Many followers of PortraitsofWar.wordpress.com know that I have a strange passion for WWII amateur color photography. In this case, I luckily remembered that anniversary of the Battle of Tarawa is upon us and decided to post some of of the material I’ve acquired over the years that directly relate to the Battle of Tarawa. When the Marines landed on the Tarawa (Gilbert Islands, Micronesia) on November 20th, 1943, a pilot who launched from the USS CHENANGO (CVE-28) snapped a series of 35mm color photos while flying overhead providing fighter support.
Tarawa Flyover 1
And an actual aerial color snapshot taken during the opening hours of the November 20th, 1943 invasion. The pilot had his 35mm camera with him and snapped dozens of shots during the initial invasion; the following shots are the only known aerial color photos of the Battle of Tarawa!
Tarawa Flyover 2
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.”
Just a quick photo post to show off my new color slides! Hot off the scanner – enjoy!