Leica IIIc Red Blind 1940-41
The first Leica IIIc was manufactured in late 1939 (code LOOOA) and represented a major advance with regard to the enhanced rigidity of the new diecast shutter crate and body shell. Cameras built during war time are recognized by the step-up mount for the rewind release lever. Known as the funfzehner after the facory model code of 42.215, it represented a bold step for Leitz. A number of changes were introduced in the post-WWII model (LOOHW).
It is mistakenly thought that only a few cameras built during the War had red shutter blinds as shown on the camera here. Although there is a great deal of published speculation exists over why this material was used instead of the conventional black blinds. I refer you to the references listed elsewhere on this site. It is clear that relatively few cameras built during WWII with red shutter material have survived with the original blinds. After WWII Leitz offered to replace them without charge for any cameras when they were routinely serviced or repaired, a fact that probably accounts for the low number of survivors. Early examples of the IIIc produced through 1940 had a single-threaded collar around the release button, whereas, later a second type with double-threaded collar were built as shown here. Additionally, early wartime IIIc's did not have a slow-speed dial lock. These early wartime IIIc's built through late 1941 have a new notched-type of baseplate lock as shown below. In 1942, the latch reverted to the simple circular form and a locking button was added to the slow speed dial.
Although the new self-timer was fit to the IIId models, van Hasbroeck (see References) points out that internal castings of all IIIc models produced through 1945 had provisions for adding the early-type self-timer. The wartime IIIc LOOOA model differs significantly from the post-WWII LOOHW.
There were a significant number of variants in the IIIc models built between the Fall of 1939 through 1953. these include Kugellager and "half-race" models, and a wide variety of special engravings. I would encourage those interested in this historically important series to consult both new and older publications for details.