76.2 mm Japanese AA Naval Gun

Lot 0210, Tracks & Trade March 2023 auction

Convoluted twists and turns of fate How a near-perfect and almost complete WW II Japanese naval gun ended up in the Netherlands

My jaw dropped when I browsed through this auction lot brochure!

Eyebrow-raiser no. 1: a WW II Japanese naval gun in the Netherlands, how on earth is that possible?
Eyebrow-raiser no.2: it’s actually based on a British design dating back to around 1894, which was produced under license in Japan from about 1917. The proverbial boomerang?
Eyebrow-raiser no. 3: produced in 1924, but still in very good condition and almost complete. A true survivor; amazing after so many years.
Eyebrow-raiser no. 4: one of perhaps only three examples that have been preserved in relatively complete condition. Unique is the word that springs to mind.

The team at Tracks & Trade has researched the history and provenance of this unique piece with their normal thoroughnessand attention to detail, asking respected amateur historian and ‘bloodhound’ par excellence Roy Jacobs to dig down into the misty depths of the past and throw light on this particular gun’s story.

Apparently made in 1924, according to the translation of the Japanese data plates attached to the gun (they really are thorough at Tracks & Trade), this particular piece was found at a naval yard workshop in Surabaya, Indonesia. It was seizedby Dutch forces fighting there in the Indonesian War of Independence, a conflict which started immediately after Japan capitulated on August 15th, 1945. After being shipped to the Netherlands, the gun was kept serviceable for several decades before it was decommissioned and acquired by a Dutch collector.

A fascinating example of the twists and turns of fate, this gun has wide appeal for collectors and museums alike. There is areally interesting story to tell, it is a perfect, and rather exotic, addition to a collection of naval or AA guns, or a must-have for anyone who seriously collects Japanese military heritage, or a thought-provoking piece for a collection dedicated to the Warin the Pacific.

Bidding is quiet at the moment, but there are several watchers and things are bound to hot up as the March 11th closing date approaches!

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