Luftwaffe 1943 „Pips Priller Edition“ - History
The German Luftwaffe provided its pilots with modern functional flying clothing. Nevertheless there were no official leather flight jackets supplied until later in the war. With the invasion of France the German Luftwaffe pilots got hold of leather jackets from the French Air Force. The French Armee de l'Air pilots wore an extremely attractive, short-cut flight jacket made from goatskin and cowhide. This jacket originated as a motorcycle jacket. It is a classic design from the 1940s, known as "Blouson Cycliste"
This jacket was not only very popular with the German Luftwaffe pilots but also with the French "Resistance". The short cut jacket has two chest pockets with zippers and two pockets above the waistband. A characteristic feature of the so called „Priller Jacket" is leather buttons instead of a metal buckle and snap buttons. Without exception, all jackets were procured “privately” by the German Pilots. It was so popular that almost every pilot stationed in France had such a jacket tailored. Jackets from French production can be identified by the manufacturers of the zippers used, e.g. by the company "ECLAIR", as well as the lining of the jacket mostly wool and cotton. Jackets from German production used zippers from the brands "Zipp", "Rapid" and "Riri" and press studs from the brands "Stocko" and "PRYM". Lining was made of rayon or cotton. The cut and design of the jacket has always been the same for years. Nevertheless there are variations in the pocket flap shape, the angle of the breast pockets and the metal buckle decoration and shape. Snap fasteners were used, on other jackets leather buttons or horn buttons can be found. There were a number of different variations, most of which were due to the availability of the hardware. From 1942 the leather jackets were also made in Germany. With the introduction of the so called "Reich Defense Jacket" from 1944 onwards there was a standardized, leather pilot jacket with a faux fur collar and built in heating system which was connected with the airplane. The jacket also came with matching leather trousers, the so-called "Kanalhose". Nevertheless, there are parallels in both leather jackets. Both jackets were made of goatskin and cowhide leather and both jackets were tanned in medium and dark brown shade.
The „Luftwaffe 1943“ jacket is a faithful reproduction of the „“Blouson Cycliste“ worn by Josef „Pips“ Priller from 1943 onwards. Made from dark brown goatskin this legendary jacket has leather buttons instead of snap buttons and metal buckle.
Josef Priller was assigned to JG 26 „Schlageter“ and later promoted commodore of JG 26. Priller became famous on June 06 th 1944 (D Day) as operation Overlord was in full swing and Priller and his wingman Heinz Wodarczyk attacked the landing beaches as the only Luftwaffe airplanes that day and survived to tell the tale. Priller flew almost all different variants of the Focke Wulf 190 throughout WW2.
He managed to shoot down 101 airplanes in over 1300 missions. More than half of his kills were Spitfires. All his victorys were against Western Allies. His most important victory was without doubt to survive the war as he flew from the begining to the end of hostilities. „Pips“ Priller died young at age 45 in 1961 as a civilian. He was buried in full military honor and fighter planes of the new „Bundesluftwaffe“ flew over the ceremony.