Rudolf Gundlach - inventor of tank periscope



Rudolf Gundlach (1894-1957)

was a Polish engineer, inventor and tank designer. He headed the design division of the Armored Weapons Development Office (Biuro Badań Technicznych Broni Pancernych). He held the military rank of major in the Corps of Engineers of the Polish Army.

He was the chief designer of the Ursus wz. 29 armored car and supervised design work for the 7TP light tank and the 10TP fast tank prototype.

Gundlach Rotary Periscope

Gundlach periscope.
He is famous for his invention of the Gundlach Rotary Periscope (Polish: Peryskop obrotowy Gundlacha), patented in 1936, which made possible 360° vision. The periscope enabled an observer (e.g., the tank commander) to look forward (upper panel of the picture) or backward (lower panel) without moving his seat. Since it greatly increased the comfort of observer and widened the field of view, the new periscope design was used in virtually every tank built after 1940.

It was first implemented in TKS and 7TP Polish tanks. As a part of Polish-British pre-war military cooperation, the patent was sold to Vickers-Armstrong. It was produced as Vickers Tank Periscope MK.IV (pictured), and built into all British tanks (such as Crusader, Churchill, Valentine, Cromwell). After the fall of Poland, Germany, USSR and Romania captured equipment, allowing them to copy the invention. In the USSR, the Gundlach periscope was known as MK-4 and implemented in all tanks (including the T-34 and T-70). All Axis tanks and APC (including tanks of Italy, Romania, Hungary, Finland and Japan) were equipped or retro-fitted with this periscope until 1941. The technology was later transferred to the USA and implemented as the M6 periscope in all US tanks (M3/M5 Stuart, M4 Sherman and others). After the Second World War the technology was adopted thorough the whole world.

there are still in use :)
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