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Is this wing good? Post you advice requests here!


John Cooper
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  • 4 weeks later...

I steer clear of Meyer wings due to the restrikes, but I picked this up in a lot of wings. These things give me fits. I don't quite understand what the "correct" hardware looks like and what the restrikes look like. Thoughts apprecisted!

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That big "rectangular" shape (chamfer) at the hinge end of the pin (reverse right end in this case) is one thing to look for on "original" Meyer's - looks like a good honest WW2 to possibly KW vintage wing!

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  • 1 month later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Can anyone tell me exactly when clutched wings were approved for use by the USAAF

 

The only reference I can find is Russel J Huff in his book Companion to the Wings of WW2 which says on page 54 "More advanced collectors accept clutchbacks knowing full well that they were authorized in 1942 and that some makers only made specific wings with the clutchback design" There is no date in his earlier book or in Silver wings, pinks and greens, the only other references I have managed to obtain to date.

 

Specifically I would like to know the Army Regulation or other document that covers this change and the date if at all possible.

 

I have AR 600-40 Wearing of Service Uniform inc c1-12 (1944-03-31) but do not have a copy of the 41-08-15 edition or its amendments. This may be the document I am seeking however the 1944 edition has no mention of pins or clutches so I doubt it is the one.

 

I also have AR 600-90 Manufacture and Sale of Decorations Service Medals Lapel Buttons... (1938-12-23) and AR 600-90 Manufacture Sale Possession and Wearing of Decorations Medals... (1940-12-31) and cannot see any reference to pin or clutch backs in them.

 

Thanking you in advance

 

The old geezer

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I think that you are going to have problems finding a regulation that prescribes pin back, clutch back, screw back, or any other type of fastner. Russ Huff wrote his reference decades ago and he researched his book very well. He is correct that we start seeing clutchback wings in 1942. The use of the clutch prong and fastner was ubiquitous to wings, and was so common that these types of wing were awarded upon graduation from the various schools.

 

As collectors, we refer to find wings that have the pin fasteners, but that is a collectors' preference, as by looking at period insignia catalogs, we know that the clutch back insignia was more expensive. The clutch back insignia laid better on the uniform.

 

Allan

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I think that you are going to have problems finding a regulation that prescribes pin back, clutch back, screw back, or any other type of fastner. Russ Huff wrote his reference decades ago and he researched his book very well. He is correct that we start seeing clutchback wings in 1942. The use of the clutch prong and fastner was ubiquitous to wings, and was so common that these types of wing were awarded upon graduation from the various schools.

 

As collectors, we refer to find wings that have the pin fasteners, but that is a collectors' preference, as by looking at period insignia catalogs, we know that the clutch back insignia was more expensive. The clutch back insignia laid better on the uniform.

 

Allan

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Campbell (1991) referenced Quartermaster General records (microfilm) held at the Army Military History Institute, Carlisle Barracks, PA including correspondence from September 1942 approving new wing badges stipulating all future purchases were to be made with clutch fasteners (p. 98). There is additional correspondence quoted in the referenced record giving various reasons for the decision to use clutch fasteners (Campbell, p98).

 

For the 1991 edition of "Aviation Badges and Insignia of the United States Army 1913 - 1946" Campbell included additional information in text, but did not (apparently) update the bibliography. Perhaps there is enough detail for you to reach out to Carlisle Barracks and they could assist you in finding the relevant primary source.

 

Chris

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Campbell (1991) referenced Quartermaster General records (microfilm) held at the Army Military History Institute, Carlisle Barracks, PA including correspondence from September 1942 approving new wing badges stipulating all future purchases were to be made with clutch fasteners (p. 98). There is additional correspondence quoted in the referenced record giving various reasons for the decision to use clutch fasteners (Campbell, p98).

 

For the 1991 edition of "Aviation Badges and Insignia of the United States Army 1913 - 1946" Campbell included additional information in text, but did not (apparently) update the bibliography. Perhaps there is enough detail for you to reach out to Carlisle Barracks and they could assist you in finding the relevant primary source.

 

Chris

 

Many thanks Chris

 

I will contact AMHI at Carlisle Barracks today and start dialog with them. I have dealt with AFHRA in the past but they have had their staff slashed so are now difficult to get answers from - not through a lack of willingness but purely through overload. Their response times rose to 5 months last year and their responses were always worth the wait. They are now unable to do research - only reply if you know the exact document you want. Hopefully the same is not happening with AMHI

 

I have ordered "Aviation Badges and Insignia of the United States Army 1913 - 1946" thought snail mail to Australia is a problem. My last imported book took 12 days from Sydney to me - that is less than 100 miles per day.

 

Regards

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If you have Charles Fitzsimmons book "Thirty Years of U,S. Army Pilot Wings 1917 to 1947", it includes what appear to be copies of Quartermaster documents and drawings that specify the clutch back wings. The document is P.Q.D No. 118G dated 11 November 1944, Superseding P.Q.D. No. 118F dated 14 July 1944. The drawings are dated 10-20-44. The drawings also provide specs as to where the prongs should be attached on the wings, and that they were to be 1/4" long.

 

Marty

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If you have Charles Fitzsimmons book "Thirty Years of U,S. Army Pilot Wings 1917 to 1947", it includes what appear to be copies of Quartermaster documents and drawings that specify the clutch back wings. The document is P.Q.D No. 118G dated 11 November 1944, Superseding P.Q.D. No. 118F dated 14 July 1944. The drawings are dated 10-20-44. The drawings also provide specs as to where the prongs should be attached on the wings, and that they were to be 1/4" long.

 

Marty

 

Thanks Marty

 

That is one expensive book, and rare.

 

Bookfinder only lists nine for sale world wide (eight of those at the one vendor)

 

Worldcat.com only lists one in any library world wide (two entries for one library in Germany)

 

I guess I will have to bite the bullet and get one from next months pension

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I wouldn't waste much money on Fitzsimmon's book. In my opinion there are a lot of fakes in his book and you get much better information from the Pinks and Green's books than you can get from Charlie's work. I don't even know if he is still alive. When I was first collecting he was very helpful and sold me a steady stream of fakes, that (to his credit) he steadily accepted back when I challenged him on their vintage. After the 2nd or 3rd such transaction, I figured why bother? I have to say, he was always very nice to me, but...

 

I can't verify that this is true, but I have been told that he approached Balfore or Blackinton and had them make up a bunch of their old WWII wings (including the 1920's pilot/observer and observer wings). All the restrikes had STER on the back (rather than STERLING) where very thin and had funky pin placements. I still periodically see them showing up to this day. He also had a lot of the Dallas fake wings. He would show good ones on his catalog but they were always "sold out" but (lucky for you) he would just happen to have another variation he could sell you instead. When I opened up the envelop, it always held a House of Swords fake. And it always went back to him. I'm not sure he was a bad as some of the other "greats" of militaria (I'm looking at you Charlie Schneider) though, but he did make wing collecting unpleasant for the uninitiated.

 

I was told that his book illustrates many of those restrike wings as vintage and he generally used his work as a "catalog" to peddle stuff on ASMIC's Trading post and via a mail order system. Basically, you would call him up and say, "gee, I would really like a Balfor (or Blackinton) gunner wing, can you sell me yours?" And he would say... "Yes, yes I can".

 

Back when his book came out (in the mid-1990's IIRC), it was one of only 2-3 (Russ Huff's and Duncan Campbell being the primary tomes) that were available to collectors. Basically it consists of slightly better black/white xerox images than what you found in the Campbell and Huff's book. I used to use all 3 as research resources, until the Pink and Green books came out and never went back.

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I have heard similar things about the book and it's author. I have been told he was also not above having rare versions made from more common wings. This includes Senior and Command Pilot wings made from Bell wings which I think he shows on the cover of the book (I don't have the book at home right now). If you ignore what he says and shows from his collection, the copies of the military documents are useful. I don't know if they are $75 useful though. I didn't pay anywhere near that much.

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