[Photo] Man-carrying pod used on U.S. P-38 Lightning during WWII

Dec 13 2013 - 14 Comments

Exint pods, man-carrying pods used to insert or exifiltrate special forces or wounded soldiers were not only tested British Harriers and AH-64 Apache and certified for Israeli AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters.

The concept dates back to World War 2 when “body-bags” or wing-mounted enclosures were tested on British Spitfires as well as Stuka dive bombers and ME 109 fighters. Tests were conducted even in the U.S.

Dan Nelson, a reader of this blog sent us some pictures, reportedly taken in 1944, showing casualty evacuation pods attached to an F-5, the reconnaissance variant of the P-38 Lightining.


Image credit: via Dan Nelson


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  • michael

    I guess, they didn’t work so well?

    • Biff

      The photographer in the pod is David Duncan Douglas. There are a few more details in his book “Yankee Nomad”. It was used, at least in his instance, to get photos of attack aircraft in action. It seemed to work well, with the exception of not having any sort of ventiliation built in.

  • Aaron Tyler

    I really wonder what if any efficacy these would have in a real life situation when it comes to evacuating injured peoples.

  • DDAY

    Imagine the noise!

  • R.Lopaka

    CAPTION CONTEST!!!!!! The 1st smart bomb!!! Where’s my PARACHUTE!!!!!

    • phuzz

      Dave regretted taking RyanAir’s cheapest fare.

    • DDAY

      The colonel said I was going to fly the plane, but I don’t see any controls in here…

    • BernardP

      (1) … Must… not… throw… up…

      (2) Boooring! My kingdom for an iPad!

      (3) At least, they gave me a nice rubber band to play with

  • phuzz

    I do recall that at least one RAF Mosquito was fitted out as a fast VIP transport, apparently the navigators compartment was converted, and fitted out as a leather lined compartment. Speed and luxury!

  • so cool

  • Gelsomino Pasqualino

    Neils Bohr, the atomic bomb scientist, could have used one of these. When during WW2 he fled the Nazis and escaped to Sweden, the UK sent a special Mosquito transport to pick him up. He was stashed on a mattress in the Mosquito’s bomb bay and was supposed to wear an oxygen mask but did not hear the command to turn on the oxygen and so passed out when the aircraft rose above 10,000 feet. Fortunately, he was revived, none the worse for wear, when the Mosquito was about to land in England. A pod like this could have served as a more secure means of transport than a drafty bomb bay.

  • Justin

    The Russians used people pods on aircraft a while before WW2, like the passenger version of the Polikarpov R-5 that carried up to 16 people prone under the wings and was used to rescue an Arctic Expedition in 1934 or thereabouts, or the Po-2 ambulance that used wing pods to carry casualties during the war.

  • martynW

    “Bombs away!”

    “Wait! that’s not a bomb we’re carrying!”

    (Yelling out the window) “Sorry, Johnson. Can you try to break as many things as you can after you hit?”

  • Zebra Dun

    Nope. No way. I don’t care if it got me home faster or was for yucks and giggles.