View Full Version : WWII pilots: did they use binoculars or scopes?

03-12-2005, 09:03 PM
It seems like it would have made sense.

Certainly it would be helpful in this game, where you are flying and see a speck, slightly above you, cant tell if friend or foe.

You turn and climb, slow, slow, slow, minutes are going by, and finally reach it and....
it is a friendly.

Probably WW2 pilots would have a better idea of friend or foe than we do in online games because they are in formation, have better coms, would have intelligence about where they expect to encounter enemy, etc., but still, wouldn't they benefit from having a long range visual aid like a pair of binoculars?

Just wondering, and wishing for one in this game too...

03-12-2005, 10:04 PM
I doubt fighter pilots carried binoculars. I have tried using them while driving, to see interesting things far away, and it does not work well. Worse, it was very disorienting and dangerous.

I may or may not recall the PBY crew using binoculars in the Battle of Midway movie. Of course that was Hollywood lol, but it would make sense having recon aircrew looking through binoculars, from time to time.

03-12-2005, 10:09 PM
I'd agree that disorientation would be a huge problem with using binoculars in a fighter. It could be why they got rid of telescopic sights. The concept made sense but looking through those things probably made pilots sick.

S 8
03-13-2005, 12:32 AM
Originally posted by LEXX_Luthor:
I have tried using them while driving, to see interesting things far away.

How about a magnyfied windscreen. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

03-13-2005, 01:45 AM

I have come across that a few times.
Both fighter pilots and bomberpilots.
I think it must have been a rare thing though since spotting was very difficult the normal way.
Many pilots seemingly just didnt see the plane even if they looked at the same direction.
Effective spotting at close and far distances didnt come naturally, U had to learn it.
Golodnikov also discuss this issue in his 4:th interview:

"Regarding observation, our primary deficiency was an inability to look all around. We did not acquire the practice of all-around vision, that is, we were too slow in detecting the enemy. This gave the enemy the opportunity to conduct a surprise attack.
The war underscored that one had to be able to look all around, in all directions. Moreover, maneuver of the flight had to be constructed so that one could carefully examine the entire airspace, particularly the rear hemisphere. We had to do a €œsnake€, a €œpair of scissors€. When we arrived in the regiment, Safonov said to us directly, €œLook to the rear so that you can see the tail skid of your own airplane.€
In addition, it was not enough simply to look, but one had to observe with a proper technique. First far away and then closer in. We had to evaluate sighted €œpoints€ (objects). If we saw a dot in the sky, we immediately had to make a determination if it was an aircraft or not. If, while looking, one saw a complete aircraft, then it meant only one thing€"it had approached undetected and would now open fire. You didn€t even have time to maneuver.
Correct observation technique required diligent conditioning, constant analysis, and critique of actions in group, with commensurate training and their practice, both for the group as a whole and for each individual member of the group. What€s left?"

03-13-2005, 10:02 AM
I can't find the references, but in the book 'Night Fighter' by C F Rawnsley & Robert Wright, the use of binoculars and of 'Ross glasses' (a very early night-scope) is mentioned. Used by the navigator/radar operator and by the pilot.