George S. Patton demonstrating how to take an azimuth reading with the M-1938 Lensatic Compass.
US Army Lensatic Compass
The Lensatic Compass, the most common military instrument designed to find orientation, was first during World War II, an evolution of the pre-war Compass, Prismatic M-1938. At that time, the US Army Corps of Engineers was responsible for compass procurement so most models had Corps of Engineers stamped on the case. During the war, these compasses were manufactured by Superior Magneto Corp. (Long Island City, NY) and W. & L.E. Gurley (Troy, N.Y), with the Corps of Engineers/US Army markings.
The Corps of Engineers Lensatic Compass was the most common style in use during World War II, particularly later in the war as the other models were phased out. The compass was issued to officers, squad leaders and specialist troops only, although most troops received training in compass use for land navigation. The World War II Lensatic Compass remained in use until replaced after 1950 with the modern Lensatic compass, called “Compass, Magnetic, M-1950” the design that continues in use.
Note : Compasses presented here were donated to EUCMH. (1) Willis Sam Cole (Seattle – WA), (2) Mike Holmstock (508-PIR) (Delrey Beach Fla)