Many of my followers know that I actively collect WWII color slides, predominantly those developed by the Eastman Kodak Company. These Kodachrome slides are typically regarded in the field of vintage color photo collecting as the crème de la crème of vintage color. Taken at a time of incredible social and political upheaval, these images capture an era that will never be seen in the same light or colors again. With the small percentage of the world populace that used color photography, an even smaller percentage of the slides have been passed down or purchased by people with the ability to scan and post them to the internet.
In this rare case, I was able to purchase a large set of Kodachrome slides taken by a US serviceman before he shipped off to war. One box of the Kodak-developed slides were unopened. I took a photo of the seal, opened the box and immediately scanned them! Please enjoy the following 12 slides that are only seeing the light of day 70+ years later….
Taken in Fort Benning, GA, these slides were shipped home in January of 1945 to only be opened in 2016! Enjoy.
The lush greens and vibrant reds of the jungles of the Philippines are represented in typical WWII photography as dull grays, whites and blacks. In this case, a WWII U.S. Navy seabee shot 35mm Kodachrome in an attempt to document his surrounding environment for posterity. Although the non-martial content of the slides may be boring to some, it is an incredibly rare glimpse into the everyday life of the seabee during WWII.
PortraitsofWar recently acquired a collection of over 200 color slides taken in the mid to late 1950s depicting the rebuilding of Postwar Germany in the Kassel area. The images follow a group of American volunteers who helped rebuild churches in and around the city. They also were charged with feeding and taking care of refugees who were waiting for new homes to be built. Although there is no linear progression to the photos, they nonetheless show a side of European history that has been glossed over. The Marshall Plan brought industry and revitalization to Europe, and also brought American tourists who snapped countless photos of the rebuild process.
Here’s a set of shots I recently picked off eBay. They were taken on the deck of the USS Philippine Sea, and show Corsairs of the VF-114. I particularly like the vibrant reds and yellows of the Kodachrome film. What a treat!
A quick snippit from the wikipedia page for the unit:
“VF-114 was established as VBF-19 (Bombing/Fighter squadron) on January 20, 1945 at NAS Alameda, California. Soon thereafter, VBF-19 moved to NAS North Island, California, where it first flew the Grumman F6F Hellcat and then the Vought F4U-4 Corsair. As with many squadrons after World War II, VBF-19 made several designation changes. The first change was two years later, on 24 August 1948 when it became VF-192, and its final change was on 15 February 1950 when it became VF-114. At this time, VF-114 was known as the “Executioners”.
VF-114 participated in the Korean War deployed on the USS Philippine Sea (CV-47) on July 5, 1950. It flew its Corsairs for several months and conducted over 1,100 strikes against North Korean and Chinese forces. After its return from Korea, VF-114 moved from propeller aircraft to jets, first flying the Grumman F9F Panther. This was soon followed by the McDonnell F2H Banshee and in 1957 VF-114 transitioned to the McDonnell F3H Demon, the first jet operated by the squadron able to carry air-to-air missiles. Now based at NAS Miramar, California, VF-114 made two cruises with the Demon from USS Shangri-La (CVA-38) and one cruise with the Demon from USS Hancock (CVA-19). In 1961, VF-114 transitioned to the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II, becoming the first deployable Pacific Fleet fighter squadron to do so. At this point, VF-114 also changed its name and insignia to an Aardvark, apparently inspired by the resemblance between the F-4 and the cartoon character Aardvark in the “B.C.” comic strip. This change became official in 1963.”
A nice grouping of 150+ color slides taken in Germany during the 3rd Army occupation in late 1945. Enjoy the vibrant colors of Germany!
German POW Camp
140th Tank Battalion – 40th Division in Korea
The colors of the Korean War as never before seen. From my personal collection of amateur Korean War color slides.
Korean War Sand Bag Bunker
This will be a constantly updated theme here at Portraits of War so please check back often.
Today’s posts are from the 89th Medium Tank Battalion taken in 1952 during the middle of the Korean War.
The 89th Medium Tank Battalion was with the 25th Division (insignia seen in the slide below) from between 1951 through the armistice.