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WWII "Airborne" Training Gas Mask Use DEBUNKED


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We have all seen the Training Gas Mask, M1A1 Labeled as "Early Paratrooper" Kit. This is False. The Training M1A1 is very similar, but is NOT the same as the bag/mask used in combat by Paratroopers.

 

All bags used in theatre were marked "UNIVERSAL" Underneath the designation of the mask. These bags are incredibly rare and unique in combat use to the 509th PIB in Africa, and the 82nd Airborne in Sicily.

 

However regular training bags are continually sold with paratrooper ties to sugar coat their appeal.

 

 

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Seen above is a member of the 509th PIB preparing for the Avellino Jump to Support the Salerno landings in September of 1943.

 

Below is the common bag. Not the lack of "UNIVERSAL" under the line of script under the US Chemical Warfare emblem.

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The point of this thread is to make the distinction between proper bags and the more common training version.

 

If a member here have an example of an original "Universal" marked bag, please post for the record.

 

Also if anyone has an example of a functioning NON-TRAINING M1A1 Mask, please post.

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Do all the period photographs of these gas masks with the 509 have the universal marking. Would like to see a few more pics of there from the time.

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that's a good point, id never noticed that. In all of the pics in that series that you can read the gas masks bag writing, it has it as universal.

 

one or two few more pics here of various 82nd units as well

 

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/195930-82nd-airborne-in-operation-husky-invasion-armbands-and-ssi-a-question-for-the-experts/

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The bag still says training gas mask M2, I think the universal is the size designation for it, just food for thought.Paul

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Seen above is a member of the 509th PIB preparing for the Avellino Jump to Support the Salerno landings in September of 1943.

 

Below is the common bag. Not the lack of "UNIVERSAL" under the line of script under the US Chemical Warfare emblem.

The common bag looks very similar to a civilian one. I had thought all of the training bags had LTD snaps, but I guess not.

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Ronny62

 

Is the only distinction your making the "universal" marking?

 

Universal on the bag denotes the size of the mask.

The training mask at that time ONLY came in the Universal size and the forehead of the mask is marked US/U

"U" for Universal. They found that the "universal" size fit 95% of the men tested.

The other 5% would use "S" or Small size.

But it clearly states that the Training mask only was available in "U"

 

The MI and MIA1 are the same mask except for the outlet valve.

 

In TM 3-205 dated October 9, 1941 it states:

 

"In training pieces to be procured in the future, the MI and MIA1 will be designated M2 and M2A1, respectively, since they will be the same as the service M2 and M2A1. No change will be made in the nomenclature of training masks in the hands of troops at present."

 

Soooooooo

Since they will be the same as the service M2 and M2A1.....highly likely they we only available in "universal" size.

 

They are clearly wearing the training carriers in the photos you provided.

 

The noncombatant carrier is the same except shorter and no waist cord.

 

In my opinion your looking for a specific item that airborne troops used....your not gonna find it.

They gave them training mask...war is hell.

 

Hope this clears things up.

 

Dan

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Hey Dan.

 

GREAT response, thank you for the info.

 

Here is another marking variation I found.

 

If the African paratroops had Universal marked bags, I want a universal marked bag.

 

In the meantime the Universal marked bag is the only bag present in period photos: all of them of the 509th and the 82nd. I am also tired of sellers peddling unmarked bags as "Airborne".

 

 

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Is that your mask pictured?

Whats the date on the mask, usually under the chin with the manufacture stamp.

 

I agree with you...get the right mask for the right time period and look.

If Lieutenant Colonel Raff took his men overseas in June of 42, and the men had their equipment with them.....including this mask.

You would need one dated prior to June of 1942....if they are all pictured in "Universal" size...then find one with universal size marked on it.

 

Until the assault mask came out...airborne used training masks.

The canister was good for about 13 hours of use, verses the service canister which was about 40 hours of use.

The training mask filtered out most everything of the time, not just smoke.

 

Dan

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I once found my Dad's gasmask in the basement under the stairs. You can see him wearing it in my avatar photo taken around 1941. Both the mask and bag were falling apart. What was left looked just like the photo above. A long time ago, but I don't remember the word "training" on it. Were all of this style mask and bag training models?

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Around 1941 I would yes it was called "training", but don't be confused with the word "training" as you know it. It's simply the nomenclature they used for the mask at that time.

While most were used for training purposes, It did see service, as seen in the early photos posted at the beginning of this thread....but it's not a service mask :blink:

 

With the avatar photo you have, it's a training mask...most likely an MIA1

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Dan- The Mask and Bag are not mine. I have my sights set on them so they may soon reside on my display...

 

Have you ever personally seen a universal marked bag? I have not: yet....

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Ronny,

 

No I have never seen this carrier marked universal.

I do not have any of these masks in my collection as I have paid little attention to this model.

But you have increased my curiosity....I will have one in my collection...I promise to show you a picture. :P

 

I will ask my gas buddies that are not on this forum if they have any in their collections.

Will keep you posted and eyes peeled.

 

Dan

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Thank you Dan!

 

I will keep scouring the Earth until one comes my way...

 

509th PIB members in North Africa with these Universal marked bags.

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  • 4 years later...
Persian Gulf Command

I'd like to bring back this thread in the event that any member, new or old, may have a Training Gas Mask Bag marked "Universal".  If so please share photos with our USMF Community.

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The bag in my collection just says Training gas mask M1A1, but the mask itself says U on top (for universal, black face piece, GDYR (Goodyear)). The bag is mint but the mask itself was used, they were probably put together long after the war. 

 

Smaller paratroopers in North Africa will likely have carried another size as others have stated, eliminating the Universal designation on the bag itself. It's still interesting but I'm thinking that a large lot of masks from a certain maker was issued to the 82nd prior to the invasion of North-Africa, hence the markings. 

 

Edit: just a thought, but if the bags in the original pics lacked the word Training, it may have been a different story, but they still carried training gas masks despite the size designation on the bag. I believe mine has the other outlet as seen on the M3 or assault gas mask if that makes any difference. 

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  • 4 months later...

So as we re-hash this topic 4 years after we started it....Ken88 please post pictures of your mask and carrier. 

 

So while I like the idea of a carrier marked "Universal".   Where is the proof that ONLY the airborne issued training masks were placed in carriers marked with the word Universal?

Some may have been and some may not have been. 

 

Thoughts and reasons

 

Thanks

Dan

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