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Women's Parachutes in WWII?


RustyCanteen
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I would think so. They parachuted women into France and other European countries to do spy and espionage work. However I'm not sure if they'd have to design one for women but its a possibility they did (especially in the U.K).

 

-Nick

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WWII Parachutist

I am not aware of any parachute specifically designed for women that entered production under US military contract.
Several civilian manufacturers around this same time period developed harnesses with a lap strap instead of the two normal leg straps, which was supposed to be more acceptable to women.
The Parachute Branch tested a design submitted by Hays Manufacturing Company in September 1944, which used a design similar to the B-8 but smaller. This was designed for women because the standard B-8 would be too large for the average female back. Nothing seems to have come of it and testing is believed to have discontinued in December 1944.

I believe the women parachuted into France for espionage related activities used the British Type X parachute system.

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The Parachute Branch tested a design submitted by Hays Manufacturing Company in September 1944, which used a design similar to the B-8 but smaller. This was designed for women because the standard B-8 would be too large for the average female back. Nothing seems to have come of it and testing is believed to have discontinued in December 1944.

 

 

The article was from May of 1944. It mentioned one being designed and would be available when ready. This seems to coincide with the dates you mentioned. Since the WASPS were disbanded in December of 1944, it would make sense why the testing would be discontinued. I wonder if the article was talking about this same one you just described.

 

Very interesting. Thanks so much for the information....Kat

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Thank you for the information.

 

It seems that there is so little on this subject anywhere online. Very interesting about the December 1944 connection.

 

RC

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WWII Parachutist

 

 

The article was from May of 1944. It mentioned one being designed and would be available when ready. This seems to coincide with the dates you mentioned. Since the WASPS were disbanded in December of 1944, it would make sense why the testing would be discontinued. I wonder if the article was talking about this same one you just described.

 

Very interesting. Thanks so much for the information....Kat

The disbandment of the WASPS in December 1944 would certainly seem to coincide with the date it was discontinued. Very interesting!

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  • 1 year later...
WWII Parachutist

While on a separate research project I came across this photo. Dated May 23, 1944, I believe this may be the very same design mentioned in the May 44' article. No doubt there were several variants of the same pattern, whether the harness mated with seat, back, or chest packs. Due to the D-ring and webbing arrangement, this particular version appears to have been inspired by the new T-7 troop harness (March 1944) and intended to be equipped with a main and reserve parachute for premeditated jumps.

post-40412-0-18243800-1437665759.jpg

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BlueBookGuy

Just noticed today this thread.

Several years ago I owned an actual specimen of that pattern made by Hayes Manufacturing Company, complete and in great conditions. I subsequently bargained it for the B-8 I was looking for putting on one of my pilots, but wanted to put aside some notes for any future interesting developments in collecting.

Attachment points didn't have snap/hooks, rather the bayonets system. It was about the 80% size of a B-8 back type and virtually the same shape but for one detail: the chest strap was placed markedly higher than in standard B-8s (or any other model) in order not to go, I guess, pushing with discomfort on a woman's breast.

 

At least, no else reasons I can see for that. Date was February 1945, was thin and soft like a B-8, pack was marked "Nylon, 24-foot canopy".

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BlueBookGuy

Again tried to find any pics of that very specimen, but think seriously I didn't take any at the time. Just I kept a brief list of features but nothing more.

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