JF Ptak Science Books, Quick Post
Earlier in this blog I wrote about an unexpected military use of the camera obscura, here ("The Camera Obscura at War, 1885"). Today I found another use, which was a guided/guiding anti-aircraft weapon. I assume that this was mostly employed against the slower moving zeppelins (although in 1915 airplanes weren't moving that much faster) due to its very limited range of fire. The camera obscura itself didn't move, and the relatively small occulus offered not that big a range of sky to work with. But that said the weapon was an ingenious and simple mechanism, an early and primitive semi-machine-directed anti-aircraft gun. There is no mention of whether or not any of these were actually deployed, and compared to the AA guns that actually appeared in the first and second yer of the war, this attempt looks a little antiquated for the time. The article also makes no mention of the artillery to be used, which is a major consideration.
The article appeared in Popular Mechanics, April 1916 (pp 486-7)