Q. I have a German K98k fitted with a Zf 41 scope that is marked with a three-letter code. Can you tell me who made it? Can you tell me how many scoped K98k rifles were made during World War II?
A. The Zf 41 production total remains a mystery. Records at the Mauser factory in Oberndorf state that the firm made 86,000 rifles with telescopes during World War II-35,000 during 1944 alone. But the authors who have done the most research in this area, Richard Law and Peter Senich, point out that these figures do not include Zf 41-equipped K98ks.
Riflescopes of every description, including the Zf 41, appear to have been in short supply, despite the fact that the Adalbert b program had Hitler’s wholehearted support. In fact, he wanted them to be issued to every German soldier. Of course, from the production standpoint alone, this was unrealistic. For example, even though the Zf 41 appears deceptively simple, its 12-lens system was difficult to manufacture in quantity.
Furthermore, many of the Zf 41 manufacturers listed below were responsible for the manufacture of other higher-priority optic mechanisms, such as artillery sights.
-Glenn M. Gilbert
Originally published December, 2006