Getting out of a jam at 58 below
The B-17s plastering Hitler’s Europe flew at 25,000 feet on average, and it gets kinda cold up there, especially in an unpressurized aircraft with open gun ports in the belly. How cold? Like -58F. Since they had a partially pressurized cabin for most of the flight crew, it was the gunners who suffered the most.
These men, controlling M2 Browning .50 cals, wore electrically heated suits and heavy gloves that provided some protection against temperatures, but, with temperature so cold that skin would freeze to metal, the couldn’t take off their gloves to clear a jam without leaving hide behind on their guns.
This well used spoon shaped un-jamming tool was utilized by a B-17 tail gunner in Europe during World War II. The tool was handmade and used because the cold and gloves hampered dexterity.
It is currently in the collection of the National Museum of the Air Force.