TM-E 30-451 Handbook on German Military Forces

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department Technical Manual, TM-E 30-451: Handbook on German Military Forces published in March 1945. — Figures and illustrations are not reproduced, see source details. — As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. — Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]



1. On-Carriage Fire Control Equipment

a. GENERAL. German on-carriage fire control devices for field artillery, antitank artillery, self-propelled artillery, and tanks, are generally similar for all pieces of each class. All are characterized by excellent workmanship and ease of operation.

b. FIELD ARTILLERY. (1) General. Field artillery on-carriage fire control equipment is designed for both direct and indirect laying. Eight mounts of azimuth compensating type automatically allow for trunnion cant when cross-leveled. The angle-of-site mechanism is graduated from 100 to 500 mils, 300 mils representing normal. The gun is laid at the quadrant elevation on the sight by matching two arms, one moving with the gun, the other with the sight bracket. Fire adjustment depends on the accuracy of this rather difficult pointer matching. Range drums, graduated to suit the particular pieces on which they are mounted, are operated by handwheels.

(2) Panoramic telescope M.32. This is the standard German field artillery sight, and consists of the following:

(a) Stem. A stem fits into a tubular socket on the sight bracket of the gun.

(b) Rotating head. Main and slipping azimuth scales are attached to the rotating head. It can be rotated by operating a quick release, or, for finer adjustment, by micrometer heads.

(c) Azimuth scales. The main scale is fixed relative to the rotating head. It is graduated in hundreds of mils, numbered by twos, from zero to 6,400. The slipping scale follows every movement of the main scale, but can be rotated independently. It is graduated in hundreds of mils, numbered in twos from zero to 32 right and left. A micrometer drum, with fixed and movable scales, works in conjunction with main and slipping scales. Both are graduated in mils, numbered by tens. The index is on a fixed ring between the two scales.

(d) Elevation micrometer. Turning this micrometer head tilts the object glass, raising or lowering the line of sight. The elevation scale is graduated in hundreds, from 100 mils to 500 mils, with 300 as normal. The micrometer is graduated in single mils numbered in tens.

(e) Eyepiece. This is at the end of an arm and can be turned in any direction. The recticle which may be illuminated has an interrupted vertical line with an inverted "V" for elevation. Late models of the M.32 as well as M.32 K sights have a horizontal scale added to the reticle.

(f) Characteristics, M.32 and M.32 K.

Power   . . . . .   4 x.
Field of view   . . . . .   10°.
Diameter of exit pupil    . . . . .   1.8 inches.
Overall length   . . . . .   6.25 inches.
Weight   . . . . .   5 pounds.

(3) Panoramic Sight M.16/18. (a) Description. The M.16/18 sight differs from the M.32 as follows:

It has no slipping scales.

When the azimuth scale is set at zero, the rotating head forms an angle of 90 degrees with the eye piece.

A cross-level vial assembly is secured to the shank. It is adjusted by turning an eccentric plug.

(b) Characteristics.

Power   . . . . .   4 x.
Field of view   . . . . .   10°.
Diameter of exit pupil    . . . . .   1.5 inches.
Length Overall   . . . . .   6.25 inches.
Weight   . . . . .   4 pounds 5 ounces.

c. ANTITANK GUNS. (1) General. All German antitank-gun sight mounts have facilities for applying range, and most have a means for applying lateral deflection. Characteristics of various sights are:

(a) 2 cm S.Pz. B41. Open sights "U" and acorn. Graduations for range, but no mechanical arrangement for applying deflection. Telescope sight fits into a trigger housing on sight mount.

(b) 5 cm Pak 38. The sight incorporates lateral deflection gear and means for adjusting line and elevation. Range drum is graduated to 2,400 meters (HE) and 1,400 meters (AP).

(c) 7.5 cm Pak 40. As for 5 cm Pak 38 but graduated to 2,800 mils (HE) and 1,400 mils (AP).

(d) 7.62 cm Pak 36 (r). Rocking bar reciprocating; range indicator graduated to 6,000 meters (APCBC) and 2,000 meters (AP 40). Elevation indicator graduated in meters for three types of projectiles and in mils up to 800.

(e) 7.5/5.5 cm Pak 41. Range drum with five scales. The first is graduated in mils, the remaining four in meters with decreasing range limits; believed used as muzzle velocity decreases with rapid wear of the tapered bore. A deflection mechanism is located below the range setting handle.

(f) 8.8 cm Pak 43/41. There are two telescopic mounts side by side on the left. One, of rocking bar type, is for antitank use, and the other, similar to the sight mount of the 10.5 cm le. F.H.18 is for indirect laying. (2) Zielfernrohr, Z.F. 38/II S.v.o.4. This is the sight now used with all antitank guns. It has one main graduation with three secondary graduations on each side, and a vertical line between the conical reticles. The angle from conical to vertical reticle is 4 mils, giving a maximum lay-off of 24 mils on each side. The field of view is 8 degrees, and magnification three-fold.

(3) Aushilfsrichtmittel 38. This is the sight used fur indirect laying of antitank guns. It consists of a tangent elevation drum, bearing ring, and telescopic sight with 10-degree field of view and 3-power magnification. The tangent elevation drum is graduated from zero to 1,300 mils by hundreds, and the bearing scale from zero to 6,400 mils in hundreds. Both have micrometer adjustments for zero to 100 mils.

d. SELF-PROPELLED ARTILLERY. Most German self-propelled assault and antitank guns of 75 mm or more caliber use the Sfl. Z.F. series of direct-laying telescopes. Excepting the Sfl. Z.F. 5, on the 8.8 cm Pak 43/3 (L/71) on Pz. Jag. Panther, they are mounted on a Zieleinrichtung 37 (Z.E. 37) sight bracket. This sight bracket has cross-levelling deflection and range adjustments. Since 1942 panoramic sights issued for self-propelled artillery have been reduced to one for each two guns.

e. TANK AND ARMORED CAR SIGHTS. (1) General. German tank and armored car sights are of articulated stationary eyepiece type, with vertically moving reticles. They are for direct laying, and consist of two main parts: objective tube and reticle box, which move with the gun and the eyepiece tube, carrying the range control, which remains stationary. (Details of tank and armored car sights are given in Figure 9.)

(2) Range scales. Range scales (including an allowance for jump) consist of a series of small circles about the optical axis, graduated in hundreds of meters, and numbered every 200 meters. Those for various projectiles are marked accordingly. Ranges are read against a fixed translucent pointer at the top of the field of view.

(3) Reticle markings. Reticle markings consist of a large central triangle, or inverted V, with three smaller triangles on each side at 4-mil intervals. The center apex is the normal aiming point. Zeroing knobs for line ("Seite") and elevation ("Hohe") and reticle illumination are provided. The optical and mechanical joint is a dust proof, water-tight prism system, usually limited to -20 degrees depression and +30 degrees elevation.

(4) Machine-gun sights. Machine-gun sights on tanks and armored cars are fixed in gimbal or ball mounts, with the optical axis offset so that the line of sight is close to the machine gun when it passes through the ball. The reticle has no range or deflection settings. Zeroing adjustments are provided, however, as well as illumination.

Figure 9: German Tank and Armored Car Sights—Turret Sighting Telescopes Figure 10: German Tank and Armored Car Sights—Hull Machine Gun Telescopes

2. Off-Carriage Fire Control Equipment

a. GENERAL. Like their other optical instruments, German off-carriage fire control equipment is superior in design and workmanship. Most instruments which are quite similar to our own could be used effectively by Allied troops.

b. Winkelmesser 35 (W.M. 35), GUNNER'S QUADRANT. (1) General. This gunner's quadrant is simple and well constructed. The frame contains an elevation arc with a scale graduated in ten-mil units from zero to 1,000 mils in black numerals, and from 600 to 1,600 mils in red. The quadrant arm carries a spirit level and is provided with coarse and fine screw-type adjustments.

(2) Characteristics:

Weight   . . . . .   1.75 pounds.
Height   . . . . .   4.63 inches.
Width   . . . . .   0.94 inch.
Length   . . . . .   4.63 inches.

c. Richtkreis 31 (Rkr. 31), AIMING CIRCLE. (1) General. Material, workmanship, and design of the Rkr. 31 are excellent, and no expense has been spared in its production. It is constructed in three major parts: the periscope, the telescope, and the angle-of-site mechanism. When assembled, these can be mounted on the spindle of a tripod. The instrument can be used to measure vertical and horizontal angles; by using the magnetic needle, magnetic bearings can be taken. When disassembled, part of the instrument can be used for plane table work.

(2) Description. The periscope is fitted to the aiming circle by means of a dovetailed slide. Its function is merely to raise the line of sight. It has no magnifying power. The telescope has an adjustable focussing eyepiece, with a leveling bubble on top. A lighting attachment is provided on the left side. To the left of the telescope is a spherical level by which the head can be leveled. The angle-of-sight mechanism can be rotated through a total of 1,400 mils, the horizontal being 300 mils. The smallest graduation is 1 mil. The traversing mechanism is graduated in mils from zero to 6,400. A quick release mechanism is provided.

The tripod is adjustable in height and has a traversing mechanism. A spindle projecting from the traversing head forms the support for the aiming circle. Two rings in which the spindle is mounted eccentrically control its vertical position, and by rotating these rings the spherical level can be centered.

d. RANGE FINDERS. (1) General. In general, German range finders are of the stereoscopic type, but a 70-cm base coincidence range finder, though no longer in production, is still in use. Range finders are known to exist in the following sizes:

70-cm base.
1-meter base.
1.5-meter base.
4-meter base.
6-meter base.
10-meter base.
12-meter base.

(2) 70-cm Range Finders 14 and 34 (Entfernungsmesser 14 and 34).

(a) General. The 70-cm (27.56 inches) coincidence range finder is used by German machine-gun and mortar units, and by airborne troops for obtaining the ranges of ground targets. It also is used with the M.G.34 for antiaircraft fire. For adjustment an artificial infinity is used. There is no adapter for mounting on a tripod.

(b) Characteristics.

Base length   . . . . .   70 cm (27.56 inches).
Magnification   . . . . .   11 x.
Range   . . . . .   219 to 10,930 yards.
Weight of range finder   . . . . .   10 pounds.
Weight of case complete   . . . . .   4.5 pounds.

(3) 1-Meter (39.37 inches) Stereoscopic Range Finders. (a) General. These portable 1-meter base range finders are used largely by light anti-aircraft units manning 20-mm and 37-mm guns.

(b) Characteristics.

   Em.R. 1 m.  Em.R.36 1 m.
Base length   . . . . .   39.37 inches   . . . . .   39.37 inches.
Magnification   . . . . .   7.8 x   . . . . .   6 x.
Range   . . . . .   275 to 8,740 yards   . . . . .   545 to 10,930 yards.
Weight   . . . . .   9.9 pounds   . . . . .   16 pounds.

(4) 1.5-Meter (59.06 inches) Stereoscopic Range Finder (Em.R.1.5 m). (a) General. This range finder is provided with a tripod and is only used against fixed targets.

(b) Characteristics.

Base length   . . . . .   59.06 inches.
Magnification   . . . . .   11 x.
Range   . . . . .   435 to 21,860 yards.
Weight   . . . . .   20.9 pounds.
Weight of tripod   . . . . .   39.6 pounds.

(5) 4-Meter (157.48 inches) Range Finder (Em.R. 4 m). (a) General. This is the standard instrument for use with heavy antiaircraft guns. It may be employed either as an independent range finder, or incorporated into an anti-aircraft director. As a range finder it is served by a crew of four: rangetaker, layer for line, layer for elevation, and reader.

(b) Characteristics.

Range   . . . . .   from 2,200 feet.
Weight   . . . . .   420 pounds.

(6) 6-, 10-, and 12-Meter Range Finders. These instruments are used for range measurement for seacoast artillery.


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