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Offered for sale is an extremely rare original parachute rig as used by the 101st Airborne division during the Market Garden offensive in September 1944. After the experiences with the standard T5 at the D-day landings in June 1944 the call increased for a quick release mechanism on paratrooper parachute rigs. Before the T7 could be procured in sufficient numbers, the 101st division riggers set to work converting as many T5 rigs to incorporate a quick release mechanism.
On these modified T5’s, a British quick release box was utilized. The chest straps of the standard T5 were replaced with Type VIII webbing ending in the quick release lugs. The legs straps were retained, but snapped into short web adaptors made of Type VIII webbing with quick release lugs on the other end. (On the conversions used by the 17th Airborne during Varsity, the leg straps were completely replaced).
The rig is in overall great condition, no fraying or tearing of the canvas or webbing. I can list the following “deficiencies”:
- The main canopy has been removed, the main pack contains a piece of parachute material over a blanket filling
- The felt padding behind the quick release box has been cut or torn away. Some felt remains under the stitching
- The security clip for the quick release box has been cut away, part of the parachute cord for the clip remains connected to the harness.
- Some slight discoloration and staining of the webbing at places due to age
- Some rust staining of the static line and the static line hook
All elements in the rig have been manufactured by National Automotive Fibres, Inc., except the pull out panel which was manufactured by the Atlantic Parachute Corporation. All elements are dated late 1943-early 1944 as should be expected. The non matching pull out panel and missing canopy point at this being a "jumped" example. I also suspect that the security clip and possibly the felt backing were deliberately cut by the original user as unnecessary snagging risks. The reserve contains the complete canopy. From what I remember when I first got it, one or two suspension lines were cut, but these have been repaired and the chute repacked. Rather than an inspection booklet, the reserve contains a folded scrap of paper with inspections dated in June 1944 and early September 1944.