One of the Regulars
B3 surplus in postwar Italy
Well I was not sure about what section does this belong, so...
anyway, as sheepskin and leather flight jackets (repro and originals) seem to have a confirmed position in the Outerwear section due to their costant appeal, I post this here; if mods things WWII would be more apopriate, they can move the thread there.
Well, yesterday I was watching an old italian movie on TV, don't remember the title but it had to be mid '50s or early '60s.
At a certain point, enters a secondary character, a poor old man, dressed with what seemed to be, and actually was, a B3 jacket.
I've searched and looked around in this forum enough to recognize one by its characteristics: single pocket, collar straps, etc.
Why on earth should the costume department of a movie dress a poor character in such an expensive (now) and drooled over jacket?
Cause they weren't expensive at all in postwar Italy.
US and Allied military left a huge (I mean, huge) quantity of surplus in Italy, partially to newly constituted repubblican and democratic Italian Army, but in great part sold at a very low cost to general population.
These sheepskin jackets (B3, B6, ANJ-4, you name it) were in fact so common and practical that they were chosen as the de facto uniform of postwar "communist self-defense" (or, in an alternate view, almost terroristic) organization of "Volante Rossa"
("the Red Flying Squad": reference was not to pilots but to the mobile patrol of the Police, "la Volante").
I've searched but the only pic I could find by now is here:
Italian tailors and industries eventually began to copy the style: I owned for a certain period a jacket that was an exact copy of an ANJ-4, except that was not sheepskin but very heavy leather (I'd say horse) with a tartan lining and a mouton collar:
with "storm cuffs" and all, that was warm! It looked like an Aero; I received it as a gift form an uncle who didn't wear it anymore, and I ended up handing it to another uncle, cause it was way to bulky for me...
Very interesting. Thanks for posting.
Brings to mind the surplus p-51s that were sold for relatively little even by late 1940's standards.
Surplus flight Jackets in post-war Italy
Unless I'm mistaken, the character Anthony Quinn played in Fellini's 1954 Italian film "La Strada", wore a tattered B3 with an old military sweater and cap. He played an itinerant strongman who rode around the back-roads of Italy on a big tricycle motorcycle.