Jump to content

PG - 106C/B Pigeon vest


Recommended Posts

Hi all,

 

I'm searching for more information about the 106C/B Pigeon vest. I particularly want to know when they were taken into production and whether or not they were only made for airborne troops.

From what I've read I understand that pigeons were mainly used because of their weight (much more practical than a heavy radio for instance).

 

Pigeons were also dropped in containers as I recall, so I'd really like to know if the vest was an improvement or if both dropping methods were used until the end of WWII..

 

Rinehart the pigeon man, who was in Bobuck's stick for Normandy, carried his pigeons in containers, this really makes me wonder when the vests were used for the first time. Or did Rinehart just carry them because the pigeons couldn't be kept in the vest in excess of 6 hours?

 

001-12.jpg

 

Awesome late war photography of a paratrooper carrying a white pigeon strapped to his harness:

 

pigeonsjumper.jpg

 

My personal specimen:

 

001-11.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Ken,

 

I understand your curiosity but am afraid the number of disputants in this thread will be not so high. In the meantime you may take a look at my thread. I like military pigeons very much and even have a pair in my home -- not military of course but smaller Diamond Doves (Geopelia Cuneata).

 

Will post my PG-106 with cutter tag soon.

 

Regards

 

Gregory

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is my vest manufactured by the Maiden Form Brassiere Co., Inc. Box labels can be seen as well.

post-75-1345541969.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
I like military pigeons very much and even have a pair in my home -- not military of course but smaller Diamond Doves (Geopelia Cuneata).

BTW -- my pair of miniature pigeons mentioned :D

post-75-1345545520.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the help Gregory,

 

I'm sure there are a lot of pigeon gear collectors here who will know more about it.. I certainly hope so as I find this interesting.

 

Nice pigeons btw! Ever tried to put one in your pigeon vest? :)

 

Cheers,

Ken

Link to post
Share on other sites
Nice pigeons btw! Ever tried to put one in your pigeon vest? :)

No, they are too fragile and small. It would be possible to put three to four of them into one PG-106/CB vest. They are really miniature pigeons.

 

Below there is something for you. Train! :D

 

Illustration source:

Pigeon Communication General Information

Restricted

War Department

The Military Intelligence Training Center, Camp Ritchie, Maryland

June 1944

post-75-1345549084.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
General Apathy

post-344-1345549791.jpg

 

post-344-1345549809.jpg

 

 

Here is my vest manufactured by the Maiden Form Brassiere Co., Inc. Box labels can be seen as well.

 

Hi Ken & Gregory, here are the pigeon items I sold about ten years ago when I was in business, I had unused boxes of the vests, also the leg capsules and the pigeon message pads. :lol:;)

 

ken

Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi Ken & Gregory[/b], here are the pigeon items I sold about ten years ago when I was in business, I had unused boxes of the vests, also the leg capsules and the pigeon message pads. :lol:;)

ken

Hi Ken :)

 

My vest was bought... where? :lol:

 

Ah, yes, in Norman D. Landing shop and a salesman was so nice that he xerocopied for me both labels I posted above.

 

:D :thumbsup:

Link to post
Share on other sites
General Apathy
Hi Ken :)

 

My vest was bought... where? :lol:

 

Ah, yes, in Norman D. Landing shop and a salesman was so nice that he xerocopied for me both labels I posted above.

 

:D :thumbsup:

 

Hi Gregory, I remember you buying the vest and I had to use a towel to cover the carton on the photo-copier. :lol::lol:

 

Thanks for all you bought ;)

 

ken

Link to post
Share on other sites
I particularly want to know when they were taken into production...

Most likely just before Normandy invasion. The brochure I quoted ("Pigeon Communication General Information") the Military Intelligence Training Center published in June 1944 lists all elements of pigeon gear but they did not list PG-106/CB vest. It had to be brand-new item then and not delivered yet to Camp Ritchie where brochure was published. The last pigeon field gear item listed in that brochure is the PG-105C/B four-bird container. The vest we discuss about does not exist in that brochure although the date of publication is June 1944.

Link to post
Share on other sites
No, they are too fragile and small. It would be possible to put three to four of them into one PG-106/CB vest. They are really miniature pigeons.

 

Below there is something for you. Train! :D

 

I'm not gonna try to catch a pigeon outside if that's what you mean :lol:

 

I expected these vests to be a lot more rare, but apparently they made a whole bunch of them... I almost won a little Baseball parachute once, to which the containers were attached when a pigeon was to be dropped alone. Never came across another one again.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Most likely just before Normandy invasion. The brochure I quoted ("Pigeon Communication General Information") the Military Intelligence Training Center published in June 1944 lists all elements of pigeon gear but they did not list PG-106/CB vest. It had to be brand-new item then and not delivered yet to Camp Ritchie where brochure was published. The last pigeon field gear item listed in that brochure is the PG-105C/B four-bird container. The vest we discuss about does not exist in that brochure although the date of publication is June 1944.

Correction (perhaps...?)

 

There is a photo dated August 25, 1943 (embargoed till September 2) that the Associated Press got from the Signal Corps. The US Army master caption for this image is:

 

Pigeon paratrooper ready for the jump.

Some of the pigeon paratroopers accompany the jumping trooper when he leaves the plane. The pigeon encased in a special jacket is attached to the paratroopers jacket.

 

Below there is a close-up of that photo with "pigeon jacket" mentioned. Could it be a kind of prototype of the PG-106/CB vest?

post-75-1345556320.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
General Apathy

post-344-1345560043.jpg

 

 

Hi Ken & Gregory ........Pigeon vest 1943

 

Here is an official Signal Corp photograph taken at Fort benning 1943, it is of a heavier material than the standardised lighter vests issued in 1944.

 

( photograph appears on page 259 of ' Doughboy to G.I. ' and used with permission of the author )

 

ken

Link to post
Share on other sites
post-344-1345560043.jpg

Hi Ken & Gregory ........Pigeon vest 1943

 

Here is an official Signal Corp photograph taken at Fort benning 1943, it is of a heavier material than the standardised lighter vests issued in 1944.

 

( photograph appears on page 259 of ' Doughboy to G.I. ' and used with permission of the author )

 

ken

Ken,

 

Thanks a lot. This is the same early canvas-type vest as in the AP photo. The late mesh-type vest was called PG-106/CB -- did canvas-type one have other name?

 

Best regards

 

Gregory

Link to post
Share on other sites

Guys,

 

Great info... This means that they were used in Normandy?? So there are two patterns, at least?

 

Thanks,

Ken

Link to post
Share on other sites
This means that they were used in Normandy?

It's so-called "good question"... :think:

 

Check, if you can (I do not have it unfortunately), TM 11-410 The Homing Pigeon, January 1945 edition. The US military manuals of WWII gave sometimes little historical background and informed what was used where earlier in the war.

 

I may tell that know four photographs of the US WWII era paras equipped with one-bird vests but all four of them were posed for the Signal Corps. And in all four cases the paras posing were equipped with 1st Pattern canvas vests, never with late mesh-type ones.

Link to post
Share on other sites
From what I've read I understand that pigeons were mainly used because of their weight (much more practical than a heavy radio for instance).

There are two historical versions. One of them is presented by the US military intelligence in brochure of June 1944 I quoted above. They wrote among others:

 

IV. Tactical use of pigeons in World War II

D. Airborne Troops

While operating behind enemy front lines, at which time radio silence is imperative. A canvas chest corset, which holds two birds, and a collapsible wire container with parachute have been standardized for use with airborne units. This chute and container with birds may be dropped to isolated units, thus providing a means of communication.

 

Another version is presented in the other publications that the US paras were trained to use message pigeons as an emergency backup only in the cases when their radios were damaged/destroyed during jump.

 

Pigeons were also dropped in containers as I recall...

Yes, but in the Commonwealth armed forces. I have somewhere an image of such pigeon cantainer with a chute attached. I have never seen this method however in the US Army but correction is nicely welcomed of course.

 

Military message pigeons were also used on the USN ships (see Jonathan Gawne's "Spearheading D-Day" book, page 262) and by the USAAF's L-Birds when they flew on board and were in-flight released.

 

...so I'd really like to know if the vest was an improvement or if both dropping methods were used until the end of WWII.

I was a parachutist and would have never used PG-106/CB for my pigeon(s) because it would be too easy to kill them during landing being overloaded heavily as the US paras were. I would use rigger-made inventions for message pigeons, i.e. more reliable attachable containers, as can be seen in the pre-DDay abn marshalling areas.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi Ken & Gregory, here's the link to a website about American Signal Corp pigeons during WWII, however this particular unit were still in the states during D-Day 44. interesting read though.

 

http://www.frankhauck.blogspot.fr/

 

ken

Thank you very much Ken. I did not know it earlier.

Link to post
Share on other sites
craig_pickrall

I can't add much to this. I have only seen the previously posted photos in books. I have photos of the 8 pigeon carrier in the box. Sorry but it is still sealed and I don't want to open it. I have a few more photos of the box the vest came in also.

 

post-5-1345582869.jpg

post-5-1345582875.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
craig_pickrall

post-5-1345582928.jpg

post-5-1345582933.jpg

post-5-1345582940.jpg

post-5-1345582945.jpg

 

Note that the inspection label is dated 2/44 but it does not mention a specific product so it could have been used at anytime after that date.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I may tell that know four photographs of the US WWII era paras equipped with one-bird vests but all four of them were posed for the Signal Corps. And in all four cases the paras posing were equipped with 1st Pattern canvas vests, never with late mesh-type ones.

 

What about the picture in post #1 that looks like a late type of vest?

 

Here's the picture you are probably looking for Gregory:

 

6066536000_ae6be100cd.jpg

 

This is the type of parachute I was talking about. It's often marked with Baseball and was made in the USA.

 

SpigeonParachutSMa.jpg

 

Thanks a ton for the help and information Ken & Gregory!

 

Cheers,

Ken

Link to post
Share on other sites

Craig,

 

Thank you very much. This (your) image suggests that I was wrong and US Army parachuted their pigeons in containers, isn't it?

post-75-1345583231.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
I can't add much to this. I have only seen the previously posted photos in books. I have photos of the 8 pigeon carrier in the box. Sorry but it is still sealed and I don't want to open it. I have a few more photos of the box the vest came in also.

 

post-5-1345582869.jpg

post-5-1345582875.jpg

 

That is so awesome! :blink:

 

That's the kind of chute and container I was talking about.. So were they used by US forces as well, or just made for commonwealth forces?

 

Very neat item to own btw! Congratulations. I wouldn't open it as well, it's worth a lot more mint in box.

 

Cheers

Link to post
Share on other sites
General Apathy

post-344-1345583770.jpg

 

 

While operating behind enemy front lines, at which time radio silence is imperative. A canvas chest corset, which holds two birds, and a collapsible wire container with parachute have been standardized for use with airborne units. This chute and container with birds may be dropped to isolated units, thus providing a means of communication.[/color]

 

Hi Gregory, here is a boxed set of the 8 bird wire container and it's 9 foot chute, there was also a larger version of the wire container which I don't have to hand at present.

 

( photograph appears on page 260 of ' Doughboy to G.I. ' and used with permission of the author )

 

ken

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.