Welcome to today’s Photo of the Day! Here we have a really cool piece of training kit. A bit larger scale than we are used to but this is the Japanese Roakuoh-Sha Type 89 Aerial Gunnery Training Camera. These were used in training exercises in which a gunner would practice firing as normal but the built-in camera would be running at the same time. Basically, it would film the firing sequences and the target. After landing commanding officers and instructors could critique techniques and apply any advice and orders accordingly. I cannot imagine they were used all that much since this involves not only spending the cost of film and development but also the time cost of getting it developed and ready to be reviewed. Still a very forward-thinking idea!
“When the trigger was pulled, the camera began taking 18x24mm photos, showing where the “gun” was firing. Reviewing the film gave trainers the opportunity to point out failings on where to aim and lead time to improve accuracy. An optical stopwatch went into the yellow tube atop the mechanism and was recorded onto the film via a prism.
The gun/camera could be mounted inside or outside of an airplane. Mounted inside, it was controlled by the gunner, but when mounted outside it was controlled remotely by cables. Offered as Lot 4579, the Roakuah-Sha Type 89 is matte black and includes a ring mount, six film canisters, cord, and an extra set of detachable sights. A similar version is part of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum collection”
Lot 421: WWII Japanese Type 89 Machine Gun Training Camera – World War II Japanese Roakuoh-Sha Type 89 Aerial Gunnery Training Camera. (n.d.-i). Rock Island Auction Company. photograph. Retrieved July 16, 2023, from https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/1030/421/wwii-japanese-type-89-machine-gun-training-camera.