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WWII Army Navy AN M-8 Aircraft flare signal pistol


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#1 Bob Hudson

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Posted 30 August 2019 - 10:09 AM

This is a AN-M8 Aircraft Flare Pistol in pretty decent condition: it dryfires ok. It has the lugs on the barrel which allows it to lock into a port on a large aircraft and fire the flares through a hole in the fuselage (beats trying to open the windows on a bomber). Made by  Eureka Vacuum Cleaner Co. and marked as such in the triangle. The serial number is on the backstrap and there's a P stamped on the bottom of the grip.

 

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#2 Bob Hudson

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Posted 30 August 2019 - 10:11 AM

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#3 rrobertscv

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Posted 30 August 2019 - 10:19 AM

Cool piece!!



#4 Bob Hudson

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Posted 30 August 2019 - 06:07 PM

Here's one from an older thread, showing the an M-8 locked into a flare gun port (which would be mounted on the fuselage.

 

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#5 Bob Hudson

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Posted 30 August 2019 - 07:11 PM

From elsewhere on the forum, an image of one in use:

 

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#6 cutiger83

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Posted 17 September 2019 - 11:52 AM

Do any of you know if the flare gun port without the gun ever comes up for sale? I know finding the gun with the port is rare. How rare is it to find just the port?

Thanks in advance for any help, Kat

#7 cutiger83

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Posted 17 September 2019 - 12:00 PM

One more question...

While searching online, I saw an M8 described as 37mm and another one described as 40 mm. Were there two different sizes for the M8?

Thanks again, Kat

#8 cutiger83

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 12:40 PM

I was wondering if anyone has a flare gun with the port? I was hoping to ask the owner a couple of questions. If anyone has one and would be willing to send me some detailed pictures, can you please send me a PM?

Thanks in advance, Kat

#9 USARV72

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 02:58 PM

Have seen a few at shows over the years, complete set is kind of rare.

#10 cutiger83

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Posted 30 October 2019 - 05:15 AM

Have seen a few at shows over the years, complete set is kind of rare.


Finding the port is rare which is why we are hoping to make something similar.

Kat

#11 44-63963

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Posted 30 October 2019 - 06:44 AM

The m-8 signal pistol was a important piece of  ww2 aviation history, if any member needs one for their collection i have one i could part with. Thanx Gerard



#12 cutiger83

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Posted 30 October 2019 - 06:49 AM

The m-8 signal pistol was a important piece of  ww2 aviation history, if any member needs one for their collection i have one i could part with. Thanx Gerard


Does yours have the port? If so, could I possibly get some close-up photos of it?

Kat

#13 44-63963

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Posted 30 October 2019 - 06:59 AM

Hello, Kat, no such luck, sorry Gerard



#14 USARV72

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Posted 30 October 2019 - 02:20 PM

Heres mine, refinished a few years ago, and dont even collect USAAF anymoreA778CD3D-BD68-48C0-92C1-C3A583C009AD.jpeg

#15 cutiger83

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Posted 31 October 2019 - 12:49 PM

Heres mine, refinished a few years ago, and dont even collect USAAF anymore



Looks very nice!

#16 thorin6

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Posted 31 October 2019 - 03:15 PM

Here's mine in its holster; I have no idea how it was mounted or carried in the airplane.

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#17 cutiger83

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Posted 31 October 2019 - 06:50 PM

Here's mine in its holster; I have no idea how it was mounted or carried in the airplane.



Very nice example. In the B-25, they were stored in the Navigator's area and fired thru the ceiling just behind the cockpit.

Kat

#18 USARV72

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Posted 01 November 2019 - 03:22 AM

Looks very nice!


Thanks, sold collection in late 90 early 2000, gave all my reference books( whole book case) to my son. Picked this up at local show, was kind of rough, so refinish was best. Came across a web site that had all mfgs and could not believe all the various finishes. Folks need to remember in WWII there were few nit pickers for regulations on finishes on such equipment. IIRC a vacuum cleaner mfg made lots of them. Will be on the look out for a port, who knows what will turn up at shows, good luck.
The holster is kind of rare too, nice.

#19 dustin

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Posted 03 November 2019 - 09:02 AM

The "P", I suspect, is an inspection stamp. I have an M8 with the "P" accompanied by and oprdnace cross cannons stamp. "P" might signify Proof. Something,like every 25-100 pistols off the assembly line would be inspected by the resident inspector for quality control, then marked. This would explain why only some have the "P" stamp and many do not. The ones with the "P" would be the ones physically inspected while the others were just boxed and shipped.

 

Cutiger, the pistol is 37mm and only made in that gauge. The 40mm reference you found was incorrect and an oversight on that authors behalf.

The Mount M1 or port is technically an accessory for the M8 pistol but more accurately Aircraft Equipment. They were intended to be riveted into the fuselage making it a permanent feature. This is why they are very hard to source as they were not intended to be removable or transportable. After its adoption, the M1 mount was installed at the aircraft factory before delivery and was integrated into the standard drawings for each aircraft that were authorized to have one. Mounts were procured for supply and were directed to be installed in those aircraft that were already in service and delivered without it from the factory, essentially retrofitted in to bring all aircraft up to new standards. There were those that were in inventory as replacements if necessary. Another way to look at is that every M8 pistol included the mount, but the mount was permanently attached to the aircraft and there it stayed. Upon decommissioning, the pistol was removed and the mount was recycled with aircraft. Pistols salvaged and the mount destroyed, hence the discrepancy in the ratio of availability. Plus! the mount serves not practical purpose outside of use of an airplane. All those pistols installed for alternate applications, the mount was discarded. There was a heavy consumption of the mount M1, all USAAF bombardment and transport aircraft used them, all Naval aircraft used them except fighters or VF-Class. However, the mount was used in USAAF pursuit and Navy VF class aircraft but in a limited capacity. for awhile, those fighters used a Molin discharger instead. 

Thorin, the jury is still out on that leather holster. Though it is obvious it was molded to house the M8 I have found Zero record of it in US Government literature, at least WWII. I've looked through all sorts of both Army Ord. and Naval Ord. manuals and stock catalogs and never once is the leather holster listed. Some examples can be found with MADE IN CANADA ink stamped on them. I question, at this time, if they are even US. I can prove how they carried and what was approved for carrying the M8 during WWII but again, no record of the leather holster. I would love to see some Government literature picturing or mentioning this leather composite holster, no matter what era. I've tried to look but with no luck. 

This is another item that we've been lead to believe for many decades to be a WWII item in which many have in their collections but yet there is no supporting evidence as such, only we know it exists. 

An important thing to remember and consider in regards to the M8 was that when in the mount, attached to the fuselage, you can reload and fire it without its removal. Its principle storage was actually in the mount itself. There was a canvas bag for its storage during WWII when not secured in the mount. That leather holster serves no real purpose but certainly had an intention for some application. I think the biggest clue and guides us to look is the Made in Canada stamp. The factor to consider is that these pistols remained in service for many years after WWII, decades in fact. I lean towards the belief that these leather holsters have some jet-age application. Additionally, the reinforced aluminum plate on one side plays an integral role in its application.



#20 thorin6

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Posted 03 November 2019 - 12:20 PM


Thorin, the jury is still out on that leather holster. Though it is obvious it was molded to house the M8 I have found Zero record of it in US Government literature, at least WWII. I've looked through all sorts of both Army Ord. and Naval Ord. manuals and stock catalogs and never once is the leather holster listed. Some examples can be found with MADE IN CANADA ink stamped on them. I question, at this time, if they are even US. I can prove how they carried and what was approved for carrying the M8 during WWII but again, no record of the leather holster. I would love to see some Government literature picturing or mentioning this leather composite holster, no matter what era. I've tried to look but with no luck. 

This is another item that we've been lead to believe for many decades to be a WWII item in which many have in their collections but yet there is no supporting evidence as such, only we know it exists. 

An important thing to remember and consider in regards to the M8 was that when in the mount, attached to the fuselage, you can reload and fire it without its removal. Its principle storage was actually in the mount itself. There was a canvas bag for its storage during WWII when not secured in the mount. That leather holster serves no real purpose but certainly had an intention for some application. I think the biggest clue and guides us to look is the Made in Canada stamp. The factor to consider is that these pistols remained in service for many years after WWII, decades in fact. I lean towards the belief that these leather holsters have some jet-age application. Additionally, the reinforced aluminum plate on one side plays an integral role in its application.

 

I've always wondered about the holster myself, and if it hadn't been cheap I probably wouldn't have picked it up.  Good speculation but as you said without documentation or pictures it's hard to see what the holster was used for.  One other thing, the holster I have was NOS and never used.  It could be that there was some anticipated use that just never came to reality.
 

 

 



#21 Taber10

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Posted 03 November 2019 - 01:08 PM

Excerpt follows:...... Plus! the mount serves not practical purpose outside of use of an airplane.....

Dustin's post is very informative, and I agree with nearly all of it, but I'd like to add some more modern history:  In the '70s, all of the fighter bases that I was stationed at had what was called a Runway Supervisory Unit or RSU.  There was an "additional duty" roster of officers required to man the RSU during the entire flying schedule, i.e. any time aircraft were up.  The duties, as I can remember them, were to ensure that the runway was clear prior to any landing, and to watch for any approach that didn't appear right, specifically if the pilot had not lowered the landing gear.  Unfortunately, while very rare, "gear up" landings did occur.  IF the RSU officer saw a problem, he had immediate access to the flare pistol, pre-loaded and pointing up through the mounting in the side of the RSU, which was a metal and glass structure, usually NOT a permanent facility.  Given the "peacetime" scenario, the rules for inserting the pistol into the mount before loading the pistol were fairly clear and rigidly followed.  The point is, both the pistol and the mount were used for many years after WWII.



#22 cutiger83

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Posted 04 November 2019 - 08:11 PM

Dustin,

Thank you so much for your input. It makes sense that it was permanently attached to The roof of the plane. In our B-25 the mounting bracket with the "pipe" leading outside the plane is still in the roof. There are four holes in the bracket that appear to match the gun mount. One interesting thing is that the "pipe" tapers as it exits the plane.

...Kat

#23 72psb

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Posted 04 November 2019 - 10:13 PM

Kat,

There is a complete one for sale at "flaregunsales.com

It's a little pricey at at $675. Nice pictures on site.

May have to sell something or ask for an early Christmas present. :rolleyes:



#24 cutiger83

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Posted 05 November 2019 - 04:46 AM

Kat,
There is a complete one for sale at "flaregunsales.com
It's a little pricey at at $675. Nice pictures on site.
May have to sell something or ask for an early Christmas present. :rolleyes:


WOW! For that price, we will make something. I was talking to the guys last night. We are going to make something that looks similar but rig it so the gun cannot easily be removed. Hands tend to walk off with items not bolted down!

...Kat

#25 72psb

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Posted 05 November 2019 - 06:52 AM

Kat, 

look around for a cleaver person who can do 3D printing.They may be able to come up with something close.




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