Zielgerät 1229

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For the mythological being, see Vampire.

Picture of ZG 1229

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The Zielgerät 1229 (ZG 1229), also known in its code name Vampir, was an active infrared device developed for the Wehrmacht for the Sturmgewehr 44 assault rifle, intended primarily for night use.

Design[edit]

The ZG 1229 Vampir weighed in at 2.25 kilograms (about 5 lbs.) and was fitted with lugs on the StG 44 at C.G. Haenel at Suhl, the weapons production facility. The grenadier carrying this was known as a Nachtjäger (night-hunter). As well as the sight and infrared spotlight, there was a 13.5 kilogram (about 30 lbs.) wooden cased battery for the light, and a second battery fitted inside a gas mask container to power the image converter. This was all strapped to a Tragegestell 39 (pack frame 1939). The searchlight consisted of a conventional tungsten light source shining through a filter permitting only infrared light. It operated in the upper infrared (light) spectrum rather than in the lower infrared (heat) spectrum and was, therefore, not sensitive to body heat.

Use[edit]

Vampir gear was first used in combat in February 1945. However, small arms infrared device introduction took place in early 1944. 310 units were delivered to the Wehrmacht at the final stages of the war. Eastern Front veteran reports consist of snipers shooting at night with the aid of 'peculiar non-shining torches coupled with enormous optical sights' mounted on their rifles. Similar infrared gear was fitted both to MG34 and MG42 machine guns.

In popular culture[edit]

Much of the plot of Stephen Hunter's novel The Master Sniper revolves around the development and employment of the Vampir system. It is also referenced in Hunter's book Black Light. The video game Turning Point: Fall of Liberty has an alternate history Wehrmacht using the Vampir on a fictional Gewehr 47 sniper rifle. While it does allow for night vision, it also can be seen by other Vampir users thanks to its active nature.

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