Jump to content

Searching for Info on 'Standard' Kit Carried by WWll PBY Crews


Recommended Posts

Hello all!


My Grandfather served in VP-94 ['42-'44] during WWll flying PBY's in the Atlantic Theatre (Brazil). I've been attempting to complete a collection of items relating to his service. However, I have not been able to locate an inventory of 'standard' kit items carried by a PBY flight crew - e.g. survival items, sidearm (S&W Victory or 1911?), long gun (?), knife, etc. I would greatly appreciate an education if anyone has knowledge of the specific equipment and items carried by Atlantic PBY crews. Thanks in advance for your help and guidance!


Best, Frank


Link to post
Share on other sites

​First off, your asking a very open ended question with no simple answer. So its best if we just try and simply break it down. Regardless of the operational duty whether VF, VT, VP, all pilots and aircrew would be issued the same basic compliment of personal flying clothing, meaning that there is no difference between an aircrew member or pilot operating in the Atlantic or in the Philippines, all clothing and equipment is standard. The type of clothing one would wear would be relevant to the climatic conditions. Those operating in the North Atlantic and Aleutians would most certainly wear the fleece lined or electrical heated garments. Brazil, being a warm climate, aircrew would wear essentially what ever is comfortable and appropriate. In the following images you see a mix of standard issued type clothing blue dungaree, khaki chino, and standard flight suit.

 

post-56-0-75514200-1515265469_thumb.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

​As you can see, they wore very little in regards to personal equipment, this would keep it nice and simple for your project, However, there are many acceptations especially those operating in the combat zone they would carry more. Patrol squadrons operating in Brazil or the South Atlantic could be best considered very very casual with no real threat of being jumped by enemy aircraft or the risk of having to bailout or ditch in or around enemy territory. VP/VPB squadrons were authorized an allowance of a side arm and a sheath knife, when your grandfather staged for embarkation overseas he would had likely been issued those items but this would not had occurred until the second half of 1943. It wasn't unusual for aircrew to store there personal equipment near their position and not wear it, after all your in a flying Winnebago with bunks and galley units. In the first image you can see the wearing of the .45 automatic by the officers.

​This image is off a patrol aircrew member wearing the .38 Victory revolver

 

post-56-0-92987500-1515267169.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

​With that all being said, a good set up and most cost effective (POST #5) would be a flight suit, B-4 type life preserver with at least one sea marker, and for added enhancement a pistol belt with first aid packet and maybe a canteen.

​Dungrees are rare and barely obtainable, the life preserver in the initial images are of the pre-war type and very spendy when found.

I wanted to just start with the basics in reply.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Each​ crew position would had been issued a parachute assembly, for VP squadrons, the typical was the QAC (Quick Attachable Chest). Operating in a large patrol aircraft is much like surface vessels, emergency equipment is stored in a convenient location such as near emergency exits and assigned crew positions. For comfort purposes, the parachute harnesses were not often worn but very close in case its needed. In Post #9 you will see the QAC parachute pack suspended from the fuselage over the left shoulder, the packs would be secured at predetermined or assigned locations in all patrol type aircraft.

Here is an example:

post-56-0-10600500-1515271237_thumb.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

​The reoccurring theme illustrated here is that they are not wearing much in the way of personal "equipment" but certainly a variety of clothing. Now one thing you didn't make clear if he was an officer of enlistedman?

​Here is an image of a couple other VP enlisted aircrew, a nice added feature for your presentation would be a clip and jackknife as seen on the right hip of the individual on the left. Certainly another added feature could be the Mark 1 knife or maybe a Mark 2, the Mark 1 would be a better alternative.

post-56-0-79414300-1515272819_thumb.jpg

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

You also mention the dates 1942-1944. This is significant in the way of what you would accurately portray or represent and limits considerable what you add to assembly.

​You mention small arms, patrol or VP aircraft were authorized an allotment of small arms such as carbines and Thompson sub-machine guns, usually only for one for self defense purposes. But this would be aircraft equipment, not personal issue. With Aircraft Equipment being said, the bulk of all items issued would be to the aircraft this includes life rafts, first aid equipment, wide array of pyrotechnics, stokes litters etc.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Really enjoying this... especially the part about stuff not exactly fitting properly :) Brings back memories.

HONORING FAMILY LtCol Wm Russell (1679-1757) VA Mil; Pvt Zachariah McKay (1714-97) Frederick VA Mil; BrigGen Evan Shelby, Jr (1719-94) VA Mil; Pvt Vincent Hobbs (1722-1808) Wythe VA Mil; Pvt Hugh Alexander (1724-77); Lt John R. Litton (1726-1804); Bvt BrigGen/Col Wm W. Russell (1735-93) 5th VA Rgmt; Lt James Scott (1736-1817); Capt John Murray, Sr (1747-1833); Capt John Sehorn, Sr (1748-1831) VA Mil; Pvt Corbin Lane (1750-1816) Franklin/TN Mil; Cpl Jesse D. Reynolds (1750-1836) 5th VA Rgmt; Capt. Solomon C. Litton (1751-1844); 1Lt Christopher Casey (1754-1840) SC Mil; Pvt Mark Adams (1755-1828); Pvt Randolph White (1755-1831) Bailey's Co. VA Rgmt; Capt. John R. Russell (1758-1838); Pvt Joseph T. Cooley (1767-1826) Fort Hempstead Mil; Pvt Thomas Barron (1776-1863) 1812; Capt. John Baumgardner (1787-1853) VA Mil; Pvt Joel Estep (1828-1864) Co B 5th KY Inf CSA & US; Pvt George B. Bell (1833-1910) Co C 47th IL Inf US; Cpl Daniel H. Barron (1838-1910) Co B 19th TN Rgmt Inf CSA; Capt Richard K. Kaufman (1908-1946) 7th PRG/3rd AF CCU; T-5 Vernon L. Bell (1926-95) 1802nd Spec Rgmt; PO2 Murray J. Heichman (1932-2019) HQSB/MCRD; PFC Jess Long (1934-2017) US Army; PFC Donald W. Johnson (1931-) 43rd ID HQ; A1C Keith W. Bell (1931-2011) 314th TCW; A3C Michael S. Bell (1946-) 3346th CMS; A1C Sam W. Lee (1954-2017) 2d BW; AW3 Keith J. Price (1975-) VP-10; 1Lt Matthew Wm Bell (1985-) 82nd Abn/SOC








Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

​The reoccurring theme illustrated here is that they are not wearing much in the way of personal "equipment" but certainly a variety of clothing. Now one thing you didn't make clear if he was an officer of enlistedman?

​Here is an image of a couple other VP enlisted aircrew, a nice added feature for your presentation would be a clip and jackknife as seen on the right hip of the individual on the left. Certainly another added feature could be the Mark 1 knife or maybe a Mark 2, the Mark 1 would be a better alternative.

attachicon.gifIMG_20170921_0001.jpg

 

 

Dustin, Grateful thanks for the information! In response to your question: my grandfather was an Officer. My understanding of how the flight crews operated (perhaps unique to long haul, anti submarine operations) is that each PBY flew with 3 Pilots who rotated duties each sortie between Pilot, CoPilot and Navigator.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You also mention the dates 1942-1944. This is significant in the way of what you would accurately portray or represent and limits considerable what you add to assembly.

​You mention small arms, patrol or VP aircraft were authorized an allotment of small arms such as carbines and Thompson sub-machine guns, usually only for one for self defense purposes. But this would be aircraft equipment, not personal issue. With Aircraft Equipment being said, the bulk of all items issued would be to the aircraft this includes life rafts, first aid equipment, wide array of pyrotechnics, stokes litters etc.

Dustin, Thanks again! Just to clarify; each PBY would be stocked with an allotment (one or more) of long guns like the M1 or Thompson? Were these standard issue based on the aircraft type or theatre? Meaning would I be able to determine with [relative] certainty which type of long gun would have flown on Atlantic PBYs? Much appreciation, Frank

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

Take the time to comb through my personal archive and fish out the right pictures for illustration and not so much as a simple Thank You.

I don't mean to hijack this thread but Dustin I have to ask if you have any ideas as to the location for this seat. The prefix number is 28- and according to the records I have this from a PBY. I have not been able to confirm this seat with a period photo. Do you have any info?

post-169522-0-13964300-1519721256.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

@P-59A: The general design, construction, and single pole mounting mechanism do not look like anything I've ever seen in a PBY (5A). The navigator seats I've seen are much more contoured and often have portions covered in fabric. Missions were long, temperatures at altitude varied. While comfort was/is rarely a design priority, this chair would border on the inhumane. The single pole mount makes me think it was designed to have swivel and reminds me more of a gunners or spotters seat. Just my totally unqualified opinion.

Link to post
Share on other sites

@P-59A: The general design, construction, and single pole mounting mechanism do not look like anything I've ever seen in a PBY (5A). The navigator seats I've seen are much more contoured and often have portions covered in fabric. Missions were long, temperatures at altitude varied. While comfort was/is rarely a design priority, this chair would border on the inhumane. The single pole mount makes me think it was designed to have swivel and reminds me more of a gunners or spotters seat. Just my totally unqualified opinion.

It's the 28- prefix number that confirms it is PBY. The gray paint indicates Navy, maybe post war paint. Consolidated also made a seat very much like this for it's early B-24 production run for the navigator. Those seats have a 32- prefix number that denotes B-24. The construction of this seat is very light weight and the holes in the stand are for adjusting the seat setting . It sure looks like it would have gone through a hole in the floor.

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.