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Original U.S. WWII 306th Bombardment Group B-3 Sheepskin Bomber Jacket Featuring Disney’s Mickey Mouse With Flight Cap and Gloves Set

Regular price $1,995.00

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a fantastic condition WW2 manufactured B-3 Shearling bomber jacket in size 46 with original tag and wartime applied painted Disney designed squadron patch with likely post war applied painted art of the reverse. 

Featured on the jacket front is a beautifully drawn image of a scene from Disney’s 1939 animated film, Mickey Mouse Goes Hunting, which most likely served as the inspiration. We have not been able to determine the squadron based off of this image, or it could have just been one of the various types of artwork found on painted jackets that had no military affiliation. By the time America entered WWII, Disney animations had proven themselves as true feature-length films with box-office toppers like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Fantasia, and Dumbo. Disney’s animated shorts had already gained immense popularity to the point where Mickey Mouse was depicted on the patch of a Naval Reserve Squadron.

Although unsanctioned by Disney, the pre-war patch started a trend that exploded across the military during WWII. In fact, Disney had to dedicate five artists to the full-time task of filling requests for military insignias. The Navy in particular had a fondness for incorporating Disney characters into its insignias.

The front left side of the jacket features a painted name that reads as H.C. GNIFFKE. From what little information we could find on Henry Charles Gniffke is that he was a T/Sgt, enlisted on September 29, 1942 and received his discharge on October 7, 1945. According to the painted sleeve insignia on the right shoulder, he served with the 306th Bomb Squadron, though we believe this to be the 306th Bombardment Group and was just an error made on his part.

The reverse of the jacket has a spectacular “shadow” painted image of what we believe to be Amelia Earhart wearing her trademark flight helmet and goggles. Above the image features the text “I’LL BE SEEING YOU” with “AMELIA” on the bottom waist area. This was most likely done as a taunting type of message stating that he was more than willing to lay down his life in the line of duty, with “I’ll be seeing you Amelia” being a morbid message to the afterlife. We assume the paint on the reverse of this jacket is post war applied based on the style and vibrancy.

Another take on the quote of “I’ll Be Seeing You” is the song by the same title. "I'll Be Seeing You" is a popular song about missing a loved one, with music by Sammy Fain and lyrics by Irving Kahal. Published in 1938, it was inserted into the Broadway musical Right This Way, which closed after fifteen performances. The title of the 1944 film I'll Be Seeing You was taken from this song at the suggestion of the film's producer, Dore Schary.

The data tag reads as:

DWG. NO. 33H5595
A.C. ORDER NO. 42-12691-1

Talon brand zipper is functional. No major wear or damage, but there is slight cracking to the finish and a mix of period repairs. Overall a very decent jacket that will display very well offered at an affordable price.

Included with the jacket is the following:
- Original WWII USAAF B-6 Winter Flying Helmet - Size Medium: Standardized on 15 September 1941 these helmets saw widespread use and this example is in excellent condition. The brown finished shearling leather is soft with no extensive damage. It is fitted with correct hooks for use with A-9 and A-10 oxygen masks as well as the later snaps for use with the A-10R or A-10A masks. Inside is shearling lined and fitted with a nice USAAF label that indicates a 1942 contract date. This pattern was replaced in 1943 by the AN-H-16. Excellent condition - hard to find a nicer example.

- Original U.S. WWII Army Air Force A-9A Leather Flying Mitten Gloves: Genuine Vintage WWII cold weather lambskin flight mittens with trigger finger. Condition of these gloves is excellent. The leather is supple with no stains, cracks or open stitching. Size is Medium.

The lining is the lushest curly bright white lamb’s wool that we have seen in these gloves. Based on the lack of any wear on the leather palms, these gloves have been worn more than a few times and then carefully stored for years.

Original tags are still present. You will never find a warmer glove to fight off the bitter cold.

A wonderful assortment of cold weather flying gear that comes more than ready for further research and display.

During World War Two the B-3 was a jacket designed specifically for the high-altitude needs of bombers. This was a bulky sheepskin jacket with a heavy-duty sheep-fur lining meant to keep men warm 25,000 feet in the air. For extra protection, the wide sheepskin collar could be closed with two leather straps. Far bulkier than typical flight jackets, the B-3 does not have a knit waistband and trim fit that made the other jackets famous. Rather its warmth and durability made it a hit, even with Army General George S. Patton. The B3 was a heavy-duty jacket designed for the sub-freezing temperatures of high-altitude flying. Today multiple reproductions are produced and many cost well over $1000 because the B-3 is a great, time-tested option.

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