Jump to content

Needing some parachute education


Recommended Posts

I've been slowly piecing together my WW2 USAAF 1944-45 fighter pilot for a while now. With the prices I've seen for parachutes and harnesses original or repro, I've never really considered adding one to my pilot.

 

But a chance happening while trolling eBay basically let me get one for next to nothing. I'm not sure if it was because the seller didn't list it real well, or because the photos weren't great. I wasn't looking for it but there it was. It sat with no bids for a number of days while I held my breath. Much to my surprise I got it.

 

I make no claims on being a parachute expert. What I saw was a seat pack chute and a quick release buckle. My thought was RAF before I looked close.

 

It's in hand now and I'm hoping the chute experts can tell me a bit more about what I got for my fighter pilot. It's dated February 22, 1945 and It's an Irvin harness and seatpack. No canopy included but since I'm not jumping I'm not too worried! I did that once in college many years ago to get an idea of what it felt like and that was enough :)

 

]DataBox_zpsbae5fbb7.jpg

 

QuickRelease_zpsc8b49815.jpg

 

ChuteFront_zps9a32133f.jpg

 

]Chuteback_zpsceb0afa9.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

donation2013.gifdonation2014.gif


Link to post
Share on other sites

This chute was produced by Irvin for civilian use. The pack tray bears the commercial data panel, and the harness their civilian "Irvin" label. The harness is the second model American style quick release, which was safer and more comfortable than the British style. Many Irvin civilian chutes, yours most likely included, utilized a linen or hemp webbing as opposed to the military specification cotton with nylon filler.
In the end it is a nice chute, but not used by the military. Preferably you would want a B-8. Mid war there was a move to, wherever possible, replace the seat types with the B-8 back type. Mid to late war, the majority of pilots used the back type, not the seat pack as propagated by popular myth.

www.theriggerdepot.com - Replica WWII Parachute Gear

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well you live and learn !! that's the great thing about this place !!!

 

LB

WANTED : RAF 1940 PATT FLYING BOOTS

WANTED : DINGHY TYPE K ,TYPE A

" ALWAYS WANTING USAAF ITEMS IN THEIR ORIGINAL PACKAGING "

"WOULD ALSO LIKE 487th FS AND 515TH BS RELATED ITEMS "

"Illegitmi non carborundum"

 



donation2013.gifdonation2014.gif

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the info. Interesting to note that on the seat pad it's marked VMSB-245 which was a Marine Scout bomber unit in 45 that was demobilized in November 45 post-war.

 

It's interesting the comment about the back pack chute vs the seat pack. I've been wading through all the fighter group histories and it seems to be a mix of both. Some groups seem to have more seat pack chutes while others prefer the back pack.

 

Pilot preference maybe?

 

My youngest son is African American and I started my fighter pilot project not long after he showed up in our lives. I started out with this image as my inspiration as I figured it would be a good history day project for him when he got older. His big sister had been a WASP pilot way back when for history day.

 

These guys have seat packs. I've got a decent photo of Bert Marshall a 355th FG ace wearing his seat pack too in 45. So I figure it's either or. For a 'poor' collector this chute can work for now :)

NewmanGolden_zpsd3d943fe.jpg

donation2013.gifdonation2014.gif


Link to post
Share on other sites

My curiosity got me digging through the unit histories again. A long way to go but initial finding for 44-45 ETO/MTO fighter units where I could find images showing chutes. So far it seems the ETO got back packs first and they were mixed in with seat packs while the MTO had seat packs as the primary chute.

 

479th FG (P38-P51) Backpack

355th FG (P-51) Backpack and seat pack

14th FG (P-38) Seat Pack

82nd FG (P-38) Seat Pack

1st FG (P-38) Seat Pack

474th FG (P-38) Back Pack

370th FG (P-38-P-51) Back pack and Seat Pack

332nd (P-51) Seat Pack

 

Always fun to learn some more. Guess I'll need to try and become a parachute expert :)

 

Photo of an old vet friend who flew 39s and 47s in the MTO and transitioned to P-80s right after the war.

Earl46P80485303_zpse2c15857.jpg

donation2013.gifdonation2014.gif


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wonder what the 352nd wore Dan ??

;)

WANTED : RAF 1940 PATT FLYING BOOTS

WANTED : DINGHY TYPE K ,TYPE A

" ALWAYS WANTING USAAF ITEMS IN THEIR ORIGINAL PACKAGING "

"WOULD ALSO LIKE 487th FS AND 515TH BS RELATED ITEMS "

"Illegitmi non carborundum"

 



donation2013.gifdonation2014.gif

Link to post
Share on other sites

Many photos of 352nd pilots show them wearing seat types - looks like most preferred these as long as they flew P-47, but many pics I saw show the seat ones also after transiting to P-51.

At least a good part of them, do not know what when into the 1945.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Photos in "Bluenoser's Tales" show both although it seems to be more back pack chutes in late 44-45

 

So to do a representation of P B Waters I could use either then ! ?

WANTED : RAF 1940 PATT FLYING BOOTS

WANTED : DINGHY TYPE K ,TYPE A

" ALWAYS WANTING USAAF ITEMS IN THEIR ORIGINAL PACKAGING "

"WOULD ALSO LIKE 487th FS AND 515TH BS RELATED ITEMS "

"Illegitmi non carborundum"

 



donation2013.gifdonation2014.gif

Link to post
Share on other sites

Seat packs were common, but not in the quantities many people seem to think. Back types were much preferred as they gave the wearer the best chance of survival, and pilots where ordered to, wherever possible, use to back type.
However, there were huge stocks of seat types and limited of the new back types, so not everybody could have one. Of course, some pilots preferred the older seat packs and that played a role too. There were so seat rigs that some were even converted to quick attachables and back types.
The P-38 almost exclusively used the back type due to limited head space, while seat packs were predominant with the P-47. The following chart is drawn from an original AAF parachute questionnaire with nearly 2,000 reponses, covering April 1943-September 1944. All figures are %.

post-40412-0-97337700-1394406501.png

www.theriggerdepot.com - Replica WWII Parachute Gear

Link to post
Share on other sites

interesting data that !!

WANTED : RAF 1940 PATT FLYING BOOTS

WANTED : DINGHY TYPE K ,TYPE A

" ALWAYS WANTING USAAF ITEMS IN THEIR ORIGINAL PACKAGING "

"WOULD ALSO LIKE 487th FS AND 515TH BS RELATED ITEMS "

"Illegitmi non carborundum"

 



donation2013.gifdonation2014.gif

Link to post
Share on other sites

I should also state, this analysis covered only ETO flyers.

That is interesting when it appears the three MTO 38 groups seem to be mostly if not all seat packs. I'd imagine it was ETO first with supplies though as many of the 'new' 38s the MTO groups got were hand me down ETO 38s. I'd assume the new chutes went to England too.

donation2013.gifdonation2014.gif


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that is the case. I haven't studied MTO air units much, but I know that troop chutes where generally older than those in the ETO. In August 44' for Dragoon (based out of MTO), the guys jumped with many early pattern white harnesses, while on June 1944 for Normandy, they were used strictly the new OD models. Same with the PTO, they always seemed to "get the short end of the stick"

www.theriggerdepot.com - Replica WWII Parachute Gear

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just for fun I waded through some more fighter group histories. These are all 8th AF ETO

 

364th FG (P38-P-51). Back pack

359th FG (P47-P51) Seat pack primarily but some back pack late.

339th FG (P51). Both seat and back pack

353rd FG (P47-P51) Both

55th FG (P38-P-51) Both

 

I never paid attention before :)

 

More histories to go when time permits

donation2013.gifdonation2014.gif


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.