When you put the buttons of WW2 RAF uniform together, they make a mini-compass, for use if you get shot down behind enemy lines

  1. I was showing my mother some twitch streamers playing Apex Legends the other day and she said, these guys should be consulting on battle strategy in Ukraine. Shades of Ender’s Game…

  2. As no1 has mentioned it yet may I add the pencil issued to all RAF pilots was hollow and held a map of the frontline to be used with the compass buttons.

  3. Was it not designed to help POWs escape and were attached to garments sent on red cross packages? I'm sure I saw something like that on QI.... they also his maps in board games too

  4. This makes sense, because I’m over here thinking, wouldn’t it be cheaper to give people compasses, rather than special buttons? Or, you know, sew a compass into the lining.

  5. Ok, this is badass! I can picture the chaotic scene of a RAF plane crashing behind enemy lines. Pilot with a map in hand rips off his buttons and makes it back to safety! Somewhere out there theres a WW2 Vet that used this to save himself.

  6. Other have pointed out the dot. But even without the dot, you could determine your bearings based on the sun or some landmark, then mark the button yourself.

  7. Every time I read RAF, I get a mini-jolt because that's also the acronym for Germany's very own terrorist movement in the 1970s and 1980s.

  8. You have to keep in mind there were millions of soldiers. We had limited resources, most going to making tanks, guns, ammo, planes, etc… It was much easier to give all these men two buttons instead of a fully made compass. It’s was better than nothing.

  9. I think Winters is shown doing this or something similar in Band of Brothers, after they land in France outside the drop zone?

  10. Well it's my first time seeing it. You think it's better to limit the amount of people seeing it just because you have before?

  11. Did you know that later on they had compasses concealed inside a button. When the Germans got wise to this they made a simple design change that fooled the Germans. They manufactured these buttons left tighty-righty loosey... Every time the Germans checked for these concealed compasses they were tightening the compass back onto the button and thus not finding them. Genius

  12. Funny. Just started watching BoB yesterday and was wondering what he’s doing with his biting to figure out where they are.

  13. The boots of RAF personnel could be unsewn to look like civilian shoes if they were stuck behind enemy lines

  14. I've always appreciated the little thoughtful innovations like this. Another one is that my US battle dress uniform (BDU) pants were designed to be floatation devices. You just tie a quick knot in both legs at the ankles and then the air won't escape through the fabric.

  15. that's crazy but i'd still be screwed because idk how to use a compass and my sense of direction is horrible even if i did know how to use one

  16. The second episode of band of brothers shows easy company soldiers using one of these after dropping behind enemy lines during the invasion of Normandy

  17. This is truly what they were for? It’s not just trying to balance itself out, or table not level? If it’s truly the former then that is one helluva great idea!!

  18. Not shot down. You have compass and everything to escape. This is more like if you get captured and escape with nothing but your clothes on you.

  19. I wonder if that was deliberate design, or something that someone discovered accidentally worked. Iron can self-magnetize over time.

  20. This is cool and all, but I think if I got shot down and was lost in the wilderness, being able to close up my jacket would also be a pretty big priority.

  21. My Grandfather was in the RAF flying mosquitoes during WW2. In addition to the button trick, the silk lining of his bomber jacket was a map of France. Kinda need both if you go down. I'm trying to figure out how to best mount and preserve it. Ideas?

  22. It sucks because the last time that I was shot down, I was accidentally wearing my 19th Century Prussian Hussar livery :-(

  23. Did you know that later on they had compasses concealed inside a button. When the Germans got wise to this they made a simple design change that fooled the Germans. They manufactured these buttons left tighty-righty loosey... Every time the Germans checked for these concealed compasses they were tightening the compass back onto the button and thus not finding them. Genius

  24. This seems really neat but for some reason I just don't believe it to be true... How does a button use magnetic north to find direction and how would you know what direction north was on the button? Is there a marking?

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