Original U.S. WWII B-17 Bomber Tantalizing Takeoff B-3 Sheepskin Jacket
Original Item: One-of-a-kind. The B-17 Flying Fortress Tantalizing Takeoff was part of the USAAF 8th Air Force, 401st Bomb Group, 613 Bomb Squadron. The 401st flew B-17 Flying Fortresses from Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire, from November 1943 to June 1945. Starting their missions at that time meant the focus was very much on the coming invasion attempt of France planned for the following summer. The Group won two Distinguished Unit Citations. The first, awarded to the whole of the 1st Bomb Division, was for an unescorted raid on aircraft factories at Oschersleben on 11 January 1944. The second was awarded to the Group for a raid on Leipzig on 20 February 1944.
Members of the 401st commonly preferred B-3 jackets over A-2 due to their extreme warmth. With a loss of 3 degrees fahrenheit for every thousand feet of altitude, the WWII bomber crews flying at 30,000 feet in the middle of winter needed a seriously warm coat. The B-3 Bomber Jacket came through. First issued on May 8, 1931, for open-cockpit altitude flying, the B-3 has shearling in the body, sleeves, and tall neck. The soft outer lamb skin is specially treated to make it even more resistant to water, gasoline, oil, and dirt. Specifics: brass zipper with a generous shearling-lined windscreen; tall collar with snaps to keep it down in wind and double straps to keep it up in cold; single glove/map pocket (officers must have their hands free to salute, not in their pockets); and epaulette tabs for insignia.
This incredible example is in excellent condition and bears a maker label that reads:
DRAWING NO. 33H5595
A.A.F. ORDER NO. 42-12694-P
CABLE RAINCOAT CO.
AIR FORCE U.S. ARMY
The jacket is complete and in excellent condition with two small tears in the back of the collar. Mal hanging chain still complete, as all all straps, buckles and snaps, with a fully functional TALON brass zipper. Size 46 is almost unheard of in a WWII jacket. This was some big guy!
The reverse of the jacket is period hand painted in color. The painting depicts the 8th AAF insignia with a bombshell sitting in the center, 33 bombs in a V pattern underneath and above is the plane’s name Tantalizing Takeoff. The art is period authentic and is some of the most vibrantly colorful we’ve ever encountered. The jacket is unnamed. This is one of the most compelling and unique bomber jackets we have ever offered, due the type (B-3), the size 46, the excellent condition and the wonderful vibrant art. If you only ever get one bomber jacket for your collection, this should be the one!
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