Allied Photo Reconnaissance of World War II by Chris Staerck


From the earliest days of aviation, the military has recognized the advantage that could be gained from aerial reconnaissance of enemy troop formations. As early as 1789, the deployment of hydrogen balloons aided the French in spotting Prussian artillery. The ensuing years saw these early experiments develop into sophisticated strategic operations. The success or failure of many of the most important battles and maneuvers of World War II depended on these covert missions.

This volume chronicles photo reconnaissance, giving a thorough account of many of World War II’s most legendary operations, including the Dambuster Raid, Monte Cassino and the Normandy landings. The critical nature of airborne reconnaissance to both of the opposing sides and the propaganda uses to which the resulting information was put is comprehensively discussed. Also covered are the principal aircraft used by the RAF and USAAF, the range and camera equipment available to them, and the organization of Photo Reconnaissance units.

Illustrated with original photographs and detailing the neglected narratives of this, often necessarily, secretive department of the military, this study provides insight into the technology, techniques, and bravery of the missions and the men behind the front lines of the Allied victory.

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