United States Army Aviators' Equipment, 1917-1945
Seven decades after World War II, we now know that the margin between Allied victory and defeat was often narrower than many realized. The decisive actions of leaders, generals and war heroes have been well documented, but less well known are the technological developments that made victory possible and laid the groundwork for postwar progress. Based on more than ten years of research, this book describes how American airmen became the best-outfitted aviators of the war, tracing the development of virtually every piece of personal equipment used by United States air forces. Drawing on original sources including formerly classified documents, the author details the myriad types of respirator equipment, parachutes, body armor, pressure suits and other flying and survival gear that were instrumental in making U.S. pilots and air crews effective. Personal anecdotes bring to life the design and testing of combat flight equipment. More than 160 photographs are included, most published here for the first time.