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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

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.

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

Well-Known 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

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.)
 

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.
 

Carl

Well-Known Member
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 .
Anyone ???
 

Carl

Well-Known Member
I have been comparing contract numbers for different types of Wartime jackets and the picture that I presented about the difference between contracts and orders is less clear now.

Aero was given an order in 1942 for B3 and B6 jackets under the same order number: 42-5110-P.

Aero also received an order in 1943 for B3, B6 and AN-J4 jackets under the 43-13616AF order number.
Arnoff Shoe Co was awarded the next order in sequence-43-13617AF at the same time for B3, B6 and AN-J4 jackets.

A little later Poughkeepsie was awarded the 43-16804 order for B6 and AN-J4 jackets and AN-T35 trousers.

There are two examples of B3 and D1 jackets being made under the same contract, the 1941 AC 17755 contract awarded to Aero and the next contract, AC 17756, awarded to RW for B3 and D1 jackets.


It is interesting to note that Aero was awarded a contract for B7 jackets under the 42-15141-P contract and at the same time under the next sequential order number, 42-15142-P, for A2 jackets. Why were they not both given the same order number as was sometimes the case with other Aero orders?

I am now wondering whether there was really much difference between contracts and orders in the War, apart from the numbering, or were there just inconsistencies at the time which could sometimes blurr contracts and orders?

More research is needed here I think.
Reading back through this post, i think the confusion lies between what is an "Order number " or "Purchase Order number" and a "contract number " .
Having worked on both sides of customer based buisnesses , i can only concluded to this . Please excuse my explanation , im not very good at writing things down to explain . This is how how i see it , im no big time collector etc just my own personal view .

Tenders for "CONTRACTS" would have been handed out OR applied for by the appropriate companies producing said items required by the AAF ( for ease of understanding) . Each company would have been given a CONTRACT number . From that Contract number Purchase orders would (?) have been made .
For example using the quote from above "Purchase Order number 43-13617 AF would have probably come from one Contract Number .

From my research i have found instances where the CONTRACTOR is not the actual maker of the item . Which has made finding many other "contracts" damm hard to nearly impossible . But i have had some strokes of luck and fell upon who did actually make them .
Also worth of note is that i have found companies trading under other trading names which again makes research a bit of an headache .
 

33-1729

Well-Known Member
Contracts are legal agreements enforceable by law and the type of contract, e.g., basic ordering agreement, purchase order, indefinite quantity contract, etc., and the size of the contract, e.g., a few dollars verses hundreds of thousands of dollars all impact how a contract will be drawn and approved. In addition, the timing and circumstances may alter how contracts are handled at the time, say peacetime versus wartime or the typewritten year of 1932 versus the word processing year of 1998. Vendor raw component sources and resource outsourcing, say Phillip’s Tanning & Clothing Co. with Werber Leather Coat Co., may or may not be included in the contract itself (likely not, unless a critical detail). The contracting office that issues the award will use a specific numbering scheme to identify it as the contract source, such as “W33” as the War Dept. ID code for Wright Field and “038” representing all Air Materiel Commands within the USAAF beginning Jul-1-43. (For example, without context “11-107” may mean about anything but it was never used as a War Dept. ID code for Wright Field.)

There are a number of sites online with timeline specific U.S. government regulations posted to clarify how U.S. contracts are completed. Not the most electrifying read, but one can always hire a lawyer for the short version. Given contracts are legal agreements libraries, like the National Archives, would not be expected to have this information, but the pertinent U.S. legal office may (depending upon retention requirements). If necessary, a FOIA request may be required to pull the information out of the pertinent legal archives.

A website containing WWII uniform contract databases for the Army, Navy, and Marines is below (select the “Contracts” link for the military branch of interest). For example, under “Army search” put in "Aero" in "Lookup by Contractor Name" and see what pops up. This may help shine a light.

 
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Carl

Well-Known Member
Contracts are legal agreements enforceable by law and the type of contract, e.g., basic ordering agreement, purchase order, indefinite quantity contract, etc., and the size of the contract, e.g., a few dollars verses hundreds of thousands of dollars all impact how a contract will be drawn and approved. In addition, the timing and circumstances may alter how contracts are handled at the time, say peacetime versus wartime or the typewritten year of 1932 versus the word processing year of 1998. Vendor raw component sources and resource outsourcing, say Phillip’s Tanning & Clothing Co. with Werber Leather Coat Co., may or may not be included in the contract itself (likely not, unless a critical detail). The contracting office that issues the award will use a specific numbering scheme to identify it as the contract source, such as “W33” as the War Dept. ID code for Wright Field and “038” representing all Air Materiel Commands within the USAAF beginning Jul-1-43. (For example, without context “11-107” may mean about anything but it was never used as a War Dept. ID code for Wright Field.)

There are a number of sites online with timeline specific U.S. government regulations posted to clarify how U.S. contracts are completed. Not the most electrifying read, but one can always hire a lawyer for the short version. Given contracts are legal agreements libraries, like the National Archives, would not be expected to have this information, but the pertinent U.S. legal office may (depending upon retention requirements). If necessary, a FOIA request may be required to pull the information out of the pertinent legal archives.

A website containing WWII uniform contract databases for the Army, Navy, and Marines is below (select the “Contracts” link for the military branch of interest). For example, under “Army search” put in "Aero" in "Lookup by Contractor Name" and see what pops up. This may help shine a light.

Ahh well thats me done then seeing as what i thought was a viable idea to collate the contracts amounts etc , it seems as though its already available online .

With regard to the 11107 AC contracts for example

Crawford MFG had a contract for GUN HOLSTER ASSEMBLIES 11107 AC 603 which i believe was for
" griswold bags " awarded April 44 completed September 44 for a cost of $65k .

Thanks for the info whoever you are 33-1729 :)
 

33-1729

Well-Known Member
Seeing you’re writing a book – not an easy task! - the least I can do is offer unbridled encouragement. :)
 
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