After the first few months of fighting in Europe, the war settled down into a stalemate.

Soldiers of opposing armies dug into trenches 200-400 yards apart (180–360 meters). To look over the top to try and see what the other side were doing, soldiers in the trenches used periscopes.

The word ‘periscope’ comes from two Greek words:

  • peri = around
  • scopus = to look

You can learn more about the trench periscope here.

What you will need

To make your very own periscope you will need:

  • Template (download it here)
  • A4 Card
  • Glue
  • Sellotape
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Strong double-sided tape
  • Mirrors x2 (eg like these)


  • Step 1

    • Print the template.
    • Glue it securely onto the card.
  • Step 2

    • Cut the card-backed template out carefully along the solid lines.
  • Step 3

    • Decorate the reverse (unprinted) side - do anything you like, for example a funky camouflage design!
  • Step 4

    • (With the help of an adult) score along every dotted line.
    • Fold in along all the dotted lines.
  • Step 5

    • Using sellotape or strong glue, stick the periscope together using the tabs.
  • Step 6

    • Using strong double-sided tape or glue, stick the mirrors onto the card at either end at 45 degree angles, making sure they are facing each other.

And hey presto - your periscope is now ready to use!

Credit:© IWM (Q 10688)