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Introduction and info request

Discussion in 'Other Militaria' started by LippyP, Aug 26, 2008.

  1. LippyP

    LippyP Member

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    Hi, just wanted to introduce myself, I've been collecting WWII militaria for a few years now although I've had bits and pieces since I was a kid, I guess I grew up on a diet of Airfix models and commando comics so it blossomed from there. My first real exciting find as a kid was a .30 cal shell case found on Utah beach on holiday. I could kick myself for the stuff I owned and got rid of over the years, back in the days when most army surplus and junk shops had WWII battledress items for literally a couple of quid.

    The bug bit again a few years back and I've been slowly collecting, for me the joy is in discovering stuff rather than just going out and buying it from a dealer. I'm fortunate to have a second home in France now so I get some great opportunities to pick stuff up at flea markets etc although again I've missed stuff through lack of knowledge and could have kicked myself afterwards when I looking stuff up to notice something I passed over. I guess its all a learning curve.

    I've just got back with a couple of bits and bobs, a decent WWII era French Adrian helmet complete with Khaki paint and an unidentified case for something and this is where I need your help.

    I'm pretty sure it is WWII probably british military although I may be wide of the mark as I can't find any markings on it. Its a cylindrical case, made of leather, some kind of fibreboard. It measures 39" long (about a metre) is brown and looks like it was intended to carry something tubular and hollow as it has a leather cushion inside the lid that looks like its designed to slip inside something. In the middle of this cushion is what looks to be a tin but its missing a lid as theres a hinge and catch. It has two strange steel clad wooden blocks concealed under leather covers on the side that look like mounts of some kind and various straps, buckles and D-rings. Ive attached some pictures below, I was thinking maybe mortar as the bore is about 4.5" but it seems a little short as the British 4.2" mortar was 68" long. Maybe it was a case for some kind of optics, gun sight maybe?

    This was picked up in south west France in an area of very heavy resistance activity, on the line of march of the SS Das Reich division from their base in Montauban to the D Day landings (Via Oradour Sur Glane).

    Any ideas welcomed.

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  2. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    Hello and welcome to the forum. Sorry, I can't help you with identifying that item but I know you will get help soon. We do have a lot of knowledgable Rogues here, experts in their own fields. Happy posting
     
  3. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Looks like it could be a map case or somekind of optics carrying case. That's as far as I can go in it.
     
  4. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    I was thinking of the optics case.
     
  5. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Hi Ike, me too because of the leather inside which would keep the contents from sliding around and getting damaged.
     
  6. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    I'm wondering if this could be a case for the 88mm Flak Range Finder but can't seem to find any pics
     
  7. jagdpanther44

    jagdpanther44 Battlefield wanderer

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    I'm inclined to go with the range finder/optics case theory, but I'm unsure if it's German?

    Most german range finders came in wooden crates or leather/canvas wrap around covers which were secured by buckles and straps.

    The little buckled leather flap has me intrigued...:confused:

    LippyP, are there any markings on the case?
     
  8. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    I will show this to an expert friend this afternoon. It could be British, except that the only British activity in the area was parachute droppings to the Resistance. If there was glass in there I doubt this would be the case . Therefore I will see if it could have been French , or British recuperated by the French. I"ll be back tonight, hopefully with some info.
     
  9. LippyP

    LippyP Member

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    Thanks guys. I was told that it was a case for a "rocket launcher" and was British WWII but I took that with a pinch of salt. The colours suggest British or possibly French rather than German or American. This was found in the north of The Lot and literally a mile or so from my house is a monument to the Resistance activities in the area which included a phewnomonal amount of air drops of people and equipment to the Maquis to basically supply the whole of south-west France.

    I can find no markings at all on the case, not even the usual crows-foot/arrowhead. The little flap covering the block looks like some kind of mount as next to it as a square brass loop with a strap that buckles through it and then two D rings. I may be totally wide of the mark and its some civilian case for surveying equipment but it looks military, of course it may even be Great War as I still see lots of WWI stuff around.
     
  10. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    It's not for the PIAT.

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  11. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    After further analysis by my collector friend I confirm this is a case for an optic device. Check the protecting lids for instance. The handles and careful crafting would in no way be justified for a shell or any other weapon or amno. This is an officer item that was meant to be carried along . It is very likely British, but this has yet to be confirmed.
     
  12. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    It certainly is an optics case, as has been said above. This is unscientific I'm afraid, but somehow it has more of a 'WW1-look' than a 'WWII-look', but I'm only guessing....:confused:...and guessing even more, could it be for a telescope ?

    These were popular among officers in the trenches, and were sometimes privately-purchased, which could account for the lack of markings. But again, I stress that I'm guessing - don't take this as definitive !
     
  13. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    It's a certainly a hand made item for an officer. No one would bother to make such a nice stitched and leather cylinder for one signle use. It's someting that was carried around by the same Officer. The crafting could indeed stem from WWI , I hadn't thought about that option.
     
  14. LippyP

    LippyP Member

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    Its only the straps that are leather, the main body is some kind of hessian covered fibreboard, held together at the seams with brass rivets. The straps are leather and the buckles and fittings solid brass. It certainly might be WWI or something from the inter-war years as I know much of WWII equipment was webbing and compressed cardboard but its very well made and doesn't look like a one off to me.

    Its also far to large to be something you'd carry around as a personal item, its a metre long and 14cm in diameter (which is at least the right length to fit an 88mm Flak range finder in!). The metal blocks under the covers have marks on them where its either been mounted on something or something has been attached to it. When you look inside it you can see that there is a metal plate at the base with a cross shaped mark rubbed in by whatever was stored in it. It looks to me like something that maybe you'd slot into a base and turn to lock. I've taken a picture of it below. The lid obviously had a small circular storage tin in the middle of the cushion but the lid is missing so maybe a container for spare parts and the cushion looks to me like its designed to slide inside a tube and its certainly not soft enough to protect a lense as its rigid.

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  15. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Officers would carry this around in vehicles. They wouldn't walk with it for long distances. It may not be a private item, but certainly not to be used by everybody (fragile, expensive item) . The fact that there are no name markings could mean it was shared among several officers. The detail of the lid confirms that his was a protectection device for some kind of lense.
     
  16. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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