Lucky Strike Green Has Gone to War

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Lucky Strike Green Has Gone to War

Post by RAW »

The following question was sent out via email to a group of WWII Veterans. Below the question are some of the answers received. The comments show how answers to one question can evolve into a totally different subject matter.

In the January 2005 issue of U.S. Legacies magazine there was an advertisement from 1935 for Lucky Strike cigarettes and the package was green. I heard a story many years ago that Lucky Strike changed their package from the green packs to the white packages because the green dye was needed for the war effort. Can anyone confirm this, and if so, were there any other packages or products that had to change colors because of the war effort needing the green dye?

Response from Bill:
Lucky Strike green has gone to war, so said the slogan. At that time, cigarettes were wrapped with lead foil, and Luckies also came in tins of 50. Before we crossed the channel for Normandy, I was given a carton of Luckies in green. They had been white for at least one year prior so these were stored for the big day.

Response from Ed:
Did you know the silver paper around the Lucky Strikes package, the Air Force used the silver paper. They would throw it out and that would foul up the German radar system. They could not see what it was and followed it to the ground.

Response from Milton:
Shredded aluminum foil used to rain down on us when a formation of bombers flew over, but I don’t think there is any connection between the Lucky Strikes and the foil.

Response from Bill:
Before the war, the stuff on cigs was lead foil which was cheaper than aluminum at that time.

Response from Bernie:
I thought they used strips of Reynolds wrap to confuse German radar.

Response from Tiger:
The aluminum strips we dropped were known as “chaff” by the aircrews. It was very effective. And we used it from late 1942 on until the end of the war.

Response from Marion:
The foil or chaff we used to throw off the German Guns Radar was different back then. It was manufactured for the purpose it was used.

Each 36 plane formation had a case of 24 to 36 packets in each plane Radio Room, Radio Operators responsibility to dispense. There was a cloud of foil that threw the guns off.

It varied when the dispensing began, depending how far from the IP until we could see flak coming up. The German children called it Angel Hair.

It was launched from the Radio Room chute out the side of our B-17’s in two one inch packets. When it hit the air stream. it came apart immediately.

We called it chaff. It was supposed to throw the German 88 guns off at the altitude we were flying that moment.

I do not know how effective it was with the winds aloft, blowing it away from our bomber stream. Some ranking officer had the impression it was working.

Question, was the Reynolds wrap popular back then? We were so primitive back in our country rural America Southern Indiana we did not know of a foil wrap. We used metal lids or a china plates for pan and crock covers.

Response from Bernie:
Indeed it did work. The reading I did said it so disrupted German radar that they sent their fighters in the wrong direction. I think the code word for this operation was “Windows”, strips of aluminum foil dropped by the lead bombers.

Response from Tony:
I used to smoke Lucky Strikes way back then. I think they were just looking for an excuse to get rid of that ugly green package at the time. They changed it to a much cleaner looking white. Then they took credit for it by saying Lucky Strike green has gone to war.

Maybe it was put into the cold storage eggs we had on Christmas Island. Each egg always had a green eye in the yolk. Sunny side up eggs always seemed to be looking at you when you ate them. We still ate them, though.

Response from Doc Ellis:
ABOUT THOSE GREEN-SPOTTED EGGS, they showed up in the ETO, as well… We called ‘em “EYEBALLS...”

Response from Phillip:
The eyeballs must have showed up after I left because the eggs we got were green alright but they were called powdered and you knew before you got to the mess hall what was for breakfast because of the smell.

Response from Tony:
I never saw an egg in a shell the whole time I was in combat in the ETO. Each morning we were given 3 boxes of “D” rations. One for each meal. Each box had four crackers, a small can of meat or cheese, some powdered coffee, a packet of lemon, some crystals, some toilet paper and four cigarettes (never once did I get my brand, Lucky Strike).

The morning box sometimes had a small can of egg yolks and pork chips. It was not until the war was over that I had any fresh eggs.

We used to trade cigarettes to the German farmers for a helmet full of fresh eggs. We would hard boil them in a steel helmet or fry them Sunny side up in a mess kit.

We even made omelets with them. We mixed them up with anything we could scrounge up in the field.

The worst food we had were the “D” bars which was a chocolate bar, supposed to have the same food value as s meal.

We were once given 9 bars, enough food for 3 days. On the third day we were so weak and hungry, we could not even dig a fox hole. Luckily the shelling was not heavy that day.

Response from Doc Ellis:
I don’t know WHERE our mess Sargent got those Hen-balls eyeballs. He was one helluva scrounger. Reminds me of that ensign in “Pink Submarine” who could scrounge anything from nylon stockings to engine generators and ARMY trucks to get the mission done.

By the way, our mess Sargent’s name was Trala...and I remember him ‘cause whenever he’d catch the guys scraping their mess kits into the garbage barrel, he’d yell at ‘em and say something like, “why the Hell can’t ya eat this chow like Ellis does? That kid would eat thumbtacks if I put gravy on ‘em.”

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