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Stock No. PC220

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Luftwaffe AK39 Armbandkompass with extension strap - Click for the bigger picture

Luftwaffe AK39 Armbandkompass with extension strap

The AK39 Wrist Compass was first introduced in 1939 for use by German aircrew for navigation purposes if forced to abandon their aircraft. Whilst designed for wrist use, as its name implies, but many period photographs exist of it attached to Schwimmweste, or other bits of flight equipment. The AK39 came in two variants and this example is the first specification; the very early production models had a solid black bezel that was followed by a translucent bezel as here.

These early compasses were generally manufactured by the Kadlec Instrumente-Fabrik Elektrische Instrumente of Prag Czechoslovakia, while under German occupation, although this example does not give any clues as to who made it on the dial. The reverse of the black plastic case is embossed with the full specification including Armbandkompass; interestingly below it normally read 'Bauart Kadlec' confirming the maker and it looks as though this may have been ground out although an identical example is shown on page 311 of 'Deutsche Luftwaffe' and was probably done in production to avoid telling the enemy where the production facility was based. Below the removed wording is 'Baumuster AK 39', 'Werk nr. 10152808' and the Luftwaffe requisition number, Anforderz Fl 23235. The compass card swings freely and the bezel rotates as intended but like most examples we see the air bubble is slightly larger than intended, but the oil remains very clear. The compass is fitted with the original wrist strap and buckle that remains in good issued condition. As a really nice bonus item this example is fitted with an original leather strap extension that was designed so the compass could be wrist worn over a heavy flying suit or jacket The compass diameter is 2.4" or 6 cm. A fine example of the early model that would sit happily in any Luftwaffe collection.

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