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ON4617

Original U.S. WWII B-17 Idiots Delight Painted Type D-1 Sheepskin Jacket

Regular price $3,995.00

Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. Members of the 8th Air Force bomb crews during WWII generally preferred Sheepskin jackets over A-2 leather jackets 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 D-1 Jacket came through.

The D-1 is a simple middleweight sheepskin jacket with two zip pockets, originally intended for use by USAAF ground crew personnel, often working in horrific weather conditions. Considering the D1 was designed as a ground crew jacket a surprising number made their way into the air. Because of its simple design, the choice of intermediate weight sheepskin and its lack of bulk in comparison to the Type B3, many fliers traded their B3s for D1s. Additionally the soft outer lamb skin was specially treated to make it even more resistant to water, gasoline, oil, and dirt. This deal suited both the mechanic, who had a warmer jacket for working outside in severe weather conditions, and the pilot, who could now wear a D1 over an A2 giving themselves an extra layer of protection at high altitude in addition to having better ease of movement.

This incredible example of a D-1 WWII Sheepskin Jacket is offered in good condition with areas of minor repair (mostly in the neck). The jacket is complete with all three zippers (pockets are TALON and the central zip is CROWN). Features double slant front pockets a high collar and the size is approximately a US 42 which was very large for WW2.

The reverse of the jacket is period hand-painted in color. The incredible painting depicts the nose art of the B-17 Flying Fortress IDIOTS' DELIGHT (#42-30301). The art is period authentic and is some of the most vibrant and artfully executed we’ve ever encountered.

The right front breast area also has period authentic hand painted 6" circular insignia of 331st Bomb Squadron which was part of the 94th Bombardment Group that depicts a black panther climbing atop a globe in the clouds, it is wonderful vibrantly colorful work.

The left shoulder bears a period authentic hand painted 3.5" circular insignia of of the 8th AAF insignia hand painted in place but shows a lot of wear due to the fact that the shoulder is a friction point for any movement in the sleeve, it is also the part that protrudes when placed on an hanger for long storage.

Idiot's Delight was the first B-17 of the 94th Bomber group to survive 50 missions; not once turning back due mechanical failure. The first mission was flown July 14th 1943 and the 50th was 22nd March 1944. The 94th suffered huge casualties during this period; 80 B-17s were lost.

19th June 1944: The B-17 was hit by flak flying over the Pas de Calais. The pilot, Theodore A Milton, was forced to ditch the plane in the Channel where nine of the ten crew lost their lives. One crew member survived as a POW.

Delivered Cheyenne 11/5/43; Smoky Hill 25/5/43; Kearney 26/5/43; Dow Fd 2/6/43; Assigned 332BS/94BG [XM-J/B2] Earls Colne 5/6/43; Rougham 13/6/43 MISSY G; Missing in Action Pas de Calais 19/6/44 with Theo Miltoninc 447BG crew, Co-pilot: Dave Gerrits, Navigator: Marvin Stokes, Bombardier: Gene Lightfoot, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Edgar Sikes, Ball turret gunner: Hugh Crimmins, Waist gunner: Dewey Rhoads, Waist gunner: Willard Laney,Tail gunner: Art Gruneisen (9 Killed in Action); Radio Operator: Jim Wolfe (Prisoner of War); flak hit near Alderney, ditched Channel. Missing Air Crew Report 5901. IDIOTS’ DELIGHT.

There is no way for us to know which crew member of Idiots' Delight used this jacket, or if perhaps it was a member of the ground crew as the jacket is not named. Regardless, this is one of the most compelling and unique bomber jackets we have ever offered, due the type (D-1), the size 42, the solid condition and the wonderful vibrant art. If you only ever get one sheepskin bomber jacket for your collection, this should be the one!

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