Photos Colour and Colourised Photos of WW2 & earlier conflicts

Exercises of the soldiers of the 1st Independent Parachute Brigade of the Polish Armed Forces in the West, Great Britain. 1943-1944.


Collection: AIPN
Colour by Mikołaj Kaczmarek
The "Harlem Hellfighters," so-called by the Germans for their ferocity in combat, 1919. They were a heavily decorated corps of African-American soldiers. They were the first across the Rhine & many received the Croix de Guerre.


Colorization by Jordan Lloyd of Dynamichrome
P/O Henryk Pietrzak (centre) and other pilots of No.306 Polish Fighter Squadron riding bicycles on the way to a dispersal hut at RAF Northolt, 4 January 1943.


Colour by Doug
© IWM HU 128292
U-48 with Kapitänleutnant Herbert Schultze


U-48 was a Type VIIB U-boat and the most successful that was commissioned. During her two years of active service, U-48 sank 51 ships for a total of 299,477 GRT and 1,060 tons; she also damaged four more for a total of 27,877 GRT over twelve war patrols conducted during the opening stages of the Battle of the Atlantic.
U-48 was built at the Germaniawerft in Kiel as yard number 583 during 1938 and 1939, being completed a few months before the outbreak of war in September 1939 and given to Kapitänleutnant (Kptlt.) Herbert Schultze. When war was declared, she was already in position in the North Atlantic, and received the news via radio, allowing her to operate immediately against Allied shipping.
Kapitänleutnant Herbert Schultze
Temporary Captain (T/Capt) Harry Hartley walks down the steps of the Church of Saint-Firmin, Rue Godard Dubuc, Vignacourt, with his new bride Simone Marie Pécourt, a local Vignacourt woman. 5 January 1918


A captain with the 2nd Australian Motor Transport Company, 1st Australian Divisional Supply Column, Capt Hartley met Simone while he was stationed in the town.
After the war they lived in Amiens, where they set up a tyre business. They had two children and stayed in Amiens until the German occupation of France in 1940. Hartley was killed during the evacuations.
Captain Harry HARTLEY, 2nd Australian Mechanical Transport Company, Enlisted 21/9/1914 at Adelaide, South Australia, Discharged England 10/7/1919.
(Although born in England he was in Australia on business, investigating the feasibility of motor vehicle exports from England for sale in Australia, when the war broke out, so enlisted in Australia. Demobilised 8/7/1919 in England at own request, rather than return to Australia as wanted to remain in France with his wife and run a business - presumably the business was related to motor mechanics or motor vehicle sales, by 1921 was in business as HARTLEY AND PONS in Amiens, France).
From the Thuillier collection of glass plate negatives. Taken by Louis and Antoinette Thuillier in Vignacourt, France.
Colourised by Doug
“Classy Peg”, a M4A3 Sherman tank of Co. C, 716th Tank Battalion, drives by a smoldering Japanese Type 97 kai Shinhoto Chi-ha medium tank of the 7th Tank Regiment, knocked out during fighting near Linmangsen (added note: this place doesn't seem to exist, It might be Lingayen), Philippines, on the 17th of January, 1945.

On the side of the Sherman, the insignia of the Battalion, a ‘Big Bad Wolf’s head.
Although rare and lacking the scale of similar clashes in Europe, tank battles in the Pacific Theatre did occasionally happen with the largest tank operations taking place during the re-conquest of the Philippines in 1944-45 when the Japanese committed one of their few armored divisions (the 2nd) against US forces.
This photo illustrates how hopelessly one-sided these clashes were, and why. Despite being superior in every way to its predecessor -the old Chin-ha- the Shinhoto Chin-ha was still years behind US armor. Its 47mm gun could only penetrate the side armor of the American M4 Sherman tank, but not the frontal armor. As for its own armor, the new tank still retained an outdated riveted construction and like all other Japanese tanks, quoting a British Intelligence appraisal: when hit by enemy fire “it was prone to disassemble itself”.
So flimsy was Japanese armor that US tankers were surprised to find out that their AP ammunitions had no effect on the Japanese tanks. The armor piercing ammo simply went in on one side, passed clear through, and out the other. The US gunners started switching to high explosive rounds (usually used against infantry and soft targets) which detonated inside the tanks, blowing them apart.
In the Philippines, by March 5, 1945, US forces had destroyed 224 enemy tanks suffering negligible losses in the process.
Colour by Rui Candeialais
German Heer infantry in a half-tracked armored personnel carrier Sd.Kfz. 251, Ardennes, 1944.


Photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-J28519 / Göttert / CC-BY-SA 3.0. Ardennenoffensive, Soldaten in Schützenpanzer
View of Royal Navy submarines of the 3rd Flotilla or Squadron docked alongside the submarine depot ship HMS Forth (A187) at anchor in Holy Loch, Scotland during World War Two in June 1943.


The 3rd Submarine Squadron is based at Her Majesty's Naval Base, Clyde on the West Coast of Scotland. On the right is Royal Navy Submarine HMS Graph, formally German Navy U-boat U-570 that was captured by the Royal Navy in August 1941.

Grand Admiral Erich Raeder (1876-1960) from Wandsbek.

At the time of the outbreak of the Second World War, Raeder knew that the German navy was quantitatively inferior to the British Navy and spoke it openly.

During the first months of the war, he took an important part in the planning for the Norwegian campaign, hoping to prevent the British invasion, which was eventually successful.

Differences in opinion with the leadership resulted in Erich Raeder being removed as Commander-in-Chief of the Navy.
He was replaced by Karl Dönitz.

Under his command, the focus of the Navy was moved away from the large battleships to the submarine warfare.

After that it became quiet for Erich Raeder.

After the war ended, the Nuremberg Tribunal sued Raeder for the Norwegian campaign and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

And yet he was released September 1955 for medical reasons. He died on the 6th November 1960 in Kiel.
The USSR Navy Battleship "Marat" (aka "Petropavlovsk") is a Sevastopol-type battleship. Participant in the First and Second World War, participant in the Kronstadt uprising (1921) against the Bolsheviks, participant in the defense of Leningrad (1941-1943). Service life 1914-1953. The photo was taken between 1924 and 1928.

Maneuvering a 16 ″ round into the munitions elevator of one of the towers of the battleship USS New Jersey (BB-62) in November 1944 The Mk5 armor-piercing shells weighed 1020kg and the "super heavy" Mk8s 1200kg, while the high explosive Mk13s weighed "only" 860kg.

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