My First Binoculars

From a recent trip to Scotland, I brought home my first binoculars. They were given to me by my father many years ago, along with a lengthy lecture on their use and care. I knew that they were German and military; but not until recently was I able to find out more about them as web searches enabled me to interpret their markings.


beh is the code for the manufacturers Ernst Leitz, GmbH, Wetzler. The firm is best known for its camera division Leica. The Leitz family supported the Third Reich by manufacturing military optics; yet, at the same time, they were actively shielding their Jewish employees from the government and engaged in smuggling them out of Germany.

KF identifies the lubricant used. The use of KF gives 1940-41 as the date of manufacture.

Dienstglas is the official designation used to describe military issue field glasses made to the set standard by a number of optics manufacturers.

6×30: they magnify six times and have objective lenses of 30 mm diameter.

347839 is the serial number. I wonder who was the German soldier whose name was next to that number in some long lost ledger. What happened to him?

H/6400 describes the reticle.

Each eye piece is adjustable. It is for that reason that my father swapped his Ross 9x35s for the old German binoculars. As his eye muscles aged, he found the independent adjustment allowed him to focus the glasses more easily.

Now I have both binoculars. I have always been reluctant to take the leather-cased 9x35s on hunting trips. The little 6x30s have been there, done that, and need the tee-shirt to hide the scars. Perhaps they will have their seventy-fifth birthday in the field.

About Tweed and Briar

I am the pastor of a rather conservative rural congregation. My interests alongside of work are hunting, fly fishing, cooking, and life in an agricultural community. By way of family, I have a wife and two children: a daughter and a son. I am of indeterminate age because my wife is a bit younger than I am and my son is ages with some of my friends’ grandchildren. However, to say that I slip smoothly among the generations would imply an agility which I no longer possess. I aspire to the genteel poverty of the country manse.
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4 Responses to My First Binoculars

  1. Cool. You’re like a superspy.

  2. mud4fun says:

    I still have my Carl Zeiss field binoculars given to me by my father when I was 16 some 30 years ago. I don’t get to use them much these days but this post has reminded me to get them out, give them a dust off and take them with us on our next family bike ride 🙂

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