Anatomy of the Spitfire Cockpit

Spitfire Site

Here’s the pilot’s view of through the gunsight in operation. Double ring projections come from the fact that the sunshield glass plate is extended, ...

Anatomy of the Spitfire Cockpit

Here’s the pilot’s view of through the gunsight in operation. Double ring projections come from the fact that the sunshield glass plate is extended, producing the additional (upper) image. The pilot would use the lower ring for sighting.

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By Enrique Marchesi-Herce  |  2014-05-24 at 00:07  |  permalink

Hello there ! I wonder if someone can help me. I have recently bought a Mark 1 gun sight. The lower dial reads ” BASE FEET” and the range goes from about 35 to 100. I believe that it is the wing span of the foe´s type of aircraft and if the pilot set, say, 35 feet it meant that the wing span of a Me 109 ( about 35 ft ) would be just touching the luminous circle with its wing tips. But the circle expanded or became smaller depending on the distance set on the other disc “YARDS”, which ranged from 150 to about 600.
However, no matter which disc I move ( FEET or YARDS) the size of the luminous circle remains exactly the same. I suppose there is something wrong with its optics. Or is it normal ? Please advise ! If there is something wrong I´ll take it to a photo camera shop for them to have a look at the lenses ( no experts on gun sights around,as far as I know !)

Thank you so much for your advise !
E.

By Tim  |  2016-10-07 at 11:45  |  permalink

Hi,
I believe that it’s the horizontal lines that move further apart with increasing wingspan and decreasing range settings. The ring on the Mk 1 stays the same size.

By Dave  |  2017-08-23 at 01:59  |  permalink

Tim is correct. The horizontal bars of the reticle move laterally such that their innermost ends will bracket a wingspan of “base feet” at “yards” range. It would be useful for ranging the target to maximise weight of fire. I expect that in general the range might be set to the gun convergence distance.

By Harry  |  2018-10-06 at 21:53  |  permalink

The size of the circle does not change. It is the 20 degrees angle off circle. If a target crossed in front of you at 20 degrees angle to your nose you had to put it on the circle to allow for enough deflection. As the angle off decreased then you had to put the target proportionally closer to the central dot. There were posters issued showing silhouettes of enemy aircraft at different angles off for pilots to memorise and little workbooks with acetate gunsights so pilots could practice where to place an enemy on the sight.

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