What Company Built Rangefinders For the Wehrmacht? – Beginner’s Guide with FAQs & More

If you are someone who’s interested in rangefinders and their technology, you may have come across the name Wehrmacht.

Let’s get started and find out about Wehrmacht.

What Company Built Rangefinders for the Wehrmacht?

Companies like Emil Busch, Ernst Leitz, Hensoldt, and Carl Zeiss were famous for producing precision optical instruments like microscopes long before World War II.

Not surprisingly, the Wehrmacht was able to enjoy an edge in technology when it came to observing enemy movements.


The Wehrmacht was the armed forces of the German Army from 1935 – 1945. It consisted of the Heer (army), the Kriegsmarine (navy), and the Luftwaffe (air force).


During most of the 20th century, the optic business was heavily tied to Germany. The German companies were very good at making lenses and other optical products, but they also had a strong interest in military optics and their own government-funded research programs.

The Germans made some great lenses during this period, including the Zeiss Planar series of wide-angle primes (and many others), as well as excellent zoom designs like the Tessar.

Wehrmacht Leica

For most of the twentieth century, the photographic industry was dominated by German companies. Besides the camera and lens, Germany was also linked to a whole bunch of atrocities committed by its own governments and the Nazis.

It’s a subject that is very sensitive for a lot of people, but unfortunately, it’s becoming more of a discussion point among extremist groups in the U.S. and other parts of the world.

The Leica camera has a strong connection to Nazi Germany, but the company’s founder, Ernst Leitz II did not support Hitler’s regime. Before World War II, Leitz secretly trained and promoted Jewish employees from his factory in the town of Wetzlar into high-level management positions.

They may be assigned to sales trips to New York and other western countries, which would free them from future atrocities.

Carl Zeiss Rangefinders

The Carl Zeiss Rangefinder is a binocular microscope, which was developed by Carl Zeiss Jena in the early 20th century.

It was one of the first microscopes to be equipped with an automatic focusing system and it has been used for research purposes since its introduction.


Carl Zeiss Jena invented the first autofocus microscope in 1892. This device was based upon the principle of the autostereoscopic eyepiece developed by Hermann von Helmholtz in 1851. With this technology, people could watch objects without moving their eyes.

The invention of the autofocus mechanism allowed scientists and engineers to examine things at high magnification with great precision. Autofocus microscopy has also been applied in medical science, where they are used for surgical purposes.

what company built rangefinders for the wehrmacht

What Company Built Rangefinders For the Wehrmacht?

Other German Optical Companies


Leica was founded in Germany in 1842 by Carl Leitz. They made their first camera in the early 1900s and they used interchangeable lens technology.

By the mid-1930s, Leica was well known for its high-end optical equipment. They then started making binoculars and microscopy equipment.

Leica makes some of the best optical gear out there. They’ve appeared in movies, TV, and music videos.

Wehrmacht Leica


Founded in 1798 in JENA, Germany, Carl Zeiss developed the first microscope objective lenses.

Later he invented the refracting telescope, which was used by astronomers to study stars. His company continued to manufacture high-precision optical devices. Today, Zeiss produces high-end optics.

The Zeiss brand name is a registered trademark of Zeiss AG and is licensed to other companies.

Coincidence Rangefinder

A coincident rangefinder or coincident telemeter allows an operator to determine the distances to objects by using mechanical and optical methods.

There are three types of split-image telemeters

  • split-image telemetry
  • inverted image telemetry
  • double-image telemetry.

Coincidence ranges were used by gunners to determine when they could safely open up their cannons without hitting each other. They were also used by coincidence camera manufacturers.

Stereoscopic Telemeter

Stereoscopy is used for measuring distances using a device called a stereoscope. It consists of two eyepieces and a prism. The two images from each eye are combined into one image by the prism.


A telescope consists of a long tubular body with a forward-facing objective lens at each end and a viewer eyepiece in the middle.

Two prisms that, when aligned, cause no distortion of the image, are placed inside the optical system of one of the two objectives.


Military Purposes

Optical rangefinders that use this principle, while applicable for various uses, were widely employed for military applications, such as measuring the range of a target, and for photography, allowing focus on subjects by adjusting the focus.


  1. A coincidence range finder uses one eyepiece.
  2. Light from the target enters through two small holes at either end of the rangefinder.
  3. Between the two optical bars, the incident beams are reflected to the center by a penta­prisms.
  4. Ideally, an optical fiber should be made out of a material with a low coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) so that its optical path remains constant regardless of fluctuations in ambient temperatures.
  5. A telescope uses refraction to focus light from distant objects onto the eyepiece.
  6. One arm of the telescope has a compensator that tilts the incoming light so that the two beams enter the telescope at the same angles.
  7. At this point, the images are considered coincidental. The lens angle determines its range to the subject by simply triangulating.


Germany was involved in a lot of atrocities during World War II. However, its progress in the optical sector was good. 

The German government had started to build up an optics industry in the early 20th century and by the end of the war, Germany produced more than half of all-optical equipment used by the armed forces.

We hope that now you have all the information you need.

Feel free to comment down below for any questions.


  • John Moses

    John is the Editor in Chief here at The Outdoor Stores. His area of expertise ensures that there is no one better to suggest which rifles are most suitable for your hunting experience. He is also available for you to contact him personally to discuss the types of animals you want to hunt and the terrain you will be hunting on. Feel free to read his posts for expert opinion on Rifles, Scopes, Rangefinders, Bonoculars and Monoculars.

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