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  • 10 months later...
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this picture is of the collar to the B-4 above

also a picture of a 1943 manufactured AAC B-4 with service tag



Dustin - I have a B-4 dated 1945. I also have two of the green CO2 cartridges, that have never been used. I would like to insert them where they belong in the vest, but not sure which way is correct. Also...what size stencil letter were used for the T.O. 13-1-3 C.W. on the front of the vest? .5 or 1 inch letters/numbers?



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  • 2 years later...

I have come across a first hand account of a WW2 (1943) US Navy ship sinking and would like to know why the inflatable lifejackets used were so unreliable. The following are the comments of an officer abandoning ship at the time:


"I wasn’t too confident about the standard-issue inflatable rubber lifejackets. ...took off my shoes, and pushed off into the icy water, clinging to one of the wood "shores" that I had ordered topside sometime before. The rubber life jacket issued to all hands proved useless; it deflated almost immediately and offered no buoyancy. "


Could someone venture to guess what model life jacket was used and why it deflated so quickly?



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I should have mentioned most of the crew were picked up by eight or more small boats that rapidly came to their assistance. Unfortunately fourteen sailors lost their lives. The water temp was 36 degrees F so hypothermia played a big part. Only four bodies were recovered. It is possible some or all of the ten missing may have been trapped on board when the ship unexpectedly broke in two.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 9 months later...

Hi Dustin:


Just noticed your last post on this old thread, which I enjoyed reading when it was new. The Forum generally disfavors deleting threads with mistakes if the info is correctable. If not too much trouble perhaps you can point out the main errors so that readers can understand the correct info without losing the benefit of the entire thread.


Thanks, and thanks again for your many contributions to the Forum on the survival equipment topics. Every time I read one of your posts I learn something.





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  • 4 years later...

sgt brown, I agree with your statemnet about the blue life preserver

"In any event, I would not have any qualms about dressing a mannequin of a late-war sailor in denims, talker helmet and the blue mae west. Conversely, I would have no qualms about dressing a mannequin in late-war flight gear and the blue vest."

As for you shark repellent it is a post war version,the givaway is the red tie tape this is represented well in early 1950's publications.The derrent was used till about circa 1960 then finally dropped after considered useless.

WWII packets are blue with yellow lettering official nomenclature for the AAF "packet,shark derrent ,for use with life vest" stock number 8300-623748 and available for both services by febuary 1945 in limited quantities (2500 for both sevices)"life jacket shark chaser" nomneclature for USN stock number R37-S-75.the issue will be to one person on flights over water with temperatures greater than 65 degrees or between latitudes 45 degree N. and 45 degree S.the AAF version does not have tie tapes whereas the USN version does either yellow cotton or dyed blue.Large quantities were not available till around august 1945 along with USN technical note 87-45 on proper use of packet.

Testing for the shark chaser was conducting from april 9 1943 to july 1 1944 from the naval research laboratory the packet accepted was made in the form of an envelope from vinyl-copolymer-coated fabric with an internal cake made from nigrosine black dye and copper acetate and can be reused.

attached is a vintage picture of the shark chaser. note: domed snap on top for opening and reclosing packet aslo attached is picture from USN equipment catalog note: tie tapes for attachement to life vest the AAF vesion was cemented between bladders an wearers right


Please just a doubt on my part concerning what quantities were delivered of WW2 pattern shark chaser before war's end, thanx if it might be cleared. Is 2,500 actually the total number between AAF and USN, or each service got 2,500? Possibly my fault in meaning that the right way.



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First, this post is extremely out dated and full of errors based on limited resources, much more specific data has been accumulated since then.

The 2,500 was a test sample lot by the Navy, used for field tests in the spring of 1944. After the conclusion of the tests both services procured the shark repellent in large quantities, the USAAF purchased 85,000 packets and the Navy 160,000 packets. The procurements were executed in December 1944 and January 1945. Optimistically, the USAAF thought they would reach supply depots in February of 1945, but I think the actually delivery was a few months later. I believe the February mark was determined at the time of the negotiation of the contract, but as in most all cases, deliveries are almost never on time. From other data, companies always blew smoke but the reality is that they often missed the initial deadlines for various reasons. A safe guesstimate would be 3-months from the time of contract. Because the USAAF cemented the packet between the bladders, it's almost impossible to find photo evidence of it being used. The Navy on the other hand, secured it like the sea marker so we do see it used by early summer of 1945.

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Thanx Dustin.

I remember having seen time ago one photo of USN aviatyors wearing the packet on their life vests, do not recall where anymore, but 100% sure about the date being early April, 1945. This very detail, I'm utterly sure of (unless dating is wrong itself).

Possibly aboard a carrier, or land-based at Okinawa, consequently I had figured out if they could sport some packets by that timeframe, some good chances they had gotten them at least in late March? So, to me this was consistent with the date of February 1945, mentioned in your older post, by wich both services started having the packets available.


Thanx very much for the updated infos. Those numbers are impressive indeed, almost 250,000 pieces purchased between the two.

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  • 1 year later...

Thank you Dustin for this thread,

 You mentioned in it that you hoped that someone was getting something out of it.

 Yes I did!

 Thank you Sir!!!


Semper Fi



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