US Army Sun Compass

US Army Sun Compass

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The U.S. Army Sun Compass was produced during World War II in the early 1940s by Abrams Instrument Co. of Lansing, MI, designated Model SC-1. In operation, it could determine direction accurately by noting the angle of the sun at a known time of day. It was designed for daylight use, mounted on a vehicle in environments where a magnetic compass might not work properly, such as inside an aircraft or truck due to the metal content or electrical circuits nearby.

The exterior of the box is painted olive drab and the lid is lettered:

C. of E.
U.S.A.
SUN COMPASS

"C. of E." is no doubt the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, responsible for military compasses and other instruments during World War II.

According to researcher François Pineau, in World War II the SC-1 was used in the North African desert by the Long Range Desert Patrol (the famed Desert Rats) and other American, British or Australian units. Other uses were in B-24 Liberator bombers and by Army ground troops in the Philippines. It is reported to have been used through the 1970s for polar region expeditions where magnetic readings are unreliable or in the Sahara desert.

The manual visible in the case is TM 5-9422 War Department Maintenance Manual and Parts Catalog for Compass, Sun, Universal Type, Abrams Model SC-1. The second manual underneath is probably the matching Operator's Manual.

Today in WW II: 11 Oct 1939 Letter signed by Albert Einstein is delivered to US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, urging the United States to rapidly develop the atomic bomb before Germany does, the inspiration for the Manhattan Project.  More 
11 Oct 1942 Battle of Cape Esperance: US and Japanese naval forces clash off northwest coast of Guadalcanal. US victory opens supply lines for Allies, prevents Japanese reinforcement.
11 Oct 1942 Wave of relentless Luftwaffe air attacks against Malta begins, continuing for 17 days with heavy losses of British and German planes and pilots.
Visit the Olive-Drab.com World War II Timeline for day-by-day events 1939-1945! See also WW2 Books.


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