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unusual circa 1943 M-422A Willis & Geiger flight jacket .. B10/nylon hybrid

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This jacket is a first for me, never seen this before, and never knew it existed. But it does tick a lot of boxes. The shell is seal-brown heavy nylon twill, the lining is alpaca - otherwise the jacket is 100% exact to a classic wartime M-422A, down to the internal pocket with snap and heavy white canvas lining, buttons, pocket flaps, bi-directional waist knit, pen slit to outer pocket etc.


This is a real period jacket, not a modern Japanese fantasy piece, and is barring a few moth nips to the cuffs is dead-stock never worn.

The zipper is a Talon, with unmarked bar and unmarked Art Deco box, which I date to around 1943 or so. I generally don't see these types of Talons on postwar garments, though I do see them on civilian as well as military garments of the early-mid 40s. The Willis & Geiger neck label is basically a trimmed down / folded over wartime USN spec label with the gold box edging, leaving just the maker name - but you can see a bit of the contract number below - NXS 290 (not '290a' which is the regular goatskin W&G M-422A contract).


I don't know what this jacket is. It could well be a civilian market garment, but it is such a perfect copy of the leather version I would expect some sort of compromises if for the civilian market. Plus, I'd expect W&G to use a regular commercial / retail label, as they were in business as an outdoors garment manufacturer. It could date from around 1943 as the zipper and label contract suggest, or it could be late 40s, I don't know.


Or, long shot, it could be some kind of USN prototype or sample piece, as it seems to date from the period when the USAAF switched to cloth / alpaca jackets, and I would expect that the unlined M-422a etc did not give much warmth in higher / faster planes. There is already the cross-over ANJ3A USN/USAAF around this time, and pretty clear that the B-10 derived from the USN jackets. As for the nylon twill, from my analysis the USAF start introducing this around 1948, though nylon twill is used wartime for inner sleeve / armpit / pocket linings on a couple of B-10s I have owned in the past, so this fabric was already in use as a secondary material by this time.


Either way, I was pleased to score this piece this weekend just passed, curious to know if anyone has seen another or has any info / comment








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glad you like it Owen - was rather chuffed with this, plus it fits so a bonus .. no, no USN under the collar, that would have been the smoking gun ... I always wondered, were the USN collar stamps done at the Quartermaster or depot / issue level, or were they done at production / the factory ?



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A fascinating piece to be sure. I am up on the characteristics of the Navy Jackets of WWII, and agree this one seems to have most (minus liner type). I am a bit less informed on all of the finer details of the B-10. Does this jacket match a B-10 aside from color and fabric? A Proto type of a B-10 perhaps in a different color? Having said that, the hypothesis this could have been a “fabric” match to get out of the leather game with the USN at the same time the Army was doing the same makes some sense. Couple that with the fact Willis and Geiger manufactured only Navy jackets (I think) and this hypothesis is even stronger. Is there a wind flap behind the zipper? I would assume if so not punched USN. Kevin

I am eagerly collecting Pre-WWII USMC material. Any Marine Corps Span Am era, WWI, Banana Wars, or China Marine related material is especially sought after.




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Thats a good point above.

Shouldn't have USN punched in flap .......

However show flap shape as we know they have a slight curve that unique.




Thats a factory thing for sure.

Look again.

It MAY be the thin black print.

Or its just not there at all.



Its something I would be really happy to own any day as its so odd ball its cool.


One last question.

Is the shell fabric B15-A type ?


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thanks Kevin and Owen,


there are no USN stamps under the collar, or to the wind-flap which I think would only be for later flight jackets - no military marks whatsoever apart from the recycled label. From the zipper I'm fairly optimistic that this made around 1943 give or take.


The B-15A is OD cotton shell, non ?

Think it's the B-15B that is the OD nylon version. I accumulated all the nylon flight jackets, and the OD and blue versions, here the nylon twill is normally with a fairly soft handle. especially for the OD jackets of the late 40s. Later the sage nylon tends to be a bit heavier.

This jacket is made out of a very tough heavy nylon, same as I found in some B-10s I once owned, had a WAC coat with similar nylon twill for the pockets, in fact even have a 40s rodeo shirt made from the exact same stiff heavy nylon.


Incidentally, 'nylon' was advertised by Dupont as a US propaganda fabric during the war, to challenge the Japanese silk that was no longer being imported - some bright spark suggested the word become an acronym for 'Now You Loose Old Nippon'..


Apologies, have spent too long studying early nylon garb.


Last question: Is there anyone out there who is good on dates for USN contract numbers - 'NXS 290', granted this label is out of context.. ..




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Since there isn't reference to jacket type, contract number, government used/owned, etc..,I'd vote for commercial use....Whether made during or after the war is the question....Bodes

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thanks - yes, bi-swing back, inner pocket etc.

basically an M-422A .. but in nylon, shell is exactly the same, throat latch etc ..

curious mystery item.. !



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