Myth or not? Postwar or contemporary?

Discussion in 'Historiography' started by von Poop, Jan 26, 2018.

  1. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    5:1 Sherman:Tigers, Archers, pixies etc.

    This little bit of swirling pixels leads me to start a thread:
    Overalls, Tank Crews, 1942

    A thread specifically concerned with whether something oft-referred to is actually WW2 terminology/truth/factual, or something 'bolted on' to the litany postwar, maybe even compounded by repetition.

    'Pixie Suit' as a term for the 'Tank Crew. Oversuit'.
    Used during WW2? Or only crops up in postwar references?
    What the IWM says:
    (Pics not showing on new site - will hopefully edit in later)
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  2. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    I would have to say that while "Archer" appears in a FEW wartime documents the vast majority I have looked at use some permutation of "Valentine 17-pounder SP". But I should put emphasis on permutation because some other document might use "17-pounder SP Valentine" or "17-pounder Valentine SP". I want to make a list and write something about the Archer name.

    The oddest nomenclature is "Valentine XXII".

    PS I am very unfamiliar with crew garb. Are there any stories about the choice of name, "Pixie suit"? I am hard pressed to believe it made soldiers look like they belonged in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
    ceolredmonger likes this.
  3. Orwell1984

    Orwell1984 Senior Member


    This is what Dick Taylor has to say regarding the "Pixie Suit":
    p 43
    There is a footnote to this sentence that goes as follows:
    Another nickname Tayor records for the garmet is "Goon Skin".

    So it looks like it has a lot of nicknames during WW2 including Pixie Suit which eventually came to dominate.
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  4. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

  5. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    That would be reasonably conclusive, wouldn't it?
    Obviously hardly confirming widespread usage, but definitely placing the term in wartime use.
  6. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    Here's another one: "Long Lance" for the Japanese Type 93 torpedo. The weapon was apparently first called "LL" by S.E. Morison in his postwar history of the USN. Other historians of varying levels of ability seem to have picked up and perpetuated the phrase and used it if was a genuine wartime nickname for the Type 93. I have even read it in fiction set during World War II.
    Dave55 likes this.
  7. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    I saw it defined as having origins in "the fairy tale transformation which occurred when the wearer pulled up the integral hood" .
  8. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    What's all this malarkey about a Pixie Suit/Onesie ? :huh:

    I thought we had firmly laid this matter to rest with this thread :
    What's all this about a "Onesie" ?

    Bemused from Cockfosters
    AKA Ron
    059   Page 66  October Opicina  Bren Gun Carrier.jpg

    On re-reading this posting I feel I may have been a tad too harsh on Adam and have come to the conclusion that there may be some more mileage in his original premise concerning myth & fact. Sorry Adam ! :salut:
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2018
    canuck likes this.
  9. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    In the interests of honest research I decided to see what ARSSE › ... › Interests & Hobbies › Military History and Militaria had to say on the subject and found this item on a pretty grizzly thread that dealt with removing dead crew members from a tank:

    "The tank overalls and 'Pixie' suits issued to tankies in WW2 had a canvas strap firmly sewed in to the suit and which stuck out from the neck so it could be used to haul the wearer out of the tank."

  10. Old Git

    Old Git Harmless Curmudgeon

    Looks like ARSSE compilers are confusing the 1942 overalls (which were never issued) with the Pixie suit. The 1942 suit did have a rescue harness, the Pixie suit did not, nor were the shoulder straps on the Pixie suit reinforced to allow you pull someone out of a burning tank. That's a nonsense dreamt up by those trying to make sense of the confusion between the 1942 suit and the Pixie suit.

    Re Dick Taylor's book if you look at the bottom of the pages covering the Pixie suit you'll see the note referencing his thanks to yours truly for sharing research with him. The young lad shown in Dick's book wearing a Camo pixie is one of our three boys., who is now nearing the end of a history degree at Uni.
  11. Wg Cdr Luddite

    Wg Cdr Luddite Active Member

    This issue is a bugbear for me as well. I wonder if Long Lance was an inaccurate translation of a Japanese word such as yari ? Do we have any Japanese speakers on here ?
  12. ceolredmonger

    ceolredmonger Member

    Museum staff are human. Semantics and terminology is a specialist subjects, add changes over time and space and it all gets very confusing. I spent much of the 1980s being bogged down with museum object classification systems, working parties on standard cataloguing terms, etc, etc....

    Today my former work is being done by volunteers on lottery funded schemes. Standards have slipped. It is inevitable that terms from contemporary reenactment and collecting are creeping in to museum catalogue descriptions, it is where a lot of staff are recruited from. I have noticed many of the newer IWM photo descriptions have clunky errors. It has always been important to question a source as contemporary or a later opinion.

    Oh and it is a Helmet, Steel, Mk.I or Mk.II (1or 2 if you are post 1944) - it has never been, or will be a 'Brodie' !!!!!!!
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  13. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    "Lights first, every time"
    That advertising catch phrase was not used during the war.
    TTH likes this.
  14. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    Superficial knowledge of history is misleading:
    All that is known of Molotov is the cocktail...and he didn't even invent it himself!
  15. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve"

    Attributed to Admiral Yamamoto but originated in Tora! Tora! Tora! in 1970.

    One of the top ten WWII movies, in my opinion.

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