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Answering the Whatziss

 Sean got it.  Collapseable trench periscope.  In this case Australian, WWII.  It normally came with either a leather or canvas cover (suitable for mounting on your kit belts), but this one lost his somewhere along the way.

The Castle's Australian expandable trench periscope

Click here for a picture of the periscope expanded, and click here for a very bad picture of what you can see through it.

In fact, a much better way to see it in action is to view the clip (thoughtfully provided by Heath) from the Canadian-made movie Passchendaele - where you can watch one do its job and die for its owner...  

4 Comments

That's a very elegant and clever gadget. It has everything it needs to do its job and nothing extra.
 
 And now I have a new movie on my "to watch" list !  There is a free copy of Passchendaele on the interwebs but it has been overdubbed in slovak or polish or some other Euro language.  
 
Robust, simple and functional.  Works better than John's camera.  There's not much to not like.
 
Robert Graves had a funny periscope story in "Goodbye to All That."  His Mom bought him a really spiffy trench periscope, of the tubular, telescoping variety. He was using it one day when some lucky, or very good, German sniper drilled it right through the objective lens.  He sent it home as a souvenir, but Mom took it back to the store and got them to replace it with a new one, no charge.  Sounds like my Mom. That was the same Mom who carefully soaked the blood out of his uniform tunic and put on two neat patches, one in the front where the fragment went in, and one on the back where it came out. Hey, waste not, want not.