Original U.S. WWII Chalk Leader Paratrooper D-Day Invasion American Flag Oilcloth Armband - RARE

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. In military terminology, a chalk is a group of paratroopers or other soldiers that deploy from a single aircraft. A chalk often corresponds to a platoon-sized unit for air assault operations, or a company-minus-sized organization for airborne operations. For air transport operations, it can consist of up to a company-plus-sized unit. Frequently, a load of paratroopers in one aircraft, prepared for a drop, is also referred to as a stick.

The term was first coined in World War II for airborne troops during Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Europe. The aircraft flight number was placed on the troops' backs with chalk. It was later used during the Vietnam War, when it was common practice to number with chalk the sides of the helicopters involved in an operation.

The letters on this arm band stand for "Chalk Leader". A chalk being a stick of paratroopers in a plane, which refers to their number chalked onto the hull of their assigned C-47. And the Chalk Leader being the NCO or officer responsible for loading them and their cargo on board. When considering how many planes carried paratroopers on D-Day it makes this armband a truly rare artifact.

This incredibly rare CL marked (Chalk Leader) is a slightly used example of the Airborne Paratrooper American Flag "invasion" Armband. This type of armband was typically used by U.S. Paratroopers for example in North Africa (1942), during the D-Day invasion in Normandy (June 1944) and during Operation Market Garden (September 1944). The armband was typically fixed to the uniform jacket arm with safety pins.

This is the third type of Arm flag, which was printed as an armband on a kind of sturdy paper stock resembling wallpaper, called oilcloth. This is a semi-waterproof material also called "lacquered cloth" and "American Cloth". It has punch holes and was issued with two safety pins, none of which are present. On the reverse of this example is a printed CL. It measures approximately 17" x 4", the standard length for these items.

Most of the examples we see are in unissued condition, usually folded into thirds, much like this one. This type of wear and patina simply cannot be duplicated!

This type was issued for the Southern France, Holland and Rhine jumps and was worn as an armband or cut or folded and pinned to the sleeve. 509th PIR troopers during Operation Dragoon wore their flags on the left sleeve. There are two variations of this type of armflag, and you will mostly find both described as printed on oilcloth. This is true for the second type, which has a hemmed edge all around, but which is otherwise identical in pattern and size.

Comes more than ready for display!
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