Gear Illustration collectors group from China

These collectors from China contacted me about this website they have where they provide details about original WW2 and other field gear. They also have a section on identifying fakes and reproductions.

The also kindly reposted my article with Tips for collectors and translated it into Chinese!




101st Airborne Market Garden tour August

Robert Cole monument

These are photos of the Market Garden trip I made with my son in August. I didn’t get around to posting them yet, but here they are, all 219 of them!

First you see photos from the Overloon war museum, which has a huge collection of vehicles! It is nothing like how I remember the museum from when I was little. I really recommend it.

Then you see photos from airborne related landmarks in the area where the 101st Airborne landed in Operation Market Garden:

The museum in Best was alright, but looking back, I would rather have driven around the area a bit more to see more landmarks.

View photo album


Another new gas brassard marking

Gas detection brassard Kenneth Benteyn

Kenneth Benteyn sent me a photo of his gas detection brassard which is in new condition.

As can be seen in the photo the marking 4/42 1 SL/E is nice and clear. 42 would be the year of manufacture, which can be deduced from the numbers on the other brassards, so 4/42 would be April 1942. SL the manufacturer? And E the lot code? We still don’t know for sure. Kenneth says he also could have bought a brassard with the same marking, but with an extra F added at the end.

I am amazed by the number of different codes that appears to exist. From the codes I have been able to gather from different collectors over the years, we can at least conclude:
– They were made from December 1939 to May 1944
– There were at least 5 different manufacturers

Refer to the list of codes in my article about WW2 gas detection brassards.


Airborne Cemetery Oosterbeek

The Airborne Cemetery in the autumn sun

The Arnhem Oosterbeek War Cemetery, also called the Airborne Cemetery, is a British war cemetery that mostly contains graves of airborne and glider troopers. They were mostly British, but also many Polish and some other nationalities enlisted in the British airborne forces. In the back near the cross are the graves of other troops.

Note the grave of a Dutch parachutist and an example of grouped headstones of crew members of a plane who died together.

I photographed the unit insignia on the headstones.

It’s only 5 minutes from the Airborne Museum in Oosterbeek, and you should really visit both. In the autumn light and yellow leaves, the place looks really beautiful.

View photo album


Airborne Museum Oosterbeek

Complete PPN-1A beacon

Here are some photos I made of my visit to the Airborne Museum in Oosterbeek (Arnhem).

Overall, I liked the museum, although its focus is purely on the British parachute and glider operations in the area, so don’t expect to see any American uniforms and equipment. At the beginning of the exhibit, the larger picture of the Market Garden campaign is very well explained in a video. I liked that.

Among the special items I would like to point out the PPN-1A pathfinder beacon. See photos.

The exhibit in the basement was a bit disappointing to me. A lot of space with comparatively few items and a lot of audio info and text to read. I found it a bit tiresome. Maybe I wasn’t in the mood for a lot of reading anymore after visiting the rest of the museum.

Visit the museum website
See my other museum reviews


Full box of German escape compasses found

Two boxes of Luftwaffe escape compasses?

Now this is something you don’t see every day. Two full boxes of what look like German Luftwaffe escape compasses going by the point markings on them. Chris Wright send me these photos. He bought this packet with compasses along with a collection of WWII items. They are very similar to the German compass in my article, but they seem a little large to for an escape compass (21mm wide) and it has a different shape of arrow. Could this have come from some German store room? Any info would be much appreciated.




Another unidentified USAF or USAAF escape compass

Bruce Hollyn sent me this photo of a tiny escape compass. I had never seen one like this before, so I asked where he found it. Bruce told me he was in the USAF and during a inspection from higher HQ they were cleaning up and properly sorting inventory, which was according to the normal procedure. His intelligence officer stopped by their shop and gave him a box, saying they were no longer needed. As Bruce taught survival at the time, the officer thought his team could use them. There is no markings on these compasses at all. They are smaller than a penny in size, which makes them smaller than the average escape compass (see sizes in my article). From where they were found, I think we can safely assume they are US made, and definitely US issued, but hard to tell how old they are. They could be USAAF, so WW2 originally, but they could just as well be post-war. As always, we’d be interested to find out more about this type of compass if anyone knows.
Read the full article on escape compasses



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