US NAVY Z-series Anti G suit in WW2 service

Nov 2011 – During WW2 the US armed forces introduced a new technological system to help defeat their opponents in the air. The new device was called the – Anti G suit – and this suit enabled a pilot to fly their aircraft further into the G forces when compared to  pilot who did not use a anti g suit. This was especially an advantage in air to air combat where the F6F Hellcats were taking on the Japanese Zeros.

A g-suit was/is an anti-gravity garment worn by military pilots. When the pilot is pulling positive G’s, the suit inflates and prevents blood from pooling in their feet and legs which would cause them to lose consciousness. The suits pressure is maintained on the body by air bladders which were inflated to push against the body, thus reducing the blood loss. The draining of blood from head and torso is what causes the actions known as a “black out” and at extremes… G- Loc.

The US Navy trialled a few different designs and finally settled on introducing 3 types of G suit in WW2…. the  Z-1 , Z-2 and Z-3 during WW2.

This article examines the GPS, Z-1 and Z-2 series anti g suit.

FIRST G SUITS IN SERVICE

The US Navy trialled similar to the USAAF trouser style G suits, with shoulder suspenders initially before moving onto coveralls and finally the more commonly seen cut away pants model.

GPS SUIT

The initial type resembled a trousers type design, associated internal bladders, external hose and shoulder suspenders. The US Navy began testing the experimental Gradient Pressure Suit as early as November of 1942. These GPS, or “Moeller-Carson Suits”, were tested in combat by VF-8 in March 1944.

The US Navy trialled the GPS suit firstly with units in the Pacific.

NEW G SUIT USED

The Navy then began trialling the M-700, Type Z and Z-2 suits. These 3 suits had minor detail changes relating to pockets and layout.  The type Z was the first standard suit produced for the Navy and very similar to the Z-2.

Z-2 ANTI G SUITS

The next development was a flight suit style and anti g suit combined.The best parts of the Z series were combined with nylon g suit materials and made into a light weight coverall for pilots to wear. The Z-2 was easier to fit into, less cumbersome in a tight fitting cockpit and provided a flight suit and g suit in 1 design which appealed to most pilots who didnt wish to wear a flight suit and g suit on top. Z-2s were tested and entered US Navy service it is understood in ate 1944. Photos from a US Navy magazine in 1945 showing a Z – 2 anti g suit.

Shown is a group of fighter pilots wearing Z-2 anti g suit, QAS parachute harnesses, B-4 LPU,s AN- series leather and ANH-15 flight helmets with AN-6510 and B8 goggles.

Two pilots in a post mission wear Z-2 anti gsuits.

Assorted air and ground crews pose with a F6F Hellcat. Some wear the Z-2 anti g suit.

2nd pilot from right wears a Z-2 anti g suit.

Pilot in post mission debrief shown wearing Z-2 suit.

The Z and Z-2 was eventually replaced by the Z-3 in service in due course and later on the Z-3 was replaced by the Mk 2 anti g suit which came into service during the 1960s.

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