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WWII 10x80 - 45° Flak Binocular



In 1936, Germany put out requests to optical companies to manufacture large observation binoculars to be easily used on land and at sea. The German optic firms of: Emil Busch, Moeller Wedel, and Ernst Leitz were in the running for the government contract that eventually developed a standard binocular for the German Army. Busch won the contract and in 1936 he began producing the big eye binoculars for the German Military. The 45 ° 10 X 80 Doppelfernrohr (double telescope) was manufactured from 1936 – 1945.

Production ran during WWII by other firms in Germany and occupied Poland as well. Those manufactured before WWII will show the Busch name, but starting in 1941, they have a three-letter secret code stamped on the side that identifies the manufacturer and army property number.


Here are known codes of WWII manufacturers you will see stamped on the 45 ° 10 X 80 binoculars:

· beh – E Leitz, Wetzlar

· dkl – Schneider, Bad Kreuznach

· cro – R. Fuess, Berlin Steglitz

· bpd – C. P. Goerz, Vienna

· eug – Optische Prazisions – Werke, Warsaw

· cxn – E. Busch, Rathenow


It is believed there are still 150,000 of these in existence largely because there were six manufacturers producing large numbers. While they came painted as standard issue, you can also find these as polished binoculars. The 10X80 – 45 degree were versatile in that they could be used on land as an anti-aircraft rangefinder and on ships to track incoming aircraft. You could also find them on top of German concrete towers (flak towers) in places such as Berlin.


Big eye military binoculars are essentially military weapons designed for defense and reconnaissance. The 45° angle of the ocular was welcomed by those who stood watch for hours at a time and allowed them to perform aerial observation and keep an eye on enemy troops on the ground. Aerial attacks were prominent during WWII so the three adjustable sun filters in the light path became extremely helpful and is easily adjusted with a knob that sits next to one eye piece. A military tactic is to fly in line with the sun, so cutting glare was important. For use in your home, this feature will help if your viewpoint is prone to have glare, such as an ocean horizon, or even observing a solar eclipse.


10 X 80 Flak binoculars are known for their huge 18mm eye piece lenses, which offers an unmatched field of view and bright vision and large 80 mm objective lenses. These unmatched lens features is what won Busch the military contract back in the 1936 and is what makes these binoculars stand out as an amazing high performance optic even today.


Available accessories for the 45 ° 10 X 80 WWII binoculars include:

· Adjustable transverse

· Adjustable eyepieces

· Lenses with hairline sights

· Rubber adjustable visor

· Shields

· Accessory rail to hold a brow support

· Open frame site

· Large exit pupils give exceptional light and visibility


Weighing in at nearly 12 pounds a sturdy constructed tripod is mandatory.

Some have reported that the 45 ° 10 X 80 WWII Flak binoculars were used on tanks, but this is not true. The angle of the eyepiece and the hefty design would not be beneficial to a tank commander. They were of strong design because they were used by a young community of armed service personnel during battle, which can prove to be hard on equipment.

While designed to withstand the rigors battlefield, now the 45 ° 10 X 80 WWII Flak binoculars are valued by designers as a piece of art. When placed in your home or office they take on a presence and become a historic conversation piece. They also give you the option to set up outside for clear, long distance viewing during the day, or detailed observation of the moon and stars at night.


Here are examples of two different flak binoculars that we have available now. Both fully restored by Us Navy Opticians.