33 Tragic But Remarkable Color Images of World War II
The Royal Canadian Air Force
Here are some historical and breathe taking color images of World War II. From images of Allied soldiers and their commanders to the common German soldier during this epic World War. You will be able to see the courage of all the different soldiers throughout the war and also how civilian life was for Europeans. There are many different stories that will be told in these thirty plus images.
In this image you can see a Canadian airman trying to find the coordinates of the enemy while in a Lancaster bomber. The Royal Canadian Air Force played key roles in the bombing of Berlin, the Battle of Britain and many other operations that were preformed all over Europe. The RCAF was able to reach a strength of 215,000 in 1944 and ended up being the fourth largest air force at the end of WWII.
This American airman is in a Sperry ball turret which was attached to the bottom of a B-17 or B-24 for defense against enemy fighters. To be in one of these plexiglas balls, you had be a short man to operate both 50 caliber machine guns and fit inside. To be in one of these spheres was a dreadful job because most of the enemy planes would be targeting this first and most of them used explosive shells, many men died in these small balls of death.
Here you can see an American soldier shooting the lock off of Stalag XIII C prisoner of war camp. About 30,000 POWs were kept here by the Germans throughout the war. The Canadians, British and French soldiers were the first to be held here followed by the Russians and Polish. During the advance of the Russians is when American soldiers were held here. The 47th Tank Battalion was the first to liberate the camp in 1945.
An American paratrooper getting his gear ready for his jump into enemy territory. The men who joined the paratrooper divisions were the bravest soldiers in WWII. They had to jump out of a plane and land behind enemy lines to disrupt the enemy while the main force would advance. Most of these men didn't make it home and was a very traumatizing job for the time. If it wasn't for these men D-Day would not have been possible.
A Russian civilian giving water to a couple of young German soldiers somewhere near Kursk. Many young men were sent to or wanted to join the German military and just like the result of WWI, these boys were fighting wars for older men. During the Eastern front life was hard for both German and Russian soldiers. The battle between these two races resulted in the most casualties throughout the war leaving millions dead.
A couple of American paratroopers waiting for the big jump right before D-Day. Around 13,000 paratroopers were dropped in Normandy on June 6, 1944. These men were dropped behind enemy lines and their objective was to block enemies from counter attacking the beach landings and capture key towns and cities to help secure the French coast.
Here is a crew of a B-25 enjoying their morning coffee with a red cross volunteer on the Alesani Airfield in Corsica. It is great to see that even at the worst time you can find a little joy in your fellow countrymen. The Alesani Airfield was mostly used for a base for American bombers during the war. Many of these airmen would paint there planes with magnificent artwork.
An image of a British paratrooper aiming down the sights of an American M1A1 Carbine rifle somewhere in the Netherlands. The British and Americans shared weapons and would fight with each other during WWII. This created a tight relationship between these two countries and has lasted ever since.
A group of American soldiers playing some poker while relaxing on their time away from combat. Any soldier loves his time away from combat and the hell of war. These soldiers were just about finishing their training back in the States and were about to see the true nature of joining the Army.
Stanisław Franciszek Sosabowski was a Polish General who fought in the Battle of Arnhem. Sosabowski transformed his battalion into a paratrooper division that was the first that consisted of Polish and Canadian Polish. He showed exceptional leadership during Operation Market Garden and led his men to many victories despite the heavy casualties that they suffered.
US Marines passing through a village on the Japanese held island of Guam. The Battle of Guam lasted for about a month and resulted in 18,000 Japanese soldiers dead, the Americans only lost about 3,000. The island was in US territory before the Battle of Guam but was taken by the Japanese in 1941. This was one of the many victories made by the US Marines.
A formation of Supermarine Spitfires on there way for a bombing run somewhere off the coast of Italy. The Spitfire was the most iconic plane fighter for the Royal Air Force and the most effective as well. This plane could reach up to 350 miles per hour and around 20,000 were produced during the war. These planes played a vital role in the Battle of Britain and were a equal opponent to the German aircraft.
The Royal Artillery of the 75th Heavy Regiment towing a British 7.2 inch howitzer through the town of Borgo San Lorenzo, Italy. The British were know for their artillery and were experts at coordinating salvos. This howitzer could shoot at a range of 15,000 meters and shot a high explosive round, these were mostly used in North Africa and the defense of Europe.
Home Sweet Home
An American soldier giving his last kiss to his lover before leaving to the European front. Many soldiers on all sides of the war, had someone to say goodbye to that they loved. This was the hardest part about WWII, leaving the ones you love to protect them from the hardships of war. I think no matter what cause you are fighting for, every soldier has many things in common.
A couple of Wehrmacht soldiers laying down some fire with a MG-34 light machine gun. This gun was used mostly on the Eastern front but saw actions all around the world. This was the light version of the MG-42 which was the most infamous machine gun of WWII. The 34 was a more accurate machine gun then the 42 and excelled with the Wehrmacht troops.
German Fallschirmjäger troops smoking a cigarette after an intense firefight. The fallschirmjäger were the German paratroopers of WWII, these soldiers were equipped with lightweight equipment to help them be more effective as a airborne unit. The fallschirmjäger were more effective at landing faster and ditching there gear compared to the Allied forces and were trained vigorously.
A French Resistance soldier poses with his MP-40 German sub-machine gun. The French Resistance consisted of French men who escaped into the mountains to avoid capture from German occupation, the French that were captured were put in labor camps. The ones that remained in hiding join the Resistance and gave hell to the German occupants and helped the Allies gather intelligence.
German medics helping there fellow soldier overcome his injuries. There were many different types of German medics in WWII, there was your common first aid man which would be trained in combat but when someone got hurt they would throw on the medic arm band and tend to the wounded. There was also ones who just took the role of a full medic, they were armed with only a pistol and lost of medical supplies. Finally there was your field doctors that preformed surgeries, being in the life of a medic must have been hard.
German fallschirmjäger firing a 8 cm Granatwerfer 34 hoping to hit their target. This was the common German mortar used throughout the war by the common German infantry, it was know for its accuracy and quick firing rate. It had a range of about 2,400 meters and fired a 7 pound high explosive round.
An image of a German Panther driver taking a sip from his canteen. The Panther V tank was the considered one of the best tanks of WWII. It was labeled a medium tank but was on the same class a Tiger I heavy tank. Most Allied forces feared the Panther because of its heavy gun and its fast maneuverability. Around 6,000 of these bad boys were built and used in combat during the war.
A British Army soldier taking the helm of a .50 caliber machine gun in North Africa. This soldier was part of the Long Range Desert Group which was a special recon and raiding unit that excelled in many missions. Without these brave men the victory in North Africa would never be achieved by the Allied forces. Many heroic stories and novels have been told and written about these brave British soldiers.
An image of a Russian sniper aiming down his sights for the kill. The Russians were know to have the best snipers during WWII, some having around a five hundred kill count. The ones that survived the war were mostly awarded the Heroes of the Soviet Union and were looked at as saviors of their country. This was a great strategy to have against the German invaders and the snipers would mostly kill officers to disrupt command.
Treating the Wounded
Here is another image of a German medic tending to the wounds of his fellow countryman. There were many wounded soldiers during WWII and they resulted in many people cripple, blind, or death. The wounds showed what destructive power humans make to hurt one another.
A Wehrmacht soldier at his post with his MG-42, the most feared German weapon to an infantryman. The MG-42 had a rate of fire of 1,200 round per minute and could effectively fire up to 2,000 meters. This was the German's suppression weapon and a killing machine which is still used even today. Most of time when you see a picture or a clip of German soldiers, you will see the MG-42 in hand.
An image of the US 4th Division with German POW's taking cover behind a take from cross fire. This is a rare image to see both Germans and Americans taking cover together. The Americans and Germans had strict rules on what to do with POW's and would treat each other like a common soldier at times. This is a late war image that was shot somewhere in Germany.
US Sherman Tank
Here is an image of US soldiers taking cover behind a M4 Sherman tank. The Sherman tank was the main battle tank of the US and was used on all fronts. Without this tank the war in Europe would have never ended. Around 50,000 of these tanks were made which outnumbered the Germans by a lot. This wasn't the strongest or most reliable tank but the shear number of them was the reason why American came up on top.
A British tank driver inside of his Crusader tank. The Crusader tank was the United Kingdom's main battle tank and was the reason why the British beat the Germans in North Africa. Around 5,000 of these tanks were made during the early 1940's. This tank was a good match against the German Panzer III and Panzer IV and became an icon in North Africa.
An image of the famous German tank commander Erwin Rommel. Also know as the "Desert Fox" Rommel led the 7th Panzer Division in North Africa and became a war hero during the time he was out there. He was know to be very clever and did a lot of thinking out of the box. Rommel's view of Nazism was not the same as his leader Adolf Hitler, so there was a attempt to assassinate Hitler which Rommel ended up being a part of, which was unsuccessful. Hitler than made him commit suicide and if he didn't he would have killed his family, this man is looked at as a great commander that wanted to see his country succeed.
A column of British troops with Shermans and a couple of anti-tank guns, there is also some German POW's waiting on the side of the road. This image was shot during the Normandy Campaign sometime in 1944. At this point the British had very high hopes for winning the war, mostly because the invasion went so smoothly and the Russians were now heading towards Berlin.
A RAF pilot stepping down from his Spitfire after a flight run. Being a pilot during WWII was a very tough job, especially if you were a RAF pilot. During the Battle of Britain many pilots lost their lives defending their homeland from being bombarded by the Germans. Around 2,000 aircraft were destroyed with about 700 pilots dying. This was one of the biggest air warfare battles to take place during the Great War.
United States Air Force
An image of an American pilot in front of his Republic P-47 Thunderbolt. The P-47 was a fighter plane that was used by the Americans during the war and was capable bombing runs as well. Around 16,000 fighters were built and were not just used by the US but the RAF and the French. This was a great fighter that compared to its German counter-part.