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Gooner01
08-23-2004, 10:58 AM
Anyone else ever hear of this, before I go plunging through aviation web sites to try to find out which, if any a/c had ammo belts of exactly 27 feet:
"The expression 'the whole nine yards' originated with fighter pilots in the South Pacific, because their planes used ammo belts 27 feet long when laid out flat. So a pilot who emptied his guns into an enemy plane would say 'I gave him the whole nine yards'".

Just curious...

S! Gooner

Gooner01
08-23-2004, 10:58 AM
Anyone else ever hear of this, before I go plunging through aviation web sites to try to find out which, if any a/c had ammo belts of exactly 27 feet:
"The expression 'the whole nine yards' originated with fighter pilots in the South Pacific, because their planes used ammo belts 27 feet long when laid out flat. So a pilot who emptied his guns into an enemy plane would say 'I gave him the whole nine yards'".

Just curious...

S! Gooner

Taylortony
08-23-2004, 11:36 AM
Michael Nunamaker writes that a friend of his in the U.S. Air Force suggested a World War II origin: "According to him, the length of the ammunition belt (feeding the machine guns) in the Supermarine Spitfire was nine yards. Therefore, when a pilot had shot all his ammunition he would say he had 'shot the whole nine yards'."

from
http://www.yaelf.com/nineyards.shtml

although i can see it being based on this one

http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a2_252.html

as a nautical term, we have a lot of them in use.. something that is often referred to as 1st rate, 2nd rate or even 3rd rate all originate from Royal Navy sailing ships of old, a third rate ship refered to its total gunnage that is less than that carried by a second rate ship and the top one of which HMS Victory was one was a First rate ship......... In fact the naval term for toilets ie the Heads refered to the grilled section at the head of the ship just above the anchors and below the bowsprit...The pitching of the ship flooded this area and washed any waste material off, hence the origin of the term Heads............ I'm talking a load of Cr** now so i will stop at that http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

horseback
08-23-2004, 01:01 PM
Actually, I was under theimpression that it referred to the P-47 Thunderbolt.

cheers

horseback

"Here's your new Mustangs, boys. You can learn to fly'em on the way to the target. Cheers!" -LTCOL Don Blakeslee, 4th FG CO, February 27th, 1944

Waldo.Pepper
08-23-2004, 01:54 PM
I wish it was the Spitfire or even the Jug, but I really think it came from concrete. A truck delivers 9 yards of concrete.

Sorry.

Woof603
08-23-2004, 02:06 PM
If you Googleize it, you'll find this:
From the Usenet archives: commentary on the origin of "the whole nine yards"

I'll go over some of the more common suggestions, but first let's consider some important background material. The phrase is first found, to my knowledge, in 1966. (An unreliable book has claimed that it dates from the 1950s, which is itself not that implausible.) The early examples do not seem to be associated with a particular field; for example, it is found in military sources, but it doesn't seem to be a specifically military expression. The phrase is an Americanism.

A reasonable etymological theory must meet several criteria. It must be internally true--you cannot claim that the whole nine yards comes from the fact that a man's three-piece suit require nine square yards of cloth if such a suit only requires five square yards. It must jibe with the evidence we have--an origin in some colonial practice is not likely to be the origin of a term first found in the 1960s. It must be sociolinguistically plausible--an origin in the jargon of cement-truck operators is unlikely because there's no reasonable way that cement- truck-operator jargon would make it to general use. There are other criteria, but these are rough guidelines of what we can demand from an explanation. With that in mind, let's look at what some people have said.

Despite the use of yards as the standard measurement of distance in football, nine yards is not a significant distance in the game. No one has ever discovered a quote from, say, a movie about football or from a famous football player about "going the whole nine yards" in reference to a particularly important play.

It is asserted that a standard capacity of cement-mixers is nine cubic yards, and that a full load would be "the whole nine yards." There is no standard capacity for cement mixers--current models vary between seven and ten cubic yards--but in the 1960s, when the phrase was first used, they carried about four cubic yards of cement, and six cubic yards was considered extremely large. Also, it's unlikely that a phrase from cement-mixing jargon would make it into the mainstream.

It is asserted that various articles of clothing, such as a man's custom-made three-piece suit, a formal bridal veil or train, or a gown in colonial times, customarily require nine square yards of material, or that material normally comes in bolts of nine square yards. In fact, a man's custom-made suit requires only about four to five square yards of cloth; even the late Princess of Wales' staggeringly long veil was only twenty-five feet (8 1/3 yards) long, and colonial gowns are too old to bother considering. Bolts of cloth are normally twenty or more yards long. Finally, the garment industry is again not a likely source of slang.

It is asserted that the "yard" is not a reference to length, but is rather one of the long spars to which a sail is affixed on a ship; ships had a maximum of nine of these yards, and a ship trying to go as fast as possible with all its sails would be using "the whole nine yards." First of all, ships often had more than nine yards; it depended on the number of masts, but fifteen or eighteen yards were not unusual. Second, seafaring terminology is an unlikely origin for a term only thirty-odd years old. Third, the phrase "all nine yards" would be more likely in this context than "the whole nine yards."

It is asserted that nine yards is a customary length of a burial shroud, and "the whole nine yards" would refer to death, and by extention any extreme, final limit. This suggestion has at least some basis--nine yards is a customary length of burial shrouds in some areas. However, the semantic link doesn't seem likely--it's more of a stretch from "death" to "everything possible" than one would like. The word "whole" again doesn't make much sense in this context. Also, the actual phrase "the whole nine yards" has never been found in conjunction with burial practices.

A more recent assertion is that twenty-seven feet was the standard length of a machine-gun belt, and that firing off the entire round was shooting "the whole nine yards." This is sensible in a number of ways- -the military is often a source for expressions of this type; it makes perfect semantic sense; the phrasing is reasonable. Most machine-gun belts were less than twenty-seven feet, unfortunately, and of course this phrase is not found specifically associated with this theory until very recently.

There are other suggestions, most of which can be dismissed using similar reasoning. Please feel free to send in early (pre-1975) examples if you find them, but before you make an etymological suggestion that your husband's sister's mother's brother swears is true, reflect on the fact that it's probably wrong too.
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Obi_Kwiet
08-23-2004, 02:11 PM
I though it was from B-17 gunners.

AdEridanus
08-23-2004, 02:12 PM
http://www.yaelf.com/nineyards.shtml

It's an old debate. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Honestly, the ammo belt explanation would be a great one if only the ammo belts didn't differ so much between models and outfits. Still, if it was created by one guy who used to frequently fly aircraft with nine yard belts, it is plausible.

Personally, I think it's just a sarcastic football reference about screwing up in the clinch. Of course, I'm a Washington Redskins fan, and our recent motto is "Need 8? Go for four!" http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-mad.gif

AdEridanus
08-23-2004, 02:14 PM
Whoops! Looks like I was beaten to it!

Bogun
08-23-2004, 02:24 PM
I just wanted to point – it is not possible to shoot the whole belt (all 27 ft. of it) â"in one sittingâ"ť – it will just melt the barrel of your machinegun.

Regards,

Forgotten War Home Page (http://www.forgottenskies.com/ForgottenWars/default.aspx)
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"The best fighters I met in combat were the American P-51 Mustang and Russian Yak-9U. Both of those types obviously exceeded all Bf109 variants in performance, including the 'K'. The Mustang was unmatched in altitude performance, while the Yak-9U was champion in rate of climb and maneuverability."

- Walter Wolfrum (137 victories)

Korolov
08-23-2004, 02:34 PM
Depending on the weight of the barrel and how cold it is. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

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BaldieJr
08-23-2004, 04:24 PM
Other similar sayings:

We're balls out!
Balls to the wall!

Both indicate full-throttle.

<A HREF="http://officemax.secureportal.com/" TARGET=_blank>
Hey ya'll prepare yourselves
for the rubberband man!</A>
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-HH- Beebop
08-23-2004, 04:45 PM
It's an old German expression that relates to not wanting to visit your neighbors.

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HellHounds Virtual Air Wing

Baltar
08-23-2004, 05:21 PM
I heard when I was a kid it had to do with the amount of material that went into making a kilt...

horseback
08-23-2004, 08:57 PM
Now, if Dux Corvan were available, he'd claim that it came from an old family expression having to do with the amount of latex necessary...

cheers

horseback

"Here's your new Mustangs, boys. You can learn to fly'em on the way to the target. Cheers!" -LTCOL Don Blakeslee, 4th FG CO, February 27th, 1944

Fehler
08-24-2004, 12:49 AM
OK, OK... I will tell you the truth.

I made up the phrase, "The whole nine yards." Only I know what it really means, and I wont tell a soul; it's my own private joke on humanity.

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http://webpages.charter.net/cuda70/9JG54.html

Phalcon51
08-24-2004, 02:19 AM
According to one site I found that sells inert .50 and .30 cal.ammo belts (Blair Metalcraft (http://www.metalcraftbyblair.com/db_paging2.asp?cat_id=20) ) the 50 cal runs 13 rds/ft and the 30 cal runs 23 rds/ft. For 9 yards that works out to 351 .50 cal rounds and 621 .30 cal rounds. Does this fit any typical armament loadout?

I found the following on the P-47 D, so it appears to be out:

Armament:
8 Ó” 0.50 inch Browning MG53-2 fixed forward-firing in the wing leading edge, 425 rounds each (max}, typical 267 each.

That works out to 10.9 yds and 6.8 yds. Maybe the RAF considered the first figure an Imperial 9 yds. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

It's late and I'm tired, so I'll let someone else look up the others

[This message was edited by Phalcon51 on Tue August 24 2004 at 01:28 AM.]

[This message was edited by Phalcon51 on Tue August 24 2004 at 01:28 AM.]

F19_Ob
08-24-2004, 02:39 AM
Actually the correct phrase may be 'the whole nine jars'.

Ammo was always hid in marmelade jars in Brittain due to the threat of the German spyorganization counting how much ammo the enemy had left.
If Im not gravely mistaken, it was the same organization who said that the english had almost no fighters left during the end of Battle of Brittain.
I have no clue how they hid the hurricanes and spitfires though.
Big jars?

My two pennies worth

geetarman
08-24-2004, 08:03 AM
See, that's why it's always good to have a healthy dose of scepticism when sifting through a "variety of sources" on any matter.

I have a book that claims the phrase originally had to do with the 27' .50 ammo belt in P-38's and was first uttered by none other than Richard Ira Bong! "Make sure I have full fuel, full oil and the whole nine yeards."

"If your mother says she loves you, get a second opinion." - statement given to first-year law students - St. John's U. School of Law, NYC.

TgD Thunderbolt56
08-24-2004, 08:10 AM
When I was a kid and had a helper/friend, I could cut nine yards in a long summer day. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/blink.gif


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Ki_Rin
08-24-2004, 11:01 AM
The whole nine yards actually refers to Ki84C and La7 pilots perception of their ***** size...

"Consequences are for lesser beings; I am Ki-Rin...that is sanction enough"

Chuck_Older
08-24-2004, 12:17 PM
I had heard the cement mixer explanation, but in the version I heard, the maximum length of the chute that fed out of the mixer was nine yards, rather than the capacity of the mixer itself


Bong may very well have said "gimme the whole nine yards" but it is very possible he himself was quoting the saying.

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