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The B-3 Bomber Jacket: An American Icon

Decade after decade, the B-3 Bomber Jacket remains an undisputed icon of American fashion and style. Both practical and durable, this shearling sheepskin workhorse earned its wings protecting the brave airmen who paved the way for the liberation of Europe during WWII.


During the autumn of 1942, the United States introduced the B-17, a long-range strategic bomber better known as the Flying Fortress, in Europe. The plane would prove instrumental in winning the war. Over the ensuing months, as the bombing campaign intensified over the skies of France and then Germany, the men who flew the armed colossus proved their mettle against incredible odds.

As the Allied crews flew punishing 8-9 hour missions, it was essential to retain body heat in the cold, unpressurized cabins at altitudes of up to 30,000 feet. No amount of armor, fire power, or flying savvy could prepare the men for these brutal, below freezing temperatures. It was then and there that sheepskin leather made its fateful appearance and the B-3 Bomber Jacket earned its place in aviation history. No man-made material could master such inhospitable temperatures over a sustained period and allow the crewmen to perform their critical duties.

Even today's high-tech synthetic fibers strive to provide the same incredible warmth and soft-as-butter comfort that natural sheepskin jackets offer. This is a storyline that our customers confirm with every purchase as they continue to be surprised by the performance of the B-3:

"This jacket is exactly what you need in a harsh, cold winter. I got so many compliments about this jacket. I have a snowboard jacket which [claims] to be wind and cold-proof. I can tell you this much: that winter jacket does not come close to this B-3 Bomber Jacket!!!"
-Customer, The Netherlands

Unlike other materials, the crimp of the sheep's wool creates insulating air spaces, naturally retaining heat and wicking away excess moisture when the body generates it. This protection was essential to the crews of the B-17. The men who donned the B-3 Bomber Jackets relied on their rugged and tough exteriors as much as they did on their soft and pliable interiors.

Furthermore, the unforgettable images that emerged from the fabled dogfights above London, Paris, Hamburg and Berlin have remained in American consciousness way past that Great Generation's heyday. The B-3 Bomber Jacket perfectly reflected that ethos of bravery and determination that saw the United States liberate an entire continent.

The rugged simplicity of its materials squarely embodied the country's character as a no-frills, tough-as-nails but stylish uniform that could withstand the elements while providing much needed comfort and succor to cold, battle-weary men.

The B-3 Bomber Jacket has become an item that has proudly passed from father to son, generation after generation, not to be replaced, traded or retired, but cherished and worn for its amazing natural properties. To this day, buyers of this style of jacket keep theirs for years, if not decades, returning to Overland to replace worn stitches or do piecemeal patchwork, choosing to keep this American icon a bestseller, known to develop much character with age.

"I bought this as a gift for my son-in-law. I was thrilled when it arrived. And he loves it… His grandfather was a B-17 pilot during WWII."
-Customer, Virginia

"You'll never have to worry about it going out of style.... 70 years and counting."
-Customer, Nevada

In fact, modern materials and synthetic fibers strive to recreate the natural properties that sheepskin is known for, namely the ability to retain heat and regulate moisture through its inherent breathability. Through wet snow, high winds, light rains or blizzard conditions, the high-quality heft of the B-3's sheepskin insulates the wearer from heat loss in a wide range of high-impact activities as well as during cool, leisurely days. Whether you're snow shoveling, skiing down a mountain, talking a stroll during afternoon flurries or coming home from a brisk late night at the theatre, your sheepskin jacket becomes your second skin.

Unlike down jackets, which are bulky and hot as temperatures rise, sheepskin leather does not need as much volume to provide the same protection, plus it can naturally redistribute the condensation that the body generates throughout the day. Brushing the sheepskin regularly keeps the jacket looking like new and restores its natural water-repellant properties, something that cannot be said of down jackets, which tend to clump when repeatedly exposed to rain.

"I ordered this jacket for my boyfriend… The jacket is extremely warm and he gets so many compliments!!! … This was the best Christmas present ever."
-Customer, New York
"I had been looking for a quality leather jacket with shearling for almost a year when I ran across your website and saw this jacket. It was everything I was looking for in a winter coat. The quality is superb. This coat will last for years."
-Customer, Virginia
"I purchased the coat a few years ago and it still looks brand new. We recently had weather that was 20-below zero and windy, and the coat was nice and warm."
-Customer, Wyoming
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