Original Rare Japanese WWII SNLF Issue Flare Signal Pistol by Kawaguchiya Firearm Company - Serial 1470
Original Item: Only one Available. This is a very nice example of the very rare 26.5mm Japanese Flare Signal Pistol, made by Kawaguchiya Firearm Company for use by the Special Naval Landing Forces (SNLF) during WWII. All items from the SNLF are rare and highly sought after, as most were lost during the war, and the force overall was never very large.
The flare pistol itself is about 8 1/2 inches long, with a 4 inch 26.5mm barrel. The design is a bit smaller in size than the standard Type 10 used by the IJA, and the lack of an external hammer makes it able to fit in smaller containers without snagging and potentially discharging the pistol. The pistol is cocked when it is broken open for reloading, and then there is a safety on the rear to prevent accidental discharge. The barrel is held in place by a locking catch on the top.
The pistol is marked K F C on the left side of the frame, over a Japanese Naval "Anchor" stamp, next to the series number. The serial number 1470 is marked on the front of the trigger guard just under the hinge. The grip scales are lovely checkered wood and there is a square lanyard ring on the bottom of the grip.
This example is in very nice condition, however it does have some rust issues, common on items used by the SNLF due to the amphibious landings they made. The pistol seems to function correctly, breaking open, cocking, and dry firing as well, with a functional ejector. However, the spring for the barrel catch on top of the pistol has broken, so it has to be moved by hand.
A very nice example of a rare Japanese Flare pistol. Ready to add to your collection!
History of the SNLF:
Before the late 1920s the IJN did not have a separate marine force, instead it used naval landing forces or rikusentai formed from individual ships's crews, who received infantry training as part of their basic training, for special and/or temporary missions.
In the late 1920s the navy began to form Special Naval Landing Forces as standing regiments (albeit of battalion size). These forces were raised at — and took their names from — the four main naval districts/bases in Japan: Kure, Maizuru, Sasebo, and Yokosuka. These SNLF units saw action in China from 1932 in the January 28 Incident and at the Battle of Shanghai in naval operations along the China coast and up the Yangtze River and its tributaries during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Soon, they became involved in successful Japanese seaborne assaults throughout South East Asia.
Other SNLF were later raised from IJN personnel in China, at Hankow, and Shanghai, for service in Canton and on the Yangtze River. On 7 December 1941 there were 16 SNLF units, this increased to 21 units during the war. The strengths of each SNLF ranged from the prewar peak of 1,200 to a later 650 personnel. There was also a special detachment in the Kwantung area, garrisoning the ports of Dairen and Ryojun.
Initially, the SNLF were not a marine force, but was instead sailors who had basic infantry training and were employed in landings during the Russo-Japanese War and the Boxer Rebellion. Soon their training and equipment were improved upon drastically, and their forces were given a variety of other operations as well. In 1941, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Yokosuka SNLF were converted to parachute units. They conducted more combat drops than Japanese Army parachute units during World War II. The SNLF paratroopers were used during the attack on Celebes and the Battle of Manado, to much lauded success by the Imperial government. Aside from the paratroopers, there were also elite squads who conducted reconnaissance and raid operations.
Since then, the Landing Forces has been influential in Japan's expansion of territories, and their tactics of surprising their enemies through sea invasions proved effective. The original SNLF personnel were well-trained, high quality troops with good morale and they performed well against opposition across Southeast Asia. However, like all landing forces they often experienced heavy casualties when faced with determined resistance, such as at the invasion of Timor and the Battle of Milne Bay. This is due to their unwillingness to surrender, and when completely out of ammunition, they would often resort to hand-to-hand fighting with their swords and bayonets. To combat highly defended positions in the Pacific, the Landing Forces created new tactics and techniques in order to overcome them that would later be adopted by the Allied in their sea-borne invasions.
In a well known last stand in 1943, 2,619 men of the 7th Sasebo SNLF and 2,000 base personnel at the Battle of Tarawa accounted for over 3,000 U.S. Marine Corps casualties.
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