Original Japanese WWII Type 2 Gou Aircraft Compass for the Type 97 Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally" Bomber

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very good condition WWII direct reading magnetic compass, Type 2 Gou, made by Tokyo Aero Indicator Co. The compass retains approximately 95% of it's original factory black paint, with storage dust build up on base area. All parts we can see are still mechanically functioning. The needle is intact and balanced on stem, with functional balancing / shock absorbing springs. The lighted 360 degree top cover is also present, though it no longer has the light present.

The compass measures approximately 5 3/4" wide and 4 1/2" tall, with an intact nomenclature date plate still present, showing serial number 95110. Unfortunately there is no date stamped, so we do not know when it was issued, but this serial number is lower than others we have seen.

The Type 2 Gou was primarily used in early aircraft of the Japanese Army such as the Type 99 Kawanishi Ki-48 Lily Light Bomber and Type 97 Mitsubishi Ki-21 Sally Bomber, according to the online Funatsu Aviation Instruments Museum. Offered in very good condition.

More on the Sally Bomber.

The Mitsubishi Ki-21 (or "Type 97 Heavy Bomber") (Allied reporting name: "Sally" /"Gwen") was a Japanese heavy bomber during World War II. It began operations during the Second Sino-Japanese War participating in the Nomonhan Incident, and in the first stages of the Pacific War, including the Malayan, Burmese, Dutch East Indies and New Guinea Campaigns. It was also used to attack targets as far-flung as western China, India and northern Australia.

The Ki-21-Ia was used in combat in the war with China by the 60th Sentai from autumn 1938, carrying out long-range unescorted bombing missions in conjunction with the BR.20 equipped 12th and 98th Sentais. The Ki-21 proved to be more successful than the BR.20, having a longer range and being more robust and reliable. Two more Sentais, the 58th and 61st deployed to Manchuria in the summer of 1939 for operations against China, with aircraft from the 61st also being heavily used against Russian and Mongolian Forces during the Nomonhan Incident in June–July 1939.

Losses were high during early combat operations, with weaknesses including a lack of armament and self-sealing fuel tanks, while the aircraft's oxygen system also proved unreliable. The Ki-21-Ib was an improved version designed to address the armament issue by increasing the number of 7.7 mm (.303 in) Type 89 machine guns to five, and incorporating improvements to the horizontal tail surfaces and trailing edge flaps. In addition, the bomb bay was enlarged. The tail gun was a 'stinger' installation, and was remotely controlled. Also, the fuel tanks were partially protected with laminated rubber sheets.

This was followed in production by the Ki-21-Ic with provision for a 500 L (130 US gal) auxiliary fuel tank, fitted in the rear weapons-bay and one more 7.7 mm (.303 in) machine gun, bringing the total to six. Four 50 kg (110 lb) bombs were carried externally. To offset the increase in weight the main wheels of the Ki-21-IC were increased in size.

However, by the attack on Pearl Harbor and the start of the Pacific War, improvements in the ROC Air Force caused losses to mount, and most Ki-21-1a, -1b and -1c were relegated to training or second-line duties.

Front line units from mid-1940 were equipped with the Ki-21-IIa ("Army Type 97 Heavy Bomber Model 2A") with the more powerful 1,118 kW (1,500 hp) Mitsubishi Ha-101 air-cooled engines and larger horizontal tail surfaces. This became the main version operated by most IJAAF heavy bomber squadrons at the beginning of the Pacific War, and played a major role in many early campaigns. For operations over the Philippines the JAAF's 5th, 14th and 62nd Air Groups, based in Taiwan, attacked American targets at Aparri, Tuguegarao, Vigan and other targets in Luzon on 8 December 1941. The 3rd, 12th, 60th and 98th Air Groups, based in French Indochina, struck British and Australian targets in Thailand and Malaya, bombing Alor Star, Sungai Petani and Butterworth under escort by Nakajima Ki-27 and Ki-43 fighters. However, starting from operations over Burma in December 1941 and early 1942, the Ki-21 began to suffer heavy casualties from Curtiss P-40s and Hawker Hurricanes.

To partially compensate, the IJAAF introduced the Ki-21-IIb, with a pedal-operated upper turret with one 12.7 mm (0.50 in) Type 1 machine gun, redesigned cockpit canopies and increased fuel capacity. Although used in all fronts in the Pacific theater, it became clear by 1942 that the design was rapidly becoming obsolete, and was increasingly shifted away from front-line service.

In spite of its shortcomings, the Ki-21 remained in service until the end of the war, being utilized as transport (along with the civil transport version MC-21), bomber crew and paratrooper trainer, for liaison and communications, special commando and secret missions, and kamikaze operations.

Nine Ki-21-Ia/b's were sold by Japan to Thailand in 1940 for use by the Royal Thai Air Force against Vichy French forces in French Indochina but did not participate in the French-Thai War as its crews had not completed training.

Towards the end of the war, remaining Ki-21s were used by Giretsu Special Forces in strikes against American forces in Okinawa and the Ryūkyū Islands. One of the noted operations was an attack on the Allied-held Yontan airfield and Kadena airfield on the night of 24 May 1945. Twelve Ki-21-IIb's of the Daisan Dokuritsu Hikōtai were dispatched for a strike, each with 14 commandos. Five managed to crash-land on the Yontan airfield. Only one plane landed successfully. The surviving raiders, armed with submachine guns and explosives, then wrought havoc on the supplies and nearby aircraft, destroyed 264,979 L (70,000 gal) of fuel and nine aircraft, and damaged 26 more.

A number of Ki-21-Ia were modified to serve as military transports for use by Greater Japan Airways, which was under contract by the Japanese Army in China for transportation. Designated "MC-21", these aircraft had all armament and military equipment removed. Used primarily as cargo transports, each could also seat nine paratroopers. Aircraft built from the start as transports were given the separate designation of Mitsubishi Ki-57, with equivalent civil aircraft being designated MC-20.

Code Names
The Ki-21 had more than one Allied codename. Initially called "Jane", the name was quickly changed to "Sally" when General Douglas MacArthur objected that the name was the same as that of his wife. When the Ki-21-IIb entered service, the absence of the long dorsal "greenhouse" led Allied observers to mistake it for a completely new type, which was designated "Gwen". However, when it was realized that "Gwen" was a new version of the Ki-21, it was renamed "Sally 3", with "Sally 1" referring to the earlier Ha-5 powered models, and "Sally 2" referring to the Ha-101 powered Ki-21-IIa.

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