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James E Trott, Photographic Specialist, 321st Bomb Group, WWII
1944 | Italy
27 Nov. 2009 from James Daughter Carol;
I ran across your web pages in my own very belated "easter egg hunt" through the web on behalf of my father, James E. Trott, who served at Solenzara Air Field w/ the 321st from June 1 1944 to less than midway through 1945. (After that he was transferred to Italy.) His job at Solenzara was an odd one, seldom discussed, as it wasn't on the front. He was responsible to upkeep, load with film, and mount large K8AB bomb cameras (plus their racks) on the 8 to 10 B-25 Mitchell bomber planes making up a mission. He then had to retrieve the cameras and racks, unload the film and develop it, then pass on the pictures to officers responsible to making "bomb plots" scoring the success of said mission. I've seen one bomb plot on line which is one my dad has a copy of at home, if I'm not mistaken. I am seeking more info on this task, on the cameras themselves (which are hard indeed to find ANY photos of, since they of course were taking the photos!), and on his own service.
As background, dad enlisted August 8, 1942, and was held stateside involved (again) w/ cameras, and even created one training film (probably lost, it was called "Flying Folly" -- he made it while at Suffolk Air Base as part of a detached unit from the 320th Fighter Squadron (not 321st Bomb, of course). Perhaps there's not much more to learn here. But I'm hoping. From CAROL....
30 Nov. 2009 from proud son Jon;
My info on cameras was/is this...
Many pics were taken by hand-held cameras issued to the crew (some of
'em anyway) on the B-25 bomber missions. But one camera was the K8AB,
mounted pointing straight down for maximal effect re capturing the
damage each plane delivered, as well as the total amounts of damage. It
produced pictures which I believe were 7" by 8" in size, often used in
doing the so-called "bomb plots" (this was I think done by an officer
assigned to the job, not my dad or other enlisted guys). My dad has some
goofy pictures of that camera in various states of dismemberment, but
the only copies I have are bad. I am trying to get better ones.
But I am also hoping for any other living members of my dad's photo
unit, or others at the HQ unit overall who remember him. Their
narratives about him would be a wonderful addition. More photos of HIM
(rather than photos he and/or his equipment took) would be wonderful as
Again, thanks... to both of you.
a proud son (JON)
to Barbi Connolly (and John Fitzgerald)
PRINCESSBARBI_B25@msn.com 321st Bomb Group Historian and John Fitzgerald, 57th BW Historical Researcher.
James E Trott, Photographic Specialist, 321st BG
1944 | Italy
General Information on Camera's and WWII;
WW II was not only the greatest armed conflict in the history of mankind - it was also the most documented on film. In the case of the Fifth Air Force each Bombardment Group had some of their bombers equipped with still cameras, When they started a bomb run the camera would make an exposure every three to four seconds on a 150 ft roll of film 9 inches wide. Fifth Bomber Command had a Photo Section with some cinematographers. They would assign one or two of them to a Bombardment Group and they would record the mission on 16 mm movie film. In addition to this an awful lot of the troops carried their own personal cameras. Fellows, like myself, being in a Photo Section had an additional benefit. We were able to get a lot of the mission photos for our personal collections. Since the coming of computers and the internet (World Wide Web) a lot of these personal collections have found their way onto Websites. Also a lot of the 16 mm movie film has found its way onto documentaries on the History Channel and other channels. The second reason you read and see more is that 60 years after the fact more of the surviving Veterans of the Fifth are opening up and talking about their time in the "Green Hell" The "Forgotten Fifth" refers its war time service - when it was a step child of WW II.
All told 7 of our 8 planes were out of commission, and the Sq. would sit idle for several weeks. When we did get resupplied with planes they were the modified low level straffers. Up to that time we were still flying the high level B-25s, which is what we flew in the Bismarck Sea Battle. The 90th B-25s and the 89th A-20s had been modified and they were the stars of the Bismarck Sea Battle. But that's another story. http://www.footnote.com/page/92189301_jack_heyn/
In the first decades of the 20th century improvements in photographic technology allowed cameras to be carried by rockets, kites, and birds and, by 1909, in aircraft. The military potential of this was obvious and aerial photography was widely used in WWI. It was soon found that vertical views were the most useful but could be difficult to interpret, thus the art-science of photo interpretation was born. In recent years the subject has broadened considerably and is now embraced by the term “remote sensing,” which includes downward-looking observations from earth-orbiting satellites as well as aircraft. This topic is dealt with in a later section, as is multispectral imaging, also pioneered by aerial photographers.
Apart from military surveillance, applications are enormously varied, and include agriculture, archeology, forestry, environmental monitoring, and demographics as well as urban planning, geology, minerals prospecting, and surveillance of all kinds. However, aerial photography is most often used for cartography, where the science of photogrammetry is used to remove the distortions inherent in all photography. This enables accurate dimensions and topography to be derived for mapmaking.
For this, special-purpose, downward-looking, automated mapping cameras were developed that used 9-inch (about 23cm) roll film. Since cartography and surveying use large amounts of film, suppliers made special emulsions, including high-contrast, high-resolution monochrome and color films and infrared-sensitive products to penetrate atmospheric haze. Some of these emulsions were available in smaller formats, and cameras using 70 and 35mm film are also used for aerial photography. Not all such images are intended for mapmaking or for accurate dimensional surveying, so very useful aerial images can be made very conveniently with these smaller formats. Today, film or digital media can be used and operated manually from aircraft or remotely from kites, tethered balloons, or remotely piloted aircraft. Balloons and remotely piloted aircraft can operate at a lower altitude than piloted aircraft, which is a great advantage over residential areas.
Read more: Aerial Photography http://encyclopedia.jrank.org/articles/pages/1109/Aerial-Photography.html#ixzz0Ys9WqWV4