05 May 2010

Vampir IR sight

This is pretty cool - now to find a figure for it! Background from various places around the www:

During the final months of World War 2, the German military came up with another ‘wonder weapon” in an attempt to change the tide of battle. This was the ZG 1229 Vampir infrared site for the STG 44 assault rifle. This thing was heavy, about 5 lbs. and was connected to a 30 lbs. battery support pack designed to be carried on the soldiers back.



The Vampir was not the first German Infrared System, but by the end of the war in 1945 it was the most compact and advanced system they had. The technology itself dates back to around the start of the war, when engineers developed the first infrared rangefinder for German light anti-tank artillery. This was improved and some heavier direct-fire artillery was equipped with it as well. By 1944 the Germans had developed a version flexible enough to be mounted on the Panther tank and by the last year of the war were ready to issue the man-portable Vampir system.

The Vampir system consisted of a "black" spot light, one component of its active infrared system, fixed atop the impressive StG-44 assault rifle. Below this infrared light was a range finder that could detect the light emitted by the IR lamp. Since this light was invisible to anyone not equipped with the system it gave a massive edge over relying on flashlights and flares for illumination. The system mounted on the gun was linked by insulated wire to a heavy battery pack and simple control box that the soldier wore in place of his normal gear. It could transform a normal soldier it one capable of fighting in complete darkness, be it a cave or a moonless night, without revealing his position.

There is dispute over whether or not the Vampir was actually issued to combat soldiers. Some reports claim it was given to special units of the Waffen-SS for testing, others claim it was issued to crews of the similarly equipped Panther tanks (although this seems unlikely due to the unit's bulk). My theory is that what few units were combat-ready were probably issued to the ultra-elite commandos of commanders like Otto Skorzeny and perhaps in the final defense of Berlin. Chances are we will never know the exact truth as no photographs exist of troops utilizing the weapons in the field, but the system was proven to work.

6 comments:

  1. Come on now. Everyone knows they were sent off with Hitler's bodyguard to Neuschwabenland!

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  2. Matched with silver tipped exploding bulles, this would be a great lycan hunting rig!

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  3. So that's where THRUSH got them.
    John
    I suppose I am giving away my age now.

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  4. I think Black Tree Designs does a model of this - I have seen one on, I think, Agis' site.

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  5. Thanks, I'll take a look!

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