Mapping Modernity

30a,b. AAF Cloth Chart

23 October 2023

Escape maps  for pilots

These “escape maps” printed on artificial silk were initially kept as a secret. They served a crucial purpose for American pilots who might be shot down over the sea or enemy territory. If a pilot managed to save himself by parachuting to safety, these maps provided a valuable means of orientation. Despite their small scale, these maps offered several advantages. The silk material was soft, reasonably strong, and resistant to creasing, did not produce noise, was easy to store, and could withstand moisture.

30a. Army Map Service, AAF Cloth Chart, (NL54) Otomari / AAF Cloth Chart, (NK53) Vladimiro-Alexandrovskoye (double-sided), Washington 1943-'44. Coll. S/T W.3q.30, 60.5 x 60.5 cm. 30b. Army Map Service, AAF Cloth Chart, (NL52) Harbin / (NL53) Spassk-Dal'niy, Washington 1943, folded. Coll. S/T W.3q.30, 14 x 10 cm.