Its been a while since I showcased something from the Newlyn Collection but this item has particular relevance especially as I am getting started on my North Africa project. When the first elements of what would become the Deutsches Afrikakorps were moved to Libya in 1941 the Germans under Rommel quickly took the offensive. But their aggressive and successful assault on the British masked the fact that the DAK were outnumbered and were equipped with largely inferior tanks than their opponents.
One area however where the Germans had an advantage - one that lasted throughout the war in all theatres - was the quality of the optics installed in their armoured vehicles. This even extended to the field glasses supplied to officers such as this pair of Zeiss binoculars.
|7X50 Zeiss Binoculars similar to those used by Rommel (pictured)|
|These come complete with the eyepiece cap.|
My German is a little rusty (ie non existent) but from what I can tell the words on the Eyepiece cap "Benutzer" mean "Owner/User" with space below for the user to scratch his name. On the other side the words "Okulare festgestellt, Nicht Verdrehen" mean something like "Do not rotate eyepieces".
The Binoculars themselves are stamped with the Carl Zeiss makers mark and the Nazi eagle and Swastika which I think shows they were made specifically for the armed forces. No doubt there were many thousands of these issued and a quick search of the internet shows a few up for sale, but this is still a remarkable survival story for an artefact that brought the Desert War literally into my hands.
Fantastic post, Lee! I just love it when people blog things like this. The binoculars may well be small, and might even be just one of many thousands made.... But just imagine what sights and images have been seen through those lenses, of what, where and by whom. A terrific piece of living history!ReplyDelete
Thanks. Ray has an amazing collection of WWII memorabilia but it these sort of items - with a bit of back-story attached - that excite me the most.Delete
I heard there were only fifty sets made for the afrikacorps and all painted brown in color if so how would you be able to tell by lookingDelete
These 7x50 are Kriegsmarine (German Navy) as denoted by the construction and the eagle (Kriegsadler) and M/IV.Delete
It's possible these got circulated from a port operations individual or they may have traveled with one of the land based wehrmacht members as they withdrew towards the end of the campaign, who knows. But they are not standard issue to afrika korps. Stuff got mixed around everywhere, so who really knows.
as for the fellow asking about brown binoculars, no, there is no way to tell. Optical field equipment was rarely if ever marked as DAK, and gelb braun(ordnance tan/yellow)was used on practically all equipment, optical and otherwise from 41 to the end of the war. Tan anything does not necessarily = afrika korps.
Very impressive, and a great find! Also in beautiful condition, and the optics still work. Built to last in those days I suppose.ReplyDelete
Ray told me about these binoculars a long time ago but at the time they were still in his father-in-laws possession. The optics are excellent even after all this time.Delete
They look fantastic as a piece of WW2 history!ReplyDelete
What a great bit of kit!!ReplyDelete
Fantastic post Lee, really InterestingReplyDelete
Awesome! Wish I had a pair to use on the bridge of my ship!ReplyDelete
Very nIce. As native german Speaker:ReplyDelete
Okulare festgestellt.....Eyepieces fixed
Nicht verdrehen...........Do not rotate
Excellent, thanks for the translation.Delete
Great stuff ! Something to treasure and keep in the family.ReplyDelete