Aeronautical Instruments & Tools
Luftwaffe Leuchtpistol Flare Cartridge Bandolier
These very simple webbing straps were designed to be fastened around the upper leg or flying boots of aircrew, so the flare pistol cartridges were always readily to hand when required ;they were also issued to German Fallschirmjäger / Paratroopers in WWII. This example has loops to hold 5 cartridges as shown. The reverse of the strap is stamped and possibly dated but this is now faded and we have been unable to decipher. The strap, which measures 21" (53 cm) remains in excellent original condition with signs of service wear. The strap came complete with three empty inert flare cartridges, as illustrated. We believe these to be original items but have had spurious data information added with transfers, as shown, perhaps to complete the authentic look for a reenactor or museum display. One cartridge has a maker code 'L' stamped on the end plate whilst the longer one carries AG/41 indicating it dates from 1941. The milled edge on the red example enables aircrew to identify the type of flare in the dark by touch alone.
We assumed when purchased this was a very good quality older replica. Originals are scarce items and command very high prices in the £400-£600 price range. We have however found a near identical one illustrated in the 'Deutsche Luftwaffe Uniforms and Equipment of the German Air Force 1935-1945', as scan attached. As a result, lets just say the jury is out on this items originality, but we have priced on the basis it is a replica. Whatever its origins it will make a very fine display item in a Luftwaffe collection, on a mannequin or for a serious reenactor. Original Leuchtpistol flare cartridges alone sell for IRO £35.00 each these days so grab yourself a bargain!