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A2 CONTRACT DATES-UP-DATED

Grant

Well-Known Member
Funny, here in the New York area, I've seen more Aero and Bronco A-2's come up for sale over the years.
 

zoomer

Well-Known Member
In civilian suits, anyway, the bell curve on sizes is further left in this era than today. More small sizes, the median size is smaller, and things get really scarce past 42.

Whether the most-often-worn sizes all got worn to shreds is a topic for debate, but I feel certain there were comparatively few men carrying the +/- 20 extra lb so common in our era. You were either relatively thin, or rarely, very heavy indeed.

You did more physical labor and walking. Food was dearer in real terms, and there was a real stigma against overindulgence. And just about every adult male had the cigarette habit, which was no damn good for you, but at least helped you manage cravings and appetite.

(Edited for brevity. I do tend to go on sometimes.)
 
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33-1729

Active Member
In civilian suits, anyway, the bell curve on sizes is further left in this era than today. More small sizes, the median size is smaller, and things get really scarce past 42.

How much of this is due to the most-often-worn sizes getting worn to shreds is a topic for debate, but I feel certain that the nutrition and lifestyles of the day meant that there were comparatively few men carrying the +/- 20 extra lb so common in our era. You were either relatively thin or very heavy indeed (say because of endocrine issues or just heredity).

You did more physical labor and walking. Food was dearer in real terms - you could work full time and still not be able to afford more than a 5c candy bar or 10c hot dog at lunch. Chickens were yard raised, smaller, tastier, and reserved for big Sunday feeds. You might go a lifetime without tasting a steak that wasn’t pounded and served Swiss style. Half a pint was your standard soda fountain serving. And there was a real stigma against overindulgence. And just about every adult male had the cigarette habit, which was no damn good for you, but at least helped you manage cravings and appetite.
The 15-Aug-1941 Rough Wear Clothing Co. contract W535ac 21035 (order 42-1671P) that was found by Mr. Eastman is the really odd one out (page 209 in his excellent book). Most contracts of that time period were well into the thousands or tens of thousands of jackets, while this contract is estimated to contain only 300 jackets based upon the contract value.

I would think maybe an emergency order for shipment to a particular squadron or region, but maybe it was for a size they were running low on somewhere. No doubt different contracts were predominantly shipped to one region over another, based upon need at the time. Wonder where this one showed up and why.
 
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B-Man2

Well-Known Member
Funny, here in the New York area, I've seen more Aero and Bronco A-2's come up for sale over the years.
Grant
Do you think that the because the Broncos and Aeros were made in New York, that many of surplus originals remained in that area after the war?
 

Grant

Well-Known Member
Haha, could be!
A few years ago I remember seeing an old faded Crown Zip sign painted on the side of a brick building off Union Square Park and wondering if there were boxes of zips in a basement nearby.
 

Carl

Well-Known Member
Having the contract lists for the US Goverment , most of the A2 contracts are nowhere to be seen
 

33-1729

Active Member
I think it’s remarkable how far the A-2 history has been uncovered on this VLJ forum recently. After years of “what is that Australian A-2?”, VLJ member dinomartino1 just found an Australian “flying jackets” paper trail leading to the Department of U.S. Army, so now appears to be a good time to update the contract list with a few other findings posted by members on this site.

A-2_Apr_2019.GIF


Notes:

  • A-2 jackets were based upon specification 94-3040 (declassified August 1, 2017) with drawing number 30-1415 (has not yet been located)
  • Horsehide is the first approved leather with cowhide and goatskin approved later for use
  • All original maker jackets were cotton lined per specification 94-3040 documents

  • The first three (3) A-2 contracts used button pocket flaps, while all others used snapped pocket flaps (beginning with Werber contract 33-1729)

  • Three U.S. A-2 contracts were granted in December 1943 after it was replaced by the AN-6552, likely due to AN-6552 availability issues (the AN-6552 was not listed in the Apr 1, 1944 USAAF supply catalog, though the A-1 and A-2 were both listed)

  • One A-2 contract was produced by an Australian company in 1943 and identified by the wartime coded "V505" label with double stitched pockets and flap. V505 jackets have been shown to be used by some members of the U.S. Fifth Air Force

  • A primary source of information on flying/pilot jackets was a single summary "Type Designation Sheet" (TDS) and it was found to contain a few errors, so references using the TDS as an information source contain those same errors. For example, the A-1 drawing number is AN-6501 and not 074737, the A-2 drawing number is 30-1415 and not 31-1415, the A-2 were manufactured with a cotton and not spun silk lining, etc.
 

CBI

Well-Known Member
My original 40's era Air Associates private purchase A-2 should arrive shortly. I wonder why Air Associates was never awarded a contract seeing as they were (to my understanding) one of the largest civilian makers of flight clothing and gear before the war? Lindbergh and Earhart supposedly wore AA jackets..............
 

Silver Surfer

Well-Known Member
perhaps aa did...under another name. dubow? bronco? etc. or one of the know named contractors used aa as their civy label.
 
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Carl

Well-Known Member
Interesting about the V505 A2 , you would have thought that there would have been an AC contract drawn up or at least a PO ref ?
 

33-1729

Active Member
That’s a good question. I would expect an order number, but I don’t know if the request went through Wright Field or not. The National Archives of Australia may find the paperwork and let us know within the next few weeks.

(For those who haven't seen before, in W535 the “W” was for the War Dept. and “535” was HQ Air Materiel Command, Wright Field and beginning July 1, 1943 (FY 1944) for W33-038 the “W33” is the War Dept. ID code for Wright Field and “038” represents all Air Materiel Commands within the USAAF.)
 

Carl

Well-Known Member
That’s a good question. I would expect an order number, but I don’t know if the request went through Wright Field or not. The National Archives of Australia may find the paperwork and let us know within the next few weeks.

(For those who haven't seen before, in W535 the “W” was for the War Dept. and “535” was HQ Air Materiel Command, Wright Field and beginning July 1, 1943 (FY 1944) for W33-038 the “W33” is the War Dept. ID code for Wright Field and “038” represents all Air Materiel Commands within the USAAF.)
I think/thought i had posted that very same info on here ?
But ! Just straying slightly off topic i have also noticed another prefix/number used between the dates of the change from W535 to W33 038 /035
That of 11-107 (?) If i have remembered my numbers correctly .
Ill have to check in the morning if i have quoted that correctly .
 

dinomartino1

Well-Known Member
That’s a good question. I would expect an order number, but I don’t know if the request went through Wright Field or not. The National Archives of Australia may find the paperwork and let us know within the next few weeks.

(For those who haven't seen before, in W535 the “W” was for the War Dept. and “535” was HQ Air Materiel Command, Wright Field and beginning July 1, 1943 (FY 1944) for W33-038 the “W33” is the War Dept. ID code for Wright Field and “038” represents all Air Materiel Commands within the USAAF.)
I have sent request a to the national archives to see if they have records for the Dept of supply and shipping contracts for 1943, they take up to 3o days to reply.
I have a feeling these may be in their Melbourne branch if they exist, they will search but if they are not indexed there may be a huge amount of documents and to what extent they will search if there are a lot of documents I'm not sure.
They do allow the public to go through their files in the reading room but that would need someone based in Melbourne and the patience to go through what might be a lot of papers.
Anything they find they always digitise and put on their searchable online database.
 

2BM2K

Well-Known Member
There is one jacket missing from the list; the "Prototype" jacket.
Not much is known about it but should still keep it in mind in case something turns up.
 
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