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WW2 Flak glass's/goggles


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#1 P-59A

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 06:02 PM

I have seen these around and this is my first pair. Does anyone know the story on these? I assume they were worn when they were worn when in the flak zone in place of regular flying goggles. When did they come out and what are the production numbers?

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#2 P-59A

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 06:02 PM

back

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#3 cricket

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Posted 10 October 2019 - 06:13 PM

Can't answer your questions but if you come across period photos of aircrew wearing these I would be interested in seeing them... I have a couple pair displayed with various flak helmets myself.



#4 P-59A

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 09:06 AM

 

Anti-Flak Goggles

Although the USAAF issued thousands of these anti-flak goggles, bomber crewman rarely wore them since they greatly reduced the wearer’s vision.

 

This from the National Museum of the USAF. At least they say they were issued.

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#5 dustin

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 09:42 AM

I think the jury is still out on these goggles. At some point way back in the past they were dubbed anti-flak goggles. The typical made up BS when people don't know what something is, they have to name it and it has to be named to sell it. I've been hearing that since the 80's. Funny how they don't actually show up in Air Force publications or listings for flak protection. Helmets, vests and blankets all show up in various lists, but no goggles. I'm willing to wager that NMUSAF can't provide one document that testifies that they are, likely you'll get "That's what we've been told".

The interesting thing about these is that they don't integrate with flying goggles at all. They are meant to be worn directly against the face. One would think for flak protection against the eyes, the plate would be designed to cover the face of the goggles. Worn alone, your eyes were exposed to the elements, wind and cold. Awful to wear at high altitude. Gunners would be blind if you think about it. 

I think, in all likely hood, these were intended for armored vehicle crews or the like. Ground unit use, in other words.



#6 P-59A

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 11:02 AM

Dustin, I agree with you. These could be for anything. I saw British flak goggles being listed as aircrew, but it turns out they were not.

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#7 cricket

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 11:15 AM

I copied the below caption from under the pic of a pair of these flak goggles from the Nat Musem of the USAF.

 

Plans call for this artifact to be displayed near the B-17F Memphis Belle™ as part of the new strategic bombardment exhibit in the WWII Gallery, which opens to the public on May 17, 2018. Armored flak goggles issued to Memphis Belle navigator Capt Charles “Chuck” Leighton.

 

Leads one to believe they were at least issued as they name the crewmember they were issued to (I would hope they would not outright fabricate stories behind a display but I'm not naïve either)…It would be nice to see some in a vintage photo regardless of who is wearing them be it tank crewman, infantry or ground flak crew etc.???  It would just be nice to see a pair in a period photo.  For now they'll stay with my flak helmet display. 


Edited by cricket, 13 October 2019 - 11:16 AM.


#8 AZPhil

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 01:04 PM

I read something about these that said they were for Tank crews. They were going to be used by flight crews but they restricted the vision and were dropped..

 

 Its been awhile, but I'll see if I can find it again. But this was nothing official, so could just be more tales of the unknown.

 

Semper Fi

Phil



#9 dustin

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 01:09 PM

I'm skeptical and I don't give too much credit for accurate discriptions provided by museums. We've seen so many inaccuracies over time, so that aside.

 

How come with the abundance of literature produced about flak protection that goes into detail about protective measures, does it never mention special protective goggles? I'm talking about government printed literature, there is no shortage of it. 

How come these goggles seem to fly under the radar of all this material? ………..most logical explanation, is that they are not flak orientated. 

The goggles in question are all in like new condition, at some point someone found a cache of these things. I wonder where the master carton/crate is at? that will likely have the nomenclature.

Now, here is something to consider. What if these are not government at all!? but rather an industrial protective eye shield. Just because its OD in color, doesn't make it GI ! With this consideration, you'll never find an image of them being worn and is likely why none have surfaced to date. 



#10 AZPhil

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 01:17 PM

OK I found it ,but I can't copy and paste the info. It is on this site

alliedflightgear.com

Its under the Flight goggle section. It mentions what I had said, used by armored crews and USAAF Gunners.. Under the Flak helmets section he does display these on a flight helmet setup.

 Still nothing official ..

 Are these in any Armored crew issue clothing manuals?

 

Semper Fi

Phil


Edited by AZPhil, 13 October 2019 - 01:18 PM.


#11 dustin

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 01:21 PM

Phil, I've kind of heard the same thing too. But lets avoid tales, we are requiring it to be beyond hearsay at this point. At least for me and hopefully others, we need some form of official government printed literature picturing or descibing these goggles. 

There is a thread here about flak vests where i posted a series of documents about their development and descirptions. Those documents came from a cache of hundreds getting into all sorts of flak related material. In there, the mention of goggles are not present. 

There are some heavy hitter AAF collectors here that am sure have a library, and in that library I'm sure there are many publications about Flak, no mention of the goggles, are there ?

I have to be objective here in light of the lack of any evidence. Again, I hope that some collectors here are serious enough to want to have that objectivity too. For many, we had been swallowing this Kool-Aid about these goggles for over three decades. 



#12 dustin

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 01:30 PM

Great site, but again......drinking the Kool-Aid. Reenactor representations mean diddly squat. 

 I think it is extremely reasonable to ask the question.

Sorry I'm challenging the Status-Quo on these goggles, but sometimes we have to, to bring the facts to light. It's our hobby. So much garbage has been cleared away over the years in all fields because of due diligence


Edited by dustin, 13 October 2019 - 01:38 PM.


#13 BlueBookGuy

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 01:42 PM

If this can be worth of something, an author as serious and well-known as G. Sweeting in his exhaustive book Combat Flying Equipments of 30 years ago, even though going through every item of face-protecting gear (within a wider and well covered topic of anti-Flak garments) doesn't even mention one single instance these goggles.

 

You can find images and accurate description of virtually unknown and weird-looking neck armor, steel face masks, fully integrated face mask + steel helmet all resembling protective armor for benefit of 14th Century knights, but not even one (1) mention of the steel goggles.

In my opinion it should mean something.


Edited by BlueBookGuy, 13 October 2019 - 01:49 PM.


#14 dustin

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 01:49 PM

That's a very credible point BlueBookGuy. To add further, look at the Bio for Chapter IV, there's an extensive list of references. Presumably, none of that extensive list mentioned them either. 

There is actually more evidence stacked Against them being flak goggles than actually proof they are. 



#15 BlueBookGuy

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 02:05 PM

Yes, both the Bibliography and the 'Notes' themselves are utterly impressive...   just impossible there was something about the goggles, and nothing has ever jumped out.

Just a small detail,  as a my personal opinion (aside the near-impossibility of seeing anything in decent way through those few and very thin slits) if looking at goggles' inside 'padding'  -  if we can term this way that super-simple, ultra-cheap strip of material -  that will go physically against the face, it should be hard to believe this item is meant as an aviator's protective piece...   we all have seen through the time how maniacal was Air Forces' sincere care for giving their men all the possible comfort.


Edited by BlueBookGuy, 13 October 2019 - 02:08 PM.


#16 dustin

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 02:12 PM

The other side of the coin is the design. They are not made to be intergal to the standard flying goggle, which means they have to be worn on their worn separately. their curvature and padding closing conforms to the face area. An aircrew flying at 10,000 feet or higher in sub-zero temperatures wearing a goggle that the frigid air makes direct contact to the eyeballs through the slits. I don't think so ! 



#17 BlueBookGuy

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 02:16 PM

Yes of course.  Not to mention the appalling field of view, it seems to be exactly 100% the opposite of what an aircrew needs the most:  the unrestricted visibility.



#18 phantomfixer

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 02:40 PM

Just a shot in the dark...pun ...what about anti glare for use in artic/ snow conditions?

#19 P-59A

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 06:25 PM

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/161158-m-14-mine-clearance-goggles/    This is an old post from this site.     Posted 26 November 2012 - 07:58 PM

The following are from two different sources (in case anyone is interested): A History of the Development of an Armor Ensemble for Mine Clearance Personnel (Oct 1970) and Wound Ballistics, Chapter XI:

Flak armor, developed and used by the Air Force in World War II, was evaluated by the Corps of Engineers for use by mine clearance personnel. The flak armor was rejected because its clumsiness, bulkiness and excessive weight made it impossible for mine clearance troops to accomplish their mission. In December 1944, the Ordnance Corps initiated a project to develop eye defenses against anti-personnel mines. Because of the urgent need for this protection, the Office of the Surgeon General requested that eye defenses be procured as soon as possible with formal requirements to be established later.

In May 1945, samples of eye armor were being manufactured by the French Army, and designs to fit the U.S. M1 helmet were collected for testing by the Army Ordnance Department. These models were not considered adequate, and a new series of eye armor, T45, was developed. This consisted of a plate of manganese steel, the same as that in the M1 helmet, and was provided with small vision slits. The entire structure was mounted in a rubber dust-goggle frame. Close coordination between the Ordnance Department, Engineer Corps, Army Ground Forces, and the Office of the Surgeon General showed that the T45E6 was the most acceptable design, and it was standardized on 10 January 1946. Notwithstanding the cessation of hostilities by this time, it was believed that a standard item was required for the clearance of minefields in occupied countries.


MIL-A-3511, Military Specification, Armor, Eye, M-14, 1962


Edited by P-59A, 13 October 2019 - 06:26 PM.


#20 dustin

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 08:06 PM

Nice detective work P-59. Now that makes much more sense in regards to their inetnded purpose. And! not even WWII to boot. 



#21 AZPhil

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 10:05 PM

Great link P-59 and it shows the same type goggle. I do appreciate the info as these were as mentioned hear say and false information that created this lore.

So neither armored crew or AAF use..

Its great to know the truth.

I just went back to the top to see who the OP was and it was you. So P59A it looks like you found the answer to your own question . Good deal

Semper Fi

Phil 


Edited by AZPhil, 13 October 2019 - 10:09 PM.


#22 1canpara

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 10:34 PM

Heres a pair of T-45 goggles that I bought thinking they were flak goggles until another forum member pointed out that they were designed for mine clearing and were never really put into use. Cool looking goggles but I always thought that if a red hot piece of flak was heading for your face, this would only serve to splinter it further and have smaller bits go through the slits and strike the eyeballs. The same goes for mine clearing, the safety effect would save bits of your face but the rest of the head would suffer greatly.

BFA3D70F-806D-48A1-973C-89C7208DA6B7.jpeg

Edited by 1canpara, 13 October 2019 - 10:35 PM.


#23 PacificGunner

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 04:42 AM

It's nice to see that this age old mystery has finally been solved, but it makes me raise the questions: were these "flak goggles" actually issued to The Mepmphis Belle's navigator, Captain Charles Leighton? Are there any examples of these goggles being issued to flight crews during the war for possible experimentation? I have not come across any photos of aircrews wearing the goggles, and come to think of it, I have not seen any photos of American soldiers wearing these goggles. If anyone has original photos of American military personnel wearing the goggles, could you post them on this thread for reference?



#24 dustin

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 06:27 AM

Thanks to gitna for posting the reference to the report, that report can be found on google in PDF. 

The armor goggles can be found listed in the Index of Military Specifications and Standards dated 1 April 1952. 

It being a MILSPEC it would had been designated that after 1947. So there had to be some other sort of specification for the T45, a PQD spec. Would be nice actually to see that MILSPEC, looks like the design evolved.

The testing of these goggles would had been at a proving ground and not service tested. It appears the museum is full of crap! I think we'll find these goggles in question later, at least post 1947.

From the limited information in the report these are not air force related at all, merely modeled after the concept of flak armor used by the air force and that only being the body armor itself. The goggles were strictly orientated for mine clearing.   I think we'll find these goggles in question later or at least post 1947.  




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