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Discussion “A Better Fighting Garment…” - A Beginner’s Guide to the US Navy’s WWII-era and later Intermediate Flight Jackets

B-Man2

Well-Known Member
Well a Surface Warfare jacket would make sense, since the guy had "Waves" rather than "Wings" on his name plate (didn't know anyone outside of aviation wore them)
Honestly looked more impressive than the fuzzball collar Brown G-1s
Here’s what they look like .

 

CombatWombat

Well-Known Member
Here’s what they look like .

After 5 years I'll believe that was it.....though I definitely remember him complaining about the horrible humidity we live with as he was taking off the fur collar (which this isn't made for)
But he may have had a trials jacket or was high enough in the food chain to take dress regulations as mere advice......
 

ZuZu

Well-Known Member
I was going through the "Better Fighting Garment" thread and noticed that there's no mention in the jump from 7823 to 7823A of the complete standardization and sameness of all contracts of the G-1 starting with the A. High pockets, short body. rounded pocket flap and collat tips and everything from RE to Star to IBF to Brill to Imperial. All basically the same jacket pattern. Anybody know the history of this? Do we have the actual "plan" i.e. pattern? I'll start a new thread about this possibly. There's a direct line from this kinda ugly pattern to the modern A-2 I think...
 

mulceber

Moderator
Hey Jeff, that's something I've always kind of heard and inferred about the A-series jackets and following - I've just never seen any documentation on it, so I didn't want to put it down on paper when I didn't know. We absolutely could add that though - something to the effect of "starting with the A-series, the different G-1 contracts are pretty interchangeable, and it seems likely that the Navy was now providing contractors with an actual pattern to follow."
 

ZuZu

Well-Known Member
Hey Jeff, that's something I've always kind of heard and inferred about the A-series jackets and following - I've just never seen any documentation on it, so I didn't want to put it down on paper when I didn't know. We absolutely could add that though - something to the effect of "starting with the A-series, the different G-1 contracts are pretty interchangeable, and it seems likely that the Navy was now providing contractors with an actual pattern to follow."
I thought in one of the Japanese books there was a picture or diagram of it. I'll check.

There's no doubt though that there was an official Navy pattern- and probably done by committee of both tailors and obviously NON- tailors so it ended up being boring. IMO anyway.
 

London Cabbie

Well-Known Member
INTRODUCTION

There have been various threads on VLJ which have listed the US Navy contracts from the M-422 to G-1 series of leather flying jackets. This thread is an attempt to pool the information into a beginners guide to sit alongside the A-2 contract dates thread as a resource on the Forum. This thread borrows heavily from an original thread named, “How to date US Military Clothing and G-1 jackets from the label” by our fellow members Dinomartino1 and Mr. Dave Sheeley ( @Maverickson ). It too will borrow heavily from Mr. Roger Moore’s original resource. We’d place on record our sincere appreciation and thanks to them for their time, effort, and scholarship on this subject.

This guide has been put together by MaydayWei, Mulceber and Lord Flashheart with input from B-Man2 and Jorgeenriqueaguilera. Together with our own research we have sought to identify and acknowledge references and sources as best we can. Putting together a beginners guide to this series of jackets has not been a task for the faint hearted and any errors or omissions are ours.

In compiling this guide we have sought advice and opinion from Dave Sheeley and John Chapman at various points of uncertainty or ambiguity. They have, without fail, kindly helped us to understand so much more about the design and evolution of the Navy’s intermediate flight jacket than we could or should include in a beginners guide. We also want to give our thanks to the people, some of them also writers for this project, who shared pictures with us of their gorgeous flight jackets: @Jorgeenriqueaguilera , @Stony, @bazelot, @B-Man2 , John Chapman, Dave Sheeley ( @Maverickson ), @mulceber , and @Lord Flashheart . This would be a very boring thread without these wonderful photos to illustrate it.

We’d also like to thank all of our fellow Forum members who have helped us with this work by sharing their knowledge. If you have more information please do share that here.

AN OVERVIEW

Discussion of jacket types in this hobby, among Navy jackets and beyond, frequently boils down to a discussion of hard and fast differences between jacket types: B-15 vs. B-15A, L-2A vs. L2B, etc. This impulse is understandable, but it actually doesn’t get us very far when discussing the earlier Navy jackets. We spent about a day trying to discover exactly what structural differences there were between the M-422 and the M-422a, and while we quickly found several different answers, all of them later turned out to be false, or only true of some contracts.

The reality is, prior to about 1960, manufacturers who won a contract to make an intermediate flight jacket for the Navy were provided with a sketch and a list of specifications that the jacket had to meet. As with the A-2 jacket, Navy contractors had latitude to make the garments as they saw fit. Provided the finished product met the specifications, nobody much cared if the manufacturers had used a particular type of stitch to sew on the pocket flaps, or had widened the pocket in order to make extra room for the pencil pocket. Deviations from the specification were regularly made and allowed. But whereas on the army side, the practice frequently was to change jacket designations only when they needed to make a real structural change to the jackets (nobody would ever mistake an A-2 for a B-10), changes to Navy jacket designations could come from as small a change as an edit to the wording of the contract for buttons. Sometimes there were real changes in materials or design, but just as frequently we’ll find cases like the W&G M-422A, which has much less in common with other jackets in that series than it does with W&G’s previous M-422 contract.

In short, when you’re looking at Navy Intermediate Flight Jackets, it pays to look less for differences between jacket designations and more for differences between contracts & manufacturers.

STRUCTURE

The evolution of the US Navy’s (USN) primary intermediate flight jacket can be traced through 12 iterations or specifications. This guide is therefore structured into 12 specifications split over 3 parts: WW2, the 50s, and the Vietnam era. At the end, there will be a short note on NATO stock numbers, and other useful links and resources on the VLJ. The specifications in chronological sequences are:

  • [1] M-422 [1940]
  • [2] M-422A [1940 - 1943]
  • [3] AN-J-3 [1943]
  • [4] AN 6552 [1943]
  • [5] AN-J-3A [1943]
  • [6] 55J14 (AER) [1947 - 1950]
  • [7] MIL-J-7823 (AER) [1951 - 1960]
  • [8] MIL-J-7823A (AER) [1961]
  • [9] MIL-J-7823B (WEP) [1961 -1963]
  • [10] MIL-J-7823C (WEP) [1964 - 1966]
  • [11] MIL-J-7823D (WP) [1967 - 1970]
  • [12] MIL-J-7823E (AS) [1971 - Present]

This thread is soon to be updated by the authors. There will be a Guide and a parallel discussion thread.
I still love this post. Especially the enhanced 2.0 version and all the hard work and effort that went into creating this.
Wearing mine in tribute…
Thankyou Gents.
 

CK90

Well-Known Member
@Lord Flashheart @mulceber guys, a big thank you for this, these things take time and I greatly appreciate it. Slowly working my way through 2.0 at the moment. Elevating my knowledge of Intermediate Navy flight jackets!

This has got me more excited than anything to wear my Star 55J14 when the leaves start to fall in a few months.

However, this is dangerous stuff. Already I want to jump in JC’s que for a G&F ANJ-3A, uh oh…
 
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