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U.S. Army Flashlight

U.S. Soldier in Grenada, with anglehead flashlight on LBE suspenders. 1983
U.S. Soldier in Grenada, with anglehead flashlight on LBE suspenders. 1983.

Today in WW II: 19 Apr 1941 British troops sent to Iraq.  More 
19 Apr 1943 On the first day of Passover, 2000 German troops marched into the Warsaw Ghetto to round up remaining Jews but were attacked and routed by the residents.
19 Apr 1944 Japanese launch Operation ICHIGO, the first Japanese ground offensive in China since December 1941.
Visit the Olive-Drab.com World War II Timeline for day-by-day events 1939-1945! See also WW2 Books.

U.S. Army Angle Head Flashlight TL-122

Flashlight Anglehead TL-122B World War II

Flashlight Anglehead TL-122B World War II

In World War II the standard Army flashlight was the TL-122, with a 90 degree angle head. There were four versions, TL-122A through TL-122D:

  • TL-122A. Brass body flashlight in service before World War II. Painted olive drab with blackened metal screw caps over the lens and the base. TL-122A fits armored vehicle flashlight brackets.
  • TL-122B. First plastic flashlight, issued September 1943, OD color (photo, left). Problems with early plastic formulation that smelled bad and had a waxy compound on the surface.
  • TL-122C. Improved plastic, moisture proof design, issued April 1944.
  • TL-122D. Extended base containing lens filters in blue/red/clear plus spare bulb. Issued late in 1944.

The model number was stamped in a circle above the switch. Marked on the base with one of four manufacturers: USA Lite (United States Electric Mfg. Corp. of New York), Bright Star, GITS Molding Co. and Micro Lite. Belt clip on the back and a ring on the base. Metal slide switch on the side of the body with a button above the slider for Morse Code. The light is powered by two "D" cell batteries.

U.S. Army Angle Head Flashlight MX-99/U MX-991/U

Flashlight Anglehead MX-991/U

In the Vietnam era an improved plastic flashlight was introduced, the MX-99/U later upgraded to the MX-991/U. These flashlights were similar to the TL-122D, waterproof design with spare lenses and bulb in an extended base. Most of these are marked with either G.T. Price or Fulton as the manufacturer.

Flashlight Anglehead MX-991/U Markings

The MX-991/U continued in use with the nomenclature "FLASHLIGHT: electric, hand, 2-cell, w/lamp and lens filter, w/o batteries, type I class A (21108) MX991-U" with NSN 6230-00-264-8261. Sometimes it is just called "Flashlight, plastic" or "Flashlight, anglehead". At some point a switch guard was added to the design.

Lens filters are available in blue, green, amber, red, blackout and diffusion to adapt to different conditions. The screw-on base, below the battery compartment spring, holds a spare bulb and below that spare lenses, in two sections that join together with screw threads. The flashlight is 8 inches long by 3 inches across the angle head. The tube diameter is 1 3/4 inches. The light is powered by two "D" cell batteries.

The photo to the right, above is an MX-199/U manufactured by G.T.Price with a pistol lanyard attached to the base ring.

Straight Line Flashlight

Flashlight Wand MX-993/U

The Army and other services use straight-line (or wand) flashlights in a number of different models. The most common is the MX-993/U made by Fulton, pictured left. It is issued in olive drab (Army) and gray (Navy, USAF, USCG). It is a waterproof design with rubber seals top and bottom. Like the anglehead, it comes with lens filters and a spare PR-6 bulb in a compartment at the base. Length is 9 inches, diameter 2 1/4 inches. The light is powered by two "D" cell batteries. Nomenclature is "Flashlight, rough service, waterproof" model MX-993/U, Type I, Style 1, Subtype E, with switchguard. NSN 6230-00-270-5418. Specification is MIL-F-3747.

BA-30 Battery

BA-30 battery manufactured by Sunlight, a Greek company

Most military flashlights, as well as other common equipment, use the BA-30 battery. This is the exact equivalent of the civilian "D" cell battery, 1.5 Volt Carbon-Zinc. For cold weather conditions, the BA-3030 is used (NSN 6135-00-930-0030 for BA-3030/U or NSN 6135-00-120-1020 for BA-30/U).

From World War II through the 1980s, BA-30 was a military supply item made under contract by Ray-O-Vac, Eveready and others. Although the exact dimensions and electrical characteristcs of a D-cell, they were olive-drab with black lettering, an obvious military item. Today, commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) batteries are used to fill orders for BA-30. If you open a military flashlight you may find the same batteries as you buy at any civiliarn store.

The image to the right is a BA-30 battery manufactured by Sunlight, a Greek company.

Find More Information on the Internet

There are many fine websites that have additional information on this topic, too many to list here and too many to keep up with as they come and go. Use this Google web search form to get an up to date report of what's out there.

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