Photos Snapped Just At The Right Moment
This page is devoted to photos that captured an instant in time, a moment in the midst of chaos. There are a lot of these types of perfectly timed photos of World War II, but a few stand out. I will add to these from time to time, so, if you don't see your favorite here, well, maybe I'll get to it at some point. Many of these are photos of aircraft because they seem to have the best moments where things were looking okay... but they really weren't. It's also simply more feasible to capture someone else's troubles in the air from your relatively safe location at some distance, as opposed to calmly snapping a photo from within a few yards of some victim while you also are under fire.
This is a fun page because it provides a chance to show some photos of topics not covered elsewhere on this blog yet. So, we have a bunch of photos from the Pacific Theater of Operations, which has had less coverage than the European Theater, as well as some late-war bombing photos when the Allies had aerial supremacy but still took heavy losses. It is not so much what the photos show that is dramatic - but what you know must follow within another split second.
Thanks for stopping by.
|A Mitsubishi G4M "Betty" Japanese bomber touching down on the water. If it had floats, this would be perfectly fine. It doesn't.|
|Luftwaffe Henschel Hs 129, 1943.|
The photo below is interesting because it shows one of the drawbacks of the "bomber stream," closely packed bombers which are crammed together for defensive purposes. The spacing was precise - if a plane deviated at the wrong time for any reason, it faced destruction from its fellow bombers. Below is one such instance. Incidentally, there is a theory that bandleader Glenn Miller perished in an incident not too dissimilar than this when his light plane inadvertently passed beneath bombers returning from a scrubbed mission which were releasing their bombs into the English Channel. The theory posits that one of the bombs hit his small plane and destroyed it instantly.
|A Grumman F6F Hellcat flipping on the USS Antietam. The guys on deck running for their lives survived, not sure about the pilot.|
|B-24 Liberator, 799th BS, 464th BG, 15th AF, April 10, 1945, near the city of Luda, Italy.|
|German Afrika Korps tankers captured by British soldiers at the second battle of El Alamein, 1942 (colorized).|
|The crew of a Douglas A-20 Havoc took this shot during a bomber run against a Japanese airfield. That is a Japanese Ki-21 aircraft about to be destroyed by incendiary bombs.|
|This is a famous photograph of a Wehrmacht soldier at the moment of being shot at the Battle of Kursk in 1943. Some claim this is a doctored photo, but if so, it was done during the war, because it was reproduced then or very shortly thereafter.|
|Reinhard Heydrich finds Heinrich Himmler's jaunty attire amusing. He probably didn't want this picture taken, Heinrich was not renowned for his sense of self-deprecating humor.|
|This photo was taken on 24 August 1942 on the flight deck of U.S.S. Enterprise. It is an excellent photo, one of the best action shots of the war. The shrapnel came up and killed the photographer, Robert F. Read.|
|A Heinkel He 111.|
|A Japanese flying boat hit by a P-38 Lightning, August 1942 off the Aleutian Island chain.|
|A B-17 bomber that took a solid hit in 1944. This was taken by a gun camera from either a Bf 109 or Focke-Wulf 190.|
|Moment of impact. It appears to be a Bf-109.|
|Kamikaze attack on an unidentified US carrier.|
|Kamikaze attack on the USS Missouri.|
|B-26 “Marauder” of the 17th Bomb Group loses its engine over Toulon.|
|A Mitsubishi G4M “Betty” medium bomber photographed from the flight deck of USS Lexington, 20 February 1942 (U.S. Navy).|
|B-24 Consolidated Liberator bomber.|
|A B-17 of the 303rd Bomb Group looks like it is flying fine, but it's about to head down.|