Jump to content

PG - 106C/B Pigeon vest


Recommended Posts

General Apathy

post-344-1345627044.jpg

 

 

When a friend finished the restoration of their rare WW2 Dodge WC-37 Panel Van, he turned to me to come up with some original markings for it.... So I gave him a scan of that picture from Ken's book...

 

So this is how it looks now.... The back is filled with pigeon baskets and containers...

You can see the Fort Benning picture in the passenger door window..

 

Hi Johan, well that looks neat, I really like these early ' civilian ' vehicles used in WWII. A friend here near Carentan has just acquired an early Dodge VC command car for total rebuild, as it was a militarised civilian vehicle then it still has chromed radiator cover and hood ornament, and chromed wheel caps while all the panels are o.d. painted and the original US Army hood number is actually sprayed on the underside of the hood.

 

ken

Link to post
Share on other sites
Johan Willaert

Looks like a great project, Ken...

 

The owner of the Panel Van shown above is currently restoring another of the early WW2 Dodges.... a VC-3 Pick Up...

post-92-1345628206.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
At least one platoon (maybe more) of the 282nd Pigeon Signal Company was deployed to Normandy on D-Day or shortly after...

For ken88's information -- what does it mean "Signal Pigeon Company"?

 

Source:

Pigeon Communication General Information

Restricted

War Department

The Military Intelligence Training Center, Camp Ritchie, Maryland

June 1944

post-75-1345647656.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
General Apathy
Here's a picture from the manual.

post-61-1345644901.jpg

 

Hi Robinb, thanks for the manual photo, have you any pigeon equipment in your extensive collection that hasn't been covered so far, would be nice if you could post something. :lol:;)

 

ken

Link to post
Share on other sites
Johan Willaert
Here's a picture from the manual.

post-61-1345644901.jpg

 

Thanks Robin,.... from which manual is that? What date?

 

What does it say about the PG107, mentioned on that same page?

Link to post
Share on other sites
craig_pickrall

I've got another vehicle to add in the mix. Funny how this thread developed. Starting with something as small as a pigeon vest and progressing to full size vehicles. Seems pigeon were way more important than most would think.

 

This is from LIFE Magazine dated 12/15/1941.

 

post-5-1345666257.jpg

post-5-1345666267.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

A pigeon trailer :w00t:

 

Very helpful and interesting information! Interesting to read that the vests were used by scouting patrols as well. I thought ground personnel would have used a cardboard box but the vest will probably have been much more practical when equipment, guns, etc. were carried as well.

 

Thanks again for all the information! Very nice pigeon thread..

Link to post
Share on other sites
Seems pigeon were way more important than most would think.

Imagine Craig that in mid-1944 the USAAF and Signal Corps developed unique system. That was state-of-the-art then method where message pigeons could be launched from the airplanes flying 300 mph! It was not such a simple method as known from the USAAC's L-Birds since late-1930s.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Great thread. I don't know if it is still on display but the Signal Museum at Fort Gordon used to have a great pigeon display. I believe they even had a stuffed pigeon that was awarded a medal or carried the last message of WWII or WWI. I think the pigeon may now be on display at the Pentagon....

 

regards,

CC

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ken88,

 

Here is a link to excellent book you can see below. That's downloadable 738-page publication but not computer-friendly unfortunately for my hardware and software I have and will be changing soon. What is more, download of this book is possible for Facebook registered people - am not. If you have some time off you could check if this book contains any info about airborne troops, their pigeons and pigeon gear. I would be thankful for info if it is PDF downloadable material.

 

Best regards

 

Gregory

post-75-1346307795.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
Ken88,

 

Here is a link to excellent book you can see below. That's downloadable 738-page publication but not computer-friendly unfortunately for my hardware and software I have and will be changing soon. What is more, download of this book is possible for Facebook registered people - am not. If you have some time off you could check if this book contains any info about airborne troops, their pigeons and pigeon gear. I would be thankful for info if it is PDF downloadable material.

 

Best regards

 

Gregory

 

Gregory,

 

You can count on it... I'm at it right now.

 

Cheers,

Ken

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Gregory:

 

I just finished searching the document, nothing about paratroops but some interesting information though! You'll find the most interesting quotes below.

 

Cheers,

Ken

 

Page 39:

"Because of a scarcity of air transport

for pigeoneers, no pigeons were used

in Sicily. Colonel Hammond later stated

that pigeons could have been used to

great advantage in many instances. Units

sent into the mountains to clear enemy

points of resistance were out of communication

with their parent organizations

for as long as twenty-four hours,

under radio silence to achieve surprise.

In such cases pigeon messengers might

have served well."

 

Page 54:

"Pigeons, too,

won renewed respect in the mountains,

carrying as many as three hundred

messages a week at some headquarters."

 

Page 65:

"Pigeons, operating out of 28 lofts at 15

locations scattered over the entire army

front, carried 1,810 messages."

 

Page 70:

"When the autumn rains changed to

winter ice and snow, turning the front

quiescent, many an isolated unit resorted

to pigeon messengers to maintain contact.

Mountainous terrain was not kind

to wire and radio communication, but

pigeons were not intimidated. The 209th

Signal Pigeon Company, which had been

activated in August at Cecina, Italy, delivered

the birds by pack mule at night."

 

Page 71:

"Pigeons were particularly valuable

to the partisans. They sewed the

birds into their coat pockets, hid them

beneath their jackets, or used the pigeon

vest the troops of the 209th Signal

Pigeon Company had devised. The birds

carried back messages and overlay maps

that disclosed much valuable information

concerning enemy gun positions,

concentration areas, and troop movements.

Such partnerships between

partisans and pigeons operated profitably

to Bologna and as far north as

Modena. By the end of December 1944,

the birds had carried 10,423 messages.

Until the armies jumped off in the swift

spring offensive in April 1945, the 209th

operated from 18 to 20 lofts all along the

line. Since pigeons need time to become

settled in their lofts at new locations and

cannot adapt themselves to a fast-moving

army, from April 1945 until V-E Day

the lofts operated through the II Corps

headquarters message center to the

rear."

 

Page 107:

"Pigeons also landed on D-day, about

five hundred of them. They were used

to carry ammunition status reports, undeveloped

film, and emergency messages.

Communications by other means

were so good, however, that the pigeon

messengers were not used extensively."

 

Page 257:

"Messenger pigeons proved helpful,

too, under the conditions imposed by

tropical New Guinea. The tactical situation

and the terrain were ideal for

their use. The birds employed were

Australian. They began to be used in

mid-May after they had been settled

at Joka, in the Hollandia area. By 25

May carrier pigeons were provided to

patrols daily and often brought back

important operational messages. As a

result, infantrymen placed increasing

confidence in this ancient mode of message

sending."

 

Page 296:

"Amid these communications developments,

the use of pigeons on Okinawa

nearly faded away, but not quite. Pigeons

could be employed, and they occasionally

were, as an alternative to radio when

the frequencies were clogged with too

many transmissions. For example, Navy

beachmasters at Buckner Bay had trouble

getting prompt cargo information

from incoming supply ships, data they

needed to assign available anchorages.

The Tenth Army Signal Section therefore

gave the Navy baskets of pigeons.

The birds were released from the convoys,

bearing messages stating what each

ship carried. Flying to their loft on the

beach in a moment or two, they delivered

their messages efficiently and quickly."

Link to post
Share on other sites
"Pigeons also landed on D-day, about five hundred of them. They were used to carry ammunition status reports, undeveloped film, and emergency messages. Communications by other means were so good, however, that the pigeon messengers were not used extensively."

It is interesting what percentage of those 500 pigeons belonged to both Abn Divisions... :think:

Link to post
Share on other sites

In the meantime I downloaded this PDF book from the other official US Army website. There is a confirmation there that the PG-106/CB vest was for paratroopers. On page 643 they write:

 

Pigeon vest, PG-106/CB, retaining a single bird, to be worn by paratrooper

Link to post
Share on other sites
In the meantime I downloaded this PDF book from the other official US Army website. There is a confirmation there that the PG-106/CB vest was for paratroopers. On page 643 they write:

 

Pigeon vest, PG-106/CB, retaining a single bird, to be worn by paratrooper

 

Thanks.. I searched for 'pigeons' so I missed that part.. Some sources also mention that ground scouts (like mountain troops) used the vest as well as discussed earlier in the thread.

 

Cheers,

Ken

Link to post
Share on other sites

Since you probably wouldn't want to put a live pigeon in this vest these days, here is a photo of my vest with a pigeon decoy in it to show what it would look like in color. It gets a lot of attention whenever I put it out with my militaria display. It looks pretty close to the black and white photo from the signal corps posted earlier.

post-299-1346441774.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
Imagine Craig that in mid-1944 the USAAF and Signal Corps developed unique system. That was state-of-the-art then method where message pigeons could be launched from the airplanes flying 300 mph! It was not such a simple method as known from the USAAC's L-Birds since late-1930s.

One more interesting thing for those of you who -- as me -- connect their aviation/airborne/infantry areas of interest. It is coincidence (I did not look for anything pigeon-related) but last days I found in my library the Air Trails issue, Vol. XV No. 1, October 1940, where small but nice clipping does exist on Lockheed Hudson Mark I and its pigeon.

 

Despite the fact that the US Armed Forces have always had their huge experience with own message pigeons also world's trends were observed in America. That American clipping mentioned shows an aircrewman of the Extended Reconnaissance Flight of No. 224 Squadron RAF with his military pigeon. That Flight, equipped with the Hudsons, operated mainly over the North Sea to observe German raiders between Norway and Scotland. There is lack of information unfortunately how that Flight used their pigeons (it could be embargoed info then), but -- who knows -- perhaps the British were first who developed a method of releasing pigeons at high speed.

Link to post
Share on other sites

WWII era pigeon publications

 

Earlier in this thread the TM 11-410 was mentioned by me but it was not the only one WWII military publication on pigeons and for military pigeoneers. I do not know if the WSCUTC* had then its own publications dedicated to operations with pigeons, but the ESCUTC** had at least one such a booklet. One more issuer of the booklets for military pigeoneers was the Military Intelligence Training Center.

 

* Western Signal Corps Unit Training Center

** Eastern Signal Corps Unit Training Center

post-75-1346687682.jpg

post-75-1346687691.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yesterday for the first time I saw and touched authentic message/racing pigeon, one of the national champions. I had to visit vet with my miniature pigeon Kropuś because he has a problem with his kidneys. An owner of this racing champion waited for his visit as well and showed me his pigeon. I was surprised very much to see how big such pigeon is. This is not Rock Dove or City Dove as we all know. Such a message pigeon is larger by approx. 40-60% of his city brother. We joked with our pigeons because my Diamond Dove is smaller than half a palm, as can be seen below where my Kropuś is on my palm.

post-75-1347098692.jpg

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.