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Snooperscope and Sniperscope Overview

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    Posted: Nov 11 2017 at 6:12am

November 2017-B

Snooperscope and Sniperscope

A brief overview


      
 
 


In 1927 Philo Farnsworth invented the first totally electronic working image pickup device (video camera tube) which was called an “image dissector”. Farnsworth also developed the "image oscillite", a cathode ray tube (television tube) that displayed the images captured by the image dissector. He created the first fully functional and complete all electronic television system. Out of this technology the infrared image tube was born. The military quickly saw the benefits of such a device for seeing in darkness.

Use of the night vision scope had many possibilities. This device, employing invisible light, made it possible for U. S. Infantrymen and Marines to locate enemy troops in total darkness. This seemingly impossible feat at the time was accomplished by means of an infrared light beam and an electronically operated telescopic sight which together convert an invisible image into a clearly discernible picture. This infrared instrument was used in two different ways, the specific application being more or less indicated by the name applied to each unit, being the Sniperscope and the Snooperscope.








The Sniperscope was mounted on a .30 caliber Model T3 carbine and was used to locate and target the enemy. Under infrared radiation the target became visible, enabling the sniper to fire on a target or enemy who had the misfortune to be in the area scanned by the scope. Used with tracers the scope and carbine was also used as a target designator for troops with no infrared viewing device.

Picture at left from a 1946 Army Recruiting poster touting “Even Kings of the Jungles can't see much more than 20 feet on a pitch black night. And yet you can see them from a far greater distances, using a beam of light so strange as to tax the imagination.….so valuable that time alone will calculate its services to humanity.”













The infrared light source of the device was initially mounted below the stock of the carbine. The light below the rifle or scope meant that the user would have to rise above cover more then desirable to have the light source clear the brush or whatever the user was utilizing for cover. A mount was later designed so that the light source could be mounted on top of the scope body.






The infrared source was basically a spot light unit. The unit used an incandescent bulb similar to vehicle headlights of the time, however it was specially designed to spread the light in a more specific pattern. The glass face of the unit, the filter, looks like it is painted black. The filter is designed to block most or all of the visible portion of the light emitted from the bulb and only let the infrared light waves to pass through the filter.



The other integral part of the instrument, the telescope, is mounted on top of the T3 carbine. The entire unit, both infrared source and telescope, is connected by means of a cable conductor to a small power supply which is carried on the sniper's back in a canvas case. The field operation of the Sniperscope is fairly simple. A soldier armed with a carbine equipped with this device had only to aim in the general direction of the target or enemy, power up the unit and sight through the telescope. He then moves the weapon back and forth across the field like an invisible searchlight until the target or enemy is sighted. Through the Sniperscope the enemy appears to be spotlighted in a light beam of greenish hue. Through the telescope all objects would appear in various shades of green regardless of their natural color.



The Snooperscope is similar to the Sniperscope but the unit is hand held. The telescopic device is mounted on a hand grip with the infrared light unit mounted directly below the telescope. Note the mount on telescope body used to locate the light source on top.

The Snooperscope was powered by the same portable power supply carried on the back.



The Snooperscope was used in conjunction with the Sniperscope to aid direct gun fire by cross illumination. This would be effective in reducing glare from vegetation and the discovering of concealed objects and personal. The Snooperscope was also used on night patrols. Scouts could go out in pairs with Snooperscopes using cross illumination to aid in observation. The light and scope were also used for invisible signaling. Users could use Morse code to transmit messages by manipulating the infrared light unit switch located on the grip.

The Snooperscope was initially separate from the Sniperscope. With later Sniperscope models the scope and light could be removed from the carbine and mounted on a handle for use as a Snooperscope.A mounting bar was later introduced that enabled the scope and light to be attached to any M1 or M2 carbine with minimal modification. This eliminated the need for the unique T3 carbine receivers which were designed specifically for use with a scope.

How it Works

The operating principle of this "night vision" is a combination of electronics and optics. It depends on a photo tube with associated filters to cut out visible light and transmit only the infrared portion of the spectrum. The telescope receives reflected invisible infrared images at the front end and converts this radiation into visible images which are received at the eyepiece.



For the eye to view the scene illuminated by infrared light, a specially constructed electronic image tube is used. It operates as a combination of a image dissector and an image oscillite tube, in layman's terms a video camera tube and mini television screen in one tube. The optical system projects the incoming infrared radiation upon a photo cathode in the image camera end of the tube. As this screen is sensitive to the infrared light, it emits electrons upon being exposed to such radiation (a photo physical reaction).

The electrons form an electronic image of the scene illuminated by the infrared, pass through a series of electrodes and strike a fluorescent screen in the television screen section of the tube. The human eye can then see a greenish picture of the original scene. The electron lens and electrodes increase the sensitivity of the tube. This produces a picture on the fluorescent screen that is brighter with greater definition.



Picture below showing a jungle scene.



Picture below shows the same scene as viewed by the naked eye during the night hours.



Picture below shows the same scene as viewed through the Sniperscope or Snooperscope.



The figures which appear white in the picture actually have a greenish cast when viewed by the sniper. Clarity of details enables the user to score direct hit.

Resources

I do hope you enjoyed this brief overview of the Sniperscopes and the Snooperscopes. Some of this information was obtained from scientific articles and technical manuals on the subject. We would love to hear about and exchange any information on any of these scopes that you own or have seen. Please feel free to comment below or contact us.
-Dan

Request for Assistance

Our research project needs your help. If you own or know someone who owns infrared equipment and/or documents related to the infrared scopes used on the U.S. .30 caliber carbines please consider sharing whatever information you have to help reconstruct this history.

We have two active survey's requesting basic information. Both are available as an online survey form with the option of a hard copy to scan and submit or mail for those who prefer it. Or simply e-mail us your photos and we'll do the survey for you. We also have a discussion forum still in its infancy.


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As the research progresses in the upcoming months and years more information will be shared on the discussion forum and with additional reports such as this one. Links to web pages for each of the scope models will be added to the Model T3/M3 web page now under construction.

As most owners know the research of the history of these scopes and their equipment has been long overdue. This is no small endeavor with all being done by volunteers of The Carbine Collector's Club on their own time and at their own costs. For the history to be shared with all at no cost to anyone.

Email questions or photos to


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote m1a1fan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 25 2017 at 6:11am
Thanks for posting this article. Seems like such a complicated device, it's great to see an explanation of how it works. There are two of these for sale in an upcoming auction.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote m1a1fan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 10 2017 at 10:05am
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