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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • ROSES BY VINCENT VAN GOGH, 1890

Langley Field: 1942

Langley Field: 1942

July 1942. Servicing an A-20 bomber at Langley Field, Virginia. View full size. 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Alfred Palmer.

 

B-18 back there too

Note the rare Douglas B-18 Bolo just visible far in the distance in the lower right corner of the photo. The B-18 was a bomber derived from the DC-3 airliner, using the latter's wing and engines with a new fuselage. Small numbers were bought in the 1930s as a cheaper alternative to the more complex and costly Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. Surviving examples soldiered on through WW2 mostly in stateside coastal patrol or training roles.

Based on the camouflage scheme of the aircraft, I would venture a guess that this a "Boston," the RAF version of the A-20. US versions would've been Olive Drab over Neutral Gray; this one is painted in the RAF equivalent colors of Dark Green and Dark Earth over Sky.

A-20

This recent "Stars and Stripes" article tells the story of three U.S. airmen's remains that had originally been found in the wreckage of their A-20 Havoc (misidentified in the article as an "A-JO"), which had crashed in Nazi Germany in December, 1944. The airmen were identified using DNA and other means; they will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery on April 18th.

Denny Gill
Chugiak, Alaska

The War In Color

I heartily and enthusiastically recommend a mini-series called "The Second World War in Colour" (it's British) which has spawned a variety of successor series for various countries - I think that the most recent one is "Japan's War in Colour." There is a lot of gorgeous colour footage out there, and a lot of it was shot by amateurs of everyday life. Well worth finding.

Technicolor

That's when Technicolor's original three-strip process was being used for movies, anyway. Vividly-saturated color images are just as true-to-life to the 1940s as crisp black-and-white.

For an antidote to Spielbergian 1940s color, see Martin Scorsese's The Aviator (excluding the two-color section at the beginning). Digitally color-adjusted to simulate the Technicolor "look."

The war was in color

It's always wonderfully startling for me to see World War II and the 40s in realistic color. Between the black-and-white photos, the antiqued look of cheaper movies, and the aggressively desaturated color of the Spielberg/Hanks epics, I sometimes have trouble picturing the everyday reality of it. Black and white and the other forms aestheticizes and brings out pure forms and content, but there's something to be said for the way a color photo makes what seems remote familiar and contemporaneous.

I like this

This picture is a mirror of WW2

I love this. That's such a

I love this. That's such a beautiful plane too. Wonderful picture. God Bless!

 
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