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Lots of TANKER JACKETS, 416th Bomb Group, 9th AF

Smithy

Well-Known Member
It's actually not that silly that aircrew may swap their leather A-2 for a tanker. Operational flying clothing is all about using something that makes doing your job easier and without intruding on what you have to do, and comfort. I'm one of the first to think that A-2s happen to be one of the best looking flight jackets but if we're honest their design isn't optimal. A tanker gives more ease of movement and is warmer. It's much the same as with B-10s. As most of you here probably know, I have a particular interest in the 4th FG, and it's incredible how many and how quickly B-10s were taken up for operational flying by the 4th when they became available. Whilst we care about patina and leather and graining and stitching, the guys actually flying in WWII couldn't give a shit about any of the stuff we obsess about today. They wanted something that would keep them warm, and help them do what they had to do in an aircraft with the minimum amount of resistance, wasn't restrictive in range of movement and kept them comfortable.

It's a bit like the Irvin which I am a massive fan of. My Dad's mate flew Spits with 485 and was issued one and said they were utterly useless to fly in a fighter because they were too bulky and the collar, even when down, got in the way when trying to look behind. OK for the bomber boys but a waste of time for the guys flying single seaters. He only ever wore his on the ground over the colder months when having to wait at dispersal.

Whilst we might put a premium on the leather jackets, that's not necessarily what someone flying combat ops during WWII would have done.
 
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