Category Archives: Armed Forces

Manpower on the Homefront

A cool video I found about the stateside war effort during World War II.  Poor acting aside, it gives a neat glimpse into the production mindset of our country at the time.

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Filed under Armed Forces, Automobiles and Machines, History, Industry Fabrication and Manufacturing, World War II

Aug. 6, 1945 – Never-before-seen photographs of destruction

This photograph of the mushroom cloud over the city of Hiroshima was taken Aug. 6, 1945 by the crew of the B-29 the Enola Gay, which dropped the bomb.  This photo is famous, and is in the public domain.  The photos linked below are from the LIFE Archives, and have never before been published.

On Aug. 6, 1945, an American B-29 named the Enola Gay dropped the 8,900-pound atomic bomb nicknamed Little Boy on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.  The bombing was the first of only two uses ever of atomic weapons during war, the other being the American bombing of the Japanese city Nagasaki on Aug. 9.

The bombing of Hiroshima unleashed a power the world had never seen, and helped bring about the end of World War II.  It also killed nearly 140,000 people within the first two months after the bombing.  Today we honor the American servicemen of World War II, and remember the Japanese dead.

These never-published photographs from LIFE illustrate the destruction the bombs left behind.

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B-17 Flying Fortress

Inside a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber a radio operator & an engineer, clad in hi-altitude sheepskin clothing, goggles & oxygen masks, manning .50 cal. waist guns during bombing raid launched by US 8th Bomber Command fr. England. Photo by Margaret Bourke-White, Sept. 1942, from the LIFE Archives.

Over the past several days I’ve been watching World War II classic movies.  Films like “Dive Bomber,” “12 o’clock High,” “30 Seconds Over Tokyo,” and the 1970s classic “Tora! Tora! Tora!”

One of the things I like best about them is the planes and equipment.  Both of my grandfathers served during the war.  My dad’s dad, William, was a transport pilot who shuttled aircraft of all types from base to base, depending on the needs of the time.  My mom’s dad, Norman, was a radio operator and gunner in a B-17.  As such, the B-17 has always fascinated me.

Crewmen posing with B-17E Flying Fortress. Tampa, Fla., 1942. Photo by Frank Scherschel, from the LIFE Archives.

Four engines of raw, heavy bomber power, the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress was introduced in the 1930s and was used by American forces as well as Continue reading

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Filed under Armed Forces, Automobiles and Machines, History, Industry Fabrication and Manufacturing, Mindless nostalgia

Jeeps on my mind

Jeep Ride. April 1949.
Photo by Peter Stackpole, from the LIFE Archives

I’m on my fifth month of Jeep ownership.  Although my Jeep has had a few mechanical issues, I see them more as fun mechanical activities than pesky mechanical problems.  I’ve enjoyed working on it and I love to drive it!  I’ve been looking at pictures of old Jeeps, particularly around WWII.  Enjoy!

Jeep driver at Fort Benning. April 1942.
Photo by Alfred T. Palmer.  Library of Congress

New River, N.C.  The Marine Corps throws a lot of jobs to the jeeps.May 1942.
Photo by Alfred T. Palmer.  Library of Congress

Production. Jeep engines.  Cylinders being drilled into engine block. February 1942.
Photo by Alfred T. Palmer. Library of Congress

Production. Jeeps. Putting “shoes” on another hard-boiled recruit.  December 1941.
Photo by Alfred T. Palmer.  Library of Congress

Note: December 1941 is the month of the attack on Pearl Harbor.  This is early in the war effort.

Rear view of jeep.  US 1941.
Photo by George Strock

Note: I’m a bit confused by this one.  Note the “Ford” emblem embossed on the back?  I did not know Ford made lower-case “jeeps” during this time or any other for that matter.  Can anyone tell me about this?

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US Navy Seabees

Navy sailor band, including Seabee trumpet player Wallace Colcord, performing a Sunday concert while other soldiers look on. Tarawa Atoll, Gilbert Islands, March 1944.
Photo by J.R. Eyerman, from the LIFE Archives.

A T-shirt made by Pike Brothers caught my eye when I saw an image of it posted on Rivet Head’s blog.  Printed on the front is a graphic of a helmeted sailor, bayoneted firearm  in hand and cigarette in mouth, operating a bulldozer.  Above the drawing is the word “Seabees” and below is the word “Tarawa.”  The 1940s-esque design intrigued me and reminded me of the graphic style of the pinup girls painted on the side of aircraft in World War II.

I also wanted to know exactly what a “Seabee” was.  I correctly assumed that Tarawa was a location in the Pacific theater, where Continue reading

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Filed under Armed Forces, Clothing, History, Industry Fabrication and Manufacturing, World War II