Aerial Photography

German Aerial Reconaissance Photos

Over 1.2 million aerial prints made by the Luftwaffe during WWII reconnaissance flights are currently housed in the the National Archives collections. They include imagery of Great Britain and the USSR to the Ural Mountains, as well as areas in North Africa and the Middle East. Coverage is also especially good for areas in Eastern Europe, including Poland, Czechoslovakia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, and Latvia.

Searches can be made by GPS location, date, town / city / village name, etc.
There are also special collections that focus on specific topics (eg., England’s coastal defences, Germany’s defense systems in Holland, etc.)

U.S. Wartime Aerial Reconaissance Photos

U.S.- and Allied-flown foreign reconnaissance missions during WWII are documented on negative film and cover France, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, and Italy, as well as the Pacific theater areas of China; Japan; Indochina; Burma; the Philippines, and a myriad of islands that were of strategic military interest such as Midway, Guadalcanal, Marshall, Saipan, Guam, lwo Jima and many others.

U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey Files

In addition, the U.S. created dossiers under the title “Strategic Bombings Surveys” to identify key industrial and military facilities, as well as gauge the effectiveness of bombing attacks on thousands of these targets across Europe, Japan and elsewhere. These typically include some aerial photography taken during bombing runs, as well as assessment data on the effectiveness of these attacks based on subsequent reconnaissance flights. There are analysis sorted by town name, industry targeted (eg., petroleum, armaments manufacturing), and other criteria.