Tuesday, February 7, 2012

You Make Due With What You Have

I came across this photograph a few days ago and was delighted by the odd mix of equipment. It is a close up of a holster and revolver being worn by a man in World War Two cold weather flight gear.

The holster is a 'Mexican Loop' style that would be much more at home on the belt of a Cowboy or Western Lawman. It is intended to carry a Colt Single Action Army revolver like the one pictured here.

According to the caption this weapon is a .38 and a lanyard ring can just be made out. There isn't enough detail to determine if it is a Colt, or a Smith and Wesson like the one below.

Note that this holster can not properly seat this weapon. The trigger guard should be in closed inside the bulge below it. This won't be a problem in an aircraft, but can disarming on horseback.

Ask me how I know.

So who would have such mismatched equipment? Truth be told making due with what you have wasn't restricted to any one service or unit within, but one orgination was known for it.

Pictured above is a Civil Air Patrol preparing to go out on Anti-Submarine patrol. Their ride is the Fairchild 24R behind them. To be sure there were military versions of this aircraft, but this one belongs to one of the civilian members of the Civil Air Patrol Wing.

The only man in the photograph of military age is the guy standing to the far left, the one holding the bomb. That bomb will be mounted under the 24R.

Was the Fairchild 24R ever intended to be a bomber? Ah, NO! That didn't slow these folks down much.

So, you might ask, did old men with civilian aircraft ever do any damage with these bombs? The Civil Air Patrol is credited with sinking at least one U-boat.

The Civil Air Patrol perf0rmed vital missions that military aircraft and crews would have had to fly had they not been there. Some of them gave their lives in the process.

When I was growing up two of the best kept secrets of the Second World War were the WASP and the Tuskegee Airmen. In one of my college history courses only the instructor had ever heard of them. The Civil Air Patrols war time activitys were a third.

Their stories makes for great reading, if you can find them.

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