Original U.S. WWII Army Air Forces M1 Armor Flyer Flak Vest - Back & Front Pieces
Original Item: Only One Available. During WW2 in the US Army Air Corps, bomber crews often returned from missions over NSDAP-occupied Europe reporting extremely dense flak, each burst spraying the aircraft with hot shrapnel. Following the experience of the Royal Air Force, the Air Corps began issuing flak jackets to aircrews in 1942. These early flak jackets were heavy, consisting of steel plates sown into multi-layered nylon that would catch low velocity fragments. An apron panel was added to increase the protected areas. The vest and apron design was supplemented by a helmet to complete the protection. The heavy protection vest had a pull tab to dump it quickly if the plane ditched in the water or the crew had to bail out.
This is a genuine very good condition complete USAAF Armor, Flyer's Vest M1, with the correct "Back Piece M1" and "Front Piece M1 & M2". The flak armor used in the USAAF bombers was a modular design, which could assemble various pieces for specialized personnel. This is the basic pattern, and does not have any of the additional Groin or Leg armor that is sometimes seen. Both pieces are complete with faint original markings and data labels which show manufacture by Fox Chase Knitting Mills, Inc., along with the relevant contract information.
These flak vests were originally only armored in the front as it was assumed that aircrew would be sitting in armored seats. These later versions have armor on both the front and back. Condition is very good, though the pieces definitely do show wear and fading from service.
All in all a very hard to find vest offered in very good condition.
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