Battle Plan Maps - Cloth Maps

Rare Old Maps for Sale.

82.00 ‘Silk Maps’, c1944 – 1952, Army Air Force / USAF

Escape and Evasion Cloth Maps

Most maps today are printed on good quality paper, but there were maps produced on cloth (or, textile cartography) dating back many centuries. The fabric map technique dates from the Han dynasty. In 1973-74 excavations near Mawangdui, in the province of Ch’ang-sha, China produced three maps drawn on silk. After careful restoration, it became clear that one of these maps (now known as the Garrison Map), had been prepared by cartographers to the king of Ch’ang-sha, whose kingdom was made up of modern Hunan and that the map was for military use sometime around 168 BC. The maps we offer were first introduced by the British during World War II. The first maps during WWII were issued by M19 and based on existing maps of John Bartholomew, one of England’s most prominent map-makers. In addition to the British, the Australians and the United States began production of cloth maps. The Army Air Force (AAF) through the efforts of there Aeronautical Chart Service produced a series of the cloth maps on printed on rayon. From this came the term ‘silk maps’. One of the military uses of the silk (cloth) maps was to have them included in the survival kits of allied pilots. There durability and foldability were ideal for downed pilots in enemy territory, for escape and evasion needs [the kits were known as Escape & Evasion Survival Kits]. After WWII the cloth ‘silk maps’ continued to be used as the Cold War escalated. Soon after WW II ended, the U.S. Air Force was formed and under their Aeronautical Chart Service the cloth maps continued until the early 1950’s as part of the Cold War effort. The story of the WWII cloth (silk maps) has been difficult to piece together because of the manner in which they were developed and their production was shrouded in secrecy during and after the war. The collection we offer of these unique examples of mapping differ slightly in size. All are printed on both sides with adjoining sections. We also have a number of WW II maps listed below that are very rare and, in some case, were used by agents of the British intelligence service. The following list of cloth maps indicates ones still available: $60. each – except where noted, (shipping / handling / insurance $9.00) per order.

B-17 crew of the 398th Bomb Group, 8th Army Air Force (AAF) in England during World War II. Lt.
Wallace Blackwell, co-pilot is seen standing, back row second from right.

Shipment of your map / print is expertly handled with great care taken in the packaging. We use the U. S. Postal Service Priority Mail Service for all domestic mailings as well as for international delivery. This both holds down international shipping costs and provides full insurance coverage of your map / print.