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 World War 2 Color Air Combat Footage

A video producer by the name of Loudon Maverick has compiled a series of video clips containing dramatic air battle footage from both sides of the conflict of World War II. The video features kamikaze attacks, flak fire, aerial combat, carpet bombing and pilots bailing out of fighters.

The video clips are a stark reminder of the incredible courage that it took to take to the skies during the one of the most world-shaping conflicts in human history.

About The Author

Austin Petersen

Austin Petersen is the founder of The Libertarian Republic, as well as the CEO of Stonegait LLC. Formerly an Associate Producer for Judge Andrew Napolitano's show "Freedom Watch", on the Fox Business Network. Austin was referred to by the Judge as "The right side of my brain". He built Judge Napolitano's social networks with over 700,000 fans and millions of clicks a month. Austin graduated from Missouri State University. He has written and produced award winning plays and videos, and previously worked for the Libertarian National Committee and the Atlas Economic Research Foundation.

  • Taylor Haines

    Amazing footage, sends a chill down your spine even watching this 70+ years later.

  • Duke Mantee

    awesome film

  • donttreadonme9

    the greatest generation, god we could use them now.

    • sacj7

      You’ve got that right!

    • DJack K

      Truman would kick obama’s ass. And roosevelt could show obama how to be a dictator without appearing to be one. And LeMay would have killed osama bin laden within the first week because he would have carpet bombed Afghanistan flat. No escape from tora bora. People should really be appreciative that we use laser guided bombs instead of carpet bombing. If we would have done that in Iraq there would have been no insurgency. Granted there would not have been much population let, but hey he was a success.

  • Brad Kirby

    The last war worth fighting. Now we send young men off to die for profit.

    • Albert Potato

      serious? England and France both viewed Germany as an economic threat. The US viewed Japan as an economic threat. England also viewed America as an economic threat. WW1 was the same thing, it’s always about money.

      • Daniel Lineberry

        Pearl Harbor was not an economic event, nor was Normandy. Nor was the German invasion of France.

        • Albert Potato

          Japans booming 1930’s economy was being strangled by US sanctions and the cut off of vital raw materials. I don’t know why you mentioned Normandy, but you could consider that Rommel was able to get the French farmers to put up defenses in their fields to prevent the allies from landing gliders and ruining their crops.
          France and England declared war on Germany after the invasion of Poland. Both countries were very scared of Germany’s strengthening industrial and economic resurgence. France and Belgium illegally posted troops into the Ruhr Valley of Germany in the 1920’s to insure war reparations $ continued to flow in. Churchill mentioned several times that Germanys economic power must be checked or stopped. If you strangle a countries future, eventually it will strike back. What would you do? Look forward to a response.

  • sacj7

    As I sit here watching this I think of school principal of a very small school in the 50’s where I lived. He was a very tall and slim man who had ‘dropped out’ of high school when he was 17 years old (though he did later earn his PHd).

    He joined the US Army Air Corps and of all things (since he was so tall!) became a ‘waist gunner’ on a B-17 flying missions over Europe. If my memory serves me correctly, he flew 36 missions.

    As a soon to be 68 year old I just cannot imagine a 17 year old young man doing this. I grew up knowing a lot of WW2 vets who RARELY talked about their experiences. Mr. “S” (the principal) did not speak of his either. I had to learn about his experiences from his relatives, and reading his obituary.

    I do remember some vets (including Korean War vets) who I went with to small country church in the 50’s. I’ve seen these vets MANY times stand up during a Wednesday night prayer meeting, with tears running down their faces, stating how thankful they were to Got to let them come home!

    One was a radio operator on a B-24 whose plane was shot down over Italy. He was a POW for a while.

    We owe so much to those men! How I wished that growing up I had been aware of what they went through!

  • Jennifer Yeager

    The guy they show at 1:00 – 1:14 is my grandfather, Colonel Harry E. McAfee, Commander of the 318th Fighter Group, 7th Air Force, Pacific Theater. I’d love to know if there is more footage of him. I have some pirated out by members of the 78th Fighter Squadron that I could post.

  • Yes, Americans are quite brave when target is women & children sleeping in their beds.

    • Cajun Exile

      Wrong Schlomo. Americans did not target women and children sleeping in their beds in Germany. Americans carried out daylight raids into Germany precisely because American wanted to minimize civilian casualties. The British carried out night raids on German population centers for two reasons. Britain felt it could not afford the casualties of daylight bombing a generation after their heavy WWI loses (1.2 Millions deaths, 2 Millions Wounded for the British Empire). The second reason for a lack of British restraint was the Luftwaffe’s Blitz on London, and (especially) the Coventry Blitz. The British felt no moral constraint in killing as many Germans as possible as they felt the Nazi’s had set the rules of the game and the British were prepared (and did) repay them a thousand fold. America was not restrained in the strategic bombing of Japan due to the most cruel and barbaric treatment in which the japanese treated allied prisoners of war and civilians. Japan had set the rules of the game and America repaid them a thousand fold. You might want to be more careful in your in your criticisms of America fighting Germany in WWII. I have a few family members, family friends and veterans acquaintances who fought in the European Theater of Operations during WWII. Some of these superb men, very frail with old age at the time I was old enough to converse with them thoughtfully, spoke in soft voices how they came across these little camps the Nazis operated where a most curious thing was going on. You might not be so grateful for America’s performance in WWII, but those interned in those curious little camps were very glad that young American soldiers, who were thousands of miles from their American homeland, suddenly showed up to stop to the horror.

      • I am not wrong- homes were targets especially of working class to maximize casualties. I admire brave soldiers- as all these men surely were- it’s their choice in target that is not in keeping with military tradition. I just felt a few words should be said on the behalf of those little recognized, easily discounted casualties of the war… the women and children huddled together in their churches waiting for the men to come home.

        • Cajun Exile

          You dissemble Schlomo. Americans conducted daylight raids on Germany in an effort to minimize civilian casualties. The casualty rate in the 8th Air Force was the highest of any American command in World War II. Until the Memphis Bell completed her 24 missions, no American bomber crew had lived to complete a tour. At one point of the campaign it was statistically impossible to survive a full 24 mission tour. The collapse of the Luftwaffe and the introduction of the P-51 Mustang as a long range escort made surviving a tour statistically possible. I know this subject quite well as my maternal grandmother was german (I am 25% german). All of my maternal grandmothers family were killed in the allied bombings of Hamburg. The British area firebombed Hamburg at night and the US Air Force lead precision attacks on the Blohm & Voss shipyards and the Klockner aircraft engine factories. Both military targets. My German American cousins were quite thorough in their research to discover if they had in fact killed their German cousins. This is not some abstract intellectual thing for me Schlomo. The American Air Force did not target German civilian homes, the British did. Precision bombing is a very relative term in the 1940’s where it was proven that less than 10% of the bombs fell within 1,000 feet of the aim points during “precision” daylight raids. Brave young Americans flew missions into Germany in daylight with the full understanding that they dramatically increased their odds of death or serious injury in doing so. Why did they do this? They did this in the hope that they might prevent some mother, some grandmother, some sister, some daughter, some young boy of their enemy from dying “huddled together” in fear even though the men of these same families were doing their best to kill them every day. More than 47,000 casualties were suffered in the 8th Air Force alone. Many of those brave young men would have led much different lives if they had bombed civilian targets at night when it was safer. Your statement is incorrect and an insult to the brave young Americans who gave their all to defeat Nazism. I know both sides of this issue Schlomo, intimately…personally. In this case you are wrong.

          • Your naiveté is annoying. Daylight bombing was not done out of chivalrous concern for civilians. It was done so that the bombers could find their targets.
            As far as your insistence on separating American from British commands, B-17s were the only bombers sufficiently armed to operate during the day. Small-caliber armaments on the British bombers were not effective against Me-109s. So they operated by night out of necessity.
            The USAAF to improve firebombing capabilities even made a mock-up German village and repeatedly burned it down. It contained full scale replicas of German residential homes.
            Operation Thunderclap had as its stated objective: “pandemonium.”
            General Telford Taylor, Chief Council at Nuremberg Tribunal: “the ruins of German and Japanese cities were the results not of reprisal but of deliberate policy.”

          • Cajun Exile

            Your Quote: “Your naiveté is annoying.”
            Setting aside your emotional opinion and your apparently thin skin, lets stay focused on objective reality shall we.

            Your Quote: “Daylight bombing was not done out of chivalrous concern for civilians. It was done so that the bombers could find their targets.” Yes, and those target where military targets not civilian targets as you have previously stated. United States Air Force crews and pilots often discussed the increased risked they undertook because they bombed military targets in daylight and did not area bomb at night. In their wartime accounts, British bomber crews returning from night mission would marvel at how brave incredibly brave, idealistic and naive American bomber crews as they flew out in the morning. The British planners (and some Americans) thought American daylight raids were wasteful and encouraged US Air Force Leaders to abandon them. American crews returning late in the day would see British crews departing for their night raids and wished they could fly their missions at night. There are numerous such anecdotes recorded in books and in dairies of airmen, planners and generals of the time that acknowledge this. This is not my opinion. These are the facts of the time. In “The Laws of War: Constraints on Warfare in the Western World” by Michael Howard he writes “American planners fixed their sights firmly on daylight targets, but they too faced a series of difficulties that often caused their operations to fall short of desired and expectations. American planners were dedicated to military targeting, some of them at least in part for moral reasons. With respect to the law of war, intent is important.” Your point is proven to be inaccurate, lets move on.

            Your Quote: “As far as your insistence on separating American from British commands…” I do insist on separating the American from British commands because it is American bomber crews shown in the video and your false statement that specifically demeans American aircrews when you wrote, “Americans are quite brave when target is women & children sleeping in their beds.” and when you wrote the follow-on comment “(German) homes were targets especially of working class to maximize casualties.” Those are your statements are they not? Indeed, lets move on.

            Your Quote: “B-17s were the only bombers sufficiently armed to operate during the day. Small-caliber armaments on the British bombers were not effective against Me-109s. So they operated by night out of necessity.” The British did operate by night out of necessity. The fact that the British .303 machine gun was less effective than the Browning .50 cal defending bombers was amongst the least significant reasons the British focused on night Bombing operations. American bomber losses in 1943 were severe to the point of being unsustainable on raids without fighter escort. The two raids on the ball bearing factory at Schweinfurt and the companion raid on the Messerschmitt factory at Regensberg (both military targets) resulted in 137 American bombers lost, around 200 Bombers heavily damaged and almost 1,200 US airmen killed, captured or MIA in two days. The armament of the B-17 was no match for German fighters without American fighter escort, contrary to your unsubstantiated assertion to the contrary. Unnescorted raids into Germany ceased until the widespread deployment of the P-51 B Mustang, as a result of the catastrophic losses on these Schweinfurt raids. The British, with a population almost a third of the United States while being fully engaged in WWII for more almost three years longer than the United States, simply could not afford the losses of daylight bombing. They could not afford the losses in men or materiel. The enormously well resourced and relatively fresh US Air Force was strained to the breaking point attempting these unescorted daylight raids deep into Germany. Once again what you claim is a diversion and not particularly accurate. Lets move on.

            Your Quote: “The USAAF to improve firebombing capabilities even made a mock-up German village and repeatedly burned it down. It contained full scale replicas of German residential homes.” Indeed they this in order to study and understand the effects of firebombing. Military scientist study the effects of all kinds of phenomena that may or may not be used in the course of conflict. For example, The United States studied and developed nerve gas weapons and never used them. Israel has developed nuclear weapons and a means to deliver them. Has Israel nuked Damascus? Lets move on as this “mock-up German village study” is yet another irrelevancy on your part.

            Your Quote: “Operation Thunderclap had as its stated objective: ‘pandemonium.’” Operation Thunderclap was a British plan that was never implemented. Operation Thunderclap was not an American plan. Operation Thunderclap was intended to be the massive bombing of Berlin in August 1944 to prevent the German population and Nazi leadership from being able to recover from the shock of the near complete destruction of the Wehrmacht’s Army Group B in France and the shock of the almost simultaneous near complete destruction of the Wehrmacht’s Army Group Center on the Eastern Front. This massive civilian air attack on Berlin never occurred in August 1944 because British planners though it might strengthen German resolve instead of shattering it. Anyone with any knowledge of the air campaign in the European Theater of Operations during WWII would know this and reference material in this regards is literally everywhere. This is yet another inaccurate distraction on your part.

            Besides abundant source material there is an entertaining linguistic hint as to why Operation Thunderclap is British plan. The United States and Great Britain are two countries separated by a common language. Thunderclap is a magnificent word that is common in the British idiom, yet most uncommon in colloquial American English. Our British cousins chide us for our use for the use of the word thunderbolt claiming that we quaint little colonists conflate thunderclap and lightning bolt, two separate yet related phenomena, into one word. I think it more likely that we Americans use thunderbolt because thunderbolt is used in the German language as well and German is the largest ancestry group in America with over 50 Million Americans being of German decent. In any event, the word we Americans used then and use now is thunderbolt. If Operation Thunderclap had been an American plan, it would have been called Operation Thunderbolt. Language is fascinating, but as entertaining as this might be we need to move on.

            In order to be thorough lets take a look at American involvement in the bombing of Dresden in detail as that would be the bombing most similar to Operation Thunderclap, if Operation Thunderclap were to have taken place. During the American daylight bombing of Dresden on Feb 14th and 15th 1945, the American targets consisted of the marshaling yards at the center of town and a marshaling yards in the suburbs. Both of these targets were military targets. On both days some of the bomb groups found their targets were clear and some bomb groups found the targets were obscured by “clouds”. The “clouds” reported were actually a mixture of cloud and smoke from the British area bombings that started the nights of February 13 and 14th 1945. When targets where obscured the US Air Force used the H2x ground mapping radar in an attempt to locate targets. This was very cutting edge technology at the time but primitive by todays standards. Using the H2x ground mapping radar resulted far less precision than the Norden Bombsight on the B-17’s. But at no time were American bombers ordered to target “women & children sleeping in their beds” or that “(German) homes were targets especially of working class to maximize casualties” as you have asserted. If you believe that US Airmen were ordered to target “women & children sleeping in their beds” or “(German) homes … to maximize casualties” produce the records that confirm such orders.

            Lastly you quote General Telford Taylor, Chief Council at Nuremberg Tribunal with this partial quote “the ruins of German and Japanese cities were the results not of reprisal but of deliberate policy”. Lets use the whole quote “If the first badly bombed cities — Warsaw, Rotterdam, Belgrade, and London — suffered at the hands of the Germans and not the Allies, nonetheless the ruins of German and Japanese cities were the results not of reprisal but of deliberate policy, and bore witness that aerial bombardment of cities and factories has become a recognised part of modern warfare as carried out by all nations.” This quote appears to support your position but in reality it does not. German cities were not deliberately targeted by American aircrews but that case is stronger that British aircrews targeted German civilians. Japanese cities were targeted by the US Air Force but not by the American bomber crews shown in this video. Additionally, General Telford Taylor, Chief Council at the Nuremberg Tribunal attempted to use your “logic” and the logic expressed in his quote during the argument for the “High Command” case at Nuremberg. The High Command case at Nuremberg called for the General Staff of the Army and the High Command of the German Armed Forces to be considered criminal organizations. Telford Taylor lost this case and failed to make this argument.

            General Tilford Taylor is not without his critics with the foremost of his critics being William Hays Parks. A man of considerable accomplishment, William Hays Parks amongst other things, wrote a book called, “Air War and the Law of War” which is considered a seminal work on the topic. A particularly instructive Hays Parks quote on this matter is “In practice the United Nations War Crimes Commission routinely rejected cases alleging indiscriminate bombing if the bombarded towns or cities contained military objectives, which is probably always the case in highly industrialized societies. This equates Coventry with Dresden, although the aims in both raids, while partly overlapping, were fundamentally different.” So for all the reasons I have cited, your General Tilford Taylor quote is yet another irrelevant distraction.

            So lets sum up shall we. You have falsely accused American airmen in Europe, their planners and their leaders of targeting civilians and their homes a using rational that is proven false, citing an operation that they never planned, citing an operation that they never participated in because it never took place, quoting arguments that failed before the very tribunal you so admire (and are understandably right to admire) with an odd irrelevancy thrown about in the vain hope it might reinforce the concept that you are knowledgeable on this subject. I assure you that you have only confirmed the opposite. You are welcome to withdraw your false assertions that the American Air Force in Europe deliberately targeted “women & children sleeping in their beds” and that “(German) homes were targets especially of working class to maximize casualties.” If you are not willing to withdraw the false assertions, produce the records that prove your assertions. But recognize that you have proven absolutely nothing other than your misunderstanding of this matter thus far. You are equally welcome to cling to your demonstrably false, hateful little statements and prove yourself no better than the “Truthers” who blame Jews for attacking the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

          • Ladygalactor777

            Cajun Exile! That was an awesomely executed! My respects to you & all those Service Men who fought in Battle! Excellent refuted argument.

          • Cajun Exile

            Thank you. I enjoyed writing that very much.

          • Cajun Exile

            “Schlomo”, you are pretending to be a jew from Tel Aviv. In reality “Schlomo” you are likely to be an Eastern European (probably Russian) who skims Wikipedia for material so he can post outrageous things with the goal of fomenting anti-semitism. When I download your picture in your profile “Schlomo” and do a Google image search with it. The search does not bring me to Tel Aviv. You are an anti-Western, anti-American, anti-Semitic fraud. Game, Set, Match….

          • Your ad hominem proves nothing. Stick to subject matter please and not trying to guess who my family might be. You are difficult person to respond to because of your constant denial of having said the things you do. I cannot always be quoting your posts while refuting them. Go away.

          • Cajun Exile

            Did you wikipedia ad hominem? The picture you use “Schlomo” is from a nice man named “Shlomo” from California. I know, I emailed him. You are a fraud, a fake Schlomo. You don’t refute anything. You divert. You are not knowledgeable. You are an intellectual fraud. You are a moral fraud. You are a classic troll.

          • Cajun Exile

            Lost your portrait there is see fake Schlomo. Your fraud is obvious to Disqus as well as anyone else paying attention.

          • Joe Spinella

            Way to drive that home sir. I tip my hat to you.

          • Cajun Exile

            Thanks…that was particularly enjoyable.

    • Pk Mitchell

      You can thank your glorious leader Hitler for all that befell your country.

    • I hope your in that invading army that comes over here.

    • SteamingpileofObama

      If you do not want your womens and chillens dead, do not start wars.

  • Pk Mitchell

    I really like the couple of Japanese planes that were shot down over Europe… they sure were pesky back then.

    Good film though.

  • isthisnameokay

    “human” history? – that sounds so retarded. – what a stupid current phrase-fad that is.

  • Al Saulinsky

    So what does it mean when someone mentions that those who fought in World War II were “the greatest generation”? Is that an entirely accurate statement? What basically happened was that their government maneuvered their country into a position to be attacked, and then used the ensuing carnage to justify dragging the nation to war so they could cover for a domestic policy that was an utter failure. The “greatest generation” was lied to, and whipped into a frenzy by bombastic propaganda worthy of anything Goebbels produced. And to be absolutely honest, we overwhelmed a German army that was superior to our own but had been squandered and destroyed in the wastes of the Soviet Union. Now before the morons on here start getting their pitchforks out; let me point out that I am presently active duty military stationed overseas, I have been in the military for seventeen years and though I am not taking pot-shots at, nor diminishing the service of, those who fought in World War II; as a history major, I feel that we should take history as it is/was and not how we would like it to be. They were no more the “greatest generation” than the generation that has been squandered in the wastes of the middle east to cover up for the failures of successive administrations with domestic policies that were utter failures.

  • gradylikesr

    I read all of the post on here…One subject kept jumping out at me in my 78 year old memory.. These wars were about the economy….If we would all do a real search there would be a truth that would shock you about all the wars up and until after Viet nam…. The Civil wasn’t the first war in and on American soil… But there were more Americans killed in it ,than all the others combined… Also the reson wasn’t about the slaves or slavery, it was like the rest, it was about the economy…The farm industry against the mechanical one …Labor against Industrailsm…..