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What Flight helmet/O2 mask combo?


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Hello Gent's,

So what flight helmet/O2 mask combo would be correct for a display setup for a B-17 Radioman shot down and KIA on January 30th 1944?

Would it be the B6 with A8?

Or AN-H-15 with A10 or A11 with a A14?

 

I have a friend who's uncle was killed during a Bomb run on Brunswick Germany and he would like to put together a display to Honor his uncle. Your thoughts on this subject will help him decide on which items to purchase

Any and all info would be appreciated.

 

Semper Fi

Phil

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What I am familiar with. An a-11flight helmet topped by an M flak helmet or M4 flak helmet.

An A14 mask and Maybe goggles B-8. But Im sure their wer many configurations of gear worn.

You can get a great idea from this site here

 

http://www.303rdbg.com/uniforms-gear.html

 

 

You can zoom in on the display pics and see what they show. I dont see any flak helmets

but Im sure some radiomen along with gunners and pilots wore flak helmets. Reference

the War Dept film from ww2 of the Memphis Belle and the pilot is clearly wearing a flak helmet.

 

Heres a shot of a B-24 crew suiting up.

post-181333-0-87982300-1572808466_thumb.jpg

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I agree that website is a great resource on what was really worn. I love how they have updated it since I last saw it to passively aggressively updated it for the "Mighty8" film saying that they hope the filmmakers use it as a reference on what was really worn.

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Thanks for the replies,

I did watch the HBO documentary "The Cold Blue" which was digitally enhanced films taken by the Pilot of the Memphis Belle and also 2 videographer's.. I told my friend to watch it also to get an idea of what to get.

They were all wearing B6's and A8's. The pilot wore a M1 helmet.when the flew into flak, But he wore it backwards, I'm guessing to get a better view with no visor. Very cool pic for a reference of USAAF, But they were 43.

That site you linked is also in my favorites. I did pass that along to him.

My friend's Uncle was there from December of 43 till he was KIA on January 30th 44. When did they transition to the A11. I see on the Smithsonian air and space museum site that it says the A11 became standardized on August 6th 1943. Did everybody switch over to the new stuff when they came out? This Gent was attached to the 447th BG 708th Bomb Squadron.

 

Thanks for the assistance.

 

Semper Fi

Phil

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Phil,

Memphis Belle flew its last mission in May of 1943. As rapidly as flight gear and clothing was being developed and issued during the 1943-1944 era, that film footage from "Cold Blue", and the original documentary, is probably not the best reference for what someone wore in January 1944. A more definitive answer might be found if you are able to first determine what type of aircraft the gentleman flew in. B-17F, or B-17G? That would probably help determine the oxygen system, and therefore oxygen mask, he would have used. As for other clothing and equipment, a crew photo from his unit during that time period would be your best general reference. Best of luck in your research.

Regards, Paul

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Thank you Guy's ,

I'll see if there are any photo on the 447th webpage for that time frame and see what B17's they were flying in January.. I think I know what you are talking about for the O2. One was constant flow and the other was regulated , Correct??

Those visual are awesome Rooster! Excellent collection Sir!!!

 

Thanks All

Semper Fi

Phil

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There is the case to be made for the AN-H-16 flight helmet...according to one website the helmet started production in October of 43...did it reach supply points by January of 44, or sooner?

 

Having said that, the number of B-6 helmets found in crew photo's, makes the B-6 the iconic 8th AF flight helmet...not definitive, but a safe bet..

I have always liked the B-2 and A-8 combination, but that might not be practical in that crew position

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Thanks Phantomfixer for the suggestion, From what I've read the AN-H-16 was made in limited numbers and will be a hard one to find. It is a great lookin flight helmet.

 

The only pic he has of his uncle is while he was in training in the states and he has a B6 with out earcups,

 

I spoke with my friend and he is trying to get approval from the ADMIN to join. He tried twice and never heard anything back. After I showed him this post, he said he would try again to sign up so he can chime in on this thread and maybe share some of what he knows about his Uncle and the 447thBG 708th BS,

I do appreciate all the help as does He.

Thank you all

Semper Fi

Phil

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  • 2 weeks later...

hello all, remember seeing time ago a photo of mid-June 1943 with a 8th A.F. fighter pilot wearing the A-14.

If considering some inevitable 'delays' due to the needed time for importing and issueing it to the operational units, much likely the A-14 could have been hurriedly put into production as early as late March or early April - even though the priority sure went to fighter units in England, and anyway beginning with a slow rate of manufacturing. Perhaps bomber units were still getting some quantities of A-10R in autumn 1943, or the newer A-10A.

In case of this latter, it had been officially standardized not before mid-October so no wonder if A-14 was slow in reaching all the units.

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Surprisingly, having looked at 1000s of wartime images over several decades, I've only come across ONE showing an A-10A oxygen mask in use in the ETO, and that was by a B-24 crewman (see images below). No doubt, they were produced in large numbers, but I'd say their actual use in service was very limited. I would be glad to be proven wrong, if others have found evidence to the contrary?

 

 

post-9787-0-54787000-1574029596_thumb.jpg

post-9787-0-75848000-1574029617_thumb.jpg

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hello Paul

I've had a good amount of searching into AAF aircrews photos but my interest was much more in ETO fighter units then the bombers ones, I remember great numbers of them showing RAF-issue oxy. masks for units like 4th F.G, 56th F.G. and 78th F.G. through the 1943 (in some cases even early 1944) intermixed with A-14s as well. After wich, the A-14 predominates.

No memories of photos showing A-10 family masks in use, at least as I can recall now. Caqnnot say for sure about bomber crews, I must say having seen many photos of A-8Bs through springtime 1943 and then, the A-14s - perhaps, early 1944.

 

One well-known image we all have seen everywhere the matter of bombers' gunners is treated, shows that famous B-17 waist gunner manning his weapon while standing over a floor of .50 spent cases, dark goggles over his eyes and a flak vest on. Mask could be the A-10A but not sure, some details aren't clear or visible. Judging by the shape of suspension straps (unique to the -A) it COULD be the A-10A but they are bad definition against the facepiece - the whole is too much light in shade of b/w.

At this moment I cannot have the photo posted here but it could be that precise subvariant, just some details are not clear enough. More photos of A-10As in action I cannot recall into memory.

Ciao - Franco.

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hello Paul,

yes the straps themselves are the same, just crossed and sewn in different way. In my opinion a flash had been used to take the picture there inside (some surfaces turn out being virtually white) so I thought the mask had been 'washed' as well and made much lighter in color, looking grey instead of green. However rightly, if so that should have acted the same for other objects - helmet and gloves for examples, but they instead do stay dark.

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Thank you BlueBookGuy,

This is what my friend was thinking as far as what his uncle might have been wearing in January of 44.

A B6 with an A10 O2 mask. I went to the website of the 447th( His Uncle) and tried to get a pic of the crews at that time frame and I could not find one of that specific time frame. In the Oct- Dec of 43 they are wear that combo,B6 and A10's But the one in February of 44 they are wearing A-ll's and what look like A14 mask.

Maybe Phantomfixer's suggestion of the AN-H-16 might be the fix all of this question..

.

I guess the goggles are the AN6530's in that pic. Is that correct?

 

Well thank you all on your help with this. I know my friend and I appreciate everyone's input.

 

Semper Fi

Phil

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