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USAAF M5 Flak helmet / AN-H-15 flying helmet


Sabrejet
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When the 20th Air Force began its high altitude bombing of the Japanese home islands the results were initially rather disappointing. The poor accuracy was largely due to the effects of the then unknown "Jet Stream" which tossed the big bombers around and made accurate bomb-aiming almost impossible. As a consequence, General LeMay ordered a drastic change of tactics. Thereafter, the B-29s would go in low and instead of high explosive bombs they would carry tons of small incendiaries which, as we now know, had a devastating effect on the largely wooden buildings of Japan's principal cities.

 

Because the B29's fuselage was pressurized no oxygen masks were necessary at the lower operational altitudes. Therefore, pilots either wore B-1 caps with headsets or summer-weight AN-H-15 flying helmets with ANB-H-1 receivers as illustrated here. Eye protection was provided by B-8 goggles which were supplied with interchangeable tinted lenses.

 

At this stage of the war, flak protection was provided by the M5 helmet which was basically a more streamlined version of the M3 of just a few years earlier. Like its predecessor, it had integral web suspension but more elongated hinged ear-cups, which fit snuggly over the receivers of the AN-H-15. The front was shaped to accommodate the frame of the B-8 goggles. Like the M3, the M5 had a velvet-like flock finish to lessen the effects of freezing metal at high altitude. The swivel bails were just like those fitted to the late war M1 helmets and the quick-release leather strap was attached by a smaller version of the clips which became standard in the M1 in the 50s.

 

Thus, the set up seen here would have been typical of what a B-29 pilot would have worn during these low-altitude raids in 1945.

 

post-8022-1343242026.jpgpost-8022-1343242033.jpg

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Very nice. Looks like your B8 goggles are missing the chamois lining? Same story over here.

 

The comparison really highlights the improvements made over a short period of time. Nice job.

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That REALLY IS a nice display Ian! I love to see displays with a large diversion of different types. Most of us concentrate on a single type - Though it's interesting to the collector to find every available example on one certain type, collections like yours with so many top condition diverse examples are more fun you many others viewing.

 

You must do a lot of research first - I learn as I'm going through a helmet type, and usually make mistakes before I do better. You seem to know what to look for and score big on each helmet -

Well Done!

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That REALLY IS a nice display Ian! I love to see displays with a large diversion of different types. Most of us concentrate on a single type - Though it's interesting to the collector to find every available example on one certain type, collections like yours with so many top condition diverse examples are more fun you many others viewing.

 

You must do a lot of research first - I learn as I'm going through a helmet type, and usually make mistakes before I do better. You seem to know what to look for and score big on each helmet -

Well Done!

 

 

Thanks for those kind comments Harlan. (Glad your PC is up and running again!)

 

 

Ian :thumbsup:

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