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Panzer gunner optics??
Old 08-18-2009, 11:33 PM   #1
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Exclamation Panzer gunner optics??

Ok heres one I havent seen much of.

ZF1 that looks in pretty good shape. BEH marked

I found a few sites that say that these were mounted on the 7.92 machine gun on a few different panzer models. Can any one tell me more.

The only one I could find on the web was this one for 1500 EURO.. OUCH!!

http://www.thuringenmilitaria.com/optics.html

Go about 1/2 way down.. the one I have coming is in much better shape that this one..
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Old 08-18-2009, 11:34 PM   #2
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Old 08-18-2009, 11:34 PM   #3
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Old 08-19-2009, 03:01 AM   #4
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Hi Oldnewbie.
I am pleased someone else is intrigued by the periscope that you have bought. They do seem quite rare ,though they do come up for sale a few times a year on German ebay. I have seen them sell for E300 +
My google researches indicate that:
They were mainly used by gunners on self propelled assault guns such as the
StuG 111 /1V ( Sturmgeschutz)
The reference to your periscope is Sfl Z.F.1 (Selbstfahrlafetten Zeilfernrohr).

I am just guessing here but most gunners sights like this are of the following specs : 2.5 x magifications and a field of view of about 20 degrees.

I have also seen photos of the Sfl Z.F appearing on self propelled antitank guns such as the late war Jagdpanzer 1V and Jagdpanther.

BTW in some of the pictures of StuG 111 - the tank commander's copolla will have a S.F.14 Z (scherenfernrohr ) 10x50 scissor binoculars.

perhaps when you receive your Sfl you will post some pix .
best wishes Stew
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Old 08-21-2009, 11:20 AM   #5
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The SflZFs were not used for the MG in most instances. The ZF for the 7.92 is more likely the Kugelzielfernrohr (K.Z.F.) 2 which was a z-shaped device that fit in the tightly compacted space for the radio/gunner.

Now...there WAS a SflZF 1b which is almost exactly alike as this but was used as the co-ax sight for the Sdkfz 234/3 (7,5 cm) with MG 42 co-ax, but the reticle is entirely different as the sight was used for both weapons. From the outside, however the 1b looks just the same as the 1a or the 1, for that matter.

I have been covering the SflZFs for a number of years as well as the other sighting telescopes and conversing with owners, sellers, and curators.

1500 E is way too much to pay for these as most of them seen on ebay usually are lacking either the rubberized eyepiece, the lighting accessory, and other items like the container box. So yes, around 300/400 USD is about right if its missing a lot of accessories. Depends on the markings also.

Another unique aspect of the SflZFs is that you can sometimes determine the model of the Stug that a SflZF went to, for example the SflZFs that went to the Ausf A/B types would have a large pin-shaped "hook in" pin at the front, while later models that featured the SflZF attached to the Zieleinrichtung 37 range drum mechanism that was located more within the interior fighing cabin as suspened from the ceiling had a side-mounted "flange" or flap mounting to hook it to the range drum. This was common for the Elefant and Jagdpanther as well.
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Old 08-26-2009, 10:29 PM   #6
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Well, I finally got it in the mail today..

I was surprised how big it was and how strudy. The optics are almost perfect.

mlespaul can you tell me from the crosshairs which model this went to?

Also, if any one knows of any period pictures (hard copy or on the web) of one of these Id appreciate it.

Id love to find a box and the accessories you mentioned but no luck so far.

I also got the US WW1 trench knife in today as well which may go to the listings forum.

Any other info would be great.. thanks
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Old 08-26-2009, 10:32 PM   #7
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Old 08-26-2009, 10:33 PM   #8
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The picture is much clearer than that just the camera would not focus on the distance.
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Old 08-26-2009, 10:40 PM   #9
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I can see how it fit in to something with the small ledge here and there is the big locking ring (which I cant move) which Im sure kept it in place.

Would love to see a period picture of one installed.
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Old 08-26-2009, 10:42 PM   #10
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The picture cant really show you how wide this thing is.. fatter than a baseball bat.

Im sure someone has the SEEGER book just curious if he goes in to these at all to track the serial number to find out when it was made?

Thanks
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Old 08-27-2009, 04:09 PM   #11
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no, unfortunately, most of the documenation I have of the numbers of items made lean more towards the turmzielfernrohrs and rangefinding devices. These SFlZFs were a bit more "pedestrian" (though no less marvelously engineered) in the eyes of the British and US intelligence collecting agencies. I do have some reports that cover the investigations made in 1945 when the optical industry scientists were interrogated at Zeiss and Leitz, I'll look again for you but I'm pretty sure they didn't do an accounting of the total manufacture numbers of these like they did for the turreted tank telescopes, but I'll look again.

Funny thing is I don't have Seeger's books (yet ).

the crosshairs show the standard SflZF graticule pattern which matches the pattern for the ZF 3 x 8 's used in the PaK 40 and higher using the zieleinrichtung 38A. Same number of triangles (stachels) at 4 mil increments and the vertical line.

The SflZFs are a bit mysterious in that for the "1", "1a" and "1a/1" models, they uniformly seem to have the same graticule pattern. However, I have also come across "1a"s that have an older style smaller central triangle with three 1/2 size triangles on each side, similar to the turreted type tank telescopes, so they may be earlier versions.

It's almost impossible to tell exactly WHICH AFV this went to as they were all useable and interchangeable for the most part on Panzerjager IV's, Stug's, Elefants, Hornisse, Sturmtiger, and the Hetzers, and on some Sdkfz 251 platform mounted guns. The one difference is that the first iterations of the SflZFs that went to the early Ausf A/B stugs is that the lenght of the upper bout is a bit shorter becuase the compartment was much lower and more exposed up top, but I don't have a way to measure. Also the Ausf A/B types have that hook/pin assembly out in front.

For pictures, I refer you to the excellent "Inside the Great Tanks" by Halberstadt which shows a nice interior shot of the gunner's position inside a Hetzer. You can plainly see the SflZF attached to the Zieleinrichtung 37 ranging drum assembly in its side mounting. I have other period manuals and information that shows the same, but this will give you a good idea. The other is a period series of shots of a gunnery sergeant providing training to students on the aiming apparatus for the early Stug and it shows the SflZF with with the front hook-pin being placed into the Zieleinrichtung. This is shown in the Motobuch Verlag series book for the Sturmgeschutz, I think it's by Doyle and Spielberger, and its very good (and in German).

Think of the SflZF as PART of a aiming system, an optical accessory to an mobile artillery piece, just like the PaK 3 x 8 telescopes were only part of an entire aiming carriage assembly for the antitank guns. They could be detached, but they were only 1 piece to the whole system.
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Old 08-27-2009, 04:26 PM   #12
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Also, above the level on the right hand side of the eyepiece box, you'll see a strange oblong shaped knob with one just like it on top. Those are removeable and provide access to the graticule to adjust it for 'zeroing out' providing both lateral/horizontal and vertical adjustment to the graticule assembly inside.

Since this is designated SflZF1 and not SflZF 1a, SflZF 1/a, or SflZF 1a/1, I'd venture it went either to an early Stug, but after the A/B model, or perhaps even the Elefant/Ferdinand making it circa early 1943. But I caveat, without documentation or specific markings, there's no way to be certain.

SflZFs are also to be found on post-war Swiss Hetzers as part of their equipment inventory, but usually are seen with boxes.
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Old 08-27-2009, 04:42 PM   #13
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Hi mlespaul,
thank you for the info on the SflZF.This item does not appear to be included in the standard reference books so your comments were valuable.
Do you know the approximate optical preformance of the SflZF - in terms of magnification and field of view?
I believe it is something like 2x and FOV 20 degrees?
Thanks again.
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Old 08-28-2009, 05:39 PM   #14
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All of the SflZF 1 series were 5x Magnification with 8 degree field of view.
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Old 02-03-2011, 06:14 AM   #15
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All I know about this is, that this was for looking out of trenches. The only way to look up and don't get a bullet between ur eyes
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