View Full Version : World War II Gunsight Trivia

08-22-2007, 07:49 PM
I was reading a book to my daughter at bedtime tonight. The book presented a fact that I wanna say I heard before, maybe not. Anyway, let's see who can get it! I bet it will be about %110 of you grognard sim heads!

Anyway, I will word it best as I can without giving it away:

What animal created substance was used in WWII gunsights due to it's size, strength, and it's ability to stay straight?

Skoshi Tiger
08-22-2007, 08:04 PM
I Know that they used spider silk for the crosshairs in some Periscopes. COuld be the same for gunsites?

08-22-2007, 08:04 PM

08-22-2007, 08:24 PM
Women's, preferably black.

08-22-2007, 08:36 PM
I would have to agree with Skoshi Tiger about the silk. But I am not sure about it coming from spiders. There are others forms of silk.

08-22-2007, 08:40 PM
What kind of spider! I will give you a hint. There was a late war fighter named after the little beastie!

08-22-2007, 08:46 PM
Oh no. The Black Widow. I guess it was a spider after all. They are running around in droves down at Ft. Benning, Georgia.

08-22-2007, 10:02 PM

08-22-2007, 10:10 PM

08-23-2007, 01:39 AM
Spider silk was indeed employed in the past as crosshairs for astronomical eyepieces which were used for guiding photographic telescopes or making measurements of double star separations and position angles.

This works when the illuminated silk is seen against a dark background like the night sky. Or un-illuminated when used during daylight. But I think silk was used only for more delicate applications, such as in astronomy. Methinks something as delicate as a single thread of silk (in spite of its noted strengths) wouldn't be such a good material in a battle environment.

A gun sight's reticle is the "inverse" of a typical crossline pattern, which must be the case when projecting a bright pattern on a bright background. In the simplest terms, think of an opaque, thin metal sheet with the reticle pattern cut out, in the form of thin lines and/or arcs. The light shines through the lines, which can then be seen as a bright source projected against the view the pilot sees through the gun sight's reflector plate. More complicated reticle patterns would most likely have been "printed" using an opaque material onto a glass substrate; but again, only the lines to be projected would be able to pass the light through.


08-23-2007, 07:58 AM
You read your kids aviation trivia books at bedtime? http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/blink.gif

08-23-2007, 08:18 AM
Originally posted by Divine-Wind:
You read your kids aviation trivia books at bedtime? http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/blink.gif

Nah - but she would enjoy it. She does fly sims for fun. She likes the jets. She does pretty good being only 4. I was reading her a bug book when I read the fact. If crawls, slithers, slinks, or hops it fascinates her.

And, yes, the answer is the Black Widow spider!

08-23-2007, 09:40 AM
HAHA! how would you like to be the guy at the factory that has to go collect the silk. Boss walks up to you and says " Hey!we need 400 pounds of silk today. The cold, wet and creepy tool shed is out back. Have fun, remember our boys are counting on you!"

08-23-2007, 10:00 AM
Were they made in China?

08-23-2007, 10:08 AM
Which kind of gunsights?

08-23-2007, 02:19 PM
During the (very short) war in Norway, the Norwegian snipers where issued scopes, but not the cross hair piece (part of some stupid decommission scheme). Anyway, the made their own with spiders silk. It wasn't the black widow though, (we don't have them here in Norway), but some harmless garden spider.

Garden spiders where used by the British army to identify poisons. For the trained eye, it's fairly easy to see what a spider is "on" when looking at the web the make. Since all such animals in British service holds one rank or another, garden spiders are the only invertebrates you'd ever be required to salute!