TM-E 30-451 Handbook on German Military Forces

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department Technical Manual, TM-E 30-451: Handbook on German Military Forces published in March 1945. — Figures and illustrations are not reproduced, see source details. — As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. — Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]



1. Instruments

a. GENERAL. In general the instruments used in the field by the engineers of the German Army are identical with our own, particularly their transits, theodolites, and surveyor's levels. The main differences occur in compasses and gap-measuring instruments.

b. GERMAN FIELD COMPASS (Marschkompass). (1) Description. The German field compass is a black, pocket-sized instrument. The housing is of aluminum-like metal. A brass outer ring is attached with a carrying handle. A hinged, linear, centimeter scale unfolds from the base of the compass housing. The letters MKZ(KZ) are marked on the body of the compass.

(2) Operation. The swinging of the magnetic needle can be stopped by pressing the damper button. When the destination is visible, open the cover and raise the mirror half way, so the magnetic needle can be seen clearly. Sight the point through the rear V sight and the front aperture at the base of the mirror. Hold steady until the point is in line with the eye, then with the free hand turn the azimuth circle until the magnetic needle falls on the magnetic declination mark. Read the azimuth from the dial. The German compass is numbered counter-clockwise, and the graduations are in mils. To simplify compass reading, the dial has been abbreviated so the last two zeros have been omitted; thus, 6,000 mils is shown as 60. The markings for directions are the same as our own, with the exception of East which is marked "O" for Ost. The adjustments for magnetic declination are marked directly on the azimuth dial; two luminous dots indicate 150 mils East and West.

c. NEW TYPE FIELD COMPASS (Marschkompass "A"). It is now known that a new type compass is in use in the German Army. This compass is numbered clockwise in mils.

d. GAP-MEASURING INSTRUMENT. This is a simple device to measure the width of streams and similar gaps. It is designed on the principle of similar right-angled triangles and consists of two parts: a fixed mirror and a measuring mirror.


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