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Cold war USN anti-blackout suits


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For completing the very interesting ww2 USAAF anti-g tread from Gregory on this forum, is anybody interested by the USN side of these first anti-g systems as types Z2 or Z3? The Z2 was used at the end of the Pacific war and then until the end of the 50's. In 1945/46 both Z" and "Z2" types were labeled on these suit. There was also a "M-700" version wich was the same of Z2 and perhaps was only the Switlik mfg.'s reference for this suit. Anybody of you did know more informations about?
(Z2 was apparently more used as Z-3 by the Navy pilots. You can see a Z-3 anti-g pants on one of my photos published in the posts below)
Franck

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Franck,

 

I can add some good technical info to this Navy G-suit topic.

 

From my historical info, I can state that both the Z-2 and Z-3 suits were NOT used at the end of WW2, but rather, they first appeared in Fleet use in the late 1950 timeframe, just at the start of the Korean War.

 

My info reference is 'MIL-S-5085', which covered both the Z-2, and Z-3 suits. This base -5085 Spec is the first of it's series, and is dated June 1950, well after WW2.

The Z series g-suits were developed for use by Navy and Marine aviators, and they saw wide use from Korea through Vietnam, into the late 1960s/early 1970s.

 

Now, there may be an earlier anti-g suit that the Navy used just after WW2, but it was not under the 'Z' series title.

If any photos do show a type of Navy/Marine g-suit right after WW2, it is likely another series, which maybe came before the Z series.

The earliest photo of a Z-3 that I have seen, shows a Marine Corsair pilot wearing one in Korea, in late 1950. (I am looking for this book and photo in my library, but cannot find it!!)

 

The Spec -5085 had a long life, running from 1950 until it was cancelled in June 1967, being replaced by the Spec that covered the Mark 2A G-suit, which started in 1963. (The -5085 Spec covered all the Navy Z g-suits, and up to the Mark 2.)

 

So, the -5085 covered the Z-2, Z-3, Z-4, and the Mark 2, of which I am happy to own examples of each.

 

Feet Wet!

 

Superheat >>>>>

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Hi Alex

You're right for the 5085 spéc but not for the first use of Z serie's.

Naval Air News from March 1945 talk about this type Z suit. There was a first contract of about 4000 units at this time. The first version may be the model I show in the post with snapped pockets. The second was modified with zippered pockets in the same contract. This is this model wth zippers which is shown in the NAN article.
In September 1945, the Z-3 pants was showing in NAN and they mentioned the Z-2 anti-g coverall.
The Mil-S-5085 spéc. was coming in 1950 when the new specification system was adopted in all the army, Navy and USAF.

Cheers,
Franck

Contract NOa(s)-4761 Z-2 version
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VF-88 in 1945: note the pilot with Z anti-g suit at right
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Hello Franck,

A very interesting topic. Notice that the contract number is the same for both your type Z and type Z2 suits, the Z2 having improved / simplified leg and chest pockets with the original snaps being replaced by zippers. The initial type Z suits appear to have seen more widespread use in the PTO, during January through September of 1945, than is commonly realized. The actual use of the suit was left up to the individual aviator as some found it uncomfortable, while others appreciated the edge it gave them when doing high G combat maneuvers. This instruction sheet was folded in the pocket of a type Z suit I found a few years ago and details it's use as an auxiliary floatation device, as well.

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I've found about a dozen images of the suits being worn, to date. Regards, Paul

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Franck,

Certainly. I'll start with some scans from the USS Randolph cruise book. These are circa February 1945, when Air Group 12 was making strikes in the area of Tokyo. In the first photo, the central seated figure is Cdr. Charles Crommelin (one of the famous "Five Crommelin Brothers"), who went MIA on March 28th, 1945. On the right is Lt. Hamilton McWhorter, the first Hellcat ace, who had a total of twelve victories. Note that he is wearing an M-421 flight jacket over his Z suit.post-9787-1265240138.jpg

The next is an unidentified pilot from VF-12, about the same time.post-9787-1265240232.jpg

The last is an official US Navy photo, scanned from the book Crommelin's Thunderbirds, showing more VF-12 pilots debriefing after a February 1945 strike mission.

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It's often difficult, in vintage photos, to discern between the Type Z suits and the late war light weight flying suits, which were also made from dark green nylon material, but usually the distinctive diagonal chest zipper or the connecting hose of the Z suit gives it away. Paul

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Franck,

A few more from various units. First, another image from VF-88, as shown in your previous post. This is "Howdy" Harrison. He, unfortunately, was KIA on 8/15/45 in his squadron's last air battle of the war. Photo is from the book The Fighting Lady.post-9787-1265256196.jpg.

Next is the skipper of VF-86, Lt. Cdr. C. J. Dobson, from the cruise book for CAG 86 aboard USS Wasp in 1945.post-9787-1265256659.jpg

Last for now is from the NMNA collection and shows VF(N)-91. At least eleven of the pilots (maybe more) appear to be wearing the Z suits here.

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Hi Franck,

You are most welcome. After looking for, and at, WWII vintage Navy G suits for some time, I'm of the opinion that the type Z and type Z-1 suits are "one in the same". At least, I have never seen a suit labeled as Z-1. The NAN article in your post #4 shows a Z-2 suit, but refers to it as "type Z", while the NAN article in your post #5 mentions type Z-1 and Z-2 full suits. Photographic evidence supports the idea that, although type Z-2 and type Z-3 suits were produced during WWII, only the type Z (Z-1?) actually made it out to the fleet squadrons and saw combat use before VJ day.

As for the suits previously mentioned with "M-700" on the label, this was the Navy specification number of the suit, while "type Z-2" was it's designation. Contract numbers and construction details appear to be the same for both suits.

If anyone has a suit labeled "Z-1", or has more information on the subject they can add to Franck's thread, I'm sure we would all be grateful for the additional education.

Franck, I've enjoyed your great mannequin displays. Have you thought about doing one with a type Z suit? Regards, Paul

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Hi Paul

It's interesting to note that seeing some M-700 suits with N383xxx contract number (that are from the end of 40's/beginning of 50's), could we date these suits from this period before the new mil-spéc. came in use about 1950/51?

I will make some photos of my Z suit with a mannequin but I don't have many equipments that go with while I am collecting rather 1945/1960 than ww2 USN and USAF stuffs. Thank you for your nice appreciation of my displays.

Bests,

Franck

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Hi Franck,

Wow, that was fast! Great to see the features of the suit in three dimensions and not obscured behind other gear. Well done. Remembered I still had a 35mm photo of one from my old war room, circa 1993. Pre digital camera days, so quality isn't the best. A few mistakes on the mannequin as well, but I've learned a few things since then. Wrong goggles (post WWII), wrong signal light and M-592 straps in wrong position, but for what it's worth......

 

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Regards, Paul

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Paul, nice pilots. Thank you.

Do you have any other photos from your collection? It would be great to see them while your collection may be beautiful... Do you not have yet your stuffs?

Are your goggles dated from the 50's?

 

Franck

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Hi Franck,

Thanks. I still have a collection, but the war room came down after I got married and had kids. With the exception of about six feet of showcase area in a hallway, the rest is packed away. Back then, I collected anything WWII US, but now only do WWII US Naval Aviation. Those goggles you asked about are the Rochester Optical B-8s, marked "U.S.N." on the frame. At the time, I didn't realize they were all dated from the 1950's and have a style of strap that wasn't found on wartime Navy goggles. Regards, Paul

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What a great topic Guys!!!! War time photos are amazing and good info about Z suit ... always I was thinking that this suit was really exist in ww2 ! Pararaft - nice collection photos ! Cant wait to see more:)

 

again thans for big info and photos!

Jerry K.

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Cricket,

Yes this a Z-3 USN anti-g pant from the end of 50's I believe while the zippers are of clear grey color. The black rubber on the hose may be a protection. I have already seen that on some Z-2. Is there any label? If you like to sell or trade I could be perhaps interested depending on the size...

Franck

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Good evening

Thank you for all these details, the subject was little addressed anyway.

I asked about the type M-700.

Is there a series before the type Z?

Here is a photo of type M-700 but with a 383-s contract ( = post WWII) :think:

Thks

Laurent

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Laurent.D (France)

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Hi Cricket,

As suggested by Franck, I believe this was a waterproof covering that was used when the Z suit was worn underneath the Mk-3 or Mk-4 Anti-Exposure suit. If you need more details on those suits, there was a thread on them in the Uniforms section about six month ago. It has photos from the suit manual showing the black covering. Regards, Paul

 

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Hi Laurent,

The type Z was the first standard suit produced for the Navy. Combat Flying Equipment, by C.G. Sweeting, states that the Navy began testing an experimental Gradient Pressure Suit as early as November of 1942. These GPS, or "Moeller-Carson Suits", were tested in combat by VF-8 in March 1944. I have never seen a photo of these suits or heard of any surviving examples. Regards, Paul

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