Soviet prewar and war time trench periscopes

Detailed overview of TR and TR-1 periscopes, that were accepted to service in 1930’s

TR-1 periscope

TR-1 periscopes are hermetically sealed. Have no dioptrical settings. Magnification – 4x.  Rarest type of soviet trench periscope. There is unconfirmed information, that it was copied from japanese trench periscope.Currently 1938-1942 produced examples are known to me.

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TR and TR-1 periscopes

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TR-1 periscope in use (click to enlarge)


TR periscope

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Most well known and common type is TR periscope.  Usually it is called TR-4 periscope, but correct name is TR. 4x is size of magnification. Production period – end of 30′ and untill end of 40’s.  Earliest observed example is 1938 dated, latest – 1948.  All periscopes have rangefinding reticles.

Rangefinding reticle measurments


They were produced by 2 factories

First manufacturer is plant NKV № 355 \ Zagorsk optical-mechanical factory

Periscopes produced by this factory are observed  with 1938-1948 dates (currently unconfirmed information about production in 1937), but production was continued after 1948, those periscopes do not have dates.

1938 periscope


1939 periscope


1940 periscope

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1941 periscope


1942 periscope


1943 periscope

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1944 periscope

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1945 periscope

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1946 periscope

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1947 periscope


Not dated examples (post 1948)


Early periscopes (1938-1940) are different in construction from later examples. Eyepiece block in them can be rotated (close – З mark at the tube\open – O mark at the tube), when it closed objective is closed by metal plate. They also have rubber eyepiece, and another construction of the top part.

Early periscope


Early periscope at the right. Note З (closed) mark


Closed and open position

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Difference in the top part between early (3 right periscopes) and late examples


Early periscopes in use (click to enlarge)

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Late eyepiece block


Late periscopes in use (click to enlarge)

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Second manufacturer is plant NKVD № 3 \Plant NKAP № 296 (1940-1941) Kharkov\ Plant NKAP № 296 (1942)  Berdsk DSC_9643

Production period – 1940-1942. Periscopes produced by this fatory can be marked with 1940, 1941, 1942 dates (pictures below), or not dated (picture above).

1940 periscope


1941 periscope


1942 periscope


1940 periscopes were early construction, with rotating tube, construction was identical to periscopes mabufactured by ZOMZ. 1941-1942 periscopes (late construction), produced by this factory have some difference from ZOMZ periscopes. Late type have rounded top end, and another knurl at the eyepice ring. Periscopes, produced by this factory, are much less common, DSC_9642


Refurbed TR periscopes

Almost all periscopes, that are available at the marked, passed through postwar Soviet refurb programm. Tubes were repainted, damaged parts were replaced.  In most cases such periscopes have refrub marks, in some rare cases they do not have them. We can observe periscopes that do not have no logos of 2 factories that produse them. Those periscopes were heavily refurbed at arsenals, and those are arsenal logos. 7429920 7429982

Training periscopes

Some periscopes that were used for training purposes, were marked with УЧ letters (from russian – Учебный), and painted with black paint




Origanlly untill 1944 and post 1946 periscopes were painted to light green color. It is similar to color in which periscopes were repainted during postwar refurb.

Original paint color

7772142 SONY DSC   In 1944-1946 periscopes were painted to dark green color

Original paint color in 1944-1946


TR cases

Prewar and wartime cases were hard shell, postwar- softshell from canvas

Hardshell cases

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Soft shell cases appeared in late war period (usually were replaced during refurb)


TR-8 periscope

There is a number posts at forums about beginning of production of new model, TR-8 in 1945. This is is not correct. Only few examples were produced for tests, and they looked another way than serial examples

 Early TR-8 periscopeТР_8

There is a number of periscopes with 1945, or even 1941 stamp at the tube, but this is not a production year


*Pictures used in this post were taken from open sources and other resources


3 thoughts on “Soviet prewar and war time trench periscopes

  1. Please, would you be so kind to explain how the rangefinder reticle works?
    With the picture Iam not able to understand it.
    Thank you.

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