WWII Color Photo – USMC Marine SBD Bilot Walter A. Huff Poses in Hawaii – Vibrant Color


 

A member of VSMB-332, Walter A. Huff poses for the camera.  Luckily a roll of 35mm color Kodachrome was ready for shooting!

From a  continuation of a series of 60+ slids/color photos from this collection, this image captures the virginal quality of the Marine (USMC) aviator.  Prepped for war on the SBD/ Marine Douglas SBD Douglas Fighter/Bomber, the Dauntless was a key implement of many Pacific battles.

Looking towards an uncertain future, Walter  Huff grins and bares the inevitable future as a Marine dive bomber pilot!

Memorial Day 2012 Post – John McCrae: WWI University of Vermont Professor and Author of “In Flanders Fields”


What better way to remember Memorial Day than to post the most famous war poem of all time?  This poem was written by Lt. John McCrae, a surgeon with a Canadian field artillery unit during the Second Battle of Ypres on May 3rd, 1915.  The poem became an almost instant hit with the troops and with the homefront community “across the pond”.

What makes McCrae so special to me?  He taught at my alma mater, the University of Vermont, between 1903 and 1911 where he taught Pathology in Williams Hall.  I spent four years studying anthropology and archaeology in the hallowed halls of Williams, making my connection to McCrae even stronger.

This post is dedicated to all those who never returned home from the killing fields of France, Belgium, and Germany during WWI.

 In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived,  felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

McCrae entry from The University of Vermont in the Great War

PortraitsofWar Book Review #1: Panzerwrecks’ Duel in the Mist 2: Leibstandarte During the Ardennes Offensive


One of my favorite current WWII publishers has to be the tag team duo of Lee Archer and Bill Auerbach of Panzerwrecks.  This international dreamnteam has been meticulously researching and compiling books on knocked-out German armor since 2005; focusing on amateur photographs of (often) never-before-seen scenes of German armor moments after destruction by US forces during WWII.

In a world filled with overused and reprinted images, it’s a refreshing relief to open a new copy of Panzerwrecks and see new images of late war German armor with wonderful descriptions.  A balance of tongue-in-cheek humor mixed with meticulous research offers the reader with a book worthy of a well-stocked research library or office coffee table.

 

I recently finished my review copy of Duel in the Mist 2 published by Panzerwrecks and written by Timm Haasler, Roddy MacDougall, Simon Vosters and Hans Weber.  With nearly 700 footnotes (really!), this book is well reseached, cited, and backed up with primary source documentation that includes first hand accounts, after-action reports, photographs and veteran interviews.  A well balanced piece; Duel in the Mist 2 views the initial battles of the Ardennes Offensive through a non-biased lens.  Interviews with US veterans easily mesh with similar accounts from SS veterans.

The superlative collection of wartime images compiled for the book is, by far, the most amazing part of the book.  Images from the deep collections of David Thompson and Stefan De Meyer of AMC, Bill Auerbach, Jeff Tomkinson, Freddy Lemaire, Gerard Gregoire, Eddy Monfort, Tom Fischer and many others supplement the written component.

Artistic representations of German armor were intricically detailed by Simon Vosters, with a special attention to detail regarding camo patterns.  This, combined with actual portraits of the men involved in the battles, provides the reader with an intimate view of WWII not often seen in other publications.

A series of intensive maps follows the progression of the battles using modern day color and figures.  An easy-to-follow chart accompanies each map, allowing the reader to follow the battle with relative ease.  Flipping back and forth between maps is made easier by the 8.5 in by 10.25 in format of the book.  The pages want to be turned!

A special thanks to the guys at Panzerwrecks for providing me with a review copy of Duel in the Mist 2, and a special thanks to Timm Haasler, Roddy MacDougall, Simon Vosters and Hans Weber for their fantastic work.  Keep up the good work, and I hope to review Duel in the Mist 3 by 2014!

 

 

Interested in picking up a copy of Duel in the Mist 2?  Check out Panzerwrecks website for a compendium of top notch WWII material!

 

 

WWII 42nd Division, 222nd Anti-Tank Company and German Prisoners of War – April 11th, 1945 Schweinfurt, Germany


From the negative grouping of Edward Majchrowicz

From time to time I will cull through my backlogged collections and pull out interesting images for posting here to PortraitsofWar.  My collection of 42nd Division negatives from a member of the 222nd Anti-Tank Company is comprised of nearly 600 B/W negatives and an additional 200 prints.  The collection is one of the best I own, and is ripe with juicy frontline photos.  I’m even friends with a veteran from the company, who can tell me the stories behind the images.  Here’s a nice shot of a group of dejected German POW’s.  Apparently, the line consisted of nearly 1,200 soldiers who surrendered somewhere outside Schweinfurt, Germany.

WWI Cover Art Post #1: 79th Division, 316th Infantry Regiment Doughboys in Trenches – By: Thomas M. Rivel (DSC Winner)


 

Following up on a series of posts on the World War One Historical Association blog (http://ww1ha.wordpress.com/) regarding dust jacket art from the WWI era, I’ve decided to begin posting some of my favorite examples of war-era cover art.  This example is from a copy of the unit history for Company F of the 316th Infantry Regiment.  The cover and internal art was designed by a regimental veteran named Thomas M. Rivel who received the Distinguished Service Cross for his action outside Montfaucon, France in 1918.  His cover piece combines a few elements that are commonly seen in wartime cover art, including posies, trench details, aircraft and a stone-faced doughboy.  A great piece!

 

 

Awesome WWII Catholic Chaplain Jeep – Negative/Photo – Willys Jeep in Germany 1945


Guys like this make me proud to be Irish Catholic!  I have hundreds of negatives from this 9th Armored Division collection, many of them related to Chaplain services during WWII.  The collection includes 20-30 shots of this same jeep – gotta’ love the name!  Ave Maria.

See the bar projecting above the front of the hood?  It was created to cut wires that may have been strung across French and German roads in order to decapitate US soldiers.  Ouch!

 

WWII Photo – Celebrity Journalist Ernie Pyle Casual Snapshot – North Africa


Casual followers of this blog (as well as some dedicated followers) will know that I’m obsessed with casual snapshots of celebrities during the war.  I’m more interested in obscure personalities that rarely show up on eBay.  My collection includes shots of Spike Jones, Joe Brown, Frank Sinatra, Ernie Pyle, and Lee Marvin.  A few months back I  was lucky to add another shot of famed WWII journalist Ernie Pyle to my collection.  Sorry for the delay!