Spruce Goose 

The largest wooden airplane ever constructed, the Spruce Goose was actually made from birch.  In the face of staggering losses to German U-boats in 1942, the steel magnate and shipbuilder Henry Kaiser asked Howard Hughes to design and build a massive flying transport....

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Breaking the Sound Barrier 

    In October 1947, 24 year-old Air Force test pilot Charles E. "Chuck" Yeager flew an experimental Bell X-XS-1 rocket-propelled aircraft out of Edwards Air Force Base (then called Muroc Army Air Field) in California to break the sound barrier at a speed of Mach...

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UFO

  In July1947, an unidentified disc-shaped object, apparently crashed from the air, was found near Roswell, New Mexico. Although there was initial widespread interest in the possibility it was an extra-terrestrial craft, the US military claimed it was merely a...

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Wolves at the Doorstep 1942

  Somewhere between the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Bataan death march and the fierce fighting on Guadalcanal, many of us seem to have forgotten one of the most important American theaters in early WWII - The Battle of the Western Atlantic. In 1942, German...

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Blue Angels

The Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, ordered the establishment of the Blue Angels flight demonstration team in 1946. The Blue Angels team flew the Grumman F6F Hellcat in 1946, the more powerful Grumman F8F Bearcat (1946 to 1949), the Grumman F9F...

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Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor

  Press this link for more photos published by Alex Q. Arbuckle that are rare and interesting from the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor December 7....

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Burmese Harp / Grave of the Fireflies

Adapted from the novel by Michio Takeyama, this 1956 film directed by Ichikawa Kon, involves a company of Japanese Imperial Army troops who finally surrender in the last desperate stages of the Burma campaign. When their company commander begins to lead them in songs...

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Nagasaki

President Harry Truman approved but did not specify the dates for use of atomic bombs.The Target Committee identified the targets and determined the best opportunities for attack based on logistics and weather. After the bombing of Hiroshima produced no Japanese...

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Hiroshima

In April-July 1945 Japanese forces inflicted Allied casualties totaling nearly half those suffered in three full years of war in the Pacific.  In late July, Japan’s militarist government rejected the Potsdam Declaration demanding unconditional surrender or total...

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B-25 Strikes Empire State

A U.S. Army Air Force  B-25 Mitchell bomber crashed into the Empire State Building on Saturday July 28, 1945.  Fourteen people were killed. Flying from New Bedford, Massachusetts, to LaGuardia Airport in New York City, with two pilots and a passenger aboard, the B-25...

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Dunkirk

After seeing the new movie DUNKIRK directed by Christopher Nolan last night, I wanted to recommend it to you readers. Like the top film critics, I found this film technically flawless and emotionally extremely powerful. The film's soundtrack by Hans Zimmer kept me on...

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Kamikaze

  With the inevitable loss of the war apparent, Imperial Japan dispatched young kamikaze (神風 = divine wind) pilots of the 205th Air Group on suicidal missions against the American ships in the Pacific, especially at Okinawa. Although damage to the American fleet at...

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Yamato Sunk

In April 1945, the Japanese battleship Yamato, the pride of the Imperial Japanese Navy and heaviest battleship in the world, was dispatched from Japan with nine other warships on a suicide mission against Allied forces attacking Okinawa. Before reaching Okinawa, the...

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B-29s Blast Japan

  First deployed in 1944, the B-29 was a new generation bomber that carried more bombs, and flew higher, faster and farther than any other WWII bomber. It also introduced remote controlled turrets for defense and pressurized crew compartments that allowed them to...

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Firebombing Tokyo

On March 9, 1945, with the code name “Operation Meetinghouse,” 334 B-29 bombers under the command of Colonel Curtis LeMay, took off from USAAF bases in the Mariana Islands. Shortly after midnight on March 10, the B-29s flew over densely-populated areas of Tokyo at the...

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Dresden Firebombed

  From February 13-15 1945, British RAF and American USAAF heavy bombers dropped more than 3,900 tons of high-explosive detonation bombs and incendiary devices on the city of Dresden. The bombing and resulting firestorm destroyed most of the city center and killed...

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Firebombing Japan

Colonel Curtis Emerson LeMay  designed and implemented an effective, but highly controversial incendiary bombing campaign against Japanese civilians in the final stages of the Pacific War. In December 1944, LeMay was transferred from China to assume command of...

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Philippine Invasion

In December 1944, U.S. Army troops, supported by the Navy and Air Force, made an amphibious landing on Mindoro Island in the Philippines. With the aid of local guerrillas, U.S. forces easily defeated the relatively small detachment of Imperial Japanese Army...

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“I have returned”

On 20 October, 1944, during the battle of Leyte Gulf, the U.S. Sixth Army landed on the Leyte Island in the Philippines.  Shortly after the landing, General Douglas MacArthur waded ashore with his famous declaration “People of the Philippines, I have returned.”   As...

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Bombing Japan from Marianas

At a cost of ~3000 American and 24,000 Japanese lives, the Northern Marianas island of Saipan was taken in July 1944. With the subsequent seizure of Guam and Tinian in August, the U.S. now had ideal locations (~1500 miles from Japan) to construct airfields within the...

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The German War

  Using German archival records and letters and diaries of both civilians and soldiers during WWII, The German War - A Nation Under Arms, 1939–1945  by Nicholas Stargardt is a fascinating book that illustrates the strong civilian support for Germany's armed forces...

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U.S. Pilot Defects

For years a devotee of the ultra-conservative radio ministry of Father Charles Edward Coughlin, a 23 year-old USAAF P-38 pilot named Martin James Monti defected to the Axis powers in October 1944. Why a young American might actually defect to the Axis is hard to...

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Battle of Leyte Gulf

The Battle of Leyte Gulf (October 23–26, 1944) proved to be the most decisive naval engagement in the Pacific War. Japanese defeat resulted in severe losses of its remaining surface vessels and virtually ended its ability to move resources from Southeast Asia to the...

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Great Marianas Turkey Shoot

The Battle of the Philippine Sea was the last large scale carrier battle the Imperial Japanese Navy was able to conduct. In the air, the sheer number of Japanese compared to U.S. losses inspired the American nickname for the battle - the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot....

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D-Day

On June 6, 1944, >5,000 Allied ships, supported by 13,000 airplanes performed the largest amphibious landing in the history of warfare. Code-named Operation Overlord, the invasion of ~50 miles of beach in Normandy France signaled the beginning of the tough campaign...

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