What is this military device (thin, periscope-like)?

This picture (from a NYT article, but I don’t believe is paywalled) shows a Ukrainian soldier using a thin, periscope-like optical instrument. Can anyone tell me what it is? Possibly a range finder? Could it actually be a modern fiber-optic periscope? Google has been surprisingly unhelpful (for my search terms at least).


Periscope for observations without revealing yourself. Doesn’t even look fiber-optic to me.

So it’s thinness is nothing special? It looked sleeker than any periscope I’ve ever seen.

Google “trench periscope”. You’ll find many that are as thin or thinner than the one the Ukrainian soldier is using. Like this one.

Thicker ones, I imagine, allow for longer lengths without distorting the beam path. WW2 sub periscopes were quite thick, of course, but they also magnified, raised/lowered, and needed to be 60+ feet long.

I actually just spent the past 2 months working with the Ukranian military. This is an old Russian tactical periscope with a 4x power zoom. Similar to the one Gray Ghost linked to, but a little more modern. Here is a link to one on eBay

That got nailed down fast!

For what it’s worth, I recently had a chance to look through a massively outdated US submarine periscope. The USS Blueback was commissioned in 1959 and now floats next to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. I recommend the tour.

I’m an amateur photographer and my job involves me pretty closely with optical design. I expected the view through the periscope to be hazy due to aging coatings or at least due to a scratched front element, but it was not. The view was bright and crystal clear. I was amazed.

I have a couple of cheaper Canon L lenses (the ones marketed to working photographers). They’re objectively pretty good lenses, but the view through that periscope was a lot better than what shows up in my viewfinder. Sub periscopes are amazing instruments, and I don’t just mean the optics.

I’ve looked through the periscope of HMS Alliance (1947) at Portsmouth, and I too was gobsmacked by the brightness and clarity of the images, far better than you see through the usual telescopes and binoculars.

Submarines are expensive, so I imagine it’s well worthwhile to use the best optics available.
Somebody somewhere really knew what they were doing.

To a first order, the quality of a telescopic system is directly related to the size of the primary lens. You’re collecting a lot more light so far off things are not just clearer but not as dim. Bigger is better.

Note that a guy in a submarine trying to see if there’ anything on the horizon thru whatever mist is near the ocean surface has a much harder time than a guy in a trench trying to figure out where a machine gun nest is hidden a 100m away. Plus the submarine guy doesn’t have to worry about lugging a big periscope around in their gear.

Wouldn’t part of the size of a submarine periscope be large, in part, because it has to telescope so high up (and that all needs to collapse back down somewhere) as well as it having to strong enough to deal with the pressure and any current trying to bend it…on top of what’s been said upthread.

Thanks all.

I guess my unfamiliarity with it was because this is the last periscope I used!

I was more interested in IDing the rifle leaning against the wall behind the soldier. Then I hit “Enlarge” and quickly saw that it wasn’t a rifle but a RPG launcher. RPG-7, I think.

Note the newest US subs are using hi-def TV displays: the era of the optical scope is no more (at least in the US).

They have a RPG launcher? :slight_smile:

(Quick, I’ll get some cash from the Automatic ATM machine)

Melbourne, I’m with you in spirit, but I’m not sure the facts support what you seem to be lamenting.

RPG=rocket-powered grenade. Those RPGs aren’t going to launch themselves, so you’ll need a launcher for your grenades. You know, like a grenade launcher. Or a rocket launcher. Or a launcher of rocket-powered grenades. I don’t see what’s wrong with “RPG launcher” in that context. Am I missing something?

Ruchnoi Protivotankoviy Granatomyot (Ручной Противотанковый Гранатомёт) = hand-held anti-tank grenade launcher

Actually, it stands for the translation of “hand-held anti-tank grenade launcher” from Russian.
ручной противотанковый гранатомёт - гранатомёт is grenade launcher, not just grenade.

Damn, ninjaed.

In the same vein, HEAT warheads jet uses kinetic force to pierce through armour, not by burning through.

Alright, smart guys. How do you say “Send me up some ammo for this thing. All I have is the tube!”

My Russian is limited to “Da”, “Nyet.” and “vodka.”