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.