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PNEUMATIC LIFE PRESERVERS


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#26 dustin

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 09:24 PM

the other accessorie is the dye marker packet developed by the US navy in 1942.
In 1941 the navy was researching new compounds for dye markers that used no critical materials the dye in service at that time used aluminum powder.The adopted fluorescein for thier dye under spec. M528 and under this spec. it recommended research into a packet that could attached to the life vest later adopted under spec. M-566 in nov. 1942 disrtubuted in nov. 1942 along with TO 77-42.When the dye is distributed in water it leaves a yellowish green color creating a 25ft diameter field that can be seen for miles on a clear day and last up to 1-3 hours depending on currents.The packets are made of two parts an oter waterproof vinylite coated fabric and an inner puorus bag with dye.The marker when opened looks like a giant tea bag.The edges are either sewn or cemented.The early M-566 packet had a 24" cotton tape on the outside to tie to vest with a tab on bottom to pull and release die.A later amendment M-566A changed the design of the outer packet witht he pull tab on top and allows a better grip to pull down instead of to the side which is easier to open again a later amendment M-566B changed the construction and material types and looks very similar to the AAF dye marker.When these packets wer first ditributed only one per vest was issued and sometime in the middle of 1944 two were added as standard.
pictured are the M-566, M-566A and M-566B from left to right.
These packets are still in use today and are very highly effective in search and rescue only the technology in materials have changed such as nylon in place of cotton tie tapes which is the major distiguishing feature between WWII and post war packets

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  • packets_dye_usn.jpg

Edited by dustin, 16 February 2007 - 09:26 PM.


#27 dustin

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 09:33 PM

the AAF adopted the dye marker packet in 1943 under spec. 40616.The construction materials are the same between the navy and AAF packets except the AAF packet has no tie tape and is cemented to vest with only one per vest which never changed.The attchment of the packet is outlined in TO 13-1-5 dated aug. 1943 and placed between bladders on wearers left.Often on most vest you will see remanents of the packet either the rubber cement of the ytop of the torn packet.The top of the packet shall be place 12" from bottom of vest.
Another accesorie is the shark repellent or chaser.This chaser was developed in 1944 and was distrubuted in limted quantities in the ealt part of 1945 and really was not avaiable in quantities till the end of the war, i do not have a WWII type packet to picture.there are two types both are cunstructed the same but the AAF version cements on wearers right and the navy version has cotton tie tapes.

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  • aaf_dye_marker.jpg


#28 dustin

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 09:35 PM

this ia na interesting piecean original issue box for the B-4 life vest.Occasionally these turn up from a fella in aussie land and I have not forked out the doe for one yet

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#29 dustin

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 09:47 PM

one thing I would like to add is that I have been seeing sellers advertising the AN inspectors stamp as denoting "AIRBORNE" use complete hog wash it is simply an inspector stamp from the joint ARMY-NAVY procuremnt board.
They made around 2,000,000 B-4 life vests from 1942-45 whcih should mean they are common pieces and there are! consistantly a half dozen or so are on the ebay but they seem to get close to $200 or more it kind of blows my mind.

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#30 dustin

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 09:56 AM

another variant that I have been seeing is an AN-6519-1 vest made by United States rubber co. contract 33-083-ac- 5883.All these contracted vests have the oral inflation tube between the bladders like the blue neoprene and only seems to be this contracted vest.Why just this one run of vests? maybe a shortage on the metal inlets or just an experiment?!
this one is currently on the ebay

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  • b_4_variaant.jpg
  • b_4_vari.jpg

Edited by dustin, 17 February 2007 - 09:57 AM.


#31 dustin

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 06:39 PM

some new information has come to light that the vest pictured above might possibly be the type B-4A. A discription of life vests outlined in TO 13-1-13 describes vests B-3, B-4, B-4A and B-5 and discribes a vest similar to this one with oral inflation tube between bladders it is uncertain as there is no pictures in the tech. order.
This is another borrowed picture of a better loom at the oral tube

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  • inter_oral.jpg

Edited by dustin, 28 February 2007 - 06:40 PM.


#32 Sgt Brown

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 07:05 AM

these next two vests are interesting as not documents have surfaced about them.they are made from neoprene and are blue in color and all US navy contracted.By the contracts they are not buaer procured but by accounts and aupplies and other which leads me to believe they are ment for naval personnel in general issued aboard vessels for several more reasons they are made more cheaply than the B-4 there is only a waist srtap no crotch strap,inside the horse collar there are two d rings which a starp feeds through and under one's armpits.I have sen many pictures of men aboard deck wearing these vests and also submariners.I believe these vest were to supplement the kapok life vests you can store a half dozen of these vest where you could store one kapok especilally abaord subs were space is tight.There are two variations the first variation has the oral inflation tube between the baldders made from neoprene and cenmented in place


Dustin,

My info is right in line with yours. I had read, however, that toward the end of the war some Zoomies "liberated" these blue vests from ships stores and wore them on flight operations. The Japanese had taken to strafing downed pilots in the water and these guys didn't want to be so obvious floating along in a bright yellow vest. I have seen at least one photo of a pilot wearing the dark blue version.

Tom http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/thumbsup.gif

#33 dustin

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 03:40 PM

Dustin,

My info is right in line with yours. I had read, however, that toward the end of the war some Zoomies "liberated" these blue vests from ships stores and wore them on flight operations. The Japanese had taken to strafing downed pilots in the water and these guys didn't want to be so obvious floating along in a bright yellow vest. I have seen at least one photo of a pilot wearing the dark blue version.

Tom http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/thumbsup.gif

Tom, I happy to here someone else sharing my opinion on these particular vests as it seems to be the only logical explaination for them to exist but some say they are for camouflage in line with your statement on liberation from "zoomies".The problem with stafing was known since the "canal" so if they were to actually make a camo life vest they would have made the changes then. The funny thing about the zoomies is that the japanese would probably already know where they went down so a yellow or not life vest would make no difference.I have read accounts of survivors where planes have flown right over them at a fairly low altitude and not been spotted and they were in life rafts.Even in todays standards the coast guard states that there is only a 78% of being rescued at sea with good search conditions and even when known of approximent location.

#34 Sgt Brown

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Posted 06 March 2007 - 05:48 PM

Dustin,

Here's my second posting of this. The first one apparently gave its life during the Great (computer) Crash of 2007! Glad things are back on line!

I have seen a number of photos of regular swabbies wearing the navy inflatable vest instead of the kapok vest. I have also seen at least one photo of a aircrewman wearing one. Unfortunately time and CRS disease prevents me from giving specific references.

In any event, I would not have any qualms about dressing a mannequin of a late-war sailor in denims, talker helmet and the blue mae west. Conversely, I would have no qualms about dressing a mannequin in late-war flight gear and the blue vest.

Here's another item no self respecting mae west would be seen without. Not sure, but I suspect this is post-war. However, shark repellent fell into disuse pretty quickly after the war.

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  • shark.JPG


#35 dustin

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 11:37 AM

sgt brown, I agree with your statemnet about the blue life preserver
"In any event, I would not have any qualms about dressing a mannequin of a late-war sailor in denims, talker helmet and the blue mae west. Conversely, I would have no qualms about dressing a mannequin in late-war flight gear and the blue vest."
As for you shark repellent it is a post war version,the givaway is the red tie tape this is represented well in early 1950's publications.The derrent was used till about circa 1960 then finally dropped after considered useless.
WWII packets are blue with yellow lettering official nomenclature for the AAF "packet,shark derrent ,for use with life vest" stock number 8300-623748 and available for both services by febuary 1945 in limited quantities (2500 for both sevices)"life jacket shark chaser" nomneclature for USN stock number R37-S-75.the issue will be to one person on flights over water with temperatures greater than 65 degrees or between latitudes 45 degree N. and 45 degree S.the AAF version does not have tie tapes whereas the USN version does either yellow cotton or dyed blue.Large quantities were not available till around august 1945 along with USN technical note 87-45 on proper use of packet.
Testing for the shark chaser was conducting from april 9 1943 to july 1 1944 from the naval research laboratory the packet accepted was made in the form of an envelope from vinyl-copolymer-coated fabric with an internal cake made from nigrosine black dye and copper acetate and can be reused.
attached is a vintage picture of the shark chaser. note: domed snap on top for opening and reclosing packet aslo attached is picture from USN equipment catalog note: tie tapes for attachement to life vest the AAF vesion was cemented between bladders an wearers right

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  • shaek_chaser.jpg
  • shark_chaser_2.jpg


#36 Sgt Brown

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 05:31 PM

sgt brown, I agree with your statemnet about the blue life preserver
"In any event, I would not have any qualms about dressing a mannequin of a late-war sailor in denims, talker helmet and the blue mae west. Conversely, I would have no qualms about dressing a mannequin in late-war flight gear and the blue vest."
As for you shark repellent it is a post war version,the givaway is the red tie tape this is represented well in early 1950's publications.The derrent was used till about circa 1960 then finally dropped after considered useless.
WWII packets are blue with yellow lettering official nomenclature for the AAF "packet,shark derrent ,for use with life vest" stock number 8300-623748 and available for both services by febuary 1945 in limited quantities (2500 for both sevices)"life jacket shark chaser" nomneclature for USN stock number R37-S-75.the issue will be to one person on flights over water with temperatures greater than 65 degrees or between latitudes 45 degree N. and 45 degree S.the AAF version does not have tie tapes whereas the USN version does either yellow cotton or dyed blue.Large quantities were not available till around august 1945 along with USN technical note 87-45 on proper use of packet.
Testing for the shark chaser was conducting from april 9 1943 to july 1 1944 from the naval research laboratory the packet accepted was made in the form of an envelope from vinyl-copolymer-coated fabric with an internal cake made from nigrosine black dye and copper acetate and can be reused.
attached is a vintage picture of the shark chaser. note: domed snap on top for opening and reclosing packet aslo attached is picture from USN equipment catalog note: tie tapes for attachement to life vest the AAF vesion was cemented between bladders an wearers right


Clear till the 60"s? I though they gave up on shark repellent long before that. Ah well, at least the dingy whistle in my photo is dated 1944!

Yesterday the postman delivered a VERY nice M426A flight suit I bought off of eBay for a song. It had been buried under the category "Men's Clothing > 1965-76 (Mod, Hippie, Disco) > Coats, Jackets, Sweaters". Hippie? Disco? Ye Gads!! But it just goes to show that even a blind squirrel finds a nut occasionally!!

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#37 dustin

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 07:08 PM

Clear till the 60"s? I though they gave up on shark repellent long before that. Ah well, at least the dingy whistle in my photo is dated 1944!

Yesterday the postman delivered a VERY nice M426A flight suit I bought off of eBay for a song. It had been buried under the category "Men's Clothing > 1965-76 (Mod, Hippie, Disco) > Coats, Jackets, Sweaters". Hippie? Disco? Ye Gads!! But it just goes to show that even a blind squirrel finds a nut occasionally!!

Tom http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/thumbsup.gif

Sounds wierd! but I have a 1963 naval aviators guide and it has a shark chaser packet pictured in the group of individual equipment.

I do ot even wan to know what you were searching in that section on ebay

#38 Sgt Brown

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 04:55 AM

(Snipped)
I do ot even wan to know what you were searching in that section on ebay


Actually, it popped up on the keyword "USN". Or maybe it was the search phrase "WWII Leisure Suit"!!! :lol:

To you and anyone following this thread, Jeff Warner's two latest volumes in his five-book series on WWII USN uniforms and equipment are out this month. Just got my copies two days ago. First is the long-awaited volume on WWII aviation uniforms and equipment. The second is on uniforms and equipment of beach landing units. Both are coffee-table size and about 1.5 inches thick and continue the excellence of his first volume on "sailors in green", USN medics and others serving with the USMC.

I have no interest......, etc. Just want to let the gang know there is FINALLY some great books on USN gear and uniforms coming out.

Tom http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/thumbsup.gif

#39 Sgt Brown

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 04:57 AM

PS to my post above. Surprisingly, no mention of the dark blue mae wests - at least in the aviation book. Haven't been all the way through the other volume yet.

Tom

#40 dustin

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 10:29 AM

PS to my post above. Surprisingly, no mention of the dark blue mae wests - at least in the aviation book. Haven't been all the way through the other volume yet.

Tom

Tom, how is the aviation book? I suspect these volumes are not really a study of USN equipment but more of a reenactors staged photo shoot(a picture book) such as the World War II in color book that came out 10 or so years ago though tastefull and with some added photo descriptions.I have seen the sailors in forrest green and there was nothing in there that was really NEW especially if you own a copy of Grunt Gear all that gear and clothing is covered there in detail.

#41 Sgt Brown

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Posted 12 March 2007 - 04:21 PM

Tom, how is the aviation book? I suspect these volumes are not really a study of USN equipment but more of a reenactors staged photo shoot(a picture book) such as the World War II in color book that came out 10 or so years ago though tastefull and with some added photo descriptions.I have seen the sailors in forrest green and there was nothing in there that was really NEW especially if you own a copy of Grunt Gear all that gear and clothing is covered there in detail.


I would put the book as a cross between "Gear Up", "Silver Wings, Pinks & Greens" and the AAF Class 13 catalog. It can eclipse neither Prodger or Breunenger (sp?) on flight gear except in the area of the reprinting of the original catalog information. On dress uniforms, however, it is a breath of fresh air as it is the first source I have found anywhere.

I cannot comment on "Sailors in Forest Green" as I am not a USMC collector and have never seen the book "Grunt Gear". I do have Moran's USMC book and I would have to say "....Forest Green" is better than than.

No book will be all things to all people.

Tom

#42 dustin

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 09:56 AM

IT'S A LIFE VEST WHEN IT FITS as outlined in technical order 30-45 march 1945 issued due to reports that aviation personel do not fit the vest properly.
-inflate vest to maximum capacity
-put life vest on with oral inflation tubes on right adjusting all straps to fit comfortably
- be sure straps are next to body
-when deflated the vest straps are loose

in 1944 the back straps were added to the B-4 life preserver as oulined in AAF TO 13-1-17 the navy issued thier own technical note in june 1944 under 55-44 for addition of back strap

one interesting technical order issued by buaer in april 1944 under TO 44-44 outlines that the actuating levers on the CO2 housings be tied with wire to prevent premature inflation.This wire is to be a small gauge wire that would break under a few pounds pressure.the same thing was done to life raft CO2 cylinders as one death was attributed to the premature inflation of life in cockpit.The funny thing is in the original TO for life rafts it did not specify the gauge of wire and was found later that some had such a large gauge the valve could nbot be opened t which prompted a second TO which specified gauge to be used

#43 dustin

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 10:38 AM

here is a good picture of marine aviators giving to me by friend
first picture shows a good variaty of life preservers

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#44 dustin

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 11:28 AM

here is another good picture of two marine aviators giving to me by a friend, the man on the left is wearing a B-3 life vest.It is probable that the USN contracted for the B-3 but I have not found any proof yet and all the pictures I have seen ,with USN/marine aviators wearing the B-3's ,the contracts have been unclear in the photo.I would love to see one marked US navy property!
this vest is most likely a AAF procured vest as the contract label has the typical 6 lines compared to early navy contracted vests 2-3 lines with just contractor and contract number printed on them.I know it sounds weak but just a consistant observation I have made on life vests.I have noted one photo with a marine wearing a B-3 that has 3 lines possibly a USN contracted with contractor,contract number and property US navy stencil but to faint to read.If the navy did procure the B-3 they were most likely in limited numbers as the MK-1 was standard and the cost was a bit more to manufacture

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  • usmc_aviation01.jpg


#45 Charlie Flick

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 11:47 AM

That is a great pic in Post #45, Dustin. Do you have a date and place on it? I would guess late '42 or 1943 based on the SBD in the background.

I like the pic because it shows two types of naval aviation holsters. The guy on the left is carrying a .38 Victory Model revolver in the flap holster on his pistol belt, while the second from left has an M3-style shoulder holster for his revolver. What is interesting is that the shoulder holster is being worn as a belt holster, cowboy fashion, with the shoulder strap functioning as a belt. This is seen often in wartime pics. Personally, it would seem more comfortable to me to wear this as a shoulder holster, but evidently some felt otherwise.

Sorry to drift you off the life vest angle, but had to compliment you on the pic.

Charlie

#46 Charlie Flick

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 12:05 PM

Hey Dustin:

Since you are momentarily on the subject of Marine aviators I thought perhaps you might want to see this pic of Maj. Joe Foss with his vest on. He is seen preparing to climb into his F4U Corsair. Sorry the contract data can't be seen. Date and location are unknown. I got this pic off the web quite a while ago and did not record the source.

Regards,
Charlie

Maj._Joe_Foss_edited.JPG

#47 dustin

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 12:12 PM

charlie, the picture is not identfied to my knowledge but I think you correct but most likely late 1943 as the man on far right is wearing a B-4 type life vest and they are wearing dye markers only one which these were not really available in quantity till 1943 the wearing of one dye marker is somewhat signifcant because it dates it before may 1944 as at this time the issue of two dye markers per individual was issued as standard and since all are only wearing one it tells me that that was the standard at the time of the photo ,one only per individual.some are worn under vest but you can see the tie tapes.My guess is somewhere in the solomons...the "canal" maybe?!
I do really like this photo also!!

#48 dustin

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 12:17 PM

Hey Dustin:

Since you are momentarily on the subject of Marine aviators I thought perhaps you might want to see this pic of Maj. Joe Foss with his vest on. He is seen preparing to climb into his F4U Corsair. Sorry the contract data can't be seen. Date and location are unknown. I got this pic off the web quite a while ago and did not record the source.

Regards,
Charlie

Maj._Joe_Foss_edited.JPG

another good picture, note the long laynards for the actuating lever on vest,this makes it an early or pre sept. 1944 manufacture vest...1943?! and note again only one dye marker..most if not all late 1944 and esspecially 1945 pictures of aviators they are wearing two dye markers.
"sorry the contract data can't be seen" are you digging on me!! :)
I said that before as it comes in useful sometimes being abl;e to read the contract data which would help in the case of the B-3 riddle

#49 dustin

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 01:04 PM

this is a copy of a diagram from TO 13-1-5 for the attachment of the dye marker packet on AAC life vest

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#50 dustin

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 01:08 PM

I forgot to add that the wire to for the actuating levers on the vests is to be .017 of an inch thick and a breaking strength of 17 pounds

Edited by dustin, 17 March 2007 - 01:11 PM.



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