Thursday, August 20, 2009

Stukas vs. Spitfires

This summer is the 69th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. A clip from the 1969 movie of the same name has Stukas and Spitfires squaring off. Note that most of these are actual planes and not computer-generated models, and that RAF veterans of such battles served as special consultants to the film.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The B-25 Comes Home

The National WWII Museum shuts down traffic in New Orleans to receive its latest addition: a historic B-25 most recently housed in the Mojave Desert and before that an amusement park. The plane's progress is viewable on Flickr.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

T-34 - Takes a Lickin' and It's Still Tickin'

Just how sturdy was the classic Soviet WWII tank, the T-34? In Estonia, once the site of the ferocious Eastern Front, a team's pulled an entire tank from the bog where, they say, Nazi forces entombed the vehicle at the War's end some 65 years ago. The German markings indicate the hard-pressed Wehrmacht used the vehicle as their own. The T-34 still runs. No doubt with a lot of WD-40. Amazing.

Monday, June 8, 2009

WWII rifle and machine gun demonstrations

The National WWII Museum celebrated its birthday this week with huge D-Day ceremonies and a demonstration of small arms and machine guns. These two videos were taken on the grounds of the new Victory Theater, which will screen a major WWII documentary in 4D being produced by Tom Hanks. We can't wait to see it. Until then, we have the Living History Corps and their German rifle and machine gun demos.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Nazi UFOs

Third Reich flying saucers, or Reichsflugscheiben, have remained a myth despite this realistic illustration and all sorts of rumors about how Nazi scientists labored in secret to develop them a la V2 rockets. Wikipedia traces the tall tales.

Tanks for Cranks

Rumors of Nazi wonder weapons have existed for years following the end of WWII. Zack Parsons has taken that interest one step further with his illustrated alternative history of WWII weapons called My Tank is Fight! Here's a picture of the The Landkreuzer P-1000 Ratte, a make-believe German monstrosity.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"Deadly Queen of the Skies"

We had such a good time with the "To B or not to Be" poll we're posting this poster from the War of a B-17 Flying Fortress. Did you know: Boeing lost the initial contract for the B-17 when the prototype crashed. Despite the initial failure, the Army eventually ponied up and ordered 12,731 of the four-engine heavy bombers.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

To B or Not to B? Take the Poll.

Boeing Aircraft manufactured plenty of different planes in WWII. The ones they were most famous for included the B-17 AKA the "Flying Fortress"; the B-24, which had the biggest production run but traded quality for quantity; and the B-29 (pictured), the "Superfortress" which incorporated many advances from the previous planes. Which Boeing would you have preferred to fly? Take the poll at left and tell us.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

C-47: The Work Horse in the House

The hero of Guadalcanal and Burma, the C-47 was the work horse of many a WWII military campaign. The planes were also nicknamed "Gooney Birds," and became instrumental in the post-war Berlin Airlift. In New Orleans, The National World War II Museum has a complete aircraft in its exhibition pavilion - a testament to the vital role the C-47 played in the War That Changed the World. More video about the museum's plane below.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Iwo Jima Heats Up

Caution. There's some raw footage of dead Japanese soldiers in this rare color footage showing flame-throwing tanks and soldiers on Iwo Jima.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The 27-Ton Red Menace

The Soviet T-34 was one hell of a tank. By war's end 57,000 of them had been built. They helped push back the Nazi assault on the Russian homeland and led the advance into Berlin. After the War they fought American forces in the Korean War. The last recorded use of the T-34 in action was in Bosnia in 1995 when Serbian forces used one to attack UN Peace Keepers.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Amazing Planes From an Alternative Nazi Future

A Russian enthusiast's vision fo futuristic Nazi weapons. It's as if WWII had started in 1960, not 1939. If anyone else has any "WWII Sci-FI" weapons, let us know the link!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Mighty Corsairs

These stubby, yet beautiful carrier-based planes were deadly. Some Japanese pilots considered them the best planes the USA produced. Like Germany's Stuka dive bombers they sported an inverted gull wing and their aerodynamics were more advanced than other planes. The Corsair enjoyed such success, they served through the Korean War - making their run, the longest for piston-engined fighter in US military history. The clip is from a documentary on the Blue Devils, a Corsair pilot squadron.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Yak-itty Yak

This plucky little craft is the Soviet Union's Yak-9, the airplane that became legend for scrubbing Russian skies clear of the Luftwaffe. Germany decimated the Soviet Union's air force at the start of its invasion of that country in 1941, but these little planes managed to claw back mastery of the skies for the USSR. More about the Yaks here.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Bazooka Joe

Bazookas, man-made portable rocket launchers, used first by the US Army, were one of the major innovations of the War. The Germans captured several in North Africa and soon had versions of their own. The name "bazooka" comes from a musical instrument. The Germans called their version a panzerschreck.

Rolling Thunder

A good overview on the German army's various armored vehicles. Wonder what their mileage was.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Beautiful B-25

It's closing in on April 18th, the anniversary of the famed Doolittle Raid on Tokyo. Those pilots flew the B-25. Named for flight pioneer General Billy Mitchell, the B-25 Mitchell is the only American military plane named for a person. There's more about the plane here, but we thought you'd enjoy watching the engines come to life in a recent clip.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Setting the Standard: The Colt M1911

The Colt MI911 was the standard-issue pistol during WWII. For American forces it was ubiquitous. Here, a video clip of a MI911A1 being fired.

The Turn Colt

Imagine a highly successful American gun like the Colt M1911 Pistol. Imagine it used against us in war. That was the case of the "Kongsberg Colt," a version of the gun made in Norway. When the Nazis invaded that Scandinavian country in 1940 they took over the pistol factory at Kongsberg and continued making Colts until the war ended.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Shermans' March

They weren't the most powerful tanks in WWII, the Germans had those. But what the US-made Shermans lacked in force they made up for in numbers. Mass-produced, they became a key tool in the Allies advance. Sold to armies 'round the world they were still being used as late as 1973. Here they are in action:

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Clanks for the Memories

Which tank was the best one in the War? The Sherman or the Soviet's T-34? What about the German Tiger? We want to know what you think. Vote in the poll at left.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Which WWII Firearm are You?

Take the quiz and match your personality at this clever website.

Belle of the Ball

Rare color footage of the War's most famous B-17 bomber the Memphis Belle.

Big Guns on Track

An unnamed German gun moved by rail. If anyone can supply more information about this and what campaigns it was used in let us know.

Wild Horses: A Mustang Lives

Could anything be sweeter than the revving of an airplane engine coming to life? The P-51 Mustang, shown here in a modern video still sounds as good as it did when it was serving as a fighter escort to bombing runs over Germany.