Original U.S. WWII 2nd Air Force Disney “Big Bad Wolf” Squadron Painted A-2 Leather Flight Jacket - 474th Fighter Group, 70th Fighter Wing, 9th Air Force
Original Item: One-of-a-Kind. Painted WWII American A-2 Flight Jackets have realized unprecedented prices in the past year, often going far beyond the estimated hammer price. Some examples at Rock Island Auctions sold in 2022 for $32,000+ and $23,000+, which can be found at these links, respectively: "Lucky Lucille" A-2 Jacket and Scouting Forces A-2 Jacket. When comparing the Rock Island Auction jackets with the one offered here, one can easily see that our offering is an exceptional value!
This is an absolutely beautiful World War Two American painted A-2 flight jacket. The jacket has no names, only the laundry number S-1179, but from the squadron patch present we were able to discover the unit and their history, the 474th Fighter Group. The 474th Fighter Group was constituted on 26 May 1943 and activated on 1 August 1943 at Glendale Airport, California, flying Lockheed P-38 Lightnings. Its component fighter squadrons were the 428th, 429th, and 430th Fighter Squadrons. For the next several months the group trained for combat with the P-38s. The Group moved to England in February–March 1944 where it became part of Ninth Air Force. The 474th was a group of Ninth Air Force's 70th Fighter Wing, IX Tactical Air Command. The 474th P-38s provided bomber escort but the primary mission was ground attack.
The A-2 jacket, which is in wonderful condition with a fantastic leather painted squadron insignia. The left chest features an incredible painted patch of Disney’s iconic image of the “Big Bad Wolf '' riding an aircraft with lightning bolts present around him. The colors are still very nice and easily discernible, but the cracking makes it somewhat difficult to see.
Jacket is in size US 38 and has retained all original components including original knit waist band and period replaced sleeve cuffs, something we often see replaced on A-2 jackets that saw extensive service. Also original is the TALON brand zipper which is still functional.
The interior lining does have tearing and stitching loss present, so do handle it with care. The top rear back portion of the liner still retains the original tag which reads as:
D.W.G. No. 30 H 1415
ORDER NO. 42-15142-P
AIR FORCE U.S. ARMY
AERO LEATHER CLO.CO
This is an incredible example of a hard to find painted A-2 jacket, offered in wonderful condition. Comes more than ready for further research and display.
The 474th Fighter Group was constituted on 26 May 1943 and activated on 1 August 1943 at Glendale Airport, California, flying Lockheed P-38 Lightnings. Its component fighter squadrons were the 428th, 429th, and 430th Fighter Squadrons. For the next several months the group trained for combat with the P-38s. The Group moved to England in February–March 1944 where it became part of Ninth Air Force. The 474th was a group of Ninth Air Force's 70th Fighter Wing, IX Tactical Air Command. The 474th P-38s provided bomber escort but the primary mission was ground attack.
The grass airfield and sandy soil at RAF Warmwell was considered suitable to support the 80 aircraft of a fighter group without metal tracking support. The personnel of the 474th Fighter Group arrived on 12 March from Oxnard Flight Strip, California with their Lightnings. Probably because they detrained at Moreton railway station, the group often referred to RAF Warmwell as Moreton. The 474th was a group of Ninth Air Force's 70th Fighter Wing, IX Tactical Air Command. Squadron markings on the vertical tail surfaces were a square and "F5" for the 428th with call sign "Geyser", a triangle and "Y7" for the 429th with call sign "Retail", and a circle and "K6" for the 430th with call sign "Back Door". The 474th FG was the only one of the three Ninth Air Force groups equipped with the P-38 in England that had trained with the type in the United States.
The 474th carried out its first mission on 25 April with a sweep along the French coast. The P-38's ability to carry two 1,000 lb bombs with ease, and its heavy nose-mounted armament, made it an excellent ground attack aircraft, although it appeared to be far more vulnerable to light anti-aircraft and small arms fire than the redoubtable P-47. During 15 weeks of operations from Warmwell, 27 P-38s were missing in action, all but five known or suspected lost due to ground fire. Three of these were lost to a 'bounce' by Fw 190s while escorting B-26s on 7 May.
On the night of 5/6 June, the group flew patrols over the invasion fleet and the two aircraft lost are believed to have collided. On the credit side, during an armed reconnaissance on 18 July, a 474th formation led by Lieutenant Colonel Henry Darling surprised a force of bomb-carrying Focke-Wulf Fw 190s and shot down 10 Luftwaffe aircraft with the loss of only one P-38. The Group attacked bridges and railroads in France in preparation for the Normandy invasion, provided air cover for the invasion force, and flew bombing missions in support of the landings on 5–6 June.
German records state that, on 6 July, the 474th P-38s attacked a German strong-point and inflicted such damage that the Germans were unable to offer effective resistance when attacked. Subsequently the Group's P-38s attacked roads and troops in support of the Allied breakthrough at St. Lo on 25 July.
The 474th was the last of the Ninth Air Force's 18 fighter groups to move to an Advanced Landing Ground in France, departing from Warmwell for Saint-Lambert Airfield during the first week of August 1944, the main body of aircraft departing on 6 August. The last mission from Warmwell, the group's 108th, was flown on the previous day.
The Group supported the British attack in Holland in September with the bombardment of flak positions near Eindhoven in advance of the British 1st Airborne Division and support to Allied forces in the Battle of the Bulge December 1944 - January 1945. The support included bomber escort missions and ground attacks on enemy transportation at Malmedy, St. Vith, and Schleiden. The Group also supported the airborne assault across the Rhine in March 1945. The award of the Distinguished Unit Citation was for a mission on 23 August 1944 in which, as part of a joint ground effort, they attacked retreating German forces in the Falaise-Argentan area. The targets of these attacks included an immense quantity of enemy equipment massed and trapped along the Seine River and, despite heavy anti-aircraft fire defending the bridges and covering the German retreat, the P-38s repeatedly bombed and strafed enemy motor transports, barges, bridges, and other objectives. This disrupted the German evacuation and enabled Allied ground forces to capture German troops and equipment. The Order of the Day, Belgian Army was awarded twice for actions 6 June - 30 September 1944 and 16 December 1944 - 25 January 1945.
The group continued operations on the continent providing tactical air support in support of First United States Army until V-E Day, being stationed at Langansalza Airfield at the end of hostilities. The 474th returned to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey during November 1945 and was inactivated on 8 December 1945.
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