WW2 PARACHUTE STRAPS

AUGUST 2010 – As the well known and often repeated Monty Python gag line goes – “Now for something different” , i have on display some WWII USAAF parachute pack opening elastics – POEs or the modern day version called bungee cord. I have used some to restore some of my USAAF seat style parachutes.

During WW2 the rubber used in these POES was very flexible when new. Nowdays 65years on it can still stretch and there are no broken spots in the rubber. The cotton cover has no worn spots or broken threads. The hooks not rusted, and still have the original cadmium plating. The wax coating is in good condition still after 65years and keeps the ends from fraying.

Rubber items had a relatively short shelf life when used, so the US government required dating.

Coloured threads indicated the year and quarter.

Two threads of the same colour indicated the year.

One coloured thread indicated the quarter.

1940 Black 1943 Blue
1941 Green 1944 Yellow
1942 Red 1945 Black

Jan-Mar. – Red July-Sept. – Green

Apr.-Jun. – Blue Oct.-Dec. – Yellow

According to the colour coded threads, these shown below were made January-February, 1941.

In 1946, Pack Opening Elastics (POE’S) they were officially replaced by pack opening bands (POB’s), made of nylon covered springs to alleviate the problems of rubber’s rapid aging and stiffness is extremly cold weather. However, POE’s were still in widespread use for while longer until replaced fully in service supply chain or gear overhaul.

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