A Way To Keep Your Head Down While Firing At The Enemy
When fighting stagnates and enemy lines dug into trenches, snipers target anyone whose head pops up above the edge of the trench.
Solution: Keep your head down, but your rifle up. The Germans called it Spiegelkolben. Just mount a rifle to a periscope. That way the rifle could be lifted up to get a clear shot at the enemy trenches while the shooter remained safely out of sight using mirrors to see his sights and a length of wire to pull his trigger. While all the major powers in the war developed devices like this, the one we are looking at today is German. It’s simple, but effective.
Using a pair of mirrors provide sighting while a cable connects the bottom stock’s trigger to the trigger of the rifle. Once the shooter gets acclimated to viewing the sights through the mirrors, the shooter (sniper) became quite lethal.
One downside to using this method, you’d have to drag the gun back into the trench in order to cycle the bolt, although some versions of trench rifles did have articulated mechanisms that allowed soldiers to operate the bolt from below.
The rifle featured in the video also has some other “trench” modifications–like the 20-round fixed box magazine you can see protruding from the bottom of the receiver. This gives the shooter more ammo to fire before needing to reload.
It also had night sights, although the stuff that used to make them glow in the dark ceased to do so long ago. Although this one is one of the more primitive versions of a periscope gun or Spiegelkolben, it sold in October 2015 for a whopping $16,000 PLUS the buyer’s premium.
Although the video refers to some unnamed “cool piece of trench modification that comes with this, that wasn’t installed” that is supposedly described on the auction page, I was unable to find any mention of that on the auction page.
Here’s Ian McCollom of Forgotten Weapons going over this historic piece.