Jump to content

Binoculars and scopes

Guest upnorth

Recommended Posts

sgtbarnes44 thanks for the great addition on the spotting scopes. I have brought to the top of the section our old discussion on binoculars and scopes so all the info is here together. Would you like me to combine this new thread with the old thread so all the info is in the one thread?


Of course... No problem. I add a picture taken in germany showing an artillery OP of the 44th Infantry division using a M49.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...
agate hunter

Nice photos. And, thanks especially for the pictures of the ordnance manuals. Very helpful!


I have a pair of what appear to be cousins or predecessors of the M13/M3 binoculars. They were made by Universal Camera Corporation, serial number 9680, 6 x 30. There are no other distinguishing marks. There is no reticle in either eye piece.


The case matches the binoculars and is embossed with Universal Camera Corporation on the top of the lid.


Any ideas where might they fit in?

Thanks for any ideas.



I have to second what EmeraldBat is asking, as I have the same set of binoculars with the same case and I too would like to know what the deal with them is. Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...


as I am preparing an article about WW2 US Army (and Army Air Corps) binoculars, I would like to give some
information about these optical devices.

In 1937 the US army had only one type of standart binoculars, the 6x30 EE type made by Bausch & Lomb and the Naval Gun Factory between 1916 and 1918. Of the 106 000 made during WW1 about 100 000 were still in the army inventor at the start of WW2. These EEs were used till the end of the war.

In 1940, it became clear that the available number of binoculars was not sufficient to equip all the units that were created. A commission was charged to find the best available model existing on the market. Without surprise a 6 x 30 model made by B&L was chosen.At the same time,in the framework of the lend lease plan, contracts were passed with two optical companies (Wollensak and Universal Camera Corp) to furnish the british empire with badly needed optical devices.
As B&L, the most experienced optical company in the USA at the time was programmed to built more critical material than binoculars, two companies (Westinghouse and Nash-Kelvinator) were chosen to built a copy of the B&L model. As production was slow to start, another contract was passed with Universal Camera Corp to built a model for the army.

The problem was that nearly all these models had small (mostly internal parts) difference, needind different designation for supply of parts. Result was:

Baush & Lomb (first contract) made 18 617 binoculars designated M8 (at first it was attended to became M3) between 1941 and 1942.

Nash-Kelvinator and Westinghouse made 311 263 binoculars designated M3 between 1942 and 1944.

Wollensak made about 40 000 binoculars designated M5 (for the British Empire) between 1941 and 1944.

Universal Camera made 47 656 binoculars designated M6 (for the britih empire) between 1942 and 1943.

Universal Camera made 30 244 binoculars designated M9 for the Army and the USMC between 1942 and 1943.

Differenciating a binocular made for the britih empire from one made for the US Army is quite easy, range reticles are different and for the brits they are on the right body of the binoculars and on the left body for the US Army.

At the end of 1942, first reports from the units on the battlefields showed complain about the quality of these new binoculars that were not able to withstand the hardships of combat abuse. In fact they were civilian models with only a range reticle added. Study immediatly started to improve the models in use (mostly for improving the waterproofing and the cementing of the lenses)...

(To be continuated)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In 1943, a modified version of the M3 with a better waterproofing and a new cement for the lenses is decided to

supersede all previous version, it is designated M13. 43 378 are made by Nash-Kelvinator and Universal

Camera corp between 1943 and march 1944, when the assembly of 6x30 binoculars is stopped to allow the factories to

focus on the assembly of 7x50 binoculars.
It is not clear when the M13A1 have been made (Universal Camera Corp), as an army ordnance survey on binoculars and

field glasses dated between july and december 1944 does not state this model. The only difference between M13 and

M13A1, apart from the model markings, is a better waterproofing of the bodies of the binoculars.


Binoculars case:
M8 : Case without specific markings apart from the Baush & lomb logo on top of lid.
M6 and M9: Case without markings at start of production, then standart M17 case.
M3: Case marked M17 with Nash-Kelvinator or Westinghouse stamped in the inner part of the case at start of

production, then standart M17 without contractor name stamped (circa 1943)
M5: Specific case marked Wollensak on top of lid.
M13 : Standart M17 without contractor name.


Notes about US ARMY 6 x 30 binoculars:

  • M8, M5, M6 and M9 were pre-war civilian models militarized with the adding of a range reticle and specific model

markings. At the end of the war, all makers sold to the civilian market their still existing stock, without range

reticle (one of the most expensive part). This to say that binoculars without reticle and without model markings are

most probably pre-war civilian model or post war surplus.

  • In the 50s a huge number of binoculars in the army inventory were overhauled, they are easily recognisable are most

of them were painted in olive drab. In the same manner, the case were dyed OD.
Starting late 1943 all binoculars optics had to be treated with fluoride magnesium, these are easily recognisable as

they have a little warning sticker on them.

  • The letters that appears on the markings of the binoculars are the initials of the officer in charge of the control,

for exemple:
FJA: Franck J. Atwood
RLB : Roy L. Bowlin


Well, I hope my english is understandable by everyone. Next part will be dedicated to the 7x50 in use in the US ARMY during WW2

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Reticles found on WW2 US used binoculars:


Reticle of 1916-1918 made EE Binoculars (left body of binocs):




Reticle of 1940 overhauled EE binoculars (left body of binocs):



Reticle of M8, M3, M9, M13 and M13 A1 binoculars (left body of binocs):



Reticle of M5, M6 made for lend lease for the british empire (right body of binocs):



Regards to all



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...
  • 2 years later...

I am sorry to bring the old thread back, but I don’t think I should create a new one for my question.


Would anybody be able to answer, what could be the reason for M49 scope in grey color? Maybe the basic coat, there is no green under the grey.


The case seems to be made from plywood or similar material.


Posted Image


Posted Image


Posted Image


Posted Image


Posted Image


Posted Image


Thank you for any hint.




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 months later...

hey Mods


if this is not a saved info somewhere in the great forum, do you think it should become one ?


semper fi

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.