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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 • STAY ONE JUMP AHEAD OF TROUBLE, 1945

Untethered: 1942

Untethered: 1942

May 1942. "Parris Island, South Carolina. Tactical formations of barrage balloons prevent dive bombing and the strafing of important ground installations. The Leathernecks are developing an excellent technique in this method of protecting important locations from enemy aircraft." Photos by Alfred Palmer and Pat Terry for the Office of War Information. View full size.

 

WWI Technology in WWII

Balloon busting was an early sport of WWI fighter pilots, although a fairly dangerous one. In that war they were trying to bring down observation balloons. In WWII it was much easier to just machine-gun the balloon then attack the target. Barrage balloons were more effective over cities like London where they prevented bombers from low altitude precision bombing.

Not quite untethered

The line running from the power winch in the foreground can just barely be seen, heading over to the landing spot then straight up to the balloon.

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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