WW2 cloth jump wings

Photo of cloth jump wings(c) Mark Bando

I stand corrected on a note about cloth jump wings in my jump wings article.

Pierre-Antoine Vlimant rightly pointed out to me that the practice of wearing cloth jump wings was already discussed by Mark Bando here. These did indeed started to appear during the war on both khaki and OD7 cloth and continued to be used afterwards. In fact, paratroopers can be seen wearing them in photos of Operation Dragoon.

Please keep any corrections or addition coming to make the article more complete!

Read the full jump wings article here



New gas detection brassard marking

Lee Buncher kindly send me photos of his gas detection brassard that has a marking that wasn’t in my list yet, although it’s similar to the others.
You can see the list of markings here.

I still haven’t found out more about the meaning of these markings. I’m guessing JL&S was an abbreviation of the manufacturer and the other numbers dates and batch numbers. If anyone knows more about this, please let me know.

And if you have a gas brassard with a marking that’s not on the list yet, please share a picture of it, and I will add it to the list.


Jump wings with loops for sewing-on?

Jump wing with loops

Kamil, a collector from Poland bought these very peculiar jump wings off a roof repair company who found it at an attic in France.

The holes are at the top and bottom seem to have been intended for sewing the wings onto fabric. I haven’t seen this before. The holes (or loops rather) don’t look like they have been welded on, but seem to be integral part of the wings. The latter would mean that these wings were cast with the loops, which would surprise me because then, why would they have kept the attachments of the clasp at the back if it was intended for sewing on?

It looks like the badge is made of silver. It’s quite dark in the photos so it could well be.

If anyone has ever seen similar jumpwings or has more information or ideas about this, please comment.

Read the complete article on jumpwings here




Wings & Wheels 2017

View Wings & Wheels 2017 photo album

I haven’t posted anything since June. In the meantime a lot of material has been gathering here to write about. For starters my annual pictures of Wings & Wheels. I think this is the 9th time my son and I went, so next year we will celebrate our 10th time!

For those of you who have seen photos from previous years, they are again very much alike. This year though, for the first time, we went on Sunday because the weather was horrible on Saturday. On Sunday the weather was great, but obviously the fair had been picked over for too long to find anything worthwhile. One one of the photos you see a 1945 dated crate of canisters of delousing powder. I bought one of those.

Not much new vehicle-wise. The Soviet Frog missile truck was impressive.

Other than that, I mostly looked around for a nice Willy’s Jeep. Talked to some owners and concluded that my search will take a little longer.

View Wings & Wheels 2017 photo album



British and Italian variants of the TL-122 flashlight

British and Italian TL-122 flashlights

Tony Fitzgibbon sent me this picture of two TL-122 style torches I hadn’t seen before.

One is an RAF torch marked 5a/ 9105033 with a Broad arrow and the other is an Italian Pagani torch marked TL-122-C. You can see the Italian one has an eyelet for attaching a lanyard above the belt clip.

In the gallery below you will also find detail pictures of all the markings. Note that the British torch was actually manufactured in Britain, and the Italian one in Italy.

The British one has the broad arrow mark. G.E.C. stands for General Electric Company. It is their post-1921 logo, but I can’t say this makes it a WW2 issue flashlight for sure.

The Italian one seems to be of late- or post-war manufacture, due to the TL-122-C marking and the added refinements which may be an Italian trait, but certainly don’t point to wartime standards. Fratelli Pagani Spa. in Milan used to be a battery factory that also made the first electrical flashlights, or so they claim on the VELAMP website, the company’s name since 1972. After WW2 they started making flashlights for other well-known brands too.

Read the full article about TL-122 type flashlights here




Taylor wrist compass with aluminum base

Curt Cheeseman send me photos with three versions he has of the Taylor made wrist compass: with markings, without markings and with an aluminum base. It’s the first photo I’ve seen with all three types together and it makes for an interesting comparison.

The shape of the base is identical for all three. What stands out on the bezel is that the Taylor logo isn’t always at the same compass position.

We still don’t know in which order these variations were manufactured, but it stands to reason the aluminum base was the earliest version. It’s what I think because aluminum was rationed during the war and there are very few compasses still around with an aluminum base. More information on this, should anyone have it, is always welcome!


CT3 Crosley Pup lightweight ‘Jeep’

Last weekend I met a collector with a small jeep-like vehicle I had never seen before. You can see Jaap in the photo with it. It was a CT3 Crosly Pup. One of only 36 ever built. It was a prototype built by Crosley Brothers for the War Department that was looking to acquire a vehicle smaller than the Willy’s Jeep so it would fit in the aircraft that were in use back then.The idea was to equip paratroopers with it.

More info can be found on several websites:

This project was eventually abandoned, but it peaked my interest, so I’m looking to find out more about it. Finding a 1/35 scale model of it would also be great.

Below you see detail photos of the data plate and the dials on the dashboard.


Newly discovered Battle of the Bulge photos

dm-ardennes-colorThis Sunday, the Daily Mail published some newly discovered photos that really bring home the cold winter of 1944-45 in the Belgian Ardennes. Some are color photos, but all reveal details that we as collectors, re-enactors and modellers find interesting.

Don’t mind the sometimes inaccurate captions with the photos. They tell their own story without words. I am most amazed by how well they convey the winter conditions. Nothing like our winters in Belgium today.

View all photos here



VinSign hand painted vintage road signs

img_6786At Gent Militaria I saw these vintage road signs made by Bob Meyer of VinSign. Hand painted signs, or partially hand painted using templates are a common sight at re-enactment events and at all militaria shows you see signs for sale. But these from VinSign are much more realistic. I was very impressed by their faux enamel road signs. The typical chipping of the enamel and underlying rust have been reproduced faithfully, and only from close up will you see it’s not real enamel but wood.

img_6787On display, each sign is accompanied by a period photograph of that sign. More details and prices on vinsign.eu. You will find great signs for your home museum or re-enactment display, or even a diorama for a real museum. They are that good.

I have made some signs myself, but it takes time to do it well. What I haven’t seen yet are the Dutch metal road signs you see in photos of Market Garden. They are white cast metal with a black border. These may be a fun challenge to produce when I have some time.