Silly questions you may have the answer. :-) (the title of the thread has been edited)

Kermit3D

Well-Known Member
Maybe the subject has already been discussed, but I couldn't find any information despite my research.
If we consider the American flight jackets of World War II only, I wondered what was the proportion of A-1, A-2, B-3, B-6, B-10, ANJ-4, M-445, M-422, ...

Do we know the number of jackets produced for each of them ? over what period of time ?
 

mulceber

Well-Known Member
The A-2 is probably the best known. Even here we don’t know exactly, since there are a few early and late contracts where we don’t know how many were made. I once went through Eastman’s book and counted, making conservative estimates where we didn’t know, and concluded that about 791,000 A-2 jackets were produced for the US government.
 
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B-Man2

Well-Known Member
Hi Kermit
Your question is extremely broad . It would take some time to research all of that information accurately as some of that information isn’t readily available . If I can suggest that you’d probably be better off concentrating on one type of jacket at a time and once your confident that you’ve done your research move to the next type of jacket. I dont think you’re going to have many responses asking the question in its current format .
Cheers
 
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Brettafett

Well-Known Member
Interesting question, but I doubt anyone has that information.
There are a couple of books that may answer somewhat... Suit Up! (Japanese), American Flight Jackets, Flight Gear, Gear Up!, Hell Bent for Leather etc...

Flight jackets, like a great many other things during the late 30s, through and post WWII, went through an evolution.

A-1s in the 30s, to the early A-2 designs, which became slightly simpler in design in the 40s.
Initially Tankers were issued to many flight crew in Europe early in the war (unofficially me thinks), then B-10s, then B-15/ B-15As, etc.
USN M422 in the 1940s, evolved into the M-422as, then that into the early G-1s etc...

By far, more A-2s than other flight jackets surely.
Have you seen this thread, its super interesting...
 

Kermit3D

Well-Known Member
This is the kind of question I ask myself in the middle of the night while I give the bottle to my daughter ! :D

I probably misspoke.

In fact, what interests me is rather the percentage proportions (in a very approximate way).

If we talk about the quantity of jackets produced :
I imagine that the A-2 is the big winner and that it was produced throughout the war.
In second position probably the B-3?
But were the other jackets worn a lot? What about the B-6?
It seems to me that the ANJ-4 came at the very end of the war, had to replace the B-3 and was quite rare.
 

917_k

Well-Known Member
I have to ask but its this just a random question dreamt up in an idle moment or is there actually a point asking?
Perhaps the knowledge will provide some comfort that the higher the number originally produced the more there are remaining today, which can be acquired and added to ones collection, at least that’s what I hope for.....:D
 

B-Man2

Well-Known Member
This is the kind of question I ask myself in the middle of the night while I give the bottle to my daughter ! :D

I probably misspoke.

In fact, what interests me is rather the percentage proportions (in a very approximate way).

If we talk about the quantity of jackets produced :
I imagine that the A-2 is the big winner and that it was produced throughout the war.
In second position probably the B-3?
But were the other jackets worn a lot? What about the B-6?
It seems to me that the ANJ-4 came at the very end of the war, had to replace the B-3 and was quite rare.
Ohhh God Love Ya Kermit ... :)
If this is whats rolling around in your head at night while your giving that bottle to your daughter ..... Turn on a good movie or check out something on You Tube.
These questions are just a bit over the top and borderline OCD .
Now I don’t mean that in a mean way I’m writing it with a smile on my face, so please don’t take it badly as I’m just mostly joking with you . So let me at least answer the first part of your question . A2 jackets were not produced throughout the war. Production stopped in 1943 with the last contracts being a DuBow 1755 , a Perry Sportswear 1756, and a Bronco 1761 with no known quantities according to Gary Eastman’s A2 Manual.
That’s it for me;)
Cheers
 

Kermit3D

Well-Known Member
No worries! I still have FULL questions of this kind... and I'll probably ask them in the same thread that I'll have to rename "Nocturnal questioning of a neurotic in need of sleep"... :D
 

Kermit3D

Well-Known Member
Come on, I'll continue with a new question :

During a bombing mission, a B-17 flies at an altitude of about 7000 meters. The average temperature at this altitude is -30°C.
We often see part of the crew (pilot, co-pilot,...) wearing simple A-2 jackets.
How did they endure the cold over a long period of time ?
 

mulceber

Well-Known Member
The cabin of the bomber was pressurized, so while it wasn't THAT warm in there, it was a lot warmer than -30. Everyone outside of the cabin (i.e. everyone who wasn't the pilot, co-pilot, bombardier, and navigator) would be wearing shearling.
 

Kermit3D

Well-Known Member
The cabin of the bomber was pressurized, so while it wasn't THAT warm in there, it was a lot warmer than -30. Everyone outside of the cabin (i.e. everyone who wasn't the pilot, co-pilot, bombardier, and navigator) would be wearing shearling.
Are you sure the B-17 cabin was pressurized ? It seems to me that the B-29 is the first bomber to have a pressurized cabin.
In the movie Memphis Belle we see the co-pilot moving freely in the bomber to take the place of the tail gunner.
 

mulceber

Well-Known Member
My mistaken then. If not pressurized, the cabin at least didn't have any direct openings to the outside, so it could retain heat a bit better than the rest of the plane.
 

Micawber

Well-Known Member
Not many a/c were pressurised during WW2. The occasional Luftwaffe reconnaissance aircraft with pressurised cabin were seen at high altitude over England.

B-17's & B-24 were not pressurised nor were the RAF heavies. With the bomb bay doors open the cabin was open to the elements, as were the earlier waist Windows openings. They were far from airtight.
 

mulceber

Well-Known Member
Now I'm glad Kermit asked this question then: why is it that we see some members of a bomber crew wearing A-2s when they were exposed to the elements?
 

Kermit3D

Well-Known Member
Not many a/c were pressurised during WW2. The occasional Luftwaffe reconnaissance aircraft with pressurised cabin were seen at high altitude over England.

B-17's & B-24 were not pressurised nor were the RAF heavies. With the bomb bay doors open the cabin was open to the elements, as were the earlier waist Windows openings. They were far from airtight.
I also think that the bombers were full of very cold breezes.
I can hardly imagine a heating system (like what we find in our cars by water or oil circulation) since the engines are far from the cabin.
The temperature in my opinion should not exceed -20 or -30°C at cruising altitude.

Maybe the crew members dressed in A-2 had, under their jackets, an electric heating suit?
 

Micawber

Well-Known Member
Now I'm glad Kermit asked this question then: why is it that we see some members of a bomber crew wearing A-2s when they were exposed to the elements?
Cockpits were warmer, some warm angine air was piped into the cockpit. Also consider low altitude flights will explain lighter clothing being worn. In combat temps could get down to -50f. Yes heated suits were worn.

Conditions were brutal. If gloves were removed digits would freeze.

Lots of books on the subject.
 

B-Man2

Well-Known Member
Micawber is spot on with his info . In addition the crew had electrically heated bunny suits under their b-3s and A2’s . I believe but not sure that the pilots cabin had heaters as well and was by far the warmest place on the aircraft . Pressurized aircraft first came on the scene with the B-29s that were pressurized through the aircraft . But once the plane took some flak hits or 20 mm cannon shells that often went away quickly and the crew was back to wearing O2 masks .
 

917_k

Well-Known Member
Whilst lots of photos of WW2 USAAF bomber crews show them wearing a mishmash of clothing, I can’t recall seeing anything where some of the crew are fully kitted out in extreme cold weather gear and some in plain old A-2s & flight suits.

I’d assume that in warmer climates the pilot and co-pilot could get away with an A-2 inside the cockpit, whilst the more exposed waist, ball and tail gunners would opt for something warmer my virtue of their greater exposure to the elements. In NW Europe though there are plenty of photos showing all the crew in B-3s, B-10s (and matching trousers) and probably heated under suits as well.
 

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