The color of WWII is something lost on our generation; WWII has been a war fought in black and white for everyone but actual WWII veterans who witnessed it firsthand. One of my goals here at PortraitsofWar is to collect color slides from WWII and make them accessible to those who don’t know it exists. Yes, color film was shot in 35mm(and sometimes larger format) and was used on a somewhat regular basis by shutterbug soldiers during WWII. My collection is roughly 500:1, black and white : color. To find a complete collection of color slides is like hitting the WWII photography jackpot. In this case, I was able to pick up a small selection of color slides from a Marine dive bomber. Although I was only able to snag 7 from a grouping of nearly 200, I am still happy to pass along the images to interested parties.
From the collection of Walter Huff.
Please enjoy the colors of WWII as they were meant to be seen!
Color war photos are one of my favorite forms of amateur photography. The history behind each image is intensified when documented in color, allowing the historian to glean historical details not visible in B/W photography. One such image can be found below, from my collection of images taken in Roswell New Mexico right after WWII. The photos were taken by a member of the 509th Composite Group. The unit was responsible for dealing with the atomic weapons of WWII and also dropped a bomb on the Bikini Atoll in 1946.
The QB-17 shown below is possibly one of the first handful of B-17’s outfitted to fly unmanned. This plane was used to fly through an atomic cloud and collect important radiation data. These data were later used to test for radiation fallout numbers. I’ve only personally seen two other color images of a QB-17 painted in this scheme. What an important resource for historians, hobbyists, and vintage photography collectors!
Front Page of Drone Unit History
Back Cover of Drone Unit History