A small cottage industry now exists in locating and printing color photographs taken during WWII. Kodachrome slide film did exist and was being used by professionals and amateurs as well. The late Jeff Ethell was an early organizer of these sort of volumes and Motorbooks and others happily publish them. But there are similar references that have been awaiting (re)discovery since the 1940s.
Both “Life” magazine and “The National Geographic” were publishing color photographs during the 1940s The stunning color photo of an Essex class US Navy carrier preparing to launch F6F Hellcats was (at least) the cover of an annual review by Flying or something like that- my dad kept his copy from his early teenage years. A searchable datebase of mass-market color photos would be very useful.One wonders about the photoarchives that “Time/Warner” has put on the internet too…
Ivan Dimitri’s “Flight To Everywhere” is a good example of what’s worth searching out in library reference sections and used book stores
“Flight to Everywhere” neatly covers the same locations and airplanes as the WWII Air Transport Command portions of Earnest K. Gann’s “Fate Is The Hunter”. If you loved that book, here are the photographs to back up Gann’s descriptions. The C-87, a cargo-hauler based on the Consolidated-Vultee B-24, is the subject of most of the book, with some
DC-3s (C-37/47/53/whatever) and Curtis C-46, A C-54 (DC-4) and other transports also appear. But Dimitri also photographs IX bomber Command
B-24D squadrons in North Africa, a Navy PB4Y-1, F-5s (P-38 photoreconnisance variants), a regular P-38, P-40s,
By Aircraft Type, lightly sorted(by me) in value:
21 Wow! Engine (cargo) being placed in fuselage ahead (?) of main wing spar Fuselage skin is yellow zinc chromate inside with shiny alu formers and stringers. Front of spar, most other metal, natural aluminum.
P&W engine cargo has worn very dark gray or black paint on gear
reductioin case, brownish patches like rust. P&W brown eagle on light blue/dark blue background.at front edge
11 Flight deck, Color. Olive drab insulation (sound & heat), cockpit
seats have shiny black tubular frame, dark (bronze green?) upholstry,
“NO SMOKING” stencelled in 6″ red letters on back of copilot’s seat.
Instrument pannel, glareshield, overhead panel and inside of windscreen framing seems to be the same broze-green or dark gray as seat upholstry.
12 Looking up in cargo compartment as fumigation specialist sprays for mosquitos. Light colored inner skin, apparently shiny, bare, aluminum formers and stringers. Track for cargo hoist. Bagged and strapped gear at shoulder levels on walls- rafts?
22 Pilots in cockpit, dark instrument panel, shiny black frame on
23 B&W Passengers sitting/ squatting/ reclining in ‘cabin’ behind wing. Lower fuselage windows, finish and stuff on spar, oxygen bottles in overhead, look different from color photo page 21 with engine as cargo.
54 B&W Cabin interior. Insulated walls, leather upholstered seats facing forward.
55 Seat shown in 54 sitting outside, showing low height, wide belt, tubing frame.
52 Cabin interior, bench structure below windows, sides appear to be dark gray/interior green/bronze green, darkish color.
58 B&W Pilot, Copilot flt eng in cockpit.
210 B&W Navigator shoots sun from tail window
222 B&W an odd angle, looking forward from back of cargo/passenger cabin
15 Forward Port Quarter, OD/Neutral gray, satin black/dark gray prop blades, hubs, etc, smallish yellow tips. OD Jeep with khaki green upholstry 1/2 page, aft fuselage, tail, truck pulled up to load it. Different OD tone on painted metal vs fabric over rudder, de-icing boot, tail number in yellow (111744) Unarmed tail with vision panel
11 Color ATC badge on unidentified a/c, with white star/blue circle &
12 B&W Forward half of aft fuselage door showing inside structure of
door (large perforations in inner door skin)
12 B&W Same plane with passengers walking away, Port side from wing to tail, showing unarmed fuselage, contrast between rudder and fin (slightly different angles to sun, too)
34 B&W forward half of aft cargo door open, inside of door insulated.#2107260.
56 Fuselage from wing aft, both cargo doors open. #2107269. Olive green/dark yellow insulation inside doors.
54 B&W air-to-a, “Disentary Express 17” on nose, white star, blue disk
under stbd wingir
55 B&W Port side, diamond tread main tire. Main gear leg dark color.
222 B&W Port front quarter, nose open for loading. Passenger windows show clearly against fuselage side.
224 shows forward door of C-87 cargo doors open, red handle in center of door, silver fasteners, Looks like OD inside as well as outside.
40 Soft focus in background, Africans and camels in foreground, sharp..
51 B&W Port forward quarter, slid into berm after aborted takeoff.
58 B&W Port wing w/ #2 prop feathered
64 Stb engines, OD & Neutral gray + dark dark gray engine noses, black
props, above Indian fields.
65 Stb engines, above wetlands & monsoon clouds
66 B&W Crew walking forward of parked C-87
66 B&W C-87 taxing on runway amid mod, C-47 in background.
76 B&W C-87 parked amid indian crowd
77 Bomb being hoisted into C-87 for transport to China. Bomb-bay fwd bulkhead neutral gray
80 Main gear leg, muddy gray, shiny oleo strut.
82 B&W Taxiing through flooded runway, propeller condensation trails. Stb fwd quarter.
83 B&W C-87 taking off toward camera.
85 C-87 cruising over Assam wetlands.
88 B&W?? C-87 cruising over hump
89 color cockpit photo pilot & co-pilot, gray sky.
101 color C-87 over jungle
209 Stb engines and wing, over North Atlantic ice bergs…
217 Nose-on, inner 2 engines, on ice
222 B&W Port side view, white star, blue circle, no bars.
236 B&W Stb front qtr view, parked on ice, in background, gas heater in foreground
236 B&W View forward from behind port main gear. sihliutte of gear leg,
nose, nose gear, looking into low-angle sun.
10 Color Stbd Wing in flight against 1/10 cloud. Not very informative.
81 Yellow orange or yellow primer bomb being hoisted into bomb-bay.
132 Bomb bay interior, crew dusting .50 ammo, bomb rack and bomb nondescript gray-green color. Rack greener, bomb grayer.Ammo has smallish, black nose markings, 1 large red nose marking, over and over.
141 Cockpit during daylight.Shirtless pilot black seat, OD armrest, Golden buff shoulder belt..
146 B&W top view of upper turret, showing sight, structure, central ammo feed, elevation mechanism.
146 B&W Navigator at work, unden upper turret? Insulation on walls,
148 Waist gunners, guns, mid fuselage. Yellow O2 tanks w/ bare metal straps in overhead. Bare-metal formers, hatch doors folded up into overhead. Natural meal or light gray support ‘fingers’ hold black/parkerized guns, Mix of bare metal and chromate yellow tube structure, Silver gray ammunition guides, open at top to reveal dark color links, feeding both guns from boxes off to one end or other.
149 Tail turret from inside fuselage, looking aft. OD/Interior Green turret back wall, bare aluminum formers, etc, black painted turret internals.
153 Upper turret with damage- something that looks paint-red but might be blood scattered around where gunner’s head goes, misted on inside of turret. This color photo shows inside structure to be medium gray, not green or black.
34 B&W 80th Antisubmarine patrol, dark tone (gray? od?) over light tone (white?) “The Sad Sac”
58 B&W Port fwd quarter, parked with sacred cows & workers.
109 Port fwd qtr, sand over gray, #41 white, diamond dark &gold nose marking. White star blue circle no bars
113 Port fwd qtr, white #74, tail #2 40657, small RAF style fin flashes, outline around Port wing underside star? Yellow TORCH marking?
117 Port fwd qtr, crew briefing in foreground, pink-sand color, “Black Jack” with kicking mule nose art, 14 horseshoe markings, row of 10, 4 below that. Bomb bay doors clearly neutral gray, everthing else appears to be topside pink including nose gear wheel and strut.
120 B&W Stb underwing, star and bar with lighter surround – yellow? Red? Bomb bay doors open, underside gray clearly darker than topside sand color.
120 B&W In background of posed crew decorating bombs. White #100 on nose and ahead of fin flash, both directly under tail #. Light surround on stb. underside blue circle, no bars. Shield marking from photo belowjust visible.
121 B&W Stb nose from under wing. Whote “00”, “1” might behehind prop blade. “”Liberandos” with flying Sphinx in shield, dexter, bomb in upper right corner.
121 B&W background behind bommb dump and utility vehicle. Star w/ bar, rin flashes on inside and outside of fins.
127 B&W Stb frong wtr, engines running “0” on tail, star under stb wing, no other markings visible.
129 Port fwd, White 74, tail 240657 Yellow around port wing underside star, port fuseage star? Red “Fire Extinguisher” placcard on nose more
or less above nose gear
130 B&W gunner in front of port aft fuselage. no particular details
131 B&W Tail turret from port and below. White swaztika claim marking ender turret. Underside gray clearly sarker than sand, covers bumper-shape at end of fuselage.Same light colored flash hiders (?) as B-17G chin turret..
133 port aft fuselage, Faded yellow`surround on faded dusty blue circle, sand over gray, Gray bomb bay doors, main gear strut, wheels. Smooth tire, very dirty tread. No de-icer boot visible on fin.
133 Stb nose of #100 hehind crewman rolling a bomb over to he loaded
136 B&W Stb front quarter of “Sac Time Sally” 1 & 4 running, 2 & 3 stopped. De-icer boot visible on outer wing and fin.
137 B&W Port front quarter Name, number, markings, none visible. De-icer boot visible on outer wing.
138 B&W Engine and prop out of focus behind two crew, OD/gray, prop LE’s worn bare.
138 B&W Stb nose of “Wolf-waggin” and a second plane. OD/Gray.Dusty, faded,
139 B&W Stb outer engine & wing, nose-on plane in distance.
139 B&W Port nose-on of 3 with sun setting or rising behind.
140:Color OD/Gray, dusty and faded Stb nose to star. No bars, or nose marking. #4 engine has black gearbox, #3 dark gray Rudder de-icer visible
140 B&W Two planes nose-on. #1, 2, 3 have silvery/light color (ignition harness?) between gear box and cylinders, #4 all dark. Same plane as upper, color, photo? De-icers visible
141 Port fore qtr #1 running. Extra bombs on dirt in foreground. OD/Gray. Wing de-icer boots visible.
144 OD over gray, faded, dirty star, yellow “X” on fin.
144 Pilot and port wing and engines. silver gray box on cabin wall
150 B&W Stb forward, de-icer boots on wing and fin visible.
152 Dusty tail-turret with damage to armor/bullet proof glass.
152 OD painted piece of plane with squarish are stove in by enemy fire.
153 “Lucky” nose-art, A panda-bear-ish cartoon critter running with an arial bomb. Damage from enemy fire.
158 B&W photos of aft fuselage, fin, in bone yard. Fin has RAF flash lined up with rudder trim tab.
159 Sbd and port wing and aft fuselage of planes in the boneyard. De-icer boots on one fin visible, clean area where boot removed from the other.
160 Stb nose, wing, engines, airframe being repaired. OD/gray, nose number in yellow, upper 1/3 visbile. Could be “00”, “80”, “88” or “08”
162 Top of outer wing, star, no bars, from bone yard.
162 Port aft fuselage, Star and bar, dark (blue? red?) surround
163 Aft turrent mount, bare metal formers, darker tone (yellow primer?) inside top sheetmetal
164 Nose aret for Homesick Suzie, Ubangi Webangi, The Little Gramper ar eOD, Little Joe is sand
165 “Stinger”‘s log: of 57 missions.
214 B&W Stb aft fuselage. White star, blue circle, no bars, OD over gray, transparent tailcode (not turret) and aft mounted upper turret. B/C/D…
220 Stb fwd qtr, 112068 on tail, Probably same as pg 214. Similar plane
parked behind it.
215 B&W White star, blue circle, no bars. Standing in snowfield.
221 OD/Gray with snow on upper surfaces, engine in heated maintenance tent.
Stb fwd quarter, OD/gray, star and bar, #437
55 B&W Od, star and bar, UK fin flash, tail # 17723 fwd half of cabin door open.
55 B&W both cargo doors open OD or Int. Gn. finish on metal.#13861?
81 B&W crate labeled “42-34394” being loaded from truck to Skytrain.
82 B&W interior looking aft, seats being unloaded
93 OD/Gray, white starts, blue circle, in low sun
105 After some sort of mishap, port prop missing, digging under nacelle
83 B&W parked in muddy apron, OD/Gray, white star, blue circle, no bars.
104 color parked, being loaded from truck. OD/Gray, white star, blue circle, #112402. Doped fabric rudder different color and texture from painted metal.
188 color photo, considering a basket of grapes.
17 Splotchy gray “synthetic haze”? paint photo windows visible, some yellow chromate visible on structure inside. Nose gear lower strut and wheel are medium gray, matt, inside of nose gear door is od/interior green upper strut (above oleo strut) and braces might be green like door interior. Main wheels OD, props black, yellow stencelling, yellow tips. Small, white, #s 770 on nose, larger (10″? 1’?) 274 in yellow.
100 P-38 in OD/neutral gray, with light-gray combustion deposits behind
turbos. Red markings on cockpit side hatch – “No Step”?
Gen Carl Spaatz
192 color, left foot up on something
Gen George Patton
193 color, very neatly dressed.
Green, white stripe, black swastika, white outline, one has rudder port
side marking large “N” small “3”, small “8” centered below both, all 3
characters are yellow
170 B&W Derilict from port, fwd quarter. No transparencies, skins behind center engine gone, one engine off wing and lying on the ground.
113 Aft fuselage tail surfaces, Indistinct faded brown-gray, only one tone, no pattern, white stripe code ” + BW” Tail swaztikas removed
97 OD/Gray “Jinx” w/ 1 finger salute, “shark mouth” with red lips, white teeth, huge saber teeth., covered in branches and greenery
98 B&W Port nose and wing “Liz”
98 B&W Stb forward quarter, taxiing, on a dirt road, centerline bomb, US pattern
99 B&W Port fwd quarter w/ 1000lb bp\omb, light colored.
173 B&W 4 Allison-powered P-51 razorbacks, with 3 bladed props. Tail marking “A” over “G”, “A” over “P” Stars with bars. Pix at Palermo.
(page???) 3 tone with white all the way up fuselage, just top with dark blue, narrow, slightly indistinct, intermediate blue connecting area. White star, blue circle.
158 Metal frame, no fabric cover, fin and rudder, horizontal stabalizer. Me-2xx Gigant glider/cargo carrier. Control cab on top of bare tube frame, fabric all gone, burned off.
(Unknown German type)
119 B&W German General Ent flying recon plane, photo in cockpit
169 Dirty port wing and engine, deicer boot, white star, blue circle, yellow surround. Big, square, carb intake above engine B-25?