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USAAF flak vest

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The U.S. Navy got involved eventually too. They procured vests and helmets from Army Ordnance before developing their own nylon armor near the end of the war. Naval Aviation News sites 3500 M-3 and 1500 M-4 helmets.

 

The photo at left below, via Dustin, shows a display at the Survival School, Pensacola NAS, circa January 1945. The second is the Navy's nylon flak suit.

 

 

 

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So , have i got this right then , ? Its the lighter colour covering fabric that is what is causing the controversy ?


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"

 



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that however, doesn't explain the following.

Those khaki vests/aprons seem to be widespread and of relative availability, so many uf us here in the Forum have got one, there are many floating there around, many in collections, I saw two years ago 7-8 complete sets at a Militaria show.

Suppose, each of them is complete with its armored back (at least all I saw, from live or not), and attachment method on shoulders is the same: the correct one for the type M-2 (wich was intended only for armored front). Could we guess, for some unknown reason all the 3,000 initially made in England - made as such, and referred to as M-2 (as early as July 1943) were made originally with the armored back?

 

This could be undeniable, the official M-2 British-made and US-made was officially described as front-only armored. Could be hard to think the whole english production started as a "true" M-2, and only afterwards were they modified according to personal requirements? I.e. adding an armored back to them?

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Here's a pic posted on facebook of an RAF Bomber Command crew wearing the Wilkinson type

https://www.facebook.com/BomberCommandKitAndEquipment/photos/a.116752818456599.19421.116737065124841/116770215121526/


Collecting WWII and pre-war Air Corps items-Unit Histories,Uniforms,Medals and Groupings.

*Seeking Pre-WWII Air Corps Officers and Enlisted Dress Uniform items!*

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Thank you Paul for spelling it all out quite clearly.

White= UK experimental

Khaki vests= British made

OD= USA made

Basically the document is only saying an initial quantity of vests to supply 300 crews, nothing is saying this is the only procurement and is likely more were fabricated in the UK. It mentions critical shortages of materials at that time but materials might have been supplied at a later date.

The way I'm understanding it is the British made types conformed to M-1 and M-2 specs., these designations are mentioned in the July 1943 Endorsement. I'm not sure why there is still confusion on the issue! Its been illustrated quite nicely in the last two pages.

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I wish I had more specific documents on the subject and since I don't have a direct interest I cruise right by them. The ones I do have are just tangled up with the specific subjects of interest and the rest are pretty run of the mill.

attached is a snippet, minor but I believe is reference the British white vests.

 

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Thank you Dustin and Paul for the valuable info , im now up to scratch and fully understand ie colors etc

 

maybe its the cross Atlantic meanings with OD and Khaki

 

 

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

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M. Rimmer,

That is a great photo. It would appear that the flak suit, having been designed for wear with U.S.A.A.F. flight clothing and equipment, did not integrate too well with the R.A.F. gear, as would be expected.

 

Carl,

To the best of my knowledge, the pattern shape of the U.S. made vests is consistent, whether the outer canvas was light OD or dark OD in color. I think this photo from 6/6/44 shows components of both colors being used together.

post-9787-0-68698900-1422213508.jpg

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Thanks to all who have contributed to this thread, I learned a lot about these vests and the example I have. One question, has anyone looked into the files referred to in the second link I posted? if not I shall do so and see if I can obtain copies of the documents, if successful I will share them here.

 

Matt.


Collecting WWII and pre-war Air Corps items-Unit Histories,Uniforms,Medals and Groupings.

*Seeking Pre-WWII Air Corps Officers and Enlisted Dress Uniform items!*

donation2012.gifdonation2013.gif

 

 

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Try this

KHAKI= TAN (VEST IN ORIGINAL POST)

OD= DARK GREEN

 

Thanks Dustin ;)

 

Paul , yes there does seem to be the 2 different colours of vest parts in that pic !!

 

this has been a great thread , and lets hope we can learn some more !!

 

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"

 



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Dustin, no confusion in that sense.

 

Just, I explained in post #55 my remaining doubt. July 1943 endorsement does specify clearly M-1 Vest armor front & back, M-2 armor front. And, in mid-October 1943 USAAF standardizes the two models with the same specifications.

Now, we have here a quantity (maybe not the full production but many, many indeed sets) of English-made, khaki M-2s wich really are from the beginning made together with armored back - this is so much evident. So many still around, in collections, and owned by many Forum members. I saw at least 8 sets like new conditions at a Militaria show at once, and they were all front-and-back armored.

 

Thus my doubt simply was: despite those features as (officially) written in the July 1943 document, were maybe they - or, a great part of them - born in this modified form? I so guess, 'cause we cannot reasonably think that so many sets (mostly, in exceptional shape today) were merely the result of individual subsequent preferences, like swapping the unarmored back for an armored one.

 

A legitimate doubt I guess.

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Hi Franco,

The attachment method at the shoulders is the same for both the British-made and U.S.-made M1 and M2 style production vests. There are two L.T.D. snaps on each shoulder, with the female part of the snaps on the vest front and the male part of the snaps on the rear half of the vest. The cords for the "quick-release" on the front half are attached so as to "lift-the-dot" on the female snaps, separating the front and back with one pull.

 

I have never seen a vintage photo, or surviving example, of a British-made M2 style vest, although Dustin's document suggests they did exist. All the surviving British-made khaki (tan) vests I have seen are M1 style, with armored front and back and a tapered sporran. As another poster mentioned, a large cache' of these vests was discovered in England about 25+ years ago. Some of them appeared in the 1990 Hollywood "epic" Memphis Belle, as seen below.

 

 

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Matt,

I would be interested to see those documents you mention, if you are ever able to obtain them. They would be a great addition to this thread.

After taking a second look at the Facebook photo you linked, it appears to me that the R.A.F. crewmen are actually wearing U.S.-made M1 suits, in a combination of light and dark OD canvas.

post-9787-0-95736100-1422218797.jpg

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thanks Paul,

 

I again checked carefully my set and, this is where my doubts stemmed from - unless a serious blunder on his part, pag.129 photo of Sweeting's book shows what he call the M-2 Vest. And, it's 100% my vest, or to better specify, it's 100% the front side of the vest I have got.

Same lack of that strap's segment sewn to chest (as instead, it is shown in the posted illustrations), same type of cords (not ribbons) on shoulders, same triangular-shaped apron as officially was coupled to M-2.

 

It's called M-2 in that book. That's why i thought having a M-2 Vest + M-3 Apron, but I still guess it's indeed a M-2 coupled to a armored back section, M-1 style.

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Bassingbourne England July 18th 1943. I see what happened Franco you were unable to set aside page 129 of Sweetings book and take a fresh look at a new set of facts and you let a small technical glitch pollute a new train of thought.

This photo suggests they were manufactured from the beginning in the "modified form" of which you speak.

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whch book is that from Dustin ??? or is it not from a book ???


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

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Book!!! We don't need no stinking book!....It's a National Archives photo, unpublished.

 

:blush: Thats obviously why i havnt seen it then :blush:


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

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Hi Franco,

Like all of us, even Sweeting makes mistakes. It would appear that what he calls an M2 vest on page 129, is in fact a British-made, khaki canvas, M1 style vest. What he calls a "modified armored vest" in the photo on page 127 is really a British-made, khaki vest without a sporran. I think you will find, in many cases, that Sweeting is writing about items based on vintage photos and documents alone without ever having handled the actual artifacts, which can lead to some misconceptions, to say the least.

 

Whereas the British-made vests used a white, rounded cord sewn to a white tab at each shoulder, the U.S.-made vests used a flat, OD, ribbon-like tape which extends over the top outside of the vest front and is attached to the top inside of the vest front. Though slightly different, the mechanical action is the same, as is the end result when the "quick-release" handle is pulled.

Regards, Paul

 

Detail of the British-made system at left. U.S.-made vest at right.

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post-9787-0-62864700-1422224027.jpg

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Thats a good reference Paul ,

 

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

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@ Dustin,

 

thus -from my standpoint - I didn't make who knows what mistakes. Rather, more than many other guys I could have had a serious look and thought at what were my available sources.

My whole past reasoning was simply doing 1+1 still =2, if comparing here and there. For example, I never saw before that pic dated 18 July 1943.

 

Wishes to all of you.

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