Tabby Night Vision

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by willers, Oct 5, 2019.

  1. willers

    willers Member

    Tabby Night Vision
    I was looking through the history of the Westminster Dragoons the other day whilst ready a fellow members posts on this this division ... and i came across the following ... "As a diversion came the arrival of "Tabby", the secret infra-red lights that enabled tank drivers, with special driving binoculars to run by night without visible l]ghts." in relation to Operation Plunder ( the Westminster Dragoons in North West Europe 1944 p 42)
    it left me wondering
    a) is this perhaps a little know fact that we had night vision technology at this stage of the war
    b) was this solely a British application and another of the UKs scientific / technological advances made during the course of war ... (ignoring the any German equivalents which may have existed at this time knowingly or unknowingly to the Allies)
    c) what actually was the equipment like and how advanced was it as a precursor to the modern equivalent
    d) how commonly was it used or made available
    p.s i wanted to post it as a separate topic but could not seem to get it to work so if any member feels it is of interest and worth "bumping up" please do so
  2. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    sorted that for you

    and a Tag
    night vision | WW2Talk
  3. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

  4. willers

    willers Member

  5. willers

    willers Member

  6. Listy

    Listy Member

    They stuck Tabby on a bulldozer as well:

    There was also trials with road driving, and the use of reflectors to mark road ways.

    For denoting a turn you'd have a triangle of them, with a reflector at each of the points, pointing in the direction of the turn.

    British interest seems to have entirely been in logistical matters, using the cover of darkness to enable near front-line movements. Which sounds entirely sensible, as you'll not be giving this kit to the Infantry, so why fight when your infantry are blind and confused?

    I've picked up a couple of documents on the subject, I keep meaning to do a good detailed look at it, but time keeps running out, and its on my list of things to do.
    willers and von Poop like this.
  7. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    For anyone wondering what it looks like (set for sale on Ebay). Maybe good to add: I have no relation with seller :unsure:.

    Attached Files:

  8. ceolredmonger

    ceolredmonger Member

    There were all manner of night fighting aids developed however we held them back. Some years ago I had the honour of interviewing, separately, a couple of former 49 RTR Grant CDL crew. Their stories tallied and I learned a lot. From experience in the Western Desert, The British Army put a huge effort into a night fighting force and came up with all manner of innovations - technological and relating to human performance at night.

    This was extremely hush-hush as Monty had the idea (in his usual style) that he would have one huge night operation which would crack open the German lines and lead to a big breakthrough. All night fighting equipment and techniques were concentrated on and restricted to these specialists and subject to the highest security. By the middle of the Normandy battles it became obvious that the circumstances weren't going to line up and keeping such highly trained troops and technicians in a state of perpetual readiness was not going to work. Equally the kit and skills held back could have been of more general use. Moral of the troops involved was falling and small mutinies were taking place - both my subjects were involved in lobbying for transfers. Both my subjects were NCOs and were transferred as battle replacements with loss of a stripe. Their night operation skills were appreciated by their new Regiments and stripes back up very soon.

    Starting with begrudging use of 'Monty's Moonlight' for OP. Jupiter in July 44, night fighting techniques were trickled down to general use. War diaries record far more non-daylight operations and operational start times than before. Tabby became operational in August/September 44 initially for troops not intended to pass across to enemy lines - hence Westminster Dragoons minesweepers and Engineers facilitating crossing into an operational area. Coincidentally the Germans began using their specialists about the same time.
  9. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    IR was no great secret in WW2. All nations had versions but only the Germans were desperate enough to try and get it into the front line as a battlefield weapon. It was too fragile for that and using it as a tank sight meant that after blast of the first round it was out of alignment.
    This is pre-war Soviet night-driving example. Very Heath-Robinson.

    Soviet IR  8567.jpg
    Soviet IR WW2 ,89.jpg
    Soviet Russian IR BT-7-IR B.jpg
    IR sights

    Soviet IR .jpg

    Soviet IR link
    First Russian night vision goggles — Encyclopedia of safety
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
    willers likes this.
  10. Tolbooth

    Tolbooth Patron Patron

    For those of you wishing to fit TABBY to your LVT;

    From '79th Armoured Division Final Report, July 1945'
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2019
    ceolredmonger, Juha and willers like this.
  11. Tolbooth

    Tolbooth Patron Patron

    And from the same report instructions on TABBYs use;
    Juha and willers like this.
  12. willers

    willers Member

    in 8RBs post interesting that in photo 3 the equipment label is 6/5/44

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