Photos Colour and Colourised Photos of WW2 & earlier conflicts

A Sherman IC Firefly of the 10th Armoured Regiment, Fort Garry Horse, near the South Beveland canal, the Netherlands, 29 October 1944
Credit: (Lieut. Ken Bell / MDN / BAC / PA-166849).


The Battle of the Scheldt in World War II was a series of military operations led by the First Canadian Army, with Canadian, Polish and British units attached, to open up the shipping route to Antwerp so that its port could be used to supply the Allies in north-west Europe. Under acting command of the First Canadian's Lieutenant-General Guy Simonds, the battle took place in northern Belgium and southwestern Netherlands from October 2 to November 8, 1944.
The well-established Wehrmacht defenders staged an effective delaying action, during which the Germans flooded land areas in the Scheldt estuary, slowing the Allied advance. After five weeks of difficult fighting, the Canadian First Army, at a cost of 12,873 Allied casualties (half of them Canadian), was successful in clearing the Scheldt after numerous amphibious assaults, obstacle crossings, and costly assaults over open ground.
Once the German defenders were no longer a threat, it was a further three weeks – November 29, 1944 – before the first convoy carrying Allied supplies was able to unload in Antwerp due to the necessity of de-mining the harbours.
A German 10.5 cm le.FH18 field howitzer rammed by a Soviet T34/76 mod. 41. Possible location and date: Near Yukhnov, 200 km west of Moscow, Soviet Union, October 1941


One can only imagine the surprise of the German artillery crews when the Soviet steel monster showed up from behind them. It could have racked havoc but fortunately for the Germans the Soviet driver made the mistake of hitting the howitzer dead center when it should have hit it with one of the tracks thus avoiding getting stuck.
Unfortunately I didn’t find any information concerning the fate of the tank or the gun crews.
Original's source unknown
Hunting for Swallows


As the Allied armies advanced deeper into Germany the soon-to-be winners started worrying more and more about the post-war and who would rule next. To assure supremacy a tech race took place with special teams on all sides trying to be the first, and if possible the only ones, to get their hands on Germany’s advanced weaponry and top scientific personnel and research.

Like all other teams, the US Army Air Force’s Air Technical Intelligence (ATI) Division had at the top of its priority targets’ list one name: Messerschmitt 262, nicknamed ‘Schwalbe’ (Swallow) in its fighter variant.

By May of 1945 Germany’s defeat was just a matter of time. Intelligence reports indicated that several Me 262s had been spotted on an airfield in Bavaria, just south of Augsburg. In fact, this was Lechfeld airbase, the home base for the main Messerschmitt factory. ATI Colonel Harold E. Watson sent a request throughout the theater of operations for a small group of volunteers, drawn from the most capable pilots and mechanics available. As the new team members filtered in, they were formally assigned to the project and finally informed of their highly classified mission: locate a squadron's complement of the Luftwaffe's most advanced jet aircraft, learn how to operate and maintain them, and stand by for orders to fly them out of Germany.

When one of Watson’s men, Lt R. C. Strobell, arrived at Lechfeld, he was relieved to see that a small group of Americans had preceded him onto the field. These men, from the 54th Air Disarmament Squadron, had arrived in the area a few weeks earlier with orders to preserve and safeguard as many Me 262 as possible. A week prior to Strobell's arrival, the last of eight flight worthy Me 262 had been test flown, and two more were awaiting engines. The 54th ADS men were quick to make their mark upon the project by painting conspicuous names on the left side each of these airplanes. The right side of each jet bore their unofficial squadron name, borne of their constant squabbling: the Feudin' 54th.

The aircraft in this photo (V083) ‘Wilma Jean’ was the 50 mm cannon-armed Me 262 A-1a/U4 prototype: a bomber killer. Unfortunately, on the 30th of June, during a ferrying flight, one of the engines began shedding turbine blades, and the resultant vibration caused a tailplane malfunction that placed the jet into an uncontrollable dive. The pilot, Ludwig Hofmann (a former Luftwaffe’s Me 262 test pilot), managed to bail out and deploy his parachute before blacking out, thus surviving the event although "suffering severe bruising from head to toe".

Of the 8 original Me 262 in existence worldwide today, 4 of them are part of the original batch of ten rescued by ATI and the Feudin' 54th.

Original: Unknown
Soviet partisans on Mount Yaman-Tash, Crimea, 1943. From the Right: Vasily Fedorovich Pecherenko (born in 1920), Fedor Ivanovich Fedorenko (1921-1996) and senior naval officer Petr Vladimirovich (born in 1921)


Pecherenko has been in the partisan detachment since November 1941. From the award sheet for the Order of the Red Banner, October 1942: “During his time in the partisan detachment, he proved himself to be a courageous fighter in the fight against the German invaders. Comrade Pecherenko as one of the best scouts in the detachment delivered valuable data for the detachment. Participated in 28 group operations. Together with the group destroyed 9 vehicles, and killed 80 Soldiers. "In all battles and operations he was always ahead and all the fighters of the group followed him and his example.".
Photograph taken by Ivan Zaporizhsky.
Camouflage Tree.jpg

‘Camouflage Trees’
The back of a canvas and steel tree observation post, near Souchez, Pas-de-Calais, France. 15 May 1918.
Trying to hide yourself in No Man’s Land during the war was a risky business. The badly damaged landscape gave no real cover from the watching eyes on either side. Therefore, the ability to spy on the opposite trenches whilst remaining hidden was highly valuable.
To achieve this, both sides began to develop Observation Post Trees (O. P. Trees) made of iron, canvass and sheet metal. Designed to replicate the shell splintered trees that existed in No Man’s Land, these observation posts were originally constructed behind the lines. Then, once they were nearing completion, during the darkest nights engineers would cut down or remove existing trees and replace them with the false one.
From these fake trees observers and snipers were now able to watch the enemy whilst effectively hiding in plain sight. The British Army used around 45 Observation Post Trees during the conflict with the first being placed near Ypres. (
(Source © IWM Q 10308) McLellan, David (Second Lieutenant) (Photographer) Colorised by Leo Courvoisier
Plumer Road.jpg

A group of Australian 7th Field Company Engineers at the ‘Plumer Road’ entrance to ‘Wallangara’, or the Catacombs as it was generally called, a system of tunnels built in Hill 63, Messines
Ploegsteert Wood, 22nd January 1918.
The soldier on the right in the white shirt has been identified as Driver – Alexander Henderson Priest (17822) from Collingwood, Victoria (demobbed in 1919 in good health)
(Photo source – Official Photo no.E4487) Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office: W.L. Crowther Library
(Colorised by Frédéric Duriez from France)
Infantry and universal carriers of the 6th Battalion, The Kings Owns Scottish Borderers, 15th (Scottish) Division, during the assault on Liesel, Holland, 2 November 1944.


(Photo source - © IWM B 11658)
Laing (Sgt), No 5 Army Film & Photographic Unit
Colour by Doug
Battleship Kawachi. The Kawachi class were the first class of dreadnoughts built for the Japanese navy. Laid down at Yokosuka 1/4/09 she commissioned on 31/3/12. She sank after a magazine explosion on 12/7/18 with the loss of over 600 of her crew.
A boxing match on the quarterdeck of USS Iowa while the ship was in port awaiting the Marianas campaign, June 1944. (original color photo)
Troops of the 8th Royal Scots advance into Moostdijk, 6 November 1944.


The 8th Battalion, Royal Scots was raised on 2 August 1939 as a 2nd Line duplicate of the 7th/9th Battalion. They remained in the United Kingdom as part of 44th (Lowland) Infantry Brigade, alongside the 6th Royal Scots Fusiliers and 6th King's Own Scottish Borderers.
In June 1944, they landed in Normandy as part of Operation Overlord and fought in the Battle for Caen in Operation Epsom and later at the Second Battle of the Odon and Operation Bluecoat. They then fought in the North West Europe Campaign, from Paris to the Rhine, until the end of the war; it entered Belgium in September, crossed the Rhine in March 1945 and advanced to Hamburg by the end of the war.
Photograph taken by Sgt. Laing. © IWM (B 11756)/artistic rendition 2020.
Tiger II tank of the 503rd Heavy Panzer Battalion (schwere Panzer Abteilung 503.) Tank number 234, Budapest, Hungary, 15 or 16 October 1944 during Operation Panzerfaust.


Operation Panzerfaust was a military operation undertaken in October 1944 by Germany to ensure the Kingdom of Hungary would remain a German ally in World War II. When Germany received word that Hungary's Regent, Admiral Miklós Horthy, was secretly negotiating his country's surrender to the advancing Red Army, Horthy was overthrown and the Arrow Cross Party was put in power.
The Castle district of Buda, on St. George Square, near the Royal Castle. The photo shows the façade of the Palace of Archduke Joseph August of Austria (earlier Palace of the Counts Teleki). The Palace does not exist any more, as it was severely damaged during the siege of 1944, and completely demolished in the 1960s.

A carrier pigeon being released from a port-hole in the side of a tank near Albert, 9 August 1918. It’s a Mark V tank of the 10th Battalion, Tank Corps attached to the III Corps during the Battle of Amiens.
Carrier pigeons were used extensively during the First World War to relay messages over distances at relative speed and astonishing reliability.
Man-made communication devices were still largely un-reliable and crude at the time and as a result the duty of delivering news was pasted down to message runners, dogs and pigeons.

Albatros D.V prototype with ‘lozenge’ camouflage. April 1917.
Toward the end of 1916, Germany introduced a new scheme called ‘Lozenge’ camouflage which was made up of polygons in four or five colors, sometimes more, printed on the fabric. This camouflage not only saved the weight of the paint, but also the time needed to apply it to each and every aircraft. Germany also had to develop camoflage schemes involving patterns that disrupted the silhouette of the plane making it difficult to distinguish the silhouette of the aircraft; the three to five colors they used were often quite similar to the ones printed on the “lozenge fabric”. (

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