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Original WWII Imperial Japanese Army Bulletproof Vest by Honda - Captured and Worn by U.S. Marine With Tac Markings Applied - Rare

Regular price $2,995.00

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. Now this is a rare item to come across! These private purchase “bulletproof” vests were short lived due to the weight and ineffectiveness of them, but it didn’t stop a US Marine from wearing it after capture! R.P. SNODGRASS acquired this vest during his time fighting in the Pacific Theatre and repurposed it as his own and applied his respective markings on the front and back, as well as his name. We have not been able to identify his unit, making this a wonderful research opportunity.

The condition is wonderful for an item that saw extensive wear and use in the field. The original factory applied tags are still present on the back inside of the vest, as is the original black stenciling applied by Snodgrass. All buttons are present and original, as are the .070” thick steel inserts. Accompanying this vest are copies of the National Defense Research Committee of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, War Metallurgy Division. The copies are of the Progress Report on the Examination of Enemy Materiel: A Chemical and Metallurgical Examination of a Section of Japanese Body Armor, dated August 9,1943.

The following is a summary of the report:

“This sample was received from the Aberdeen Proving Grounds on July 12, 1943, and immediately examined chemically. The chemical analysis and the hardness was telegraphed to lir. K. E. Peterson, of the Army Ordnance Division, on July 14.

The specimen is homogeneous, not carburized, and is 0.070-inch thick. Because of the rough surface appearance of this sample, it was probable that the armor was fabricated directly after hot rolling and no attempt was made to produce a smooth surface. A coating of brownish green paint was applied directly to the steel surface.

The chemical analysis of this steel was somewhat unusual and did not conform to any of the standard stools used in this country. Of special interest was the high molybdenum (0.49%), and low carbon (0.146) content. Since a rather high hardness was obtained (401 Vickers Brinell), an effort seems to have been made to obtain maximum toughness at an appreciable hardness level. The ballistic properties of this armor were reported by the Ordnance Department to be excellent.

Following the conventional heat-treatment methods, the steel appears to have been quenched, probably in oil, and tempered to the desired hardness value. There is a possibility that instead of quenching and tempering, it may have been "austempered".

This is an incredibly rare item to come across, and the fact that it was captured and worn by a Marine makes it even better! It comes more than ready for further research and display!

Idiot Clause: This was deemed ineffective by actual soldiers who wore them in the field so what makes you think it will work for you? This is being sold as a novelty / display item and is not intended to be utilized as a life saving piece of equipment.

In the early stages of World War II, the United States designed body armor for infantrymen, but most models were too heavy and mobility-restricting to be useful in the field and incompatible with existing required equipment. The military diverted its research efforts to developing flak jackets for aircraft crews. These jackets were made of nylon fabric and capable of stopping flak and shrapnel, but were not designed to stop bullets.

The British Army issued Medical Research Council body armor, as did the Canadian Army, in northwestern Europe, in the latter case primarily to medical personnel of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division. The Japanese army produced a few types of infantry body armor during World War II, but these did not see much use. Near the middle of 1944, development of infantry body armor in the United States restarted. Several vests were produced for the US military, including but not limited to the T34, the T39, the T62E1, and the M12.

The United States developed a vest using Doron Plate, a fiberglass-based laminate. These vests were first used in the Battle of Okinawa in 1945.

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