P-47 Pilot Equipment

Typical U.S. pilot’s personal equipment from Pilot Training Manual for the Thunderbolt P-47N, Headquarters, AAF Manual 51-127-4, Army Air Forces, Washington, D.C., September 1945.

Personal Equipment

On all flights, wear:
1. Helmet
2. Goggles
3. Gloves
4. Life vest
5. Parachute
6. Oxygen mask
7. First aid and emergency kit
8. One-man life raft (when flying over water)
9. Knife

The mask is worn on all flights to accustom you to it and to protect your face in case of fire. You wear gloves as a fire protection and to prevent skinned knuckles, which are inevitable without gloves. Use your goggles when needed. Do not wear commercial polaroid glasses. Use only government issue. The knife is carried to puncture your dinghy should it accidentally be inflated. It must be worn where it can be reached easily, preferably on the calf of your leg.



Flak Suits and Flak Helmets

Reminders about the flak suit and flak helmet, from Bombardiers’ Information File, U.S. War Department, March 1945:


Flak suits consist of armored vest and apron assemblies. They are not personal issue, but they should be delivered to the plane before the flight and picked up afterward for inspection. You couldn’t carry one anyway, with everything else you’re lugging. Report to the pilot if you don’t find a flak suit in the plane for you.

Wear the suit when you approach the target area. It’s heavy but it’s guaranteed that you won’t notice the weight when the fight begins to get hot.

Note: Ask your Personal Equipment Officer to have a tab sewed on your flak suit for your oxygen mask hose clip.


The flak helmet is personal issue. If you have worn both your flak suit and flak helmet on the mission, you have a good chance of returning the helmet to the supply room personally after the flight.