Turn signals (military)

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British turn signals in World War I
Light signaling devices of the Swiss Army

Blinker were soldiers in and before the First World War who passed on military messages with blinkers .


As early as 400 BC, the ancient Greeks used their shields for the optical transmission of information. Throughout military history, sunlight was used for heliography , fire, and later carbide lamps for signals.

Battery-powered electric flashing lights have been used since the beginning of the 20th century. These and technical accessories were manufactured by the Zeiss works in Jena for the imperial army in the German Empire . The "blinkers" received their training at Jena. The bare, over 363 meter high lump of wind with a wide view of other mountains in the country offered good conditions as a training ground for the news soldiers, also known as "signalists". The mountain lies on the battlefield of the Battle of Jena and Auerstedt from 1806.

The flashing signals were sent according to the Morse system and received with a monocular or observation telescope. Blinds ensured that the opponent could not read along. Flashing signals were also sent by balloons , which was also practiced at Jena.

In the course of the First World War, more modern forms of military communication were developed and used.

After the war a "Bund Deutscher Blinker" was founded. The Jena branch was particularly active. The majority of these intelligence soldiers came from Jena, Apolda and the surrounding area. They had their club bar in the "Schubertsburg" restaurant in Jena.


The German indicators have 1921 their fallen in World War I comrades at Jena behind the Landgrave mountain on the former training ground indicators monument set. It was rebuilt in a simplified form in 2009 after partial dismantling and deterioration during the GDR era.

See also


  • Körbs, Michael / Voigt, Immanuel: Blinker - Between forgetting and rediscovery. Optical telegraphy and signalists from 1880 to 1918. Florian Görmar Verlag, Jena 2017, ISBN 978-3-00-055258-8
  • Müller, E. Fr .: The blinker in World War II . Panse, Weimar 1936

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