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Bundesrepublik Deutschland, 1949-Present From West Germany through to the modern reunified German Republic.

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Splittertarn parachute pack
Old 05-12-2019, 12:04 AM   #1
Collectinsteve
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Default Splittertarn parachute pack

Just when I thought there was nothing else interesting for me to add to my Bundeswehr collection, along came this apparent one-of-a-kind item! It is a 1956 dated BW parachute pack made out of Splittertarn cloth. For sure it was factory made and was used. Currently it is packed and ready to go. The parachute itself is white silk.

There are two labels on it, both seem to have the same info. One is on the strap and is badly faded, the other is on the inside flap covering the place where the chute deploys from. The ink has faded with time so I enhanced the text of the better of the two labels.

Cost a small fortune to get this one and have it delivered, but I had no choice

Steve






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Old 05-12-2019, 03:26 AM   #2
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Wow, that is a stunning item!

Nice to see - I like these early camothings.

Thanks for showing!

Best regards

Nightwish
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Old 05-12-2019, 01:14 PM   #3
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Very cool Steve,congrats.
You know next step is building a para jump tower in the backyard !
All the best,
Kees
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Old 05-13-2019, 07:05 AM   #4
Gordon Craig
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Steve,

Another unusual item to add to your camo collection. From the size it looks like a reserve chute. Can you read anything that was originally printed on the makers label?

Regards,

Gordon
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Old 05-13-2019, 09:52 AM   #5
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It does look to be on the small side, but it says "Rückenfallschirm" and has an integral harness, unlike reserve chutes of that era, so it is almost certainly a main chute.

What is that word before the 400 km/h "geschwindigkeit"? Is that a maximum safe speed for deploying the chute? That's way faster than the typical speed paratroopers and skydivers encounter. Maybe this is a plane pilot's chute, which is usually quite tiny, as it is essentially a reserve chute?

I'm also curious what that transverse strap with the big sliding buckle is for. If fastened, it looks like it could interfere with the opening of the chute?
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Old 05-13-2019, 12:52 PM   #6
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In my opinion it is "Höchste Gebrauchsgeschwindigkeit 400 km/h" = "Highest Usingspeed 400 km/h".
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Old 05-13-2019, 02:09 PM   #7
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Thanks for the congratulations. I thank (blame?) a friend of mine in Poland for finding it and getting it to me. I think it's good to have friends, but my wife isn't convinced it is always a good thing

When it arrived I also thought "reserve chute" due to the size. However, as pointed out it was definitely intended to be worn vertically on the back and not horizontally on the front. Therefore, it is appears to be a main chute. I don't know why a piolot's chute would be built in camouflage, so I suspect this was intended for soldiers. Perhaps the small size and design was as experimental as the use of camouflage?

I can try a blacklight and see if the writing on the label is more readable. However, the better of the two labels is very faded so I don't know what else I might get. The other label has almost no visible print remaining.

Gene, the buckled flap appears to be to keep the chute from accidentally deploying when being moved around on the ground. The flap protects the snap cover and keeps the whole thing closed up nice and tight. My assumption is that the flap is unbuckled and either tucked between the soldier's chest and the pack or is perhaps re-buckled around the back of the pack before the soldier buckles into it.

Steve
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Old 05-13-2019, 06:12 PM   #8
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Steve,

Killer find. My heartiest congratulations.

All the best,
TJ
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Old 05-13-2019, 11:01 PM   #9
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Steve.
One of the best things I have even seen in any splinter pattern.
Happy for you getting it.
owen
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Old 05-14-2019, 05:58 PM   #10
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Thanks all. I don't buy things for bragging rights, but when something like this lands in my lap I do appreciate confirmation that I'm not a fool. Well, at least not a fool by collector's standards

Steve
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Old 05-15-2019, 04:46 PM   #11
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congrats, Steve.

I saw only one splinter pack in my live, and I couldn´t afford it. I wonder how many were made.

Bye
Frank
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Old 05-15-2019, 09:08 PM   #12
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I also wonder about the numbers. There aren't a lot of surviving packs from in general, of any sort, yet we know that the number must have been in the thousands. Most must have been destroyed instead of surplussed. Which makes it difficult to guess at numbers.

Steve
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Old 05-16-2019, 02:59 PM   #13
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I'm still curious as to what this chute was for. The small size makes it a poor choice for regular paratroopers jumping out of a slow moving plane using static lines, who need larger canopies for slower/safer descent/landing, especially when they are laden with gear. A smaller canopy works better in situations where fast deployment at high speed is required. Nightwish's translation confirms that this chute was designed to tolerate very fast deployment, at twice the speed of normal terminal free fall velocity.

Who could need that kind of deployment speed besides those leaving a fast moving plane at low altitude?

It's the right size for an emergency chute for pilots, and some WW II and Korean War era pilots did wear their chutes on their back instead of under their butt, but the camo cover here and lack of comfort padding are inconsistent with this hypothesis.

Then who else?

I think this chute was probably already a hen's tooth even when it was in service, as most of the military chutes at the time looked more like these (from http://www.fschjgbtl-251.de/6.html):

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Old 05-16-2019, 09:40 PM   #14
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Interesting! I know very little about parachutes, so it's a surprise to me that the chute itself is an object of curiosity, not just the camo pack.

Something that's not clear in the picture is this chute is apparently set up for manual deployment, not a static line. This seems to be consistent with both a pilot's chute and a reserve chute. Maybe something else?

Here is a link to a 1970 BRD made chute that looks pretty similar to mine, except updated with things like velcro, nylon webbing, etc. Maybe more clues?

https://auction.catawiki.com/kavels/...mall-parachute


Steve
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Old 05-17-2019, 12:22 AM   #15
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I had a brief fling with sky diving thirty years ago but quit after my 23rd jump, not long after I was cleared to jump without supervision, because I had a particularly acrimonious dispute with the local drop zone operator that took all the fun out of the experience, and because he "accidentally" threw away my (cheap second hand) parachute with his trash!

As a novice, most of my jumps were under a 175 sqft canopy, but I also had one unwanted ride under a 140 sqft reserve thanks to the intervention of a very young and extremely impatient jump master. The difference in the speed of descent between the two canopies was huge (for my skill level and weight). While square parachutes obviously behave differently from traditional round ones (with which I have no personal experience), I think the correlation between canopy size and weight limit/descent speed applies regardless of canopy shape.

From the photos, I also see no obvious provision for cutting away the canopy in case of malfunction, so I don't think it was meant to be worn in conjunction with a reserve. Deploying a reserve while still dangling from the main chute would just make matters that much worse. This is another reason I think this rig was designed for emergency rather than routine use.

Regardless of what its true purpose was, it is super interesting.
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