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There was no heat in B17s. Prime casualties among the USAAF were frostbite. USAAF developed electrically heated flying suits in 1940, but they only became available to gunners in winter 1942-43. They were completely unreliable when subjected to the rigors of operational flying.
The electrically heated F-1 suit supplied to B-17 crews made by GE had an inherent weakness—it failed to keep the crews warm. Being wired in series, if any element wire fractured, it would cause a complete electrical failure throughout the whole suit.
When the suit failed, it had serious consequences for the wearer if flying in sub-zero temperatures. The frequency of failure, due to movement of the limbs, was so great that most men chose either not to use them or, if they did, to wear heavy clothing over the electric suit.
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