
2000
1500
2.52532.2521.5512.5Monocular. Modified T.Z.F.5a, superseded by T.Z.F.5d.
T.Z.F. 5b.Pz.Kpfw. III with 7.5 cm. Kw.K. Models J to N. Pz.Kpfw. IV Models B to F.7.5 cm Kw.K.
7.92 mm M.G. 34.
2000
800
2.423.532.2521.5512.5Monocular.
T.Z.F. 5b/36.Pz.Kpfw. IV. Models B to F.7.5 cm Kw.K.
7.92 mm M.G. 34.
2000
800
2.423.532.2523614.4Monocular.
T.Z.F. 5d.Pz.Kpfw. III. Models F and J.5 cm Kw.K. (APC and HE)
7.92 mm M.G. 34.
3000
1500
2.42531.820.135.513.2Monocular.
T.Z.F. 5.Pz.Kpfw. III Models L and M.5 cm Kw.K. 39 AP or APCHE
7.92 mm M.G. 34.
1500
3000
1200
2.42531.820.135.513.2Monocular.
T.Z.F. 5f (Vorl)Pz.Kpfw. IV Models F2 to H.7.5 cm Kw.K. 40 APCBC
     HE
     AP40
7.92 mm M.G. 34.
2500
3300
1500
2.42531.820.135.513.2Monocular. The HE scale serves for the machine gun also.
T.Z.F. 5f. 1.Pz.Kpfw. IV Models G to K.7.5 cm Kw.K. 40 APCBC
     HE
     AP40
7.92 mm M.G. 34.
3000
4000
1500
2.42532265.813.9Monocular. The HE scale serves for the machine gun also.
T.Z.F. 6.8-wheeled armored car and Pz.Sp.Wg. II (Luchs) Sd. Kfz. 123.2 cm Kw.K. 30 and 38, and 7.92 mm M.G. 34.12002.42228.421512Monocular.
T.Z.F. 6/38.2 cm Kw.K. 38 and 7.92 mm M.G. 34.12002.525Little known about this telescope but known dimensions agree with those for the T.Z.F.6. Monocular.
T.Z.F. 9b.Pz.Kpfw. Tiger Model E.8.8 cm Kw.K. 36.
7.92 mm M.G. 34.
4000
1200
2.42632.537615Binocular. Adjustable interocular distance.
T.Z.F. 9d.Pz.Kpfw. Tiger Model B.8.8 cm Kw.K. 43 APCBC
     HE
7.92 mm M.G. 34.
3000
5000
Monocular. The HE scale is believed to serve for the machine gun also.
T.Z.F. 12.Pz.Kpfw. Panther Model D.7.5 cm Kw.K. 42 (L/70) APCBC
     HE
     AP 40.
7.92 mm M.G. 34.
3000
4000
2000
2.52945.163.886.215Binocular. Light and dark filters fitted. The HE scale serves for the machine gun also.
T.Z.F. 12a.Pz.Kpfw. Panther Models A and G.As above.3000
4000
2000
2.5
5
19
15
44.5446.2
3.1
Monocular, dual magnification.
Hull Machine Gun Telescopes
K.Z.F. 1.Early models of most tanks.7.92 mm M.G. 34. (gimbal mountings).200
(fixed)
1.8185Cranked, monocular, moving-eyepiece type.
K.Z.F. 2Pz.Kpfw. I, Commander’s.
Pz.Kpfw. II, Flamethrower.
Pz.Kpfw. III, Commander’s and Models F to J.
Pz.Kpfw. IV, Tiger and Panther.
7.92 mm M.G. 34. (gimbal and ball mountings).200
(fixed)
1.751814.1375Cranked, monocular, moving-eyepiece type.