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VB-13, Is It Real?


pararaftanr2

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pararaftanr2

I know the insignia is VB-13, but have not been able to find a wartime example, or photo, of this patch, other than in decal form, so am wondering if it is authentic? Does anyone have a similar one in their collection?

It is on a flight jacket that has been in my collection since 1998. VB-13 was on USS Franklin flying the Helldiver for a cruise in 1944, then reformed in March 1945, and was still in training when the war ended and was disbanded in October 1945. 

First image is from the squadron's war history on Fold2.com. Second and third image is of the patch in question. Last image is a current reproduction. Thanks in advance for your help! 

War History.jpg

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20200729_221944.jpg

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I have experience with patches from this air group, and both the fighter and torpedo patches are on leather. That being said, it's possible that the bombing squadron had theirs embroidered.

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pararaftanr2

Thank you Matt-M for your input. From what I have seen, all three squadrons from Air Group 13 did use decal-on-leather patches during their 1944 deployment. There has been some evidence shown however that at least VF-13, when reconstituted in 1945, used a US made embroidered patch, so I wonder if the entire air group went to that format in 1945?  This is based on original vintage photos taken from the VF-13 cruise book, showing a patch on their flight jackets and being worn as a shoulder patch on some of their flight suits. This patch is about 5.75" wide and oval in shape.

 

Examples of the embroidered VF-13 patches being worn in 1945:

 

 

 

VF-13.jpg

IMG_1725a.JPG

VF-13a patch.jpg

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ocsfollowme
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pararaftanr2

Thank you OCS for your input. There is no question in my mind that the patch on my jacket represents VB-13. Also, in my original post, the last image is noted as being one of the current crop of reproductions.

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pararaftanr2
5 minutes ago, ocsfollowme said:

Yes, your link is an example of the 1944 vintage VB-13 decal-on-leather version of the patch that I believe is on a jacket owned by Kurt and shown on the Forum, as seen below:

 

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ocsfollowme

The best image is the one of him wearing the jacket in 1944

 

 

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pararaftanr2

Thanks for that image Kurt. What a terrific grouping (one of your many) as well. Do you have any thoughts on what form their squadron insignia may have taken in their final iteration, between March and October of 1945? 

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The first one Johnny posted is an original US embroidered on wool. I' m not sure of the exact tour off the top of my head, but I have the same patch in my collection. I personally don't like the embroidery of the one on your jacket, although I must say it most accurately matches the official submitted drawing of the squadron insignia. The embroidery style just isn't something I've seen identified as WW2 era work. Also, the embossed wings on the leather jacket patch...are they silver? If so, that makes me question the patches and jacket. Jeffro

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pararaftanr2

Thanks for your thoughts Jeffro. It's curious (to me) that the patch you and Johnny both have has the trident in all black, but the squadron art, decal and my patch have it in white with only black details? As for the name plate, it is just poor photography on my part. The wings are indeed gold, not silver. The gold leaf on the name area has flaked off, but the impression in the leather is still readable for "LT J. P. Williams USN".

One of the jacket experts on the Forum, who has seen the jacket in more detail, tells me it is a Willis & Giger that was a period depot refurbish.

Here is an older photo, with a little less flash reflection from the gold leaf of the wings and patch, then below that, the reverse side where you can see a name plate was sewn on, then moved up, when the squadron patch was applied and lastly the wings again:

 

 

IMG_5392.JPG

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pararaftanr2

Johnny, or Jeffro, am I seeing correctly that your VB-13 patches are embroidered on chenille, or a felt background? My patch is fully machine embroidered. I also note the horns are different, black on yours and white on mine.

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I think Johnny's patch has been washed or at least very wet at one time or two. Looks like there is some slight shrinking in his too. They are both embroidered on wool felt. Yes, there are some differences in the US embroidered on wool examples that Johnny and I have compared to yours. It is the embroidered background on yours that concerns me. The fact that yours is nearly identical to the original design and one in the book as well as the one in the photo album indicates to me that they were used to reproduce yours. There are even differences between the decal in the photo album and the one on the leather patch: the line on the devil's left forearm. The line is present on my patch example. The black on the pitchfork may just have been a more efficient way to produce the embroidered on wool version. That's not all that uncommon to see differences between a WW2 decal and it's associated patch. The differences may also be an indication of different cruises or time periods. Yours may very well be one produced for the aviator during the war, but if so, it's the only example that I've ever seen. Have you tried researching the aviator to find out when he was in the squadron? 

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pararaftanr2

Yes, but to no success as of yet with such a common last name. He does not appear on the 1944, or 1945, squadron rosters included in the squadron history on Fold3.com. As mentioned previously, this jacket was purchased on ebay in about 1998. I would think that if it was a pre-2000 reproduction, it would be more familiar to patch collectors, as they would have probably been made in a large enough quantity to make it profitable, but that is just my speculation. I know I've never seen one like it in the years since. For what it's worth, it does not glow under black light and the loose thread you can see is cotton.

 

As a side note, until last year, it was a popular misconception that the embroidered-on-felt VF-13 patches were made in theater during the 1944 cruise. The photos in their 1945 cruise book with that type of patch in use tends to negate that theory, as they never left the states between March 1945, when formed, and October 1945, when they were disbanded.

 

Thanks again for your further input.

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pararaftanr2

Great looking patch, thanks for adding it!

To further the discussion, I'd like to hear what is "incorrect" about the embroidery for this one to be WW2?

 

A collector friend brought some groupings over yesterday that he recently attained from the Quonset Air Museum that closed a few years ago. Included was a VB-16 patch attributed to George Dean from their cruise aboard USS Randolph in summer of 1945. Also a VT-93 patch from VT-93 attributed to William De Laar. They were in Hawaii, preparing to deploy at the time of VJ- Day. Both patches are American made, one fully embroidered, the other embroidered on felt, and of 1945 vintage. I don't see much, if any, difference in the embroidery, but maybe someone can please educate me? Side-by-side photos and reverse images shown below for comparison. I welcome your analysis.

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20200807_192251.jpg

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Hate to be "that guy"  but have you hit it with a black light ?... just looks a bit bright but that could be lighting and or camera flash. It just dont seem to have the wear as the rest of the jacket and name tag. I have known vets who got patches at reunions etc and put them on later.

 

To my thinking if this glows it has synthetic or more modern material base and not period manufacture 

 

Also what type thread is used to sew it on? can you clip a sample off the back and burn test it or test one of the stringers off the patch edge? If cotton it will burn and crumble like ash. Synthetic will ball up/melt

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