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R&J Beck Ltd - Experimental Dial Sight & Mount.


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This Dial Sight is a complete mystery as to what gun it was designed for.  The head is marked:
D.S.. EXP No 7

It folds together to sit in its fully fitted oak case.  The case is stamped faintly on the lid No1 & various components are similarly marked.  Looking at the layout of the sight & mount & the position of the sight clinometer it appears that the layer is positioned on the left of the gun facing in towards the breech/barrel rather than the conventional forward facing position.  The clinometer dated 1944 is a conventional MK IV Sight clinometer on which the scale has been recessed & modified to read elevation only (10 -  50 degrees), hence no provision for depression.  The large slipping scale micrometer  is loosened by using a clamp  & the main slipping scale under the head by a knurled ring above it.  All scales are in degrees.  There are ‘open’ sights on the right hand side of the head, but these are enclosed by glass covers front & back.  On the ‘layer’ side of the sight there are two light fittings encompassed in a ‘Y’ shaped housing.  The mount is secured to the gun using a clamp.  The view through the eyepiece is perfect with simple cross hairs.  many of the bolts have hex heads which leads me to believe it’s post WWII.  R & J Beck we’re in business until 1968, so it’s prior to that.  Also, it has to be prior to the RA adopting mils.  Whatever way you look at it this is a very unconventional sight!  I have a lot of research to do on this which I suspect will take some time.  If anyone can provide any information or thoughts about it I’d be very grateful.  As  of today I have no idea, but I love researching one off experimental artillery optics.  I think this will be a challenge similar to the FV3802 sight carrier I researched earlier this year. 














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I can find no literature on this sight, if there was an EMER it would be in EMER INSTRUMENTS AND SEARCHLIGHTS B 400-550 but all these sections are allocated to other instruments.

B 432-439, with references back to 1942, covers SD No.9 in some detail with lots of diagrams & a full description. It seems to have been the replacement for No.7A, 7B & 7C in that it was used in a similar way using the same carriages & carriers.

There are several references to No.7 and its similarity, but there were many internal changes to overcome "manufacturing difficulties".

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Hi Clive, thanks for your info!  This is an odd one to be sure, it bears no similarities to any of the MK’s of No7’s whatsoever.  It appears to be conceptually entirely different.  This certainly wouldn’t fit any standard artillery piece that was/has been in service.  It appears to never have been taken into service as it doesn’t carry a broad arrow at all.  To produce the sight & it’s mount as a single unit is something I haven’t seen, as indeed is the idea that the layer would need to be facing the gun & not facing forward.  This is borne out by the sight clinometer being directly in front of the layer actually on the mount.  I thought it might be an experimental unit for the Garrinton gun, but seems a lot different.

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  • 3 weeks later...

A bit of an update on this sight.  What I thought was a wing nut to attach an earth braid for the sight illumination to was in fact incorrect.  When loosened it slackens off a clamp in the mortise allowing the dial sight to be removed from the mount.  At the bottom of the dial sight, once removed, a battery box was revealed.  This appears to take a none standard dry cell just a bit thinner than an AAA battery. On the top of the sight is a spring loaded push button that when held in would illuminate the graticule & the micrometers.  It also would illuminate a blue light positioned above the front glass on the sight head.  To date, apart from enquiring on this site I have asked Royal Armouries at Fort Nelson if they can throw any light on it, but they drew a blank.  I also approached the RA Historical Trust who in turn have passed it on to the RA Museum.  I’ve not had any response from them yet.  Another avenue has been the tank museum as there’s a faint possibility the sight may have been developed for tank use in an ad hoc Artillery role if required.  This would be in the same vein as the Royal Marines Centaur tanks that were fitted with No11 Dial sights to fulfil this role on D Day.




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