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Sniperscope/Snooperscope: Use During WWII

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    Posted: Mar 14 2020 at 10:38pm


The Model T120/M1 Sniperscope & Snooperscope

Use During WWII

Jim Mock

February 18, 2020


Over the years, documents have been located providing bits and pieces of information regarding the use of the Sniperscopes and Snooperscopes during WWII. The most recent summary of first-hand documents was an article by Don Hillhouse published in Carbine Club Newsletter 368 (Nov 2011).

Ongoing research has since located additional documents. The most significant of which has been Operational Report on Infrared Equipment, by Captain Omar L. Patterson, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dated 30 Apr 1945 (1). Capt. Patterson was the head of a three-man Engineers infrared equipment training and evaluation team assigned to the Pacific Ocean Area of operations that included Okinawa. The Corps of Engineers trained a total of four teams for this purpose, with each team assigned to a different operational area (2). The reports prepared by the other teams have yet to be located, but supporting documents included with Capt. Patterson’s report provides details into the activities of one of the other teams. Separate sources have been located that provide a glimpse into the activities of the other teams.

Each team was tasked with training combat personnel in the maintenance and operation of the Sniperscopes and Snooperscopes, issuing the equipment, then evaluating and reporting on everything from logistical needs to effectiveness in combat.

The contract for the production of the T120/M1 Sniperscopes and Snooperscopes was granted to Electronic Laboratories of Indianapolis by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in December 1943. Production started several months thereafter. The contract was completed by April 1944 (3) but had exceeded the production capabilities of the image tube by RCA. At the time, RCA was the only manufacturer and had yet to produce the quantities already contracted by the Navy. The Navy infrared equipment had become strategically significant to their overall operations in the Pacific. For security the Navy objected to the deployment of the IR equipment by ground troops (4). These issues will be addressed separately from this article in the upcoming web pages detailing a much broader history of this equipment.

A sufficient number of image tubes had become available for the Corps of Engineers to schedule the first shipments of the Sniperscopes and Snooperscopes and training teams by the end of September 1944. The three teams headed west across the Pacific with a stop in Hawaii, where the equipment was demonstrated to the command staff of the Tenth Army on Oahu in November 1944. The Tenth Army had been recently formed for the invasion of Okinawa, with their troops spread throughout the Pacific and South Pacific actively engaged in operations under other commands. Their widespread locations necessitated the training of additional training teams from the Engineer’s training staff on Oahu. Followed by transportation by ship to the various training locations, arriving during January and February 1945.

The progress of the war in the Pacific had narrowed the opportunities for trials on a scale required for the evaluations the Engineer teams had been tasked with. The invasion of and combat on Okinawa was the last opportunity before the invasion of Japan.

(Note: Sources used and cited in this article or copies thereof have been examined first hand to avoid the repeating of mistakes found in second hand and later accounts during the research of this article.)

The four three-man teams from the Corps of Engineers underwent two weeks training June 19 to July 1, 1944, at the Engineers School, Fort Belvoir, VA (1, 2). Each team was comprised of an officer and two enlisted personnel having backgrounds in electronics, optics, and research. They were not Combat Engineers.

In the 18 Sep 1944 Minutes of the War Department General Council, General Borden of the New Developments Division was reported to have indicated shipments of the Sniperscopes and Snooperscopes were scheduled as follows (5).

Capt. Patterson’s team received their deployment orders on 29 Sep 1944. His team was directed to proceed to their assigned area of operations and report to the commanding general on temporary assignment for 6 months. The orders indicated they were to take the Snooperscopes, Sniperscopes, Metascopes (Type F), and related equipment with them. Their mission objectives were as follows (6).

  • To conduct such tests as may be directed by the theater commander for the purpose of exploiting the use of this equipment
  • To provide adequate maintenance for the infra-red equipment
  • To instruct personnel designated by the Commanding General, Pacific Ocean Area, in the use, operation, and maintenance of this equipment
  • To estimate spare parts and supply needs
  • To determine maintenance problems and methods of handling
  • To determine necessary changes in the equipment
  • To investigate enemy deployment of infrared
  • To introduce the Snooperscope and Sniperscope equipment
  • To determine the potential value and uses of the equipment mentioned above
  • To report immediately any developments indicating changes in supply program or required design.
  • To submit monthly reports giving a complete record of tests and instructions; these reports to be submitted through channels to Office, Chief of Engineers, attention Engineering and Development Division.

Reports submitted were to include detailed information concerning:

     a. Maintenance & Supply
               Adequacy of spare parts, amount of maintenance required, operating life of equipment, maintenance personnel required and special problems
     b. Training & Administration
               Sources of personnel, time required for training, training and administrative problems
     c. Employment of Equipment
               Tactical applications and methods, distribution, effect of operator fatigue, adequacy of equipment, and effective ranges
     d. Improvement
               Suggestions for changes growing out of our own use or due to enemy countermeasures
     e. Enemy use of infra-red devices
               Description of enemy infra-red equipment, it’s employment and countermeasures
     f. Capture of our Equipment by the Enemy
               Report immediately setting forth the circumstances and probable condition of equipment when captured

At least initially, the same orders were likely issued to all four teams. Those assigned to the Pacific and China/Burma/India areas probably received their orders at or about the same time.

Engineers Board Report 908 dated January 1945 identifies the training teams, their assigned areas, and shipments completed by 01 Jan 1945 along with the total number of Sniperscopes and snooperscopes having been produced with all production having been completed (2).

Operational circumstances and needs changed by the time the Sniperscopes and Snooperscopes were issued to the troops. This required drawing from the allocations to the South and Southwest Pacific area to train and equip elements of the Army and Marines assigned to the invasion of Okinawa.

Additional quantities may have been shipped from the remaining stateside inventory after this data was submitted, but in time for deployment during combat operations in the Pacific, including Okinawa.

Before proceeding into the detailed report of Capt. Patterson’s team on Okinawa, a summary is provided of the information found so far on the other three teams.

European Theater Team

The Germans were known to possess several types of infrared viewers before this team was deployed. Several had already been captured and evaluated by the Allies (2). For fear the Germans would use their devices to see those used by the Allies, the British issued orders for their infrared devices, other than those in use by their Navy, to be kept in the U.K.

The Germans deployed their infrared equipment on the Eastern Front but held them back from front line use on the Western Front as they were aware the Western Allies possessed the technology. Those found on the Western Front at the end of the war were found in the rear areas and a training unit. The troops who had used the equipment on the Eastern Front brought it with them to the Western Front. They were sent into combat without the equipment.

The book Applied Physics: Electronics, Optics, Metallurgy Office of Scientific Research and Development published in May 1948 indicates the Sniperscope and snooperscope “did not see action in the European Theater” (page 243). Much of the other information regarding the Sniperscope and snooperscope provided in this book was obtained from prior publications without citation. Some of this information is contrary to other documents authored by those with first-hand experience.

A communication from the HQ 1st U.S. Infantry Division, G-4 (Logistics) Journal dated 01 Mar 1945, was attached to Capt. Patterson’s report. The 1st U.S. Infantry Division G-4 in Drove, Germany (Duren, Koln, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany) informed his Division Commander the Sniperscopes and Snooperscopes were to be used for training purposes only and not deployed near combat operations. A record was to be kept of where the scopes were sent for training.

In response to an order from the Infantry Branch, G-3 Requirements Section, Army Ground Forces, the Army Ground Forces Board, Mediterranean Theater of Operations submitted a summary dated 12 Mar 1945 of various new weapons evaluated by units under their command. This document was among those regarding the evaluations of the model M2 carbine. A short paragraph at the end of this document indicates “about 25” of the Sniperscopes were received by the Fifth Army the first week in March 1945 but had not been distributed to the divisions as yet.

No further information has been found on the European Theater team and their operations.

China/Burma/India Area Team

The team assigned to the China/Burma/India area of operations conducted training in Burma concurrent with the training being conducted by Capt. Patterson’s team in the Pacific during February 1945. The limited number of Snooperscopes and Sniperscopes (25 each) allocated to this area infers the training and evaluations were limited in scope, but the equipment was likely used in this area before the war ended.

Capt. Carl E. Glock, Corps of Engineers, CBI team, training members of the 475th Infantry Regiment
of the U.S. MARS Task Force, in the use of the Sniperscope in Burma (February 1945)

(photos copyrighted by Critical Past)

No further information has been found on the China/Burma/India team and their operations.

South Pacific Ocean Area & SW Pacific Ocean Area Team

American ground forces assigned to the invasion of Okinawa were spread throughout the Pacific, finishing up other operations when the time came to prepare and train for Okinawa. This team was reassigned to assist Capt. Patterson’s team with training and equipping the Okinawa forces located in the South Pacific on Espiritu Santo and in the area of Guadalcanal.

The initial 400 Snooperscopes and 200 Sniperscopes allocated to this area may have been supplemented with additional scopes from stateside inventories by the time the equipment was issued to the troops. From the inventory assigned to this team, 395 Snooperscopes and 215 Sniperscopes were issued to the Okinawa invasion forces of the III Amphibious Corps (USMC) and 27th Infantry Division (U.S. Army). Further details regarding their involvement with Okinawa are incorporated below with the information on Okinawa and Capt. Patterson’s team.

Several documents have indicated the Sniperscopes were used on Leyte and Luzon islands and during the cleanup in the Philippines. These locations were within the South Pacific area of operations. Use on Leyte was during training for Okinawa. None of the training for Okinawa took place on Luzon. The invasion and combat on Luzon took place from 9 January – 15 August 1945. Given the quantities issued January to March 1945 to the Okinawa invasion forces, the number available for use during the invasion of Luzon would have been limited. It is possible quantities may have been transferred to Luzon after Okinawa.

No reports prepared by the Engineer team assigned to this area have been located.

The Tenth Army

As the teams were being trained in Virginia, plans in the Pacific were underway for the anticipated invasion of Formosa with the intent of using Formosa as the staging area for the invasion of Japan. The Tenth Army was created for this purpose when it was activated on Oahu, Hawaii, in June 1944. Lt. General Simon Buckner Jr. was summoned to Oahu from operations in the Aleutian Islands in Alaska to organize the Tenth Army and eventually assume command. During the planning stages, the invasion of Formosa was canceled in favor of an invasion of the Ryukyus Islands instead. The largest island of the Ryukyus was considered better suited for use as a staging area for the invasion of Japan. The island was Okinawa (7). The invasion was designated Operation Iceberg.

A Tenth Army report documenting the preparations undertaken for the invasion of Okinawa (8) indicates a team of Engineers with 25 Snooperscopes and 25 Sniperscopes provided Tenth Army HQ on Oahu with a demonstration of the equipment in late November 1944. Tenth Army HQ then requested the Commanding General of the Engineers of U.S. Forces Pacific Ocean Area to provide training teams and instruct the various units of the Marine Corps and Army Corps assigned to the Tenth Army in the use and maintenance of the equipment. Included was a request for 140 Snooperscopes and 110 Sniperscopes per division (6 division total). All training was to be completed and equipment issued in time for use during the invasion of Okinawa. The report does not identify which Engineer team conducted the demonstration.

Shortly thereafter, Capt. Patterson’s Pacific Ocean Area team was provided with training personnel for four additional maintenance/instruction teams from Engineers Combat Training Command (APO 957) at Schofield Barracks on Oahu. These teams were trained on Oahu by Capt. Patterson’s team (1).

Oahu was also the staging area for Engineers who fabricated and prepared various materials and equipment for use by the Tenth Army during the Okinawa operation. A list of items fabricated on Oahu included 800 flash hiders for the Sniperscopes (9). So far, this has been the only documentation found regarding flash hiders and Okinawa. It is not known if they were used or who used them. After action reports by the Marines recommended flash hiders be developed for the carbines equipped with Sniperscopes (1).

Training the Tenth Army

The Army and Marine units assigned to the Tenth Army were actively conducting operations throughout the Pacific Ocean area under other commands when notified they were to be assigned to the Tenth Army for Okinawa. The Army units were not released from their tactical responsibilities to join the Tenth Army until 10 February 1945. The great distances that separated the elements of the Tenth Army, together with the limited time available, precluded combined training.

Capt. Patterson’s team, with their four teams from Combat Training Command, split up and enlisted the assistance of the Engineer team assigned to the South/Southwest Pacific Area (Capt. Eugene S. Cornish) to train the various units in all of the far-flung locations. Training in the use of the equipment was provided to all available personnel as opposed to a limited number to which the equipment would be assigned.

Lt. General Buckner Jr.’s request for 140 Snooperscopes and 110 Sniperscopes per division could not be met due to the limited quantities available. Priority was given to the infantry regiments involved in the initial assault and expected to be involved in combat for the duration (1).

*April 1945 Assigned Strength rather than Actual Effective Strength, included in hospital past 60 days (7)
**exact dates specific to Sniperscope and Snooperscope training not indicated

APRIL 1945

The Island of Okinawa

Okinawa is approximately 70 miles long, an average of 7 miles wide, with a landmass of 466.02 sq. miles. The terrain is primarily mountains and jungles in the north, with ridges separating large open areas in the south. The civilian population was approximately 500,000.

The Battle of Okinawa was preceded by the 77th Infantry Division invasion of the Kerama Islands southwest of Okinawa on March 26, 1945, for use as a staging area and positioning of artillery emplacements.

The Battle of Okinawa lasted from 01 April – 22 June 1945. By the time the battle ended 81 days later, the number killed on both sides, along with civilian deaths, had averaged approximately 493.5 deaths per square mile.

Details of the battle have been well documented elsewhere. Battle details mentioned in this document are used to provide a historical perspective of the environment, activities, and movement of units who used and evaluated the Snooperscopes and Sniperscopes. These factors are relevant when reviewing the after-action reports submitted by these units.

Movement of the Divisions during April 1945

Equipping the 10th Army

* 100 of the 140 Snooperscopes issued to the U.S. Army 27th Infantry Division on Espiritu Santo were issued by the Engineer South/SW Pacific training team from inventory allotted the South/SW Pacific (8)
** All Snooperscopes and Sniperscopes issued to the units of the III Amphibious Corps were issued by the Engineer South/SW Pacific training team from the inventory allotted to the South/SW Pacific (8)

Okinawa - Sniperscope & Snooperscope Logistics, Maintenance, Security

The Corps of Engineers had yet to establish logistics, supply, spare parts, support, and maintenance personnel for the Snooperscopes and Sniperscopes. Determining these needs was one of the goals of each of the Engineer training teams. For short term logistics, maintenance, and repair on Okinawa, each battalion of each division, both Army and Marines, had to provide their personnel who were then trained for these tasks by Capt. Patterson’s team. This was not well received as it required reassigning personnel who were needed elsewhere.

The batteries for the Snooperscopes and Sniperscopes needed to be recharged daily for use the next night. Because of the concerns for the security of the top-secret Snooperscope and Sniperscope and fear of capture by the enemy, each maintenance team was required to collect all of their battalion’s Snooperscopes, Sniperscopes, and related equipment every morning and return the items for use the next night.

The quantity and weight of all the equipment required the use of a truck. No trucks had been provided for this purpose. Spare trucks were in short supply and already committed to other tasks requiring each maintenance team to locate and borrow a truck when not in use. The lack of trucks, current combat conditions, and/or weather conditions sometimes prevented the equipment from being returned to their assigned units for the next night.

Logistical challenges were multiplied for the maintenance units of the 6th Marine Division when trying to keep up with their units. The light enemy resistance they encountered allowed for the rapid movement of their battalions to secure the northern half of Okinawa.

Deployment & Use of the Sniperscopes and Snooperscopes on Okinawa

It is important to note, at this point, Capt. Patterson’s report was limited to 01 Apr to 15 Apr 1945. This will be discussed in more detail later in this document.

The Snooperscopes and Sniperscopes were not provided to special sniper units. Decisions on how best to deploy the equipment, who would use it, and how they would use it was left to each battalion to decide based on their own experience.

Some units tried them on night-time patrols, some tried them during offensive actions. All quickly came to the same conclusion: the equipment was best suited for use with their night-time defensive perimeters, particularly when teamed up with or near machine gun or light machine gun positions.

On the islands before the Ryukyus and Okinawa, small units of Japanese sappers routinely and regularly attempted to penetrate the Allied defenses at night. This had a significant negative impact on Allied operations. Hunting down the individual sappers within Allied perimeters tied up resources and made sleep difficult, if not impossible.

Captain Patterson’s report indicates the terrain on Okinawa was not as conducive to night-time sapper attacks as some of the islands prior. A common comment by the soldiers who used the infrared equipment was they wished they would have had it for the invasion and combat on Leyte. Since his report was limited to the first two weeks of the invasion, it could not include the hindsight later gained of the Japanese battle plans for Okinawa during the first few weeks.

The Japanese strategy was minimal resistance to the invasion and initial allied advances. The majority of their forces lay in wait inland in positions better suited for defense. The preparation of these defensive positions had been ongoing for over a year. They planned to fight from these well-protected inland defenses to weaken the allies before launching offensive attacks. The primary goal was to inflict the heaviest losses possible on the allies to weaken their forces for the eventual attack on Japan.

As a result, the Allied invasion and initial progress inland met with little resistance for the first two days. Light resistance increased as the XXIV Corps proceeded south and began encountering the various defensive positions. By April 5th, the Allied advance was effectively halted. Forward Allied defensive perimeters became more static with slow progress made thereafter.

The first Japanese major counter-attack began April 12th with intense artillery bombardments that were a significant impediment to the redeployment of the Sniperscope and Snooperscope equipment during this time. The bombardments were followed by night time infiltrations of the Allied front lines. The main counter-attacks followed on April 13th and 14th. Both attacks failed with the losses by the Japanese being so heavy that the commanding Japanese General wrote that while Allied forces were vulnerable to night time attack, the losses sustained due to overwhelming and accurate allied firepower was not worth any further large scale counter attacks. It was his opinion they could cause more damage to the allies from their defensive positions (15).

Capt. Patterson’s report included only three examples of the effectiveness of the Snooperscopes and Sniperscopes during the first two weeks. The majority of his time had been spent with HQ XXIV Corps, the 96th Infantry Division, and the 7th Infantry Division. These divisions were encountering the stiffest enemy resistance and therefore provided the most complete and comprehensive source of info relative to the Sniperscope and Snooperscope equipment within the time allowed (1). The 27th and 77th Divisions had been held in reserve during the evaluation period. Reports submitted by the Marines did not include examples of combat use (detailed farther below).

On the night of 11 April, a snooperscope operator with a battalion of the 96th Division detected an infiltration attempt. One company reported 25 enemies killed, with another company reporting 16 more killed with machine-gun fire directed by another snooperscope operator in the emplacement.

On another night, a snooperscope operator with a unit of the 96th Division spotted an 8 man Japanese patrol attempting to infiltrate under cover of a sea wall. The 8 man team was wiped out by machine-gun fire directed by the snooperscope operator.

Another night when a Sniperscope operator detected a 4 man patrol attempting infiltration, communication with a nearby BAR emplacement directed fire effectively and eliminated the group.

Enemy casualties reported directly to Capt. Patterson, by the 7th and 96th Divisions for the period of 01 Apr to 16 Apr, was 150 enemy casualties directly and indirectly attributed to the Snooperscopes and Sniperscopes. The actual number killed was estimated to be higher as the 150 represented only those confirmed. This represented a total of about 3% of the total enemy casualties credited to these two divisions during this time. This estimate did not indicate if the 3% included both daytime time and night time casualties. Also absent were the casualty assessments by the other Army Divisions or the USMC Divisions. The 3% estimate was 3% of the casualties inflicted by the 7th and 96th Divisions.

Later casualty claims by the media and authors have included 30% of the enemy casualties during the first week, 33% during the first two weeks, and 33% during the first three weeks. Those who cite a source for this information indicate an article authored by William Garstang, president of Electronic Labs, published in the April 1946 issue of the Electronic Labs employee newsletter The Electronic Beacon. The article does not refer to casualties, nor does it indicate the number of Sniperscopes manufactured and/or used on Okinawa, as some authors have claimed.

The earliest publications found to have made these casualty claims have been the June 1946 issues of The American Rifleman and Electronics magazine. Both articles were among dozens of media articles published April 16, 1946, and later, after an Electronic Labs news conference held at Ft. Benjamin Harrison outside Indianapolis April 15, 1946, revealing the existence of the Sniperscope and Snooperscope after their reclassification from “Top Secret” to “Confidential”. This same news conference was followed by and featured in the images that appear in the April 1946 issue of The Electronic Beacon.

Demonstration of the Infrared Sniperscope by Colonel Benjamin Albert, U.S. Army Signal Corps, at Fort Benjamin Harrison, IN, on April 16, 1946.
The scope mounted on the Model T3 carbine is a Model M2 Sniperscope.
William Garstang, president of Electronic Labs, is in the background (looking at the camera) being interviewed by two reporters.
(photo courtesy of the National Archives)

After Capt. Patterson’s evaluation period, the Americans slowly began taking the Japanese defensive positions one by one in hand to hand combat. The fighting that took place over the next couple weeks was described by Colonel Hiromichi Yahara, senior staff officer of the 32nd Japanese Army at Okinawa, as the worst and most brutal fighting of the entire Pacific War. (15)

The degree to which the Sniperscopes and Snooperscopes contributed to the overwhelming and accurate allied firepower indicated by the commanding Japanese general is unknown. Illumination rounds from mortars and offshore naval gunfire were a recent addition to allied night illumination and used extensively on Okinawa, particularly by the Marines. These “Starshells” illuminated the battlefield and the soldiers of both sides indiscriminately. The use of the snooperscope and Sniperscope without being forewarned of the incoming illumination rounds resulted in damage to the equipment’s night vision imaging tubes and the short term night vision of anyone using them.

Some of the Marine units later commented that the illumination ordnance eliminated the need for their Snooperscopes and Sniperscopes, without mention of the illumination rounds revealing Allied troops as well as the enemy. The value of the illumination rounds versus the Sniperscope and Snooperscope depended on the circumstances in which they were used, which included offensive unit actions at night versus those maintaining a defensive perimeter.

Carbine Club newsletter 178 in August 1991 included a short article on the interviews of two American veterans of Okinawa by member Marty Black. An Army veteran with the 2nd Battalion/38lst Infantry Regiment/96th Division remembers training with the Sniperscope on Leyte Island in the Philippines before the invasion of Okinawa. One of his buddies, a Private who was a Tool & Die Foreman with Ford Motor Company before being drafted, was chosen to be in charge of this new equipment, including all maintenance and training within the battalion. Wounded early in the fighting, the Army veteran was evacuated and returned to Okinawa one month later. By that time, the Navy was continuously keeping the forward battle areas lit at night with flares, rendering "the infrared technique useless and needless". The Sniperscopes "had been collected and returned to a central storage depot”. The other interview was of a Marine veteran who also indicated Naval illumination of the front lines eliminated the need for and usefulness of the infrared equipment. Neither mentioned the mission objectives of Capt. Patterson’s team or the limitations of the evaluation period. Of which they were probably not aware. Though any training they received was part of the same evaluation.

At a minimum, the Sniperscopes and Snooperscopes were at least a contributing factor to the overwhelming and accurate allied firepower during the hours of darkness. The degree of their contribution varied more or less with the specific circumstances in which they were used.

The performance of the Sniperscope and Snooperscope in combat was but one aspect. There were several others equally as important.

The Evaluation Period

At the beginning of Capt. Patterson’s report he indicated the evaluation period would be “1 April to 30 April 1945 inclusive”. As the report progressed, he indicated the evaluation period was 01 Apr to 15 Apr 1945 with no reference to the longer period or why it was changed. It may have been motivated or caused by two factors in addition to or other than the use of the illumination rounds. The first being the mission objectives of the four Engineer teams. The second involving the limited time available pending the invasion of Japan.

The initial training and mission objectives of the four Engineer teams were consistent with preparations for the customary Service Trials phase of evaluation that typically preceded any final distribution. Service Trials confirmed or established logistical needs for support, repair, distribution, etc. along with training of a limited number of front line combat troops to which the equipment was issued, used, and monitored for a period of usually two weeks. Normally the quantity of equipment being evaluated in these trials was divided among evaluation/training teams assigned to different operational areas, as is indicated in the table showing the operational areas and quantities shipped by 01 Jan 1945. While quantities issued on Okinawa are far greater than normal Service Trials, the opportunities for these trials to happen elsewhere had greatly diminished.

Okinawa became the last opportunity to use and evaluate the Sniperscopes and Snooperscopes as well as determining logistical needs before the invasion of Japan. There was very likely a strong sense of urgency for the evaluation to be completed and submitted, so the logistics and any necessary changes could be completed in time for the invasion of Japan.

The use or disposition of the Sniperscopes and Snooperscopes at the end of the evaluation period is absent from Capt. Patterson’s report, after-action reports, and all other reports found so far. The interview of the veteran who indicated the equipment had been collected and placed in depots along with the timing of the end of Capt. Patterson’s evaluation period was consistent with the normal protocols at the end of Service Trials. Equipment tested during Service Trials was recovered, pending the outcome of the evaluation report, changes that needed to be made, and establishing the necessary logistics and support before the equipment was issued again.

In June and July 1945, a joint services training exercise in Texas called the Sphinx Project, was intended as part of the final preparations for the invasion of Japan. The report prepared and submitted by the contingent from the Corps of Engineers at the end of the operation indicated almost all of the Sniperscopes and Snooperscopes were now in the Pacific Ocean Area of operations. The report also indicated the Model M2 Sniperscopes were scheduled to start production on 01 Aug 1945. (16)

The Evaluation

As indicated at the beginning of this document, Capt. Patterson’s orders included specific details to be included in the reports they were ordered to submit. Details commonly found in the evaluation report of Service Trials.

The use of the equipment in combat was included but not the primary focus of the evaluation and report. In addition to Capt. Patterson's own first hand experience, he personally met with and solicited the comments of those who had used and maintained the equipment in addition to other personnel who witnessed the use of the equipment. Between 14 and 18 April 1945, he received after action-reports authored by an officer assigned this task for each division. Most of these reports were a brief synopsis given the ongoing operations on Okinawa. Capt. Patterson then combined all of this information into eleven sections. The division reports were attached at the end.

After Action Reports and histories prepared by officers of the units on Okinawa over the months and for several years afterward focused on all of the events during that time. Any mention of the Snooperscope and/or Sniperscope was very brief and within the overall context as opposed to the more focused and detailed report submitted by Capt. Patterson. These have included documents prepared by or for the Tenth Army, 7th Infantry Div. Artillery, 77th Infantry Division, 96th Infantry Division, 1st Marine Division, and 6th Marine Division.

For the sake of brevity, what follows excludes the repetition and summarizes some of the comments. Added are several brief items from the later After Action Reports not included in the earlier summaries authored by other researchers.

(Begin Report)

Section I: Introduction

This report is intended to cover the observations and recommendations of the author as to the combat effectiveness, tactical employment, distribution, maintenance and supply problems, and technical development of Infrared Equipment.

The basis of this report is the combat employment of Sniperscopes and Snooperscopes by the Tenth Army in the Okinawa Operation during the period of 1 April to 30 April 1945 inclusive. While conditions under which the equipment was employed did not test its maximum capabilities and limitations, it is believed that the observations made were extensive enough to warrant the conclusions drawn and recommendations made herein.

The equipment has been issued to all Infantry and Marine Divisions participating in the operation, although some of the Divisions received only Snooperscopes.

The information contained in this report was obtained largely by personal interviews with unit commanders, maintenance personnel, and operators in the Headquarters, XXIV Corps, and in the Ninety Sixth and Seventh Infantry Divisions. I devoted the greater part of my time to these Divisions because during my investigations, they were encountering the stiffest enemy resistance and therefore provided the most complete and comprehensive source of information relative to the subject equipment available within the time allowed.

Section II: Combat Effectiveness

In general, the reaction toward the snooperscope and Sniperscope has been very favorable. This is evidenced by the desire of most of the units for more of them.
      Night infiltration has been at a minimum as compared with previous Pacific operations, so infrared devices could not be exploited fully. Moonlight and the lavish use of star shells tended to discourage infrared equipment by front line units.

      The relatively open terrain of Okinawa is not ideal for the Snooperscope and Sniperscope due to their limited range. In open country the distance between platoon perimeters is generally greater than in jungle warfare and frequently is so great that cross illumination between Snooperscopes and Sniperscopes is ineffective.

      However, several company commanders have indicated the equipment allowed them to increase the intervals between adjacent elements and thus allowed them to spread their units out over greater distances at night.

      The extensive use of enemy artillery has made it difficult or impossible to bring the equipment forward for use at night.

      The equipment can be employed most effectively in jungle warfare, as originally intended, where night infiltration is common, enemy artillery fire is light, star shells are less frequent, night visibility is poor, and the limited range of the Snooperscope and Sniperscope approximates more closely the normal intervals and distances.
    Examples of Effectiveness:
      The Snooperscope and Sniperscope have been most effective in bringing the fire of machine guns to bear promptly and accurately on groups of enemy attempting to advance during darkness. [examples given are the three cases described earlier].
    Casualties Inflicted:
      Approximately 150 casualties directly and indirectly attributed to this equipment by elements of the 7th and 96th Divisions. Estimated the number was more as these were only those that could be confirmed. [note this was only elements of the two Army Divisions, not all and does not include the USMC. USMC reports do not include casualty numbers]
      Although the number of casualties has not been great, the increased confidence the equipment has instilled in our troops is a major factor in evaluating its effectiveness.

      Has decreased the number of firing at sounds or movements during the night as the source of the noise or movement can be identified. This has decreased the jitteriness that has resulted in additional shots fired at shadows and imagined noises. Things have calmed down more with less fear of friendly fire incidents.

      Many operators report the Snooperscope and Sniperscope make their tour of duty pass quickly because they can now look about their post at night.

      The general feeling of confidence which this equipment instills almost justifies its use for this reason alone.
      The Snooperscope and Sniperscope are effective combat weapons when employed under appropriate conditions, and the equipment is suited ideally to jungle warfare.
Section III: Tactical Employment
    Perimeter Defense:
      The primary use of Snooperscopes and Sniperscopes has been in perimeter defense of large and small units. It has proven effective at combating enemy night infiltration when vision is poor. Whenever possible, the scopes should be used in pairs to provide cross illumination. In some instances, as many as five or six have been paired together in order to obtain the desired coverage. Pairing one snooperscope between a pair of machineguns and repeated around the entire battalion perimeter has been a common tactic. Tracer ammunition has been used to assist with target designation.

      Some units have set up trip flares and grenades around their perimeter and stationed Sniperscopes to cover the areas. When a flare or grenade is tripped the enemy typically freezes in place waiting for the illumination to cease. The Sniperscope operator(s) also wait for the illumination to go out then scan the area with excellent results.
    Offensive Employment:
      The Snooperscope and Sniperscope have not been employed offensively to any great extent. Due to the dangers of friendly fire, night time patrols have been non-existent. Division Reconnaissance Troops and Regimental Intelligence and Reconnaissance Platoons have been employing their infrared equipment exclusively for local security.
    Difficulties of Offensive Employment:
      The Snooperscope and Sniperscope are considered ineffective during rapid offensive movement because of the difficulties involved in bringing the equipment and batteries forward under fire.

      Operators do not carry the power supply and battery on their backs with the suspenders and knapsack provided. Since the equipment is generally operated from a foxhole, the knapsack containing the battery and power supply is placed beside or in their foxhole to reduce the burden of the weight.

      The individual soldier has all the equipment he can carry (including his own weapon) and cannot be expected to carry a Snooperscope or Sniperscope forward during a rapid advance. [meaning the Snooperscope or Sniperscope and its related equipment was issued in addition to their weapon, not in replacement of].
    Miscellaneous Employment:
      The equipment was used to examine caves during daylight hours and felt to be effective for this purpose though no enemy was encountered in caves examined so far. The equipment was not used for signaling or recognition, but units commented they had past experiences when the equipment would have been of value.
      The Snooperscope and Sniperscope have been used as security and defensive weapons employed in perimeter defense and the establishment of general outpost lines at night. A wide variety of specific methods have been used based on the particular combat conditions. No standard doctrine for tactical deployment exists at this time.
Section IV: Training
    Maintenance Personnel:
      Requires about two weeks with the exact time dependent on the technical background of the students. Radar and Radio Repairmen are the best qualified for this work and are the best source of maintenance personnel when available. It is possible to train personnel with less electrical background providing they possess mechanical aptitude and the patience necessary for precision work.

      Since smaller units do not always have qualified personnel to be spared for maintenance, the recommendation of additional T/O & E maintenance personnel is the most practicable means of ensuring effective maintenance.
      Proper training of operators is exceedingly important for the maximum exploitation of the equipment. This was illustrated by many units not having sufficient time for training due to late arrival of the equipment. Operators complained after three or four nights of operational use that they could see only thirty yards with their Snooperscopes and Sniperscopes. With continued use by the end of a week, they reported that they were able to see about sixty-five yards.

      Operators can be trained thoroughly in one week and adequately in a minimum of four days with all training conducted during hours of darkness. It is absolutely essential for instructors to continually check and correct the focusing adjustments made by the operators.

      Training should stress tactical employment, first echelon maintenance, battery charging, and pick up program and where fourth echelon repairs are made.
    Future Training:
      The four maintenance instruction teams which trained the maintenance teams of the Tenth Army units are now attached to Combat Training Command, APO 957. They form the nucleus of seasoned training personnel for training units not presently equipped with Snooperscopes and Sniperscopes and for training personnel in the use and maintenance of newer infrared equipment, which may be introduced in the near future.
Section V: Security
      There is no evidence to indicate that the Snooperscope and Sniperscope have been compromised. All reasonable precautions have been taken to safeguard the equipment. Frontline units bring their equipment forward in the evening and return them to the rear at night to lessen the danger of compromise.
    Enemy Use of Infrared Equipment:
      There is no evidence indicating the use of infrared devices in forward areas by the Japanese.
    Enemy Countermeasures:
      Apparently the Japanese are aware of the fact that we have been “training troops to see at night”, but there is no evidence to indicate they have definite knowledge of how this is being accomplished.

      No countermeasures seem to have been taken. The reduction in enemy night infiltration might possibly be attributed in part to our use of the equipment.
Addition from later Tenth Army Report
An Army G-4 staff report prepared much later indicating “Losses of Major or Controlled Items” during drops by parachute to troops on Okinawa indicates nine Sniperscopes and two Snooperscopes were among the equipment lost. It does not provide the date and further details. (17)

Section VI: Distribution

Considerable controversy exists concerning the most desirable distribution of Sniperscopes and Snooperscopes. The Tenth Army Observer’s Report of 18 Mar 1945 proposing 740 Sniperscopes per Infantry Division is considered too great for the combat conditions, transportation needs, and maintenance personnel on Okinawa. This proposal may be more suitable for jungle warfare, such as was experienced on Leyte.
    Present Distribution:
                                        7th Division   96th Division
           Snooperscopes           135              140
           Sniperscopes              139              110
    Survey of Tenth Army Units for their Desired Quantities & Distribution:
      Since it is understood that only Sniperscopes (with Snooperscope mounts included) are being supplied in the future, the following table indicates Sniperscopes only. The first and second columns of the chart show the minimum and maximum quantities desired by each unit. The third column represents the most commonly desired quantities, and therefore might establish a possible basis for future distribution and T/O & E allowances. It should be noted such an increase does not necessitate a proportionate increase in transportation since present transport provided can handle a few extra units without overload.

      The 27th Infantry Division is satisfied with their allotment of 90 Sniperscopes and 140 Snooperscopes. This Division feels this equipment is not absolutely necessary for other than front line troops which need this equipment to the greatest extent.

      XXIV Headquarters Company considers 40 Sniperscopes desirable for their Defensive Platoon.

Section VII: Maintenance & Supply
    Maintenance Problems:
      The amount of maintenance required has been relatively high, primarily due to main cable failures. Maintenance personnel have been able to cope with most problems.

      In general, each Division has one maintenance team for each Infantry Rifle Battalion, one for Division Reconnaissance Troops and such other teams as desired within various units of Division Troops. Teams consist of one or two enlisted men.

      Personnel were drawn from the units they were serving and usually operated near Battalion Dumps or Regimental Service Companies. Some Regiments consolidated the Battalion maintenance teams into a Regimental Maintenance Section. Drawing maintenance personnel from organizations for this purpose removed them from their normal assigned duties where they were needed, with most lacking a general knowledge of electrical fundamentals or possessing the required mechanical aptitude resulting in them resorting to “cookbook” maintenance procedures.

      Maintenance teams have required the use of 2 ½ ton truck or 1-ton trailer in which to perform maintenance and carry maintenance and charging equipment. These had to be provided by the units and placed an undue burden on their transportation resources.

      Battery Charging has presented no problems other than their transportation. Charging has been handled by either the maintenance teams or organization motor pools.

      The maintenance equipment provided to these teams has been inadequate for the maintenance problems encountered. The electrical test equipment this required would be unfamiliar to most maintenance teams.
    Recommended Handling of Maintenance:
      Based on the recommended distribution of Sniperscopes (see Section VI) it is recommended the T/O & E of the Service Company of the infantry headquarters companies of divisions, corps, and army be augmented by the following Infrared Maintenance Repair Section.

      *change to 1 for Corps and Army HQ Companies
      **change to 5 for Division HQ Companies and 1 for Army and Corps HQ Companies

      Mobile Fourth Echelon Maintenance Repair Sections would be responsible for supervision of battery charging, pick up and delivery and first echelon maintenance.

      It is also recommended a detachment be provided in the Engineer Service Organization (T/O 5-500) consisting of:

      This would provide the Fifth Echelon with the necessary test equipment and skilled personnel. The Engineer Service Organization exists for this purpose in addition to frequently having a Searchlight Repair Section. (In anticipation of the possibility of future Infrared Searchlights discussed in Section X below).

      This plan presents a desirable decrease in the number of maintenance personnel (most Divisions have 11 or more teams now). It is felt the reduction will be offset by the reduction and frequency of maintenance.
      As an alternative current III Marine Amphibious Corps and XXIV Army Corps Signal Battalions are essentially fifth echelon maintenance teams with the necessary equipment and qualified personnel.
    Spare Parts & Supply:
      Maintenance equipment is currently issued with one set per 10 Snooperscopes or Sniperscopes for an estimated one-year maintenance and supply. A quarterly supply is considered more appropriate. A monthly supply less so as it may be hampered by difficulties in resupply.

        a) Maintenance equip: 1 set per 40 Sniperscopes or major fraction of
        b) Battery charging equip: 1 set per 10 units
        c) Generator spares, kits: 1 set per 40 Sniperscopes (1 per 4 generators) (provides 1 set Generator spares per Battalion)

      This recommendation will provide:
      • Considerable reduction in weight and cubage
      • Conservation of Spare Parts
      • Represents little change from the present
      • Requires only restocking of present spare parts kits
      • Reduces number of spare parts chests required to 1/4 of current issue
      • Allows for double the number of Sniperscopes per number of maintenance kits
      • Battery Spares Kits, Model 1560, can still be used for supplying batteries.

Section VIII: Adequacy of Equipment
      The Snooperscope and Sniperscope are considered generally adequate and effective weapons without any mandatory modifications necessary. However, certain improvements would greatly enhance the effectiveness of the equipment.
      The generally excepted maximum effective range is about 65 yards. This range is considered adequate for jungle warfare. All personnel believe a greater range would greatly increase the effectiveness with 300 yards being the most commonly desired. It is recommended that all efforts be continued toward increasing the range as much as possible.

      It’s felt the density of the present filter could be slightly reduced. Extending the 20 foot distance the light can be detected by the naked eye to 30 feet would provide a small gain in distance.
      The battery is quite adequate and is sufficient for one normal night’s operation without recharging. Batteries are usually found between 25% and 50% discharged when returned each morning. The battery charge indicator balls are considered inaccurate when the battery charge is greater than 75%. Most men use a small hydrometer for this purpose. With more thorough training and experience the hydrometer is not necessary.
      With the exception of the Main Cable, the Snooperscope and Sniperscope are considered sufficiently rugged for combat use.
    Suspenders & Pistol Belt:
      The suspenders and pistol belt are seldom used and should be eliminated.
    Light Source Mount:
      The light source itself is adequate. The greatest objection which nearly all men make is the position of the light source assembly below the carbine forestock requires operators to expose themselves too much to use the sniperscope. This causes operators to be reluctant to use the sniperscope, particularly when under fire. It is almost universally agreed the light source assembly should be mounted above the telescope and positioned along the axis of the carbine so that proper balance can be maintained.

      Most operators state the light source beam is too low. The light source should be made adjustable so the beam can be raised or lowered to obtain full illumination of the scope’s field of view.
    Main Cable:
      Most men prefer the Main Cable be one foot longer so the power supply and battery can be placed in their foxhole. A longer cable will also tend to reduce the tendency of sharp bends in the cable, thereby reducing the high percentage of cable failures.
    Battery Charging Equipment:
      This equipment has been found suitable and able to withstand reasonable field abuse.
    TM 5-9340:
      The technical manual is adequate and complete.
    Life of Component Parts:
      The Snooperscope and Sniperscope have not been in use for a sufficient amount of time to accurately determine the life of most components. The comments that can be at this time include:

        Light Source Filter & Bulb:
          50+ hours if initially free of defects
        Viewing Tube 1P25:
          Last a considerable length of time if defects are not encountered soon after initial use and if the telescope is not exposed to the direct rays of sunlight or other intense light
          Unpredictable life span. Some cease to function within a week while others have caused no difficulties whatsoever.
        Other Parts:
          Largely dependent on the absence of initial defects and subsequent operational abuse.
    Moisture & Fungus Proofing:
      Except in a few cases, the telescope and power supply have been adequately sealed against moisture. The climate has been inadequate for assessing the fungus proofing.
    Snooperscope vs. Sniperscope:
      Opinions are divided regarding the merits of the Sniperscope vs. the snooperscope. The snooperscope is lighter, more convenient for observing, can be employed for directing other weapons, and because most troops do not favor the carbine. The Sniperscope can do everything the snooperscope can do, in addition to directing firepower, although it is more cumbersome and awkward to handle.

      The plans for making only Sniperscopes and including snooperscope mounts is good as it will allow either to be made as desired in addition to allowing the conversion of Sniperscopes to Snooperscopes in the event the carbine stock (for which no replacements are currently available) is damaged beyond repair.
    Carbine, Cal. 30. T-3:
      Most frontline troops favor the Rifle, Cal. .30 M-1 and the Browning Automatic Rifle over the carbine due to less effective firepower and problems with reliability. Because the T-3 carbine must be carried in addition to their individual weapon, it is considered impractical.

      A number of the T-3 carbine stocks have been broken near the trigger assembly. Although the number has not been unreasonably high, the absence of immediate replacement deadlines the sniperscope.
    Adaptation of Other Weapons:
      Most units feel the telescope and light source should be made adaptable to other weapons such as the Carbine, cal. .30 M-1, light and heavy machineguns, Browning Automatic Rifle, Rifle cal. .30, M-1. Considerable differences of opinion exist regarding the most suitable weapon.

      The technical difficulties to adapt the equipment to the machineguns is considered impractical. Possible solutions include development of a common adapter that could be used with all others suggested or in lieu of this option adapters common to more than one weapon with separate adapters for each weapon if the other options are not feasible. Ruggedness comparable to the present equipment must still be maintained.
    Conclusions and Recommendations:
      If development of adapter(s) is feasible distribution recommended is 5 Sniperscopes each including a separate Snooperscope mount, and five 5 unmounted Snooperscopes with adapters for other weapons.

      In considering the suggested modifications, it should be noted this equipment is considered effective in its present form with the modifications intended to make the equipment more effective. The governing factor in adopting modifications should be the time and knowledge the modifications require given the current immediate demand for more infrared equipment.
From 96th Infantry Division HQ & USMC Evaluation Reports attached to Capt. Patterson’s Report
The preference among operators is the infrared equipment be mounted to more capable weapons while at the same time, the extra weight of the infrared equipment mounting is more suited for use with the carbines. Given the limited range of the infrared scopes and their light assemblies and the purposes for which they are most suited being limited to defensive use for which they currently employed.

Section IX: Defects in Equipment
    Main Cable, 805995:
      The main cable is the weakest component and the most serious difficulty in the equipment. Cable failures after the first two weeks of operational use have been approximately 10%. The failures consistently occur to the high voltage conductor approximately 5” from the power supply at the point the outer cable shield ends and is twisted into the cable ground lead. The cable conductors at this point have been subjected to undue strain and twisting during the molding process making the conductors subject to breakage

      Temporary cable repairs shorten the cable beyond the point of breakage and resolder the leads. Such repairs are tedious, not permanently effective, and unnecessarily burdens maintenance teams. It has already been noted the cable is considered too short with additional shortening amplifying the objections.

      Some cables in new equipment were found with split outer shell coverings.

      It is essential the main cable be redesigned with replacements made available to replace the present cables when they become defective.
    Viewing Tube 1P25:
      Previous reports indicated a large percentage of image tubes “flared up” while firing the sniperscope. Information was also received indicating the cause may be a weak compression spring (204597) within the telescope, not holding the image tube firmly in its socket in combination with tubes insufficiently evacuated.

      The two weeks of this evaluation with many units not being able to test their Sniperscopes beforehand is considered inadequate to evaluate this issue. Only 2-3% of the Sniperscopes have exhibited this tendency.

      Operators still complain about the wide variation of quality of the telescope image, which has largely been due to the viewing tubes. It is essential all efforts be continued to improve the viewing tubes and reduce the variation between them.

      After very little use, a number of image tubes have cracked at the point where they had been evacuated. One telescope was received with a factory note attached indicating “flickering image” with the tube ceasing to function during the first night of use. There is absolutely no excuse for this telescope leaving the factory when it was known to be defective.
    Power Supply:
      Proper electrostatic focus could not be obtained with a number of the power supplies due to the improper range of focus control provided by the focus knob. This is an issue that requires closer manufacturing tolerances.
    Light Source Filters:
      A large number of light source filters were delivered with the entire cellophane film flaking from the heat resistant glass. This appears to have been a manufacturer defect limited to a particular lot, as those with this issue were limited to certain containers, with all in other containers not experiencing the problem.
    Telescope T-120:
      Several maintenance teams have discovered dirt and lint around viewing tubes and lenses of telescopes that had not been cleaned since the factory with the dirt particles causing malfunction of the telescope.
    Light Source Bulb H196:
      A number of light source bulbs were defective on delivery.
    Vibrator H-170:
      One box of spare vibrators contained 5 that would not function.
    Battery AA 1451:
      Several batteries had cells that would not take a charge. Batteries have not always been unspillable resulting in the deterioration of knapsacks and clothing by acid.
    Charging Rack, Model 1542:
      A number of charging rack resistors have burned out without indication of overload at the time.
      More rigid inspection is needed by company supervision during manufacture along with better operational testing of the equipment by government inspectors.

Section X: Supplementary Infrared Equipment
    Metascope, US/F:
      Each Division received 20 metascopes. A few Divisions indicated the metascope would primarily be used in combination with flashlights equipped with infrared filter discs for signaling and maintaining contact during night patrols. Most units have not sent out night combat patrols. The 27th Infantry Division has requested 180 metascopes in anticipation of increased night activity in the more open terrain.
    Flashlight Filter Discs:
      Issued on the basis of 384 per Division and have provided a simple means of converting flashlights TL-122 for night time communication and recognition. 400 discs per Infantry Division is considered appropriate.

      Snooperscope operators can view the flashlights effectively at distances greater than 200 yards, which is far beyond the visual range of the snooperscope.
    Flash hider:
      Flash hiders are considered effective in reducing the flash when the Sniperscope is fired. One flash-hider should be supplied with each sniperscope. [note: with the exception of the Flash hiders having been built by the Engineers in Hawaii, this is the only mention of the Flash hider in any of the documents examined and does not indicate they were actually used vs. effective if used].
    Separate IR Source:
      There is a universal desire by all units to increase the range of the Snooperscopes and Sniperscopes. This can be accomplished by the use of portable infrared light sources of sufficient power. The characteristics desired in such sources are:

      The increased distance the device is detectable with the naked eye is considered satisfactory. Separate Light Sources would be limited to defensive situations due to their weight. The use of tripwires would conserve power by turning them on only when required. Desired and recommended distribution is 2 or 3 per Infantry Rifle Battalion.
    Blackout Driving Equipment:
      Unit commanders indicate Blackout Driving Binoculars and associated filter discs for vehicle headlamps would be received favorably. A minimum of 6 sets per Infantry Rifle Battalion are desired if available.

      Primary use would be for ambulances operating in forward areas. Secondary use for night reconnaissance and combat patrols, since binoculars (mounted on a headliner) would eliminate present objections to snooperscopes for this purpose.
    Equipment Tests:
      Tests are currently being conducted by Combat Training Command, APO 957 for greater exploitation of infrared equipment and include:
      • Methods of tactical employment
      • Use of infrared flashlights and effective ranges
      • Adaptation to weapons other than the carbine
      • Employment of separate light sources
      • Air-ground identification

Section XI: Summary of Conclusions and Recommendations
  1. The Snooperscope and Sniperscope are effective combat weapons that are employed primarily in perimeter defense against enemy night infiltration.
  2. The effectiveness of this equipment is determined largely by the combat conditions under which employed, being most suitable for jungle warfare.
  3. Apparently the security of the equipment has been maintained and there is no evidence of enemy use of similar devices.
  4. Training of operators and maintenance personnel requires a minimum period of four days and two weeks respectively. Radio repairmen are the best source of personnel for maintenance but it is possible to train men having less electrical backgrounds with sufficient training time.
  5. The average desired distribution of this equipment is about five hundred units per Infantry Division when operating under conditions such as experienced in the Okinawa Operation.
  6. Maintenance has been handled adequately.
  7. In equipping organizations in the future it is recommended that the T/O & E of the organizations listed below by augmented by fourth echelon Infrared Maintenance Repair Sections.
    • Infantry Regimental Service Company
    • Division Headquarters Company
    • Corps Headquarters Company
    • Army Headquarters Company
    A fifth echelon repair section is recommended for the Engineer Service Organization, T/O 5-5500.
  8. Present organizations which have been issued Snooperscopes and Sniperscopes do not require additional maintenance and spare parts kits in requisitioning additional equipment but should order only such additional individual parts as needed.
  9. Maintenance equipment should be reduced to a basis of one Sniperscope Maintenance Kit (consisting of two boxes; A and B) per forty Sniperscopes, representing quarterly requirements of spare parts.
  10. The snooperscope is favored by most operators as compared to the sniperscope.
  11. The Snooperscope and Sniperscope are effective without any mandatory modifications.
  12. The following improvements are recommended and would greatly enhance the effectiveness of the equipment.
      a. The light source should be positioned above the telescope on the sniperscope.
      b. Redesign of the main cable is necessary and its length should be increased approximately one foot.
      c. The general quality of telescope viewing tubes 1P25 should be improved and the variance between them reduced.
      d. Increased range of equipment is desired.
  13. The equipment should be made partially adaptable to other weapons.
  14. More rigid inspection of equipment by government and company inspectors and closer supervision in manufacture is recommended.
  15. Separate and more powerful infrared light sources should be designed and supplied on the basis of approximately three per Infantry Rifle Battalion
  16. Blackout driving equipment, if now available, would be desired on a minimum basis of six per Infantry Rifle Battalion.
End of Report

With experience and hindsight, it is easy to anticipate and predict much of what was encountered with the Snooperscopes and Sniperscopes by the troops who used them on Okinawa. This is particularly true when that experience and hindsight includes a comparison to the night vision technology of today. But the evolution and progress of the technology and experience gained the past 70+ years that has provided the hindsight were obviously non-existent when Allied troops landed on the beaches of Okinawa 01 Apr 1945. Those first two weeks of combat on Okinawa that included the use of the Snooperscopes and Sniperscopes were where the technology first met actual combat experience. The results started the evolution to what night vision devices are today.

A theme that has consistently repeated itself over time has been events that created a demand that often shortened the time and bypassed the normal protocols necessary for effective research & development, evaluations, manufacturing, and quality control. With the end results being handed to a soldier who receives/received minimal training before they were sent into combat with the equipment. This article has, in part, been authored so the reader can imagine what these troops encountered with the Top Secret bulky, heavy, quasi prototype voodoo technology that brought a logistical nightmare with it while fighting in one of the worst combat environments of WWII.

But those events and demands resulted in funding and efforts normally not possible after a war ends and during peacetime. While providing peacetime with the technology that would not have existed had it not been for the events and demands of a war. This theme obviously affects many different things, to include Sniperscopes and Snooperscopes.

Funding cuts and terminated contracts at the end of WWII initially stalled the progress and evolution of night vision devices. Subsequent limited funding slowly moved things forward but well short of what was needed when North Korea invaded South Korea in June 1950. It is a theme that repeated itself with the model M3 Sniperscopes.

Over the years, stories have been circulated regarding the use of the Sniperscopes, including combat on Saipan, Leyte, the Philippines, Luzon, and even Iwo Jima. With inference/assumption this use was during combat operations. The sources used for this report make it clear some locations such as Leyte and the Philippines were training exercises for Okinawa while the same training on Saipan included opportunities to use the equipment and gain first-hand experience with remaining enemy hold outs.

The mission objectives of the Engineer teams were focused on learning on a scale far greater than could be obtained by issuing one or two Sniperscopes or Snooperscopes on a limited basis. Which does not mean it didn’t happen, only that it was probably not something that would have been included in the reports by these teams.

Reports completed by the team assigned to the Southwest and South Pacific and/or the team assigned to China/India/Burma may include smaller actions given the limited quantities these teams had.

On paper Capt. Patterson’s team was assigned on temporary duty to the 6th Marines. From 01 Jul to 17 Jul 1945, they were listed as “Forward Echelon” at Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands, then changed to “Rear Echelon” at Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands 18 Jul to 31 Jul 1945 (18). They were deleted from the roll authority of a letter dated 14 Sep 1945 (18). After the war, he became a physicist for RCA Advanced Systems Planning in their Major Systems Division, working on ICBM projects (19).

The Model T3 Carbine on Okinawa

Regarding the model T3 carbines used with the Sniperscopes on Okinawa, they were first of two contracts received and manufactured by Inland Manufacturing, a Division of General Motors. The first contract has not been located.

A letter from the Subcommittee on Small Arms to the Ordnance Technical Committee on 5 Feb 1944 indicated the Corps of Engineers had already requested 750 T3 carbines with the carbines and related parts to be delivered by 1 Apr 1944 (20). The letter did not indicate the date the Engineers had made the request, but it was before the Subcommittee on Small Arms letter 5 Feb 1944. Given the dates above, it's estimated Inland T3 carbine production probably started at about the time Ordnance gave their final approval of the T3 on 16 Mar 1944. The quantity of 750 T3 carbines matched the total production run of 750 Model T120/M1 Sniperscopes. It’s not known if 750 T3 carbines were actually produced and delivered by Inland, or if they were delivered by or after the 1 Apr 1944 deadline.

Every Sniperscope present on Okinawa was mounted on a Model T3 Carbine. The adapter bracket that allowed for the Sniperscopes to be mounted to any model .30 cal. carbine first became available with the 1950 contract for the Model M2 Sniperscopes produced by Bell & Howell in cooperation with Cornell-Dubilier. The latter having acquired the Electronics Labs operations related to the Sniperscope and Snooperscope in 1948.

The report indicating 9 Sniperscopes were lost during an airdrop over Okinawa (17) did not indicate if they included their carbines, a date, location, or if they were lost in one drop versus during several drops. Ordnance losses from aerial drops included 1,525 cal. .30 carbines but did not indicate any T3 carbines. Given the Sniperscopes were a separate unit of issue than the snooperscopes, that included a T3 carbine, there is a good likelihood their T3’s were lost with them.

The Model M2 Sniperscope

The Engineer portion of the Sphinx Report in August 1945 indicated Model M2 Sniperscope production was scheduled to start 01 Aug 1945 with production anticipated at 1000 a month (16). An overview of the status of the U.S. night vision equipment developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers submitted to the British Admiralty in July 1945 indicated 1200 were being “rushed out by 01 Aug” with anticipated production of 1500 in September 1945 rising to 4000 a month (21). Even had 1200 been rushed out by 01 Aug, they would not have arrived in time for combat use during WWII. The actual number of M2 Sniperscopes produced and if contracts were canceled with the surrender of Japan is the subject of ongoing research.
  1. Operational Report on Infrared Equipment, by Captain Omar L. Patterson, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (30 Apr 1945)
  2. Engineers Board Report 908, Snooperscope & Sniperscope(30 Jan 1945)
  3. Major War Supply Contracts-Cumulative June 1940 through September 1945, Industrial Statistics Division, Civilian Production Administration (1946)
  4. Memorandum For The Commanding General, Army Service Forces, from the Asst. Chief of Staff, G-4 by order of the Secretary of War (25 Nov 1943), appendage to Infantry Board Report No. 1595, Infra-Red Equipment (Snooperscope and Sniperscope) (20 Apr 1944)
  5. Report of the New Developments Division as summarized in the Minutes, Meeting of the General Council 18 Sep 1944, 1944 Series, No. 36; Deputy Chief of Staff, War Department
  6. Letter from the Chief of Engineers to Capt. Omar L. Patterson (29 Sep 1944) included as an attachment in Source #1 above.
  7. Okinawa: The Last Battle, by Roy E. Appleman, James M. Burns, Russell A. Gugeler, and John Stevens (1948); United States Army in World War II, The War in the Pacific Series; U.S. Army Center of Military History
  8. Participation in the Okinawa operation by the United States Army Forces, Pacific Ocean Areas, April-June 1945; by Robert C. Richardson, U.S. Army HQ (1946) - Part 3 Tenth Army, Section III Organization and Training (G-3) p. 240
  9. Participation in the Okinawa operation by the United States Army Forces, Pacific Ocean Areas, April-June 1945; by Robert C. Richardson, U.S. Army HQ (1946) - Operational Report, Corps of Engineers, Central Pacific Base Command; p. 351-352 & p. 362
  10. Participation in the Okinawa operation by the United States Army Forces, Pacific Ocean Areas, April-June 1945; by Robert C. Richardson, U.S. Army HQ (1946) – Part 6 – South Pacific Base Command Section VI- Engineers
  11. Okinawa Operational Report 77th Infantry Division, Operation Iceberg (01 May 1945)
  12. Participation in the Okinawa operation by the United States Army Forces, Pacific Ocean Areas, April-June 1945; by Robert C. Richardson, U.S. Army HQ (1946) – Part 10 - Assistance rendered to the Navy & Marines
  13. Report on Use of Infra-red Equipment, Fleet Marine Force Pacific, Training Memorandum 51-45, extracts from reports, 1st Marine Division and 6th Marine Division on use of Infra-Red Equipment on Okinawa (18 Jul 1945)
  14. Special Action Report, Okinawa, Nansei-Shoto (1st Marine Division)
  15. The Battle for Okinawa, by Colonel Hiromichi Yahara (1 Jan 2002), ISBN-13: 978-0471180807
  16. Sphinx Project Report (Aug 1945), Engineers, Section V Night Vision Equipment, p. 315-323
  17. Tenth Army Action Report, Ryukyus Islands, Chapter 11, Section IV, p. 67-68
  18. Muster Roll of Officers and Enlisted Men of the U.S. Marine Corps, HQ, HQ & Service Battalion, III Amphibious Corps, In the Field, 1 Jul to 31 Jul 1945
  19. Courier-Post, Camden, NJ 13 Dec 1961, p. 21
  20. Ordnance Technical Committee item #22910 (5 Feb 1944)
  21. U.S. Army Infrared Devices; UK Scientific Research and Experiment Dept Admiralty - ADM 213 33 (Jul 1945); U.K. National Archives, Kews
Don Hillhouse
     For his earlier research and article in newsletter 368 (Nov 2011). His work provided the investigative leads that helped locate the documents he had referred to and the information they contain.

Jason Patrick, Historian's Office, Fort Leonard Wood, MO
     For his assistance, time, and efforts that ultimately located Engineer Board Report No. 908, Snooperscope and Sniperscope

Marty Black & Dan Pinto
     For their review of this article and their editing suggestions

With Special Thanks to:

Andrew Stolinski
Chief Researcher
Archival Research Group
P.O. Box 472
New Market, MD 21774
(240) 626-9270
Archival Research

This article has been prepared from information developed as part of an ongoing active research project into the history of the infrared scopes and equipment used with the U.S. Carbines. The research and development of this equipment was part of an ongoing effort involving various infrared devices by the U.S. War Department, U.S. Navy, and The National Research and Defense Committee using American scientists, universities, and colleges in cooperation with many private companies and continuing after WWII with the formation of the Dept. of Defense.

You can find further information on our research on the following links.

Forum Discussion Group
Web Pages (many still under construction as research continues)

Please consider sharing any information you may have on these infrared scopes, equipment, and other devices. We can be contacted by sending a private message to the person who posted this article or by joining our forum discussion where a number of people may be of assistance with whatever questions you may have or items you are looking to acquire and/or acquire information on.
The Carbine Collectors Club Copyright© 2020
This article and/or its images are the property of the author. They're not to be copied without prior written permission
(Title 17, Chapter 5, Section 501(a) U.S. Code)

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote W5USMC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 14 2020 at 11:39pm
Great read! Very in-depth and informative article. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote m1a1fan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 15 2020 at 6:33am
Fantastic article and impeccable research! Thanks for all of the work that must have been required to put it together.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote sling00 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 16 2020 at 4:43am
Originally posted by m1a1fan m1a1fan wrote:

Fantastic article and impeccable research! Thanks for all of the work that must have been required to put it together.
Hear hear!  Great historical research.
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