Original U.S. WWII 96th Bomb Squadron AN Mark 4 Aircraft Night Signal Float Light

Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. This is a fantastic hand painted WWII Red Devils 96th Bomb Squadron insignia AN Mark 4 Aircraft Night Signal Float Light. It was hand painted as a memento of this airman's time in the service during World War Two.

The float light was a smoke-producing flare designed to be dropped by an aircraft over open water for drift sighting during the day or night. This type would have been used from the late 1930s through World War II.

lights were were constructed of adhesive, aluminum, brass, and wood, around the smoke charge. Dimensions: 13” × 3” x 3”

Offered in very good/excellent condition these are exceptionally rare with an example currently on display at the Smithsonian Air and Space museum as seen here:

Ready to display!

AN-Mk 4 Specifications
Length: 13 inches
Diameter: 3 inches
Weight: 2 pounds

Burning time: 3 to 3.5 minutes
Time from impact to ignition: 8 to 12 seconds
Release altitude: Under 500 feet
Visibility: Night - 6 to 7 miles

96th Bomb Squadron in WW2:
After the Attack on Pearl Harbor, served on antisubmarine duty along the mid-Atlantic coastline as part of I Bomber Command for several months until AAF Antisubmarine Command was formed and took over that duty.

Re-equipped with more modern B-17F Flying Fortresses and assigned to II Bomber Command in Pacific Northwest for transition and combat training in late 1942 and early 1943. Moved to North Africa in April 1943, carrying out bombing missions in Algeria and Tunisia as part of Twelfth Air Force during the North African Campaign. Flew many support and interdictory missions, bombing such targets as marshalling yards, airdromes, troop contingents, bridges, docks, and shipping. Participated in the defeat of Axis forces in Tunisia, Apr-May 1943; the reduction of Pantelleria and the preparations for the invasion of Sicily, May-Jul 1943; the invasion of Italy, Sep 1943.

Transferred to Fifteenth Air Force in December 1943 and engaged in bombing operations primarily in Italy in support of the Allied drive north toward Rome, Jan-Jun 1944; the Invasion of southern France, Aug 1944; and the campaigns against German forces in northern Italy, Jun 1944-May 1945. Engaged primarily in long-range bombardment of strategic targets after Oct 1943, attacking oil refineries, aircraft factories, steel plants, and other objectives in Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Romania, and Greece.

En route to bomb a vital aircraft factory at Steyr on 24 Feb 1944, the group was greatly outnumbered by enemy interceptors, but it maintained its formation and bombed the target, receiving a Distinguished Service Cross for the performance. On the following day, while on a mission to attack aircraft factories at Regensburg, it met similar opposition equally well and was awarded a second DUC. Served as part of the occupation force in Italy after V-E Day. Inactivated in Italy on 28 Feb 1946.
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