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APO 650

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The 3rd Photographic Group Reconnaissance is a combat organization

assigned to the 12th AF. This Group is committed to the supplying of

Photo Intelligence to all demanders in the Mediterranean and European

Theaters of Operations. However, intelligence ~roduced ~ the 3rd Photo

Group is utilized principally ~ Mediterranean Allied Tactical Air Force

and the Fifteenth Army Group (especially the American 5th Army).

In supporting both Air Corps and Ground Forces, two operational

setups have developed within the Group. Although four agencies (MATAF,

15th Army Group, XIII TAC and 5th Army) submit requests to the Group,

only two of these, MATAF &'5th Army, reqUire separate channels and

specialized treatment. Since Photo Reconnaissance for 15th Army Group

and XXII TAO does not require separate channels, their needs have not

shaped the operating methods of the Group to the same extent as MATAF's

and 5th Army's. This book is concerned solely with the two contrasting

systems which Bupp1y MATAF and Fifth Army and is issued for the infor­

mation and possible guidance of all interested personnel. It is not

our desire to give the impression that we have a perfect photo intell­

igence setup here. We feel that it fits our needs; undoubtedly numerous

changes would be required to fit our 8,1stem into any othe~ situation.

Any part of this publication may be reproduced provided the secur­

ity classifica~}onis observed.



Colonel, Air Corps


Lt. Col., Air Corps

Deputy Group Commander.


(A-2) 57th BOMB WING
51st T C. WING
I 5th ARMY

3rd I





12th \. \
I 5th ARMY

PHOTO \\ '




5 th a 23rd

12 th SODN'

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a ~ted'gebNaH 1JiPidi/nta/ O~ daid:

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A. P. o. 650

20 March 1945

The 3rd Photo Group, operating in the Mediterranean Theatre

of Operations since November 1942, has pioneered in the develop­

ment of aerial photography to meet the tactical requirements of

air and ground forces. In this, it has played a very significant

and important role. Its work has been, of necessity, little pub­

licized in relation to the publicitl given the air and ground op­

erations which resulted from the intelligence procured through its


In the conduct of tactical air operations in support of the

15th Army Group, we have depended on the 3rd Photo Group to 8uppl,
the bulk of our target materiel and tactical intelligence. We have
drawn heavill on its resources, demanding much from pilots and
ground crews, interpreters and laborato·ry technicians. As our re­
quirements rose with the increased tempo of our air assault on Axis
communications, the output of photo intelligence from the 3rd Photo
Group kept pace with demands.

The following report presents a survey of the eJct.ent and variety

of the photographic intelligence supplied through the efforts of this
group. It is hoped that t,his account will point up t.he importance
. of its role in relationship with air and ground operations and the
problems and dangers that it faces in the accomplishment of its mis­

~ .~~~ JOHN K. CANNON,

Major General, U. S. Army,

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A. P. O. No. 777. U. S. ARMY

6 March 1945

AG 062

SUBJECT: Aerial Photography.

TO Commanding Offioer# 3rd Photographic Group.

1. During our operations in Italy we have found

aerial photography to be one of the most accurate#
rapid# and oomprehensive means at our disposal for ob­
taining information of the enemy.

2. I am oonfident that the high standard of serv­

ice rendered was a direot result of the conscientious­
ness and superior efficienoy of the 3rd Photographic
Group. My Staff has often commented upon the effect­
iveness of your unit# and I wish to thank you for your
ever willing cooperation. you have played a most import­
ant part in the Allied successes in the Italian campaign.


Lieutenant General# USA#
This book has bee puc-ea e in order to
promote a better understanding of Photo Reconnaissance. The Third Photo
Group ts the oldest American Photo Group overseas, having contributed to
the Allied advance from CasabJ.8.nca to Northern Italy, supplying (at various
times) Photo Intelligence to Army, Tactical Air Force, Strategic Air Force,
AFHQ, and Navy.

Photo Reconnaissance was a much misunderstood weapon at the beginning

of the war. When the Group started to fly for 7th Army in North Africa and
Sicily, we found that Army was not educated as to the capabilities and limit­
ations of Photo Reconnaissance, and we were not always sure of the exact
type of ?hoto Recon desired qy Army. We both learned the hard way - by ex­
perience. Because of the rapid advance, in many cases, liaison became
difficult, and delivery of demands ao4 prints a matter of guesswork. The
Group had to teach the divisional commanders and their staff what Photo
Recon could and could not do. The Army also had to teach us what it want­
ed and what it did not want. Eventually out of the hodge-podge came some
semblance of a s,ystem. During and after Salerno, the Group supported 5th
Army, and the system began to take defin1te shape, and efficiency and
speed were attained. Bottlenecks and kinks had been ironed out and Photo
Reconnaissance in SlIP!1Ort of Army came into its own.

In supporting Tactical Air Force, similar problems arose, but on a

smaller scale. This time Air Corps was talking to Air Corps. The bottle­

necks were fewer and easier to find. At present, both Tactical Air Force

and Army appreciate aerial photography as never before, and use it to the

fullest extent. One hundred percent cooperation and understanding prevail.

In this book it 1s our desire to present the system and developments

;;j:~.or0= "trlu & e=r"

Major, Air Corps. JOHN P. SCIrnEDE

Captain, Air Corps.

The THIRD PHOTO GROUP, RECONNAISSANCE consists of the following units:

5th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron
12th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron
23rd Photo Reconnaissance Squadron
3rd Photo Technical Squadron
3rd Photo Intelligence Detachment
941st Engineer Aviation Topographic Battalion
12th Air Force Photo Center (Prov.)

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'PHOTO ..........:LIGENCE

Photographic In e s ~1 tary information derived from the

study of photos, usually of the same object or target taken at different
times, ~o that any significant changes in the area covered may be noted.
This intelligence information is gained by a study of the prints ~
~hotographic Interpreters - highly trained specialists - who in turn
pass the information to the party or parties who have requested the intel­
ligence. The information thus gained may be disseminated verbally, by
signal, or ~ written reports, depending on the tactical urgency of the
intelligence produced. Prints, target charts or special maps may also
accompany these reports. Below are brief ,descriptions of the various
types of Air Force Reports.

FIEST PHASE REPORTS - These may be either verbal, or radio or

telegraphic signals. They come from a quick survey of the photographs
to dis~over a few important ~its of intelligence upon which an oper­
ation may be waiting. They do not aim to be thorough - SPEED is their
essence. For example, what is the enemy order of battle on a given
cluster of airdromes? Are there loaded vessels with steam up about
to leave a certain harbor? Is there an unusual concentration of wa­
gons or locomotives in a given Marshalling Yard? Is there exception­
al movement along a certain stretch or road or railroad?

SECOND PHASE REPORTS are more detailed, dealing with all angles
of the target which do not need minute study. They may tell us the
condition of a Marshalling Yard, even to estimating the car turn­
over since the previous photo coverage. Often they deal with the
position and turnover of ships (and types of ships) in harbors and
ports, or the arrival of certain ships from other harbors. Again,
t.hey give us details of an airdrome - how many planes, their types,
l'lnd in which dispersal areas they are parked. Serviceability of
bridges and rail lines, along with state of repair since last cover
are discussed in fairly extensive detail.

'!'HIP]; PHASE REPORTS - go into detail, analysing to the nth

degree any given target. Experts study all installations thoroughly,
frequently pointing out the nerve centers of enemy industry or trans­
portation. Radar positions must be studied by specialists. Pictures
of intanded invasion beaches are studied intensely for months by ex­
perts to pick out enemy strong points, mine fields both on land and
in the water - and any changes in these defenses. From these inter­
pretations we learn what bomb load and fusing is needed to knock out
a certain bridge and render it useless, length of time needed to launch
and refit vessels, and material our Engineers will need to replace
bridges blown by the enemy.

BOMB PkVAGE ASSESS~~ - may require first, second, or third

phase interpretation. It is considered apart from other work by pho­
tographic units because (1) it usually commands highest priority

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both in flying and processing, 2) e nterpretation must be de­

livered to Tactical Air Force, Bomb Wings immediately so that they
may decide whether or not a repeat mission is necessary or desirable.
R.D.A. consists of photographing and interpreting targets immediately
following a bomb raid. Usually the target is photographed a half to
three quarters of an hour after the raid to allow time for the smoke
to clear away. This time element, however, depends entirely on the
nature of the target bombed.



In order to have pictures taken at different times for the in­

terpreters to compare, a systematized frequency of cover is maintained
for targets in accordance with their importance to demanders. First
of all, before an area becomes a tactical battleground, and while it
is still in the hands of the planning staffs, basic cover must be ob­
tained which will enable commanders to plen their future movements.
This basic cover usually consists of photographing an entire area
(such as Sicily or Italy). With this basic cover, maps can be revis­
ed, new maps made, photo mosaics laid, terrain models constructed,
and future targets selected. After this basic cover has been gained,
8 frequency of routine cover must be established. This frequency is
usually determined by demanders. However, in cases where the inter­
preters and intelligence officers of 'the photo unit believe demands
are unreasonable, a compromise can usually be reached which is satis­
factory to all concerned. By and large, the peculie,rities of a t8r­
g~t, its activity and potential danger to us dictate the frequency of
cover. '

Before the surrender of Italy"for example, it was advisable to

cover the harbors and drydocks of Genoa, Spezia and Taranto twice
daily - despite the heavy intense flak encountered. At that time all
the important heavy naval vessels of the Italian fleet were in these
harbors (roughly three battleships and six cruisers). The submarines
that prowled the Mediterranean often put in there, and any enemy naval
activity would have originated in one or all of these harbors. Therefore
the Navy as well as the Air Force needed all possible intelligence
continually. The constant check on these naval units also freed much
Allied naval power for other operations. During the invasion of Sicily,
for example, good photo recon freed 901 of the Allied naval units which
would have otherwise been necessary to guard the enemy fleet.

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~e le8m of e enemy's troop cqncentrations and movements qy
routine cover of his marshalling yards and supply dumps. We can tell
his agressive intentions by a constant check on his artillery dispos­

Routine cover of airdromes is a must. Here the enemy has his

most mobile DOwer for offense as well as defense. The condition of
his airdromes changes rapidly, and so we keep a complete order of
battle on all aircraft in the theater. Our bombers must have all
~ossible information about enemy fighters, both near the tar~ets and
along the route to them and home.

Frequency of routine cover is in direct proportion to the act­

ivity of the target. It may vary from several times daily to once in
seven days or more. In some cases friction may arise between demand­
ers and photo units over this point. For example, soon after the es­
tablishment of the Anzio beachhead, Tactical Air Force laid on a
daily "milk run", as we called it, which called for cover of a dozen
airdromes located in a belt running from the battle line to a point
north of Rome. One day our First Phase reports showed only seven
Jerry planes on all these fields combined. Interpreters tore their
hair and swore that it was useless to cover these airdromes daily
when most of them had been bombed so thoroughly as to make rehabil­
itation impossible for days. Once - a - week cover would be suffic­
ient. Squadron Intelligence Officers complained, "~hy send good pilots
and airplanes over hot areas more often then is absolutely necessary?"
TAF replied, "~erry is smart and quick. He does miraculous things.
We want to know all the time." Conferences soon ironed the matter
out, and an equitable frequency of cover was established. It is a
good thing to sit down once in a while with all the facts and reach
t,he most satisfactory arrangement for all concerned.

Let us consider the demanders for a moment. What do they want?

They seek intelligence for the purpose of planning military movements.
Since these movements vary widely in different commands, and again
while commands themselves vary, you should have some of the requirements
for illustration. It should be borne in mind above all, that, tn the
broadest sense, tt is possible to note a transition from the demands
during the first phase of the war '(Battle for Britain), which were
in the main defensive, to the ~resent demands (Army sU9Port and Tac­
tical Air Force) which are obviously offensive.

Work with the 12th Air Force and 5th Army combines purely tac­
tical reconnaissance with semi-strategic reconnaissance. The tac­
tical phase is concerned with the actual battle area and the ground
and air immediately behind it. Semi-strategic reconnaissance comhs
the area from roughly SO miles to 300-400 miles behind the battle
line. For the medium bombers who do mainly semi-strategic bombing,
~e must have certain intelligence. First, they must have knowledge

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and ~ictures of targets in or er-t~~ de bomb load, priorit,y
and force of planes. Secondly, they must have large scale maps,
obliques, or mosaics of the approach to the targets, ~s well as tar­
get charts of the objective itself. Occasionally stereo pairs are
needed to brief pilots, navigators, and bombardiers. Thirdly, they
must have an assessment of their damage to determine subsequent act­
ion. And lastly, they must know enemy flak positions, oroer of battle
of enemy aircraft, and course to and from the target. Semi-strategic
reconnaissance is also used extensively by the Army, ~~o must know
where the ene~ is preparing rear defense lines. A constant check is
necessary to determine the extent of activity and to discover strong
points, pill boxes, anti-tank ditches, etc., before the enemy has com­
pleted his work and had a chance to camouflage these defenses.

Purely tactical demands differ widely from the so-called semi­

st~ategic, in that they deal directly with the combat and battle-line
area itself. Tactical demands are those made qy commanders actually
planning the tactics of a campaign, before and after it has started.
What do these Generals who plan the tactics of a campaign want
to know? They must know t~e kind of ground they are going to fig~t
on. Maps, mosaics and terrain models will tell them. They want to
see the beaches on which they will conduct landing operations.
Obliques and large scale vertical photos provide the answer. A Tac­
tical Air Force with light bombers and fighter bombers will want
pictures of their targets plus quick, frequent BDA. They must have
photos of road and rail choke points, bridges, communications cen­
ters, supply dumps, tank parks, landing grounds, and coastal or riv­
er harbors ~hich supply enemy troops. Army must know most of the a­
bove, plus disposition of enemy troops, movements, strong points, ~nd
above all, disposition of enemy artillery. Like a boxer with short
powerful arms, tactical must get in close, hitting hard again and a­

The Navy has become a large demander of photo recon. Intell­

igence received is of great help offensively as well as defensively.
During landings at Sicily, Salerno, Anzio and Southern ~rance, ~hoto
reconnaissance kept close check on enemy harbors and ports, thereby
freeing practically the entire force of the Navy for offensive op­
erations with the task forces. Appraisal of construction and repair
of enemy naval units, condition of enemy dry docks and harbors is
invaluable. Where enemy submarines are located and from what bases
they put to sea, defenses, harbor booms and mines, radar stations,
enemy water supply lines - these facts were all of major importance
in enabling the Navy to cope so successfully with its enormous task
in the Mediterranean. In fact, the Admiral of the Italian fleet,
~hen formally surrendering, remarked sorrowfully that our ~hoto
reconnaissance had kept him bottled up.
. ."

Naturally th gr onstantly as OQIlDllIlders un­

tamiliar with this torm ot intelligenoe see the part it plays in the op­
erations ot experienoed users, and the indispensable value ot it to their

One last ward conoerning demanders. They must, to demand intelli­

gently, know the conditiona under- which photo reoonnaissance missions
are tlown, and the type cameras available. Reconnaissance unite are
equipped with aircraft oameras . .playing various tocal lengths ot len­
ses, the most oazmon ot which are. 6'. 12' .. 24', 36' and 40'. The CQllDEUl­
der ot the photo reoonnaissance unit must, ot neeessi ty. decide the al­
titude at which the missions will be tlown. (ordinarily between 20.000'
& 30.000'). Demanders. therefore. should state scale desired. rather
than altitude desired. All using agencies should be trained to use
photography at the smallest scale at which desired detail may be re­

Demanders should also know sane ot the ditticulties encountered

by the photo reoonnaissance pilot. A photo reconnaissance pilot, or
'Photo Joe,' as he is known to the trade, is one ot the least glamoriz­
ed pilots in the Air Farces today; and yet he has perhaps the most im­
portant single job to perform. He must be a canbination pilot and
navigator, and must be an expert at both. Probably one ot the most
ditticult parts ot his job is that he must tly ~ deep into en~
territory. He has no triendly plane tlying on his Wing t"o give him
that sense ot confidence. It he is shot down the chanoes are that no
one w111 &Ter know what happened to him, unless he is lucky enough to
beoane a prisoner ot war. He has to tly alone in an unarmed aircraft,
sanetimes as tar as 500-600 miles into enemy territory, where it he
were Jumped by en~ airoratt the extra burst ot speed neoessary to
get away would OOn8\1Jle enoush tuel so that his ohanoes ot getting
back to triendly territory would not be very good. However, such
is not too otten the case. An ordinary mission would average 2-3
hours, and would mean a penetration ot roughly 250 miles into enqr
territory. Fran the time he takes ott on a mission the pilot must
navigate to his tir-st target. It may be that he will map an area
roughly 20 by 30 miles, in whioh case he must run his tlight lines
parallel to get tull coYerage and must make all his runs over the area '.

straight and level - which makes him an exoellent target tor tlak.
The same is true when the mission laid on is to strip a road. rail­
road or stretch ot river. Or he may have a mission whioh inTolves
taking pictures ot twenty pinpoints (airdranee, marshalling yards,
bridges, eto.) whioh requires excellent navigation and pinpointing.
He has no banb sight except his two eyes. All the time he is taking
pictures he must soan the skies tor eneau aircraft, check the ground
and his map tor landmarks. see that he is taking pictures at the
oorreot interval to conform with his speed and altitude, and of
oourse check the performanoe ot his plane. Weather is one ot his
main bugaboos due to the tact that he is fly1D8 at high altitude.

Multi-layers of clouds may obscure his vision of the ground to and

from the target area. The ohoto reconnaissance pilot's only protec­
tion is altitude, alertness and speed.

A photo reconnaissance mission, unlike a bomber or fighter mis­

ston, is not successful until the. pilot_has photographed hi's ta.rge~,
and landed ~afely with the nictures.

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The role of weather in war is widely known and ap9r~ciated, yet

the importance of weather in photo reconnaissance operations is great­
er than in aqr other field of military aviation. Until a device is in­
vented that will take pictures through clouds, this fact wilt remain
High altitude bombing has come up with nMickeyn, the electronic
device which gives bombing accuracy in spite of complete cloud cover.
Tactical aircraft operate at lower altitudes there~ concerning them­
selves only with the amount of ceiling present. In photo racon, the
weather problems common to all flying are present, with the addition
of many problems peculiar to this field.

The high altitude used ~ photo ships makes them subject to nearly
all cloud weather, for roughly 95% of the world's cloud cover exists
below 25 thousand feet. Yfuat would be considered a fine day for other
tYges of operations, sometimes can be a complete loss to photo recon
because of a high overcast of clouds. A single small cloud in the
wrong place can cause a mission to be a complete failure.

Another problem peculiar to altitude work is that of vapor trails,

which are so dangerous to the unarmed photo ships. Navigation can be
made very difficult ~ the high wind velocities found in the upper at­

Taken as a whole, the weather demands of photo recon require near­

ly perfect conditions. While this perfection can very rarely be found
over a large area, it does exist some of the time in small areas. To
locate these areas is the problem of the forecasters assigned to Photo
Reconnaissance Squadrons and Groups. Frequent use of weather recon
flights is helpful, but the most successful and economical dispatching
of flights is accomplished only ~ careful and experienced forecasting,
in conjunction with weather missions.

In an or~anization as small as a squadron; it is possible for the

officer to work side ~ side with the operations officer and
personally give his direct opinion of each mission drawn up. This act­
ually will amount to an informal discussion upon the probability of ob­

taining pictures of desired targets, any dangerous weather enroute, and
any possibility of the home base not remaining open. This last point

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is important apidly lose their value

if they cannot be immediately turned over 0 e photogra9hic laboratory
and interpreters upon landing. The intelligence officer is also present
during this discussion so that he may not only aid in the planning, but
also obtain information on what targets are to be attempted during the
day and how much work is expected to be accomplished. He is the one who
explains which targets have priority.

After the operations officer has been fully informed of the weath­
er situation, he either mayor may not request that each pilot be brief­
ed on the weather to be expected on his resgective mission. Usually this
does occur if the weather is at all likely to cause any trouble. This
briefing would not only include target c1oudi~ess, but visibility rest­
rictions, strong winds, icing danger, and trail level. In addition,
pilots are eager to know at what location they can be sure of finding
large cloud breaks in climbing to and descending from their operational
altitude. The threat of any instrument flying is an important mental
hazard, especially in a fighter type plane. On the pilot's return, the
weather officer will be present during the interrogation to obtain the
latest accurate weather conditions from him. This information is tur­
ned into a nearbr weather station which disseminates it to other units
over, its communications system.
On days when the weather appears doubtful, the weather officer will
recommend a ftweather hopft to determine the exact extent of the cloudiness.
In such a situation, the operations and inte11i~ence officers will consult
with him in choosing the target area for the mission. The idea behind
such action is to get as much photographic coverage as possible, along
with weather information, for the combat risks which are taken. The
pilot will be sent to the area where the best weather is located and his
report usually decides the feasibility of any continued operations for
the day.

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The 3rd Photo Group at the ~resent time has three combat squadrons
under its command. Two of these are directly under 12th AF HQ. (and
~AT.~) for operations, while the third receives its demands direct from
5th Ar~. ~ile the operations of the squadrons working for Tactical
AF, ~nd the operations of the squadron working with 5th Army vary con­
siderably in the type of photography accom~lished, their basic organ­
ization is similar in all respects.

Each squadron should have (according to TO&E) 16 airplanes of the

F5 tyue (p-38s converted to Photo Recon planes, with cameras mounted
in the no~e instead of guns), ~nd 26 pilots. Unfortunately, since en­

F-5 type aircraft - P-38 with cameras instead of guns which has
proved an ideal plane for photo recon.

tering the theater in November 1942, the 3rd Photo Group has seldom
been at full strength. However, as Commanding Generals in the various
branches have come to realize the importance of Photo Reconnaissance,
this situation at present has been overcome, and the Group 13 now op­

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erating with a full .ilots. There are prob­
ably more specialized personnel and departments in a Photo Squadron
than in any other equivalent organization in the Air Forces. The Photo­
graphic Laboratory section is composed of highly trained personnel,
equipped so that they can work under any field conditions demanded,
and on a 24 hour basis. A camera repair department is also composed
of experts in their field, who must keep cameras in tip-top shape to
withstand the rigors of high altitude flying where temperatures reach
40-50 degrees below zero. They must know the type film to be used in
various seasons under varying climatic conditions. They must select
film and adjust camera shutter speeds to conform with the weather ex­
pected over the target area. They must be ingenious in devising new
camera set-ups to meet tactical demands. The squadron always has a
detachment of Photo Interpreters working with it in the field. These
men are e~erts in transportation, industry, aircraft identification,
engineering, and in any other type interpretation which may be req­
uired. At present 3rd Photo Group has a detachment of 37 officers
and enlisted men from the 3rd Photo Technical Squadron interpreting
photos taken qy the 5th and 23rd Photo Recon Squadrons for TAF.
The squadrons usually operate from airdromes approx. 50 to 100
miles behind our own front lines - in the case of ~ Support rough­
ly 50 miles, and in the case of Tactical AF support usually about
100 miles. A squadron, of necessity, must be a highly mobile and
flexible unit capable of moving 300 men and equipment without lOBS
of a day's operations. It must be capable of setting up a forward
unit or flight at an advanced base at a moment's notice, and operat­
ing without loss of efficiency or speed, to meet specific tacti~al

While there are parallel units in the Group who have a great
share in producing the finished Photographic Intelligence (such as
the 3rd Photo Tech. Sq., the 3rd Photo Intelligence Detachment, and
the 941st Engineer Bn.) the flying squadron is the basic unit which
gathers the rough intelligence material in the form of photos, and
then starts them through the mill towards the final finished form
which we know as Photo Intelligence. The teamwork necessary is
started when the demands are received in Intelligence and Operations,
where the missions are planned and laid on for flying, and is car­
ried on by the pilot, his airplane's ground crew, his camera crew,
photo lab, the plotters, the interpreters and the people who disseminate
the final Photo Intelligence to those whose operations depend upon it.
In no other branch of the Air ~orce do so many different skills
come in for so direct a share in the tactical operation of the unit.
Typical of a day's flying demands received from A-2 Target
Section at Tactical Air Force is the following:

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1. Approximately 8 to 10 BDA targets which the Medium Bombers in­
tend to hit that day together with their time oyer target.
Approximately 8 to 10 BDA targets Which the IPighter Bombers
have hit the previous day.

2. Approximately 1500 miles of Railroads and Roads to determine

activity, serviceability of bridges (permanent and pontoon).

3. ApproximBtely a 150 mile strip of River for acUvity and study

of serviceability of bridges (per.manent and pontoon).

4. APproximately 100 Pinpoints of various types (Airdranes, Mar­

shalling Yards, supply & hel Dumps, Ports, Power and Trans­
former stations, Industrial Plants, etc.)

All of the above are listed in order of priority and importance.

The demands are usually divided equally between the two Squadrons.
Plus the above routine demands, there may be apecial demands to be cov­
ered, such as area coverage for laying of mosaics, or flying of oblique
missi'ons for the preParation of approach target charts for the Medium

The aboye demands, after an equitable distribution has been made

at Group Operations and Intelligence, are passed on to Squadron Op­
erations and Intelligence. Here the Intelligence Officer lays them on
a master map so that an oyer all picture of the day's requirements may
be studied. At that time the Weather Officer will give a report on
the day's weather outlook - which areas are clear for iIlmediate missions,
which areas are expected to clear later in the day, etc. Intelligence
and Operations then lay on the missions for flying. Briefing, of course·
is done individually due to the diversification of the targets. one
pilot may be assigned 15 or more pinpoints of various natures to be
covered in one area. Another my be assigned 100 - 125 mile strip of
railroad for ooyerage.

The above demands, if covered completely (assuming the weather

to be good), would necessitate roughly 24 to 28 missions. This would
allow far 1 to 2 abortive missions due to mechanical failure or inter­


Shown Qn the follOWing pages are items of interest encountered in

flying, processing and interpreting a typical mission flown by the 5th
Photo Recon Squadron or the 23rd Photo Recon Squadron for Tactical Air

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Force. It consists of 20 pinpoints of various types; 6 marshalling
yards for activity and servieeabi1ity, 2 airdromes for active planes
(GAF order of battle), e.nd 12 bridges for serviceability and accom­
plishment of any repairs by the enemy (See map on opposite page).
The target area for this mission might be 250 to 300 miles from the
squadron's airstrip. If such were the case it would take the pilot
approximately an hour to gain altitude and navigate to his first tar­
get. Slightly more than an hour would be required to navigate to and
get pictures of the other targets; plus another 40 minutes to return
to base. ~en the pilot lands with his pictures he is met Qy the
camera prew, ~o are on hand as soon as his engines stop turning over.
~ile two of the crew unload the film, the pilot gives any special
weather information to a third member of the crew, ~o that particular
processing may be accomplished if the target area weather was not in
accord ~~th the camera settings at take-off (the pilot cannot change
his camera settings after take-off - this must be accomplished on
the ground. Pilots can only control the interval between pictures).
The pilot next goes to the Intelligence tent. Here he gives a fair­
ly detailed ~eather report to the Weather Officer, so that other
missions can be planned. Following this he is interrogated by the
Intelligence Officer, to whom he gives all available information re­
garding the mission. He first gives any visual observations, .hich
might require a "Flash Peport" to higher HQ. Fe then draws a trace
(shown in illustration on page (14) showing where he took his pic­
tures, bis direction of flight over each target, B.nd the sequence
in which targets were photographed. He also gives the time from the
start of photography to the time he took his last pictures, plus·
altitude over each target (Which will roughly determine the scale of
the pictures).
By this time the film has reached the Squadron Photo Laboratory
where it is being processed and printed. Two sets of prints will
reach the 3rd Photo Group Forward Interpretation Section ap~roximate­
ly ~ hours after the pilot has landed. One set of prints will be
used by the interpreters, a.nd the other is used by the plotters. The
plotters make overlays which, when placed on the appropriate map,
show the exact areas covered by the photographs. These "plots" are
given wide distribution, so that interested parties may request
photos of the particular area which they are studying~ Before receiv­
ir~ the finished prints from the photo lab, the interpreters have
received from the squadron copies of the Pilot's Trace and the Inter­
rogation Report (see page 13 ). They now have all information regard­
ing the mission and are ready to start interpreting.

- 12 ­
1:500,000 Air Map Used by Pi~ot During Mission
13 ­
... .
HISS/ON - 5 PI? 5 M 1259 . -·'12,~~

OAT£ - F£B. 22 J /945
CAMERAS - TAN l4" + ~ 6"
TIM£ - 1000 TO ' " 0 460 ~ ..J
ALI -18,OOO~TO ~/ OO O~ ~~ -- -- -

NAP - /:504 000 AIR

tIVtN ZA "
S. D(),';.~
D. PlliV A


.' M/Y + AID


IN ~
and direc tion of

Drawn by pilot to show cours e of fligh t durin g missi on,


fligh t over each targe t. Red lines denot e Photo graph ic


Sortie No.5PR-5M~~?5.9. .1945

Observer: ....
Lt. Des Voigne Time Out: 0900 ._. Time in :.1150 ...
5th P.R.Sq.
Squadron: Total Time :.? br·5q~n~ E/A :PQsslble.
Yes .
Aircraft No.44-24727 Flak:
Clear to overcast at 19000'
Target Weather: .. 5/10 middle cl9.:tld~ .ip..NE .. Tanks Dropped:

Targets and Reference Briefed Time Alt. F/L Remarks: Visual ­ Flak - EtA ­ Shipping, Etc.

Number Covered or Not Yes - No If Targets Not Covered Give Reasons

lIonse1ice MIY's Yes 1000 18000' Tan­ Overcast at Monselice

Vtcenza • 21000' dem and Padova at 1900~
• AID 24" Targets in shadown.
Citade11a Bridge
Bassano "
Castlefranco Bridge &
Treviso M"y' s 2. unidentifieds/E Alc seen
Nervesa Bridge at Treviso at 15000' head­
Coneg1iano " ing 30 degrees. No attack.
Saci1e Bridge to Ve
Aviano A/O - 2. runs 6"
Motta di Livenza Bridge
Bridge at G.7981 Approx. 50 bursts of very
S. Dona di Piave Bridge accurate flak at Mestre.
Mestre .ly's Plane holed in 3 places in
Padova Bridge right boom. Did not arfect
" lilY's 19000' operation of plane so pilot
Padova So. Bridge 1110 continued and got yies of
last four targets.

Not covered due to weath r

Be11uno 'MIY's
Capt., Air Corps
Interrogating Officer.
It is difficult to assess the time required for interpretation
due to ma..ny variable factors',"'(nature of the targets, and the t~Tpe of
Interpretation Report required - 1st Phase, 2nd Phase, 3rd Phase, or
BDA). However, in the case of this particular mission (which landed
at 1150 hours), Tactical Air Force Target Section would have a 1st
Phase Report ~ approximately -1700 hours, and very poBsibly sooner.

Speed is always essential in getting Interpretation Reports to

demanders and other interested parties, hut is especially urgent when
"Turnabout Bombing" may be required. Just before and just after the
invasion of Southern France, TAF medium and fighter bombers were at­
tempting to knock out several German coastal defense guns. The Ger­
mans had taken gun turrets from damaged French battleships and cruis­
ers and used them as CD guns. These guns were well emplaced and pro­
bably nothing short of a direct hit could have knocked them out.
Therefore, it was necessary to get immediate BDA after morning
missions, so that the bombers would know definitely whether the guns
had been knocked out or not. They needed this flash inforrmation so
that afternoon missions could be planned and laid on if the guns ~ere
still serviceable. This quick BDA was used with great success, and
enabled the bombers to operate more efficiently, and eliminated un­
necessary missions. However, to be successful, it is essential that
only 2 or 3 targets be laid on the mission, so that the time required
for flying, processing, and interpretation may be reduced to a minimum.

Typical camera setup in an F-5 Aircraft.


The 5th ArmY has long been keenl1 aware ot the vital assistanoe
aftorded bY' aerial photography to almost nery branoh ot military
operationa. In order to make the tullest use ot this assistance, it
has set up a closely intesrated liaison system tor transmitting the
photosraPhio needs ot the Ground l"oroe un1 ts to Air l"oroe Reconnaissanoe
units and tor remitting the photographs, together with the military in­
tormation gleaned tran them to those 88DI8 Ground Foroe un! ts. This
sY'st_ is not to be tound in any tield manual and deliberatelY' bY'-passes
&n1' normal channels.

The _ineers. Air Support. Artillery. and Planning statt are the
main users ot photo reconnaissance. All their needs are correlated wi th­
in the G-2 Section bY' the lhoto Reoon Unit (P.R.U.) which is in oomplete
oharge ot aerial photography and uses ot aerial photography in the 5th
Ursq. All demands and all photographs go through P.R.U. to be passed on
to the branoh oonoerned. It torma the main link between the A.rt1q and
theA1r Corpa and is one ot the main souroes frem whioh the G-2 Seotion
draws information.

The dEllD!Ulds bY' the A.rm'1 tor photo reoonnaissance maY' be divided in­
to two distinot parts. First - and most immediatelY' important - is the
taotical work - the photographing of vital areas on the tront line.
DailY' coyerage ot these areas is essential. Artillery locations for
oounterbatter;y tire are top priority because guns can be aocurately lo­
cated on photos while .tlash and sound- and observation give onlY' an ap­
proximate location. and JI8.Y not be aYailable at all in mountainous ooun­
try. SeoondlY', is strategio photo reoon .:. the photographing ot rear de­
tense lines. road moyemant. or any signiticant activitY' whioh might reYeal
the an-.JY· s intentiona. Detense lines. while being built. must be photo­
graphed at regular interTals in order to spot new emplacements before
they can be ettectivelY' camoutlSBed. This information. tran strategio:
sorties is used mainlY' by the Ar1l'q Planning staft in determining the
OYer-all stratesY ot the campaign..


The needs or -demands- tor aerial photographs ot enfllQ' objectives

in the tactioal area (roughly. within 20 miles ot the tront line. or aD1'
areas within range ot our artillery) usuallY' originate with G-2 and Art­
iller:r or Division, COrps and A.rtrJY. Such important or troublesome object­
ives are. tor emmple. eneDG" gun emplacements. concentration. ot enemy tanks,
trucks or troops. torward airfields and dumps, key bridges, crossroads,
R.g. Centers .. and other vital caamunications or supplY' points just behind
the enellJ1' lines. Demands tor photographs ot theae objeotives are torwarded

- 17 ­

from vexious command posts to a s~ecial photo section attached to
Division HQ. This photo section, consisting of experts in photo recon,
all part of P.R.TI., sifts down and correlates the demands and fonrards
them to a corresponding photo section at Corps HQ. Here again, they are
sifted down and passed to the Air Liaison Section at Army HQ. Since
speed is essential, all demands are passed by telephone and all regular
intelligence. channels are by-passed. At A~; the Air Liaison Officer
(a member of p.p-.n.) composes and assesses the demands of the various
corps and gives each a priority in accordance with the Army Plan. The
priority-rated demands are then passed on to the Air Liaison Detach­
ment with the P.R. Squadron. This detachment is headed by two staff
officers (A.I,.O's) who coordinate the flying of missions and distri­
bution of intelligence. The officers of this detachment are respon­
sible for (1) communicating all priority-rated demands to an Air Force
Photo Reconnaissance Squadron and seeing that the Squadron takes the
photos as soon as ~ossible; (2) having the film developed, printed,
plotted, interpreted and mass reproduced at the Photo Center; (3) des­
patching the prints with plots and reports directly to the various corps
photo sections which in turn distribute them to the units that had
originally requested them. These A.L.O's contact the photo squadron
directly - there ~ no intervening Air Force channels whatsoever.
Because of this streamlined s,rstem, it is possible to deliver the in­
terpreted photos within 24 hours after the derne.nd is made.
The interpretation is done at the 5th Ar~ Photo Intelligence
Center which is composed of personnel from the 3rd P.I.D. and M.A.I.U.
(West). The photos are carefully studied by interpreters and counter­
battery officers who compute exact coordinates of artillery positions
to a degree of accurac,y not attainable in computations from flash and
sound; by Engineering expert.s who study roads and bridges to determine
where most damage may be done and time required to repair such damage;
by Air Support experts who assess relative urgen~ of targets for
support bombardment. The most important items of intelligence found
in these front-line missions are ene~ artillery positions. A counter­
battery officer from each corps works with the interpreters and acts
as liaison officer between them and the corps counter-battery section.
As each gun is located its coordinates are passed immediately to the
corps by radio. This system enables our artillery to fire on ene~
gtms before nightfall am before Jerry has time to move. It is
possible to relay such information to the corps in less than 6 hours
after the photos are taken. Later, if reprints of a sortie are de­
sired, the request is passed to the llBlue Trainll , a lab detachment of
the 3rd Photo Tech. Squadron which specializes in mass production of
photos. These reprints are distributed down through corps, divisions
and regiment and often to companies and platoons.

- IS ­
The outstanding features of
Sections at Division and Corps. not only for interpretation but for the
expert appraisal of demands. and for their direct transmission to the
Liad.son Section. and tor the direct delivery of the interpreted photo­
graphe. These eeotioD8 eerTe to weed out impossible demands. speed up
important demands. and insure proper use of the photographs. (2) Photo­
II graphing of enemy artillery loc{ltions every day if possible. Thus, the
~ can anticipate any move of the enemy. since artillery disposition
is usually an indication ot the enemy's intentions. This was partio­
ularly Taluable at Anzio where each German cOWlter-attack was anti­
oipated and defeated because their artillery locations had given us
the tip-off as to where the attaok would cane. (3) Anticipation by
the Air Liaison Offioer at ArmY of photographic demands. The ALO sits
in OD. all statf oonferences and, by his knowledge of the Army Plan. he
oan anticipate most photosraph~c needs. As a result. many corps needs
are met even before the corps asks for ths. (4) The photo squadron
whioh flies the ~ missions received its demands directly fram 5th
Ar'JrI:f SO that the requests do not have to go through an intermediate
Air Corps HQ,. The ALO merely presents the demands to the squadron in­
telligence offioer. The liaison is so ~wift that a photo plane has
aotually started to fly a mission less than a half-hour atter it was

One of the missions flown. for the Anzio beachhead is a good ex­
I, ample ot this speed. On February' 16, 1944, while the beachhead was in
I grave danger of beina pushed into the sea, G-2 received ground reports
indicating that Jerrr was D1&ssina tanka near Cisterna. A hurry call
was sent through to the photo squadron and in less than an hour a
plane was photographing the area. It was obvious that Jerry disliked
being photographed at that particular time since the flak almost blast­
ed the pilot out at the sky. but his photos showed that a whole }9.nzar
Division was DBssiDg for an attaok. If suoh a large-scale attaok had
oame as a surprise. it is doubtful if the beachhead troops could have
defeated it. But. because of swift liaison within mu, the attack
was antioipated and beaten off.

The main purpose of the whole set-up is SPEED. Transmission of

demands and consequent interpretation reports is as switt as possible.
Most offioial channels are by-passed and much Ired-tape l is cut. or­
diDary intelligence channels are too 10118 and slow for efficient tac­
tical photo recon. The sy'sts used by the 5th ArmY has proven very
suoc88sful. It is not to be found in any boo~J i t was never taught in
any school - it is the product of trial, error, and bitter experience.
Today we feel that the most effioient tactical set-up has finally been


8eoauee the Italian oampaisn has been a series of quick starts and

- 19 ­

J. ..
t'f 1.- ~ .. ,~

long delays, 5th Army has f-ound it necessary to create a-Planning Staff
who studies how best to overcome the next obstacle. The Germans have a­
dapted their strategy to the Italian terrain to such ~~ extent that we
have never l,een able to push thehl ba{lk steadily. During each lull in
the advance U9 the peninsula, the Germans had time to build defense
lines to ~hich they could retire ~hen their current position became un­
tenable. Their strategy is to build ~p a fairly deep defensive li~e at
the first suitable terrain feature (molilltain, ridge or river) behind·
their lines. This ~s primarily-to serve as a holding line which, in
case of a break-through, would slow up the Allied advance temporarily
and allow the Germans to consolidate their defenses. Behind this hold­
ing line, another much stronger defense line was built - concrete eun
emplacements, pill boxes, barbed wire, mine fields, anti-tank ditches,
etc. When necessary, Jerry retreated, first to his holdtng line; then
to the permanent defense line, where h~ could mAke a determined stand
on favorable terrain. This same pattern of strategy has been followed
throughout the call1?aign. After Salerno, the Volturno P..iver was the
holding line; the Cassino - Garigliano River line was the permanent
one. Again, ~hen we broke through at Cassino, the Adolf Hitler line
held us up while Jerry scrambled back to a line at Palestrina. In this
case, however, the breakthrough from the beachhead by-passed the Pal­
estrina line and nullified its value. Jerry was forced to ~>uI1.. out in
a hurry and withdraw in a semi-rout until he reached the Arno River.
Here again, he had built a holding line which gave him time to catch
his breath and prepare to defend the formidable Gothic Line. His
strategy of building two defense lines simultaneously prevented the
Allies from effecting a complete rout. At present, the Germans are
building a holding line at the Po River and a permanent line from
Venice to Lake Garda, in anticipation of the fall of Bologna.

The various defense lines were spotted on photographs very early

in the campaign. The Planning Staff kept a close check on each line
as it was being built. Photo coverage each week revealed t~e progress
made and eM9lacements were studied before they could be effectively
camouflaged. The increased activity, freshly turned e~rth, the com­
parison with previous photographs served to reveal every detail of
construction. Consequently, G-2 had complete k'nowledge of t:le strength
and weaknesses of these various lines. The Army was suppJ,ied with ac­
curate mosaics, defense over-lays, and annotated photographs of each
position well in ac.vance of the attack on it. The outstanding accom­
plishment of this strategic reconnaissance was performed in connection
with the Gothic Line. Interpreters were supplied with weekly photo­
graphs of the line for almost a year, so that the ~tnutest details and
changes were noted. The line was photogra?hed in every possible scale
and from every possible angle. In the final attack on Futa Pass, G-2,
from ?hotos alone, knew the location of practically every pill-box,
minefield, and weapons pit. ThiR was undoubtedly a fine example of

- 20 ­
the val~e of photo recon. Not only in the Gothic Line attack, but in
all major attacks, 5th Army's efficient Photo Recon has been able to
nullify many of the Germans' defensIve advantages. Shovm beloVT is an
annotated mosaic of a portion of the Gothic Line defenses as located
on aerial photographs.

_--.. ..l"\,- -.:...~,/ J ""'C-i ','A M Y-APY AGT,YITY


m-- -.: III r\OX V f ,ElD GUN POSITION
0 - - 1 Nli ·t,~,,< r:)~ L:Nacc • ')\GGI~G
...- M (] ;0: r 1 It.. ""- ....... BET:- OF WlrlE

• MJr.LFlf,--O 1'-"""" CRAV,/L 'f,l tJCH


• '.rtl~lra~· 't. ~ •
• ,. ,j
.l i . ~ ~

From the time the ALO presents the Ar~- request to the Squadron
Intelligence Officer, its fate is entirely in the hnnds of the Air
COT')s. The fiying of a.n ar~ photo mission involves a great many
problems - many more than entailed qy a fighter or bomber mission.
Photographic considerations, weather, equipment, personnel, enemy
op~osition are a few of the weightiest problems.

PHOTOGRAPHY: The mission must be flown when there is sufficient

photogra9hic liGht. In mountainous country, hil 1_ shadow may obscure
much of the photogra'?h. If there are clouds nearby, their shadow ~y
fall across the target area and cut off the photographic li~·ht. Or­
dinarily, missions flown between 1000 and 1400 hours are satisfactory.
Occasionally, in extremely hilly te~rain, missions must be flown at
high noon to eliminate hill shadQ',7s. These photogra:,Jhic conditions
greatly reduce the scope of operations aDd confine aerial photography
to definite time limits.

VmATHER: ~eRther is by far the most important consideration. In

arnt'J work, w'0.ere photograph is so highl:{ valuable, the weather
must be checked hourly. Forecasts, predictions ano C·'Y'I)Q.,d rep':>rts can­
not be trusted alone. The only positive way to chec:\: P~10tograJhic
weather in such a small area is to fly over the front lines and see
i t 'for ~rourself. The 12th Squadron flies as r~my as three weather
missions a day, so that the slightest break in an overcast will be
reported and a mission sent off. Not only target weather, but base
weather (weather over the airfield) is checked continually. The 9ilot
must be assured that, after he gets his photos, he will be able to
bring t1~em back. As each pilot lands, he is carefully interr-:>gated as
to Cloud layers; fronts, condensation trail level, and tendencies. U~­
on the results of this interrogation depend the days' operations. If
the pilot reports that the weather is closing in, the missions are sent
off hurriedly, regardless of photographic conditions. If he reports
"all clear", the missions are sent off according to priority and when
photographic conditions are best.

EQUIPMENT: The missions are flown in F-5 type aircraft - a P-3~

fitted up with cameras instead of guns. Tbe cameras are extremely
sensitive and are apt to be affected by the hi~h altitude conditions.

- 22 ­
EXtreme oold will oause oondensation on the lens, the slightest vibra­
tion will spoil the photographJ the intervalaneter setting (time in­
terval between exposures) must be oarefully 'ooordinated with the vary­
ing speed and altitude of the plane. sanetimes the camera window rray
beoaoe ooyered with mud pioked up fran the runway during takeoff'. In
spite of excellent maintenanoe, oamera failures orop up frequently and
at very embarr&Bsing times.

PmSONNEL. The missions are flown by pilots who have been expecial­
11' tra~ned for photo reconnaissanoe. The fate ot the mission depends en­
tirely upon the ability of the pilot to fly his flight lines correotly.
A few pilots are perfect; many are not. Uhf'ortunate17. at this time,
very few pilots are trained. for al"lllY work - that is. flying a series of
Parallel fl1ght lines for a mosaic. Training in the states consists
mainly at ooyering pinpoints and strips. Therefore, each pilot must
be given addi tional training in the flying of JDOsai cs when he arrives
in the squadron. A deoided attempt is made to impress upon the pilots
the importance of their :D1ssions. !'requently, they visit divisions at
the front to S88 for themselTes what the doughboy goes through and how
th-.v oan alleTiate the hardships. Insofar as possible, the pilots are
induced in this way to take a personal interest in their photographs.

ENEMY OPPOSITION, Jerry's favorite target has always been photo

planes. It is relatively easy for him to knock down a plane whioh
flies four or five long straight flight lines, at a oonstant altitude.
Plak. while it is inaocurate for the most part. seriously interferes
with the pilot's efficiency and. next to weather. oonst! tutes the main
obstacle to photo reconnaissance. Enemy fighters appear only infrequent­
ly over the front lines, but ne¥ertheless constitute a grave menace to
photo planes. Since the !'5 airoraf't is canpletely unarmed. the pilot's
only proteotion at the approach of any plane is either to dash for hane
or hide in a oloud bank. hoping to exoape detection. Friendly planes
are Tery apt to interfere with missions. since a photo pilot oannot
wait until a plane gets close enough to be identified. Moreover. Jerry
was reported to be using captured P-38 , s in canbat.· Therefore, friendly
fighters are very suspicious or all P-38 t S and have chased them off'
their target on .many occasions. All in all, the photo pilot is the
JDOst Tulnerable of flyers, since his only protection-is his own alert­
ness. the speed or his plane. and his altitude.

When the weatherman gives his O.K., the squadron starts to operate.
The mission is laid on a 1.250,000 air map, in the shape of multiple
flight lines usually totalling about 100 miles. The pilot is then brief­
ed, the plane preflighted and the cameras ohecked for flying the mission.
After reaohing his target. the pilot tries to piok out check-points on

- 23 •
t',e rround ane on his map, 8tarts his first flight line, tllel1 COIl'r'ares
hi~' COl'lPB.SS with the compass heacing on hiR l:"tDp. All tLe while, J1 e
must note the operClt.ion of his CB.meras, correct for wind, wa tc'h out for
flak and ene~T fighters, Bnd keep the stre,igl1t end level. It is
not e.t all uncommon for ne"" pilots, shaJcen ly the fact that they a­
lone ann' unarr'led over enemy terri tory, to make serious er;-ors, such [: s
flying over the wrong target or failing to s.d tch on the ca;:leras.

Below. is a typical Army support mission as lc.ia on a 1/250,000

all' 1il8l? On the map are Ehov:n flight lines, compass r:e8dins~, length
of each flight line and latest front line location.

, .' ';'4 ­
When the pilot has ght lines, he ustmlly flies
back over any portion which he thinks he missed and tries to fill in
the gaps until he runs out of film. On returning to base, the film
is sent to the lab, thence to the plotters at 5th A~ Photo Intell­
igence.Center. The next morning the pilot receives a plot showing
exactly where he flew. The plot below ShOWS the results obtained by
the pilot in his attempt to fly the mission on the preceding ~age.


- 25 ­

." .
Below is an e etation report issued on
the pilotts mission. The coordi~ s f . artille~T positions were
radioed to the Corps Artillery within 4 to 8 hours after the pilot

* * * * * * *



Sortie Unit Pilot Time Date FL Scale Quality
lZPR 87 12PR Sqdn. 1t Allred 1150 15 Jan 24" 1:10,000 A
Covers: A block over Highway No. 64 from VERGATO (1 6926) to BOLOGNA.
Area L 6317 - L 7049 - L 8850 - L 7821
Except for an overall increase of approximately twenty-one field guns
of light calibre in a general area south of.BQLOGNA, no other change has
taken place to the field artillery situation.
Little military activity and hardly any movement is seen in the areas
covered by the above good qualit,y sortie which was flown over the most
important sector of the tactical front.


1. m/lllSE L 73173781 3/4 field bty. 12?R87 3045 D447

2. 98/IYNE L 67402820 3, possibly 4 gun field bty.
12PR87 3011 A334
3. m/lllSE L 69193447 1, possibly 2 li~~t guns, type unknown.
12PR87 4018 D853
4. L 69173543 4 light guns, tJ~e unkno~~" "E234

1. 87/111SE L 75303683 4 gun field bty unoccupied 12PR87 4077 c631

2. m/llSW . L 83553700 2 unocc gun emplacements. 12PR87 3159 D962

* * * * * * * *
This report goes on to list the antiaircraft positions occupied and
unoccupied, some minor defenses, engineering intelligence, end military
activity. The accent is on speedy interpretation, and the infornation is
relayed by telephone or radio to the divisions concerned as soon as possible.

- 26 ­

· " .­
In addition to the hasty interpret~tion.don~At- the 5th ~ Photo
Intelligence Center, the photos are studied in more detail ~ interpreters
at each division. Below is a sample report issued qy the photo sections of
the 6 South African Armored Division and Task Force 45:

* * * *
The following additional defenses have been reported by the photo

interpretation sections of the formation noted.


1. 98/IV NE L 7692.3026 Four mortars. 12PR8'7
4121 E326
2. L 753528'70 Suspect three mortars. 3124 C220

.3. L 76102986 11ft nn .3125 A81:?

4. L 810.32908 Possibly four mortars ~ .3167 E758

5. 98/I iw L 8101285.3 Mortar n .3167 F246
6. L 796.32924 Military activity, possibly mortar position.

n .3167 B452

7. L 79.3629.32 Suspect mortax. ff .3167 A655

8. L 77602911 Thxee possible mortar positions at side of
to L 776.32905 ~ 4126 B225
9. L 77972972 Suspect three mortars. n 4127 B232
10. L 771;292 A trench S,Ystem with 7 MG positions can now be
seen on crest· of MT. CAPP..AF.A 4126 B924
1. 97/ I SE L 49011812 2 MG positions with crawl trench.
12PR8'7 4105 A545
2. L 50691755 MG position. n 410.3 D857
.3. L 49711750 Mortar position. n 4105 C757
4. L 51611748 -n • Sf
, 4100 E257

1. 97/I SE L 50591748 Suspected OP 12PR8'7 4104 D258

2. L 55592199 Farmhouse suspected of being occupied qy ene~·

* * * *
- 27 ­
The FAPIC is an organization that mushroomed out of 5th Army's un­
precedented use of aerial photography. An intermediate agency was needed
to be clearing house for all the various uses of photos Qy the Army.
Interpreters, counter-batte~ officers, ALO's, plotters, draftsmen and
engineers all used the same photos but in different ways. In order to
bring these experts under one roof where all the photos would be avaiIE.ble
whenever needed, the FAPIC was formed. It has no recognized Tables of
Organization; it has sprung up as a field expediency and changes its
form as ~he situation changes. The personnel are drawn from Mediterranean
Allied Interpretation Unit (M.A.I.U. West) and the Third Photo Interpre­
tation Detachment (3 P.I.D.) The former is a British organization which
originally took care of all the photo work for 5th Arnw. Later, after
American photo technicians were trained and sent overseas as the 3 P.I.D.
the work was divided between the two units. At present, American personnel
predominate under joint supervision.

From FAPIC, interpreters who have been specially trained for ar~
work, are sent down to divisions, corps and army. These men supervise
the various photo sections and, not only interpret photos, but coordinate
demands for coverage and delivery of information and photographic prints.
Thus, any matter pertainine to photo reconnaissance is in trained hands
while it is being passed from divisional interpreter to the photo pilot
and back again. The interpreters are shifted around often enough to in­
sure that each realizes his place in the overall setup. So great has
been the success of this system that a good interpreter usually becomes
the right hand man of the commanding general. He must be available at
all times of the day and night to give intelligence on which the fate
of the current operation may depend. In addition, the interpreters
serve as the "'salesmen" of the 3rd Photo Group in that they can ex­
plain to the ground forces how the Group operates in supporting them.
Gradually, because of this, a mutual underste..nding has grown up which
has served to bridge the abysmal gap between ground forces and air

FAPIC itself is al~ays located as close as possible to the PRU

airfield in order to facilitate speedy delivery of photos from pilot
to interpreter. The Center is divided into a Tactical Section and a
Strategic Section. The Tactical issues the General Interpretation Re­
ports (G.I.R.'s) as shown on the two previous pages. These are hasty in­
terpretation reports of which artillery intelligence is most imuortant.
Another set of the same photos is passed to corps and division inter­
preters where a more detailed report is issued.

The Strategic Section does the type of work illustrated ~ the

over-print of the Gothic Line Defenses. They study photos of rear­

- 28 ­

defense lines noting the changes and th~ speed of construction. Thus,
the A~ Planning Staff always has been supplied with detailed infor­
mation as to what obstacles lie beyond the present front-line.

Another section at FAPIC devotes its entire efforts to issuing

a "'Se1ected Target Report"'. This entails detailed study of aI\Y sig­
nificant military activity in the tactical area and photographs are
used to check and verify the numerous ground repor'ts which come in.
Bombing or artillery targets are selected and passed on to Air Support
or Artillery,

The Engineer Section at FAPIC reports on roads, bridges and

terrain features. Every road in the A~ area which may p.ventual1y be
used ~ our troops is Bubjected to detailed study. Bridges are studied
for serviceability, demolitions and amount of repair work needed.
Rivers, which form one of the main terrain obstacles in Italy, are
given much attention. The report includes the height of the banks,
possible fords, and bridging sites. Probably the most spectacular work
accomplished at FAPIC ~ the Engineer interpreters is typified in the
following Engineer report:

* * * *




Route No. 64 from L 673212 north of LISSANO to BOLOGNA. (This supercedes

report of 6 July for this section.)


12PR363 2.7 Feb

- 2.9 ­

• f·
This is a two 1 am or tarmac) having
a road width of 16 to of 20 to 24 feet.
The terrain over which the road passes consists of a narrow stream
valley on the east and steep disected terrain on the west. Movement
off the road will be very limited.
There are at present five bridges, two tunnel entrances and one
corniched section demolished. Between Doints L 673212 and L 750290,
the demolition program has probably been carried out. Three other
bridges on this route are at present pre~ared for demolition. There
are six bridges and 1 causeway that are likely sites for further de­
If complete demolition is carried out, from 5 to 8 days of Eng­
ineer work will be required for the initial reopening of the road (1
lane ~passes). Material necessary for construction will be 150 feet
of Bailey bridge, 195 ft of treadway trestle bridge, culverts and

I. L 673212 Brid~e partially blown and approaches cratered for
a distance of 70 ft on the north and 100 ft on the south. Original
bridge was single span bow string arch with a 65 ft span length and
15 ft high. Gully has low sloping banks of soft material. Vehicles
have crossed unaided above the bridge.
l2PR363 4068 - 9
II. L 69255 Bridge blown, 4 of 5 spans destroyed, resulting
gap 255 ft long and 25 ft deep. One span apparantly remains intact.
The piers are partially destroyed. The stream has a braided sandy
channel 110 ft wide and a very shallow wet gap 30 to 110' ft wide.•
Ford site located 500 ft below the bridge with two land ap~roaches
will serve as an initial crossing for combat vehicles. Channel ~dth
90 ft at this point and a shallow wet gap 90 ft wide. Track laying or
trestle bridge may be required to make the ford suitable for sup~ly
l2PR363 4063 - 4
III. L 697261 Road cratered ~ bomb; easily ~-p8ssed.
l2PR363 4062 - 3
IV. L 707277 Bridge blown, resulting gap 95 ft long and 15 ft
deep. Stream has V shaped banks of soft material. Debris blocks gully
making a wet gap 50 ft wide just above the bridge. Combat vehicles
can ford stream 200 yards above the bridge. Culverts and four hours
of bulldozing will be required for a fill crossing just above the
bridge l2PR363 4060 - 1

- 30 ­
, , ..... '
V. L 714276 Railroad tunnel entrance blown destroying the road. Re­
sulting gap 70 ft long and 15 ft wide. Combat vehicles may possibly
by-pass by cross country movement to the north. IJII!->rovement of exist­
ing trails will be required for supply vehicles. Suitable site for a
Bailey bridge across destr~ed section.
12PR363 3061 - '2

* * * * * *
A dispatch office is also ~aintained at YAPIC to distribute the
photos and reports quickly. Jeep couriers run back and forth from here
to Army, Corps and Division at all times of day and night.

Since the Army distributes not only interpretation reports, but

also the actual photographs to Corps, Division and Regiment, a huge
number of reprints is required. To cope with this, demand, a special
detachment, called "The Blue Train", has been attached to YAPIC. It,S
personnel and equipment are drawn from the Third Photo Tech Squadron,
but the unit is under operational control of FAPIC. Its equipment
consists of huge multi~rinters and heavy reproduction equipment all
mOlmted on trailers ready to IIOve as YAPle moves. It is prepared. to
work on a 24 hom- basis and frequently does so when the a.rury is pre­
paring for an attack. This "Blue Train", since it is attached directly
to FAPIC, has greatly speeded up reprinting b,y elt.inating another
operational channel.

Under the auspices of FAPIC, every mission fiown for the 5th Army
goes through the above process of interpretation and distribution until
the photos are wrung dry of every scrap of intelligence. Early in the
war, one of the Army's generals established the tenet that "One photo
is worth a htmdred men". 5th Army's present use of photo recoDDaissance
has done much to prove the truth o.r that statement, and it is with
great justification that the 5th has been called the most "Photo
Conscious" Army in the world.


- 31 ­
From the foregoing account of Army sUP90rt photo reconnaissance,
it is obvious that efficient liaison is essential. So many widely ­
divergent agencies are involved in ?RU that one small bottleneck could
hold up the whole ?rocess. Therefore, an agency has been set up to
supervise the flow of photo intelligence to the Ar~. This is the
nAn ?R.ij. Air Liaison Section, beaded by three British Staff Officers.
Some of their headaches are:

1. Suyervising transmission of demn.nds and delivery of prints.

2. Selecting a suitable airfield for the photo squadron within

reach of Army HQ.

J. Assigning priorities to missions and reprint requests.

4. ~laining t~e A~ dernanas to the photo squadron; the flying

possibi1itie~ and limitations to t~e Army.

5. Preventing and eliminating bottlenecks throughout.

6. Maintaining friendly cooper~tion bet~een flying personnel,

lab technicians, photo interpreters, Air Cor~s and Army intelligence
officers, army commanders, and counter-battery officers.

The complete harmony and mutual underst?nding brought about Qy

the "A" Air Liaison Section in this theatre estab1is!1es beyond a~T doubt
the necessity of such liaison between Army and Uhoto Reconnaiss~nce.
Due to their efforts, the transmission of photo intelligence, con­
ducted on the "old boy" basis, has been swift and efficient. In the
relations between 5th Army and its photo s~uadron, the Ar~J, through
its liaison officers, has been forbearing in errors, helpful in
emergencies, and appreciative of successes. ThiR attitude more than
any ot~er single factor has resulted in willing c00geration and
complete harmony between Air Cor~s and Army within P.R.U.
: I
. "
:.i'l-U.... Fl:.IGHT TO USE



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I \

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. 1


~e purpose of this ess~ is to assess the value of having a mobile

Photo Recon advance unit attached to Fifth Army Headquarters. During
the long static period while the Fifth Army was held up at Cassino, the
whole Photo Squadron was stationed in one spot and all missions were
nown from there. However, when the push from Cassino to F'lorence start­
ed and the situation became fast-moving, it was found that counter-bat­
tery information was needed much more quickly than before. Fifth ArJI\Y
Headquarters moved frequently and because of poor communications, it was
impossible to keep the squadron in close contact with the situation.
Theretore, it was deemed necessary to attach a small Photo Recon advance
unit to the Fifth Army. This unit was to concern itself exclusively
with front line missions and counter-battery work. The remainder of the
squadron stayed behind and flew strategic missions.
The unit consisted of approximately fifty enlisted men, three pilots,
tour interpreters and one intelligence officer. Its equipment was two
mobile laboratory trailers and five vehicles. It was found that such a
un! t could move easily and quickly on twenty-four hour notice, in order
to be situated close to A~ Headquarters at all times. In all, five
sueh moves were made: Pomigliano to Anzio to Voltone, Voltone to
Follonica, Follohica to Cecina, and Cecina. to Siena. In each case, the
unit moved overnight and did not lose aqr operational time no~
The following is
a description of the
most etficient method
of operating the unit.
Early in the morning,
the A.L.O. and Squad­
ron Intelligence Off­
icer visited A~ Head­
quarters and, from G-2,
learned the latest front
line location. With this
as a basis, three missions
were planned which cover­
ed the main portiODS of
the Arrrrj' front. Whenever
possible, all the flying
was completed ~ 1030
hours. The photos were
then processed through
the lab. Three sets of
prints were ade up,
one of which went

- 34 ­

r •
~ -
1 J
immediately to the unit interpreters for hasty counter-battery inter­
pretation, and the other two sets were nown by Cub to the Corps con­
cerned. Inf'Ol"lll8.tion started to flow to the Corps early in the after­
noon. At 1700 hours a Cub new in froll each Corps to pick up what­
ever photos had already been interpreted. A counter-battery officer
sorted out these photos while flying b8ck to Corps, gave them to the
waiting Cub artillery spotters and the Corps Artillery started firing
on the batteries by 1800 hours. During the night, a complete inter­
pretation of the photos was made in the usual manner.

The above routine has several advantages and represents a change

from previous counter-battery setup. These advantages are:

1. Missions can be planned more efficiently. Often the front­

line moved considerably during the night and aissions had to be ad­
justed accordingly. This could not be done by telephone since
communications become very unreliable in a moving situation. The A.L.O.
and 1.0., by visiting Ar1JIS' Headquarters personally, eliminated the
communications ~roblem.

2. Counter-battery information can be disseminated much more
q nickly. In this moving situation, Geraan batteries do DOt remain
I over night in one position. Thus, information from to~v's sortie is
useless tomorrow. The information must be acquired and used on the
same dq. This has been made possible by the Photo Recon advance
unit. Previously, on the static Cassino front, artillery locations
were radioed to Corps in the late afternoon and evening and the in­
terpreted photos reached the Artillery twenty-four hours after the
mission was flown. This was considered satisfactory in such a sit­
uation, but would not be fast enough during a prolonged successful
push. During the drive from Cassino to Pisa, the Photo Recon advance
unit was able to get the artillery locations and photos to the
Artillery in five hours. This time-saving, in i tsel!, justifies the
use of such a un! t.

3. The pilots, because they fly over approrlllately the same

area every day,· get to know it well. As a consequence, they fly
better photo missions.

Because of the necessity for speed, a significant change was

made in the planning of missions. Previously each Corps was the
subject of a separate mission. As a result, the sortie for the one
Corps had to wait in the lab while the sortie for another corps was
being processed. To eliminate this time lag, each sortie was plalD1ed
so that it covered part of each corps front. '!'hus, when the first
sortie came out of the lab, the counter-battery ~ficers from all
the eorps could start to work on their part of it i1Dmediately.

... .

In addition to the above spec f c a van es, the advance unit

helped to foster better understanding'between the Ground Forces and the
Air Corps. The interpreters, counter-battery officers and pilots all
lived and worked together. Each gained a much clearer understanding of
the other's work. Because of their proximit,y to the airfield, Armf
personnel became acquainted with the flying personnel. This personal
acquaintance fosters mutual understanding and is a subtle but nonethe­
less extreme~ important factor in successful photo reconnaissance.
This advance unit was highly successful as evidenced by Fifth
A~'8 complete satisfaction with its work. It is the ideal P.R.U.
setup for a fast-moving prolonged push. However, when the push ceases,
the situation becomes static and the need for the unit vanishes. It then
i8 more convenient for the Squadron to operate as a single organization
for the sake of administration and all around efficiency.

.. _- .. ..- ._. -"""".-,,," . ..- .­

2 4 6 8 10 12 14


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S- 10· 12° 14° (6° ISO 20°
to SWITZ. ~~T >, J HI'NGARY I~
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OCT. ,- i~OV.-DEC. - 1944

An interesting development in photo reconnaissance has been the

use of oblique photographs and dicing missions. "Dicing" missions got
their name in the early days of the war when the missions were so dan­
gerous that pilots threw dice to see who would fly them. By far the
most important type of oblique or dicing mission is a coastline strip
for use on an amphibious landing. The 12th Photo Squadron flew low­
level oblique missions previous to the landings at Salerno, Anzio,
Elba and Southern France. The importance of these photos cannot be
over emphasized. They undou'!)tedly were instrmnental in saving thou­
sands of doughboy lives. From photos alone, the Army planned each
invasion down to the minut~st detail. The obliques were annotated
wit~ beach defenses interpreted from large scale vertical photos,
code names, and special instructions, then issued to the troops.
Terrain models prepared from oblique aerial photos are also used ex­
tensively. It is a matter of great pride to the 5th Army PRU that on
each invasion all infantry platoon leaders were sunplied with such
photos. Almost as important are missions flown over "No Man's Landft ,
which give a panorama view at 3000' of the enemy held territory dir­
ectly in front of our troops. These are used chiefly to brief patrols
and to plan attacks. The great value of oblique photos, plus 5th
Army's efficient use of them, has fully justified the tremendous risk
involved. To the pilots who flew the missions should go the lion's
share of the credit for the success of this t,ype of reconnaissance.

The 12th Photo Squadron has flown the majority of these missions,
with varying degrees of success. Some types of obliques have been
found almost useless; others extremely valuable. After a great deal
of experimentation, the squadron has arrived at definite conclusions
as to what missions should or should not be attempted and what cameras
should be used.
First, let us follow the process of experimentation. In the
winter of 1943, 5th Army sorely needed obliques to plan the attack on
Cassino. Therefore, the 12th Squadron consented to try some dicing
missions with a 6" oblique camera. On each of the missions, the pilots
received intense flak and the missions cost the squadron several planes.
The photographs did not reveal any significant information because of
the small camera coverage. In other words, their value was not com­
mensurate with the risk involved. Later, a 12" oblique was installed
for experimentation. This, with some exceptions, gave excellent results,
but the missions were still very dangerous. The Whole front line was
covered with obliques of good scale from Cassino down the Garigliano
River to Gaeta. They were of great value for planning the attack and
for briefing patrols. The French Corps in par ,'ar used the photos
:fo good advantageJ. This Corps was to attack through a spot which the
Germans considered impassable. The terrain was mountainous and the
roads poor. If the attack were to succeed, eve~ path, no matter how
small, had to be utilized fully. Several oblique missions were flown
over Mount Petrella, which was the main terrain obstacle. The photos
revealed terrain information that enabled the French Cor~s to capture
the mountain and break through the Gustave Line. Before the final at­
tack along this l.ine, these obliques were annotated with terrain data
and issued to the troops in huge quantities. The success of the attack
may well be attributed in part to these excellent panorama photos.

At Anzio, a further advance in obliques was made. One objection

to the l2n obliques at Cassino was that t of the photo was taken up by
the engtne.nacelles of the plane. It was found that the camera could
be angled around until most of the nacelles was eliminated. Col.
Polifka and two of his pilots who were stationed at Anzio throughout
most of its "dark dayan, flew a total of 15 oblique "dicing" missions
covering the entire front. All of the missions were treated roughly
by Jerry and only by the Grace of God did the pilots return safely.
5th Army got photos at all altitudes from 100 feet up to 3000 feet.
In the final breakt~rough from Anzio to Rome, the Army, now highly
pleased with its photos, put them to even greater use than at Cassino.

The next uha@e took place at the Arno Fiver. By this time, the 12ft
obliques, set ~t the proper angle (to eliminate the engine nacelles),
were very satisfactory to the Army. However, the squadron was not
satisfied. The missions were too dangerous; the pilots were getting
shot up consistently because, with a 12" camera, it was necessary to
fly smack over "NO Man's Land" to get decent photos. At the Arno
River, where the ~th Army's advance was again held up, a 21:" oblique
camera was somehow gotten into the nose of a P-3S and tried out success­
fully. This cou1& be flown at 3000', 2 or 3 miles behind our lines
and yet give the ~ame scale as 12" flown closer to enemy territory.
Thus, missions co~d now be flown with excellent results and with
minimum danger. It appeared that the ultimate had been reached - but
it was not to be.

The greatest objection to this oblique set-up now was that the
photos did not gi~e a true picture of the terrain. That is, the camera
did not shoot straight at the target but had to be angled in order to
avoid the engine ruacelles of the plane, so that an object did not look
the same in each olf two overlapping photos. Thus, the terrain took on
a distorted a::>pear'ance. There was no way to eliminate this fault as
long as the camera.S were angled forward to avoid the engIne nacelles.
The squadron bad mteanwhile gotten hold of an old non-operational B-:?5

.. ~ ..... . ..
- 40 ­

... ~ '.. to


- 41 ­
An ob1iq~e of Mount Belvedere on the 5th Army front which was taken
in a B-25 with a 24 inch camera at 7000 feet. This difficult objective
was subsequently captured by the 10th Mountain Division. The wealth of
terrain detail and clarity of the photo made it ideal for planning the
which was used to haul plane parts from Naples. The Squadron C.O.
came up with the idea of installing a camera to shoot out of the side
of the B-25. This would eliminate the troublesome engine nacelles
problem and allow room for a camerman who could manually aim the
camera. In addition, the co-pilot could assist in navigating the
plane. The total result would be mo~e accurate photography and more
accurate navigation. Several experimental missions were flown with
24~ and 40n cameras. However only the 24~ camera proved successful.
Lack of overlap and small ground coverage made the 40n practically
useless. At present, this type of oblique flown behind our lines at
3000' is very satisfactory, but is limited in scope in that a B-25
is not as good a photo ship as a P-38, requires a fighter escort, and
cannot safely penetrate enemy territory at such a low altitude.
By the above process of experimentation, the 12th Squadron final­
ly arrived at what is felt to be the ultimate in obliques:
a. Safety for the pilot and plane.
b. A camera which gives ~~de coverage and good scale.

c. An oblique view of the terrain directly in front of our troops

(Coastline or No Man's Land) taken at an altitude which enables the
army ,to see ~ the first ene~-held ridge or hill.
The squadron has constantly received requests for all kinds of
oblique missions over all kinds of terrain. Some were found acceptable,
others were definitely unacceptable. The squadron eventually came to
realize that there are certain low level missions which cannot be flown
safely, that is, the pilot will not live to bring back his photos.
These types are:
1. Missions which the pilot must fly between two enemy-held hills.
The enemy can shoot down at him and up at him, and the navigation is
extremely difficult.

2. Missions which are far behind enemy lines and far inland. It
is difficult to navigate over land "on the deck", and avoid intercep­
tion and the enemy can and will shoot at the pilot all the WFq back ­
if he gets back.
Missions which can be flown safely are:

1. Photos of enemy territory taken 2 to 3 miles behind our own

lines. The pilot then is at a safe distance from flak and has a margin
of error for navigation.

2. Coastline strips that do not pass a large' port. The pilot can

- 43 ­

An oblique of the ~ontine Marshes and Highway #7 near Anzio taken

with a 12ft nose camera. In the foreground, a Jerry is seen scampering
to safety.


,,,,I •

navigate easily, stay away' from flak, and, f in trouble from fighters,
can turn out to sea~and shake them off. Nearly all such missions are
dangerous (note Lt. Dolk's mission below) but their value usually makes
the risk worthwhile. If such missions are to be flown they~st only
be nown when the need is urgent, i.e., invasion, or commando landing.
Below are reports on a few of the Dicing missions flown:

Area: Coast of Southern France, preceding invasion, from Le

Rastel D'Agay to C. Cauvalaire
Pilot: Lt. Dolk
Date: 17 July 1944
Camera: 12" left oblique, 12" right oblique, l~ forward (nose)
Alt: 300 1
Remarks: From start to finish of target run, pilot was subjected
to intense fisk. Intense accurate MIG and small arms fire at st.
Raphael. MIG fire and light flak from Frejus area. On second run over
Agay, received intense accurate MIG, small arms and light flek. Plane
was hit over 200 times. A large hole torn through left wing disabling
aileron. A heavy l!!hel1 exploded in right boom and cut control ce.bles.
An~ther heavy shell burst in nose just between cameras. A hit in port
engine punctured exhaust stack causing loss of manifold pressure. Rest
of hits were scattered over remainder of plane. Construction work not­
ed on road from st. Raphael to Agay. Road workers fired small arms at
plane on both runs over area. Pilot had no instruments for navigation
on return trip to base. Forced to navigate by the sun. (Pilot sub­
sequently received D.B.C. for this mission)

* * * *

Area: Gothic Line in vicinity of Futa Pass

Pilot: Lt. Jensen
Date: 25 August 1944­
Camera: 12" left oblique
Alt: 300 1
Remarks: Pilot did not return from mission, was last seen flying
at 300' over Florence. His plane and body were found in February 1945
near Futa Pass.

* * * *

Area: Arno River

Pilot: .1It. Toomey
Date: 27 June 1944
Camera: 121' right oblique
A1t: 300'
Remarks: Pilot shot down near Cecine. - ditched plane in sea and
although wounded, swam to shore. Partisans found him and hid him in
the hills until our infantry captured Oecina three days later.

* * i .. *'" *

Area: Liri Valley - Fondi to Cassino

Pilot: Lt. Hill
Date: 5 December 1943
Camera: 24ft vertical & 6" oblique
Alt: 2500'
Remarks: Pilot made two runs up the Liri Valley. Intense accurate
flak and MIG fire from Pontecorvo to Cassino, along the entire Liri Va~ley
to Isolette Dam. Jumped qy 4 ME-I09's over Isoletta, who chased him out
to sea, where he finally evaded them. Returned safely to base with
several hits on plane. (Pilot subsequently received Silver Star from
I 5th A~ for this mission.)
. .
* * *
Area: Anzio Be~chhead - Cori to Velletrl
Pilot: Lt. Duke
Date: 25 May 1944
Camera: 12" right oblique
Alt: 300 - 500'
Remarks: Received intense fl~~ while attenpting to approach tar­
get. Left engine shot out, plane badly shot u~. Pilot attempted to
complete mission on one engine, but could not hold plane straight and
level, so returned to base. Landed safely on single engine. Plane al­
most a complete wreck.

* * * . *
Another type of oblique is being experimented with at 9resent,
which promises to be of great value to TAF. The "bomber boys" have 111­
ways used vertical and trimetrigon photos for briefing, but were not
particularly satisfied with them. Verticals cover too small an a~ea
and do not give the pilot much help in finding his target. Trimetrigon
photos have too small a scale to be of value. In order to cover more
area and get an approach view of the target, two lZ" cameras are being
used currently. One shoots out of the nose of the plane at an angle of
180; the other shoots downward at an angle of 580 to the ground. The
two overlap slightly so that obliques are obtained which cover an area
extending 15 miles from the target right up to the target itself.
These obliques can be annot~ted with the initial point, mileage and
other bombing data, lithographed, and issued in large numbers to the
bomb wings. They have been very well received because of the accurate,
large scale view they give, not only of the target, but also of the
approach. This new type of target chart promises to supolant entirely
the old vertical and trimetrigon charts. The photo missions are flown
at 20 - 25000' and are relatively safe. It is hoped that bombing
accuracy will improve as soon as all targets can be proper~v photogrR?hed
with this new oblique camera setup. (See example on next ~e)

- ,46 ­


G.S.G.S. 4230 SHT. 7

TARGE:T IS C.474585





12th A

The following is the mission of the 12th Air Force Photo Center
(in conjunction with 5th A~ Photo Center).
1. To interpret every picture taken by the 3rd Photo Group, ferret­
ing out and reoorting every conceivable enemy activit,y to all Armies,
Navies, and Air Forces, both in the Mediterranean and European theatres.
2. To graphically present aerial photographs to ground and air
forces in the form of annotated 9ictures, photo-maps, target charts,
and terreln models.
3. To store aerial photos taken by the 3rd Photo Group and in­
telligence material gained therefrom in such a manner that current
9ictures and information on ~~ given tactical area in ene~ territory
can be found within thirty minutes.
The 12th Air Force Photo Center is composed of the 941st Engineer
Aviation Topogra.p~1ic Battalion and the 3rd Photographic Technical
Squadron, whose combined efforts accomplish the aforesaid mission.


The 941st Engineer Aviation Topographic Battalion performs a

number of highly technical and complex operations in the production
of intelligence material, using aerial photography of the 3rd Photo
Group as source material for many products. The aviation organizations
are responsible ~or procuring the photography and interpreting it,
while the Engineers present certain types of intelligence in a form
for distribution to using organizations so that it can be speedily
disseminated, rea,dily understood, or applied to special 'tasks.
Target Appro.ach Charts used in bombing and strafing missions are
made by matching together two overlapping photographs taken with
cameras mounted in the nose of the reconnaissance aircraft and pointed
forward. This is the simplest type of "mosalc1t • Great care is necessary
in properly ident:ifying topography and other recognition points in the
photographs in order that the correct target, and the correct approach
'be shown and identified for the bombardier and !Jilot. After the photo­
graphs are matcherl, the direqtipp ~whilh' he !Ji~tures were t~~en must
be com7)uted so th:at the pilot will 11; ·'a.o e '..' se :0-1s compass approach
correctly. Distances are computed and teet along one edge as a further
aid in making the bomb run. (See example on preced-ing page)

- 48 ­
Other types of arge c ertical photography,
taken with the camera pointing directly dO'fmWard. This requires one
or more photos, which must be carefully matched in size, scale, and
shade, so that when assembled they give the effect of a single com­
posite ~hoto. From the files in the Print Library the best photos
are selected, contact prints made and assembled into a mosaic. The
scale of the composite is determined ~ computing its relative size
against a map of known scale, and noting on the final prints. IdentifY­
ing features surrolmding the target are annotated, and the construction
details of the target assembled from intelligence reports are added in
the marginal information. Thus the bomber units know whether a bridge,
for exam?le, is masonry, steel, or concrete, what type arches or but­
tress~s it has, how high it is above water level, and from this infor­
mation can decide what size bombs are needed to do the job.

The mosaics covering larger areas are more complex in nature, and
require many operations to complete. These are usually made to show an
area covered by a map nreviously published. One sheet will ordinarily
cover an area of 35 square miles. Assembling photographs into a mosaic
of such a large area requires the use of photographs of many recon
sorties, taken under different weather conditions~ battle conditions,
and with different cameras and planes. The basic problem is that all
photos used tn one mosaic be brought to the same scale, be reproduced
without any effect of tilt, and must match in tone or shade. The prob­
lem of tilt is the most difficult to adjust for, since airplanes are
subject to much movement in flying over enemy terri tory. Seldom are
the cameras in a perfectly vertical position when the pictures are
taken. It is therefore necessary to compute the exact position of the
airplane in space at the time the photo was taken and determine whet­
her the nose was tilted upward, and whether the wings were level. This
is done in the scaling section, where by means of close comparison
with maps, and considerable mathematical and graphical analysis, the
exact information is established. It is then possible to make a photo
print from the aerial film, and to remove all the distortion caused by
any irregular attitude.of the recon plane. The result is a photo
which can be matched to 8D1 adjacent photo which has bad the same
corrections made.

!ach photo must be put through this "restitution" process before

it can be laid into a mosaic of' a large area. After the mosaic is laid,
it Is copied and reproduced either by photographic contact printing or
by the lithographic process. These mosaics are used by Air Force units
and Ground Force un! ta. They have also been used by the Navy in shore
attacks, particularly in the invasion of Southern France.

- 49 ­
G.S.G.S 4164 SHT. 21

IC~ .. Slf..-.,

The Engineers produce TERRAIf a "'utthdd developed to
meet the need for a light-weight, portable model. Materials used in­
clude cardboard, cloth, paints, glue, sawdust, inks and other draft­
ing materials. The relief shown in the models is derived from con­
toured maps, while the position and appearance of the features, ~uch
as towns, wooded areas, roads and trails, are taken from the aerial
photos. All models are made up of a group of panels of uniform dim­
ensions, painted and colored to approximate the general appearance of
the terrain in the season during which the model Is to be used. This
type of model has been produced for the Air Forces as well as for
the Fifth and Eight Armies.



- 51 ­

" III .'



A variety of maps and charts is produced, eachdeeigned for a
specific purpose. These are reproduced ~ means of photolithographic
equipment, including three offset presses and necessary supplement­
ing equipment. Maps are usually in two or more colors, and run in
various quantities. A map showing serviceability of eneDIT rail COJIID­
unicatioDs in Northern Italy is published weekly, as shown below.



5OMCZ ...... 'n ll" t ........... ~,.,."


~ ... ~ "H~ 0'

2-2-4:' TO e'2'4~

NO. 10



~ .UettT
~. ~~~~fM;---~~fle;-ffHtmHJRO"'--


- 54 ­
Large scale maps are published showing pos e coJlDllUIlicatiOD tar­
gets ill Italy, Austria, Southern Ge1'1llany and the Balkans. Information
pertaining to each specific target shown, as well as reference to aerial
photos covering the target, are listed on these maps.

A map showing the positions and coverage of ene~ radar locations

in Northern Italy is published as frequent~ as changes warrant.

A map showing railway targets in Northern Ital;r is published

monthly, and lists the records of attacks, sorties flown, and number
of tons of bombs dropped on each target during the period. A map show­
ing TU1D.erable railroad coarnmications in It~ is also produced weekly.

Recent~ a series of large scale maps of Borth Italy was publish­

ed for Army use. !hese maps show pertinent information on lines of
communication. Notes describing condition and types of bridges, as
well as the amount and type of work necessary to construct or repair
bridges at points indicated,are included on the maps.

Several types of flak maps are produced. A large scale II8.P giving
the position of ene~ anti-aircraft batteries 1s published as frequent­
ly as required by changing positions. A sJla1l scale Tactical Flak lIap
of Northern Italy is produced weekly showing the area covered by enem;y
fisk batteries.


The Third Photographic Technical Squadron is part of a new Air Corps

setup, come to life since the American entrance in ""orld "ar #2. Con­

ceived out of necessity, and experience learned from t~:e first year of

the f'ar, they are now fully established, and doing full service. Tt!eir

service is felt in all military branches - Army, Navy and Air Corps.

Aerial photographs are the basis of Technical Squadron activity,

and the tactical and strategic intelligence from them is the measure of
its value. Modern, scientific interpretation of aerial photos has given
a solid aspect to organized military plans, offensive and defensive.

The Photographic Technical Squadron is built to produce a greater

volume of photographs than ever expected of any other photo laboratories,
being responsible for the volume reprinting of entire commands. The cen­
tralizing of specialized interpreters at the Squadron Headquarters gives
complete meaning to the pictures. Modern military effort being so close­
ly coordinated between AF - Army and Navy, has given the Technical
Sq't18.drons opportunity to lend their capabillties to all of them. Detach­
ments work with A~ Headquarters to satisfy its special demands for
photo reprints. Interpretation units are sent to special Air Corps
Commands, in our case Tactical Air Force, for 1st and 2nd phase inter­

The Base Laboratory at Squadron Headquarters is the so-called permanent

Laboratory. Heavy multiprinting, film processors, voluminous negative
and print libraries, involved interpretation reference files, demand so­
lid support and protection. The Squadron, by its character, is the re­
pository for all aerial film taken by un! ts of the Air Force it is
attached to. A print file of the same negatives is also maintained.
The Base gives some 2nd and all 3rd Phase reports and reprints a wide
distribution, while its Forward Interp. Section gives all 1st phase and
some 2nd phase reports and reprints a similarly broad distribution. Lal>­
oratory and Interpretation sections are constantly improving methods in
procedure and giving new services. British multtprinters have been in­
stalled in the Base Laboratory for a certain type of volume re-printing,
greatly hastening distribution. These machines can average 1000 finished
10 x 10 inch contact prints per hour. Handprinting is done for smaller
orders. Production of over 300,000 prints per month is provided for.
Volume, with highest practicable quality, is the guiding aim.
The 5th Arm,y, which 3rd Photo Group sup~orts, has a 3rd Photo
Tech Sq. Mobile Unit, the "Blue Train", with it to mass produce reprints
of i~terpreted photos. Army, having special requirements, gets this
detachment for its own needs. The photograp~ is for counter-battery
and other target information - ene~ tro9P movements and consentrations,
and future planning. This detachment is comp1ete~ mobile, even to
specially installed multi printers and film processors. Production of
500,000 lOx10 inch contact prints per month is provided for. In addi­
tion, approximately another 300,000 prints can be produced by the 5th,
12th and 23rd PR Squadron Labs. This gives the 3rd Photo Group a print
capacity of over 1,000,000 a month.
Pre-invasion plans, detailed landing operations, which the Navy has
a hand in also, round out the Photo Technical SquadDon's services to
the various Branches of the Services.
Regular use is made of aerial photographs for map surveys; correct­
ing old maps, and making new ones. Planning camntssions for occupied
areas use man;y pictures. A film duplicating service is maintained at
the Base Laboratory for the occasion when the same coverage i5 useful
to other Commands, or is needed in the Zone of the Interior.
The Thlnl Photo Technical Squadron is self-contained, except for
supply services. The large amount of electricity needed is provided by
five 50 [W generators, specially produced in the Theatre. Each detach­
ment is a complete entity, manned from Squadron personnel. Insofar as
possible, the lab units have been made up of men with civilian experiencb
in photography. '!'he photo interpreter, in man,y cases, have had previous
experience in engineering or architecture, so that their knowledge of
bridge construction and damage appraisal can be utilized fully.


In order to expedite the dissemination of high priority photo intelli­

gence, a separate group of interpreters is always assigned to a forward
photo reeonnaissance unit, usually a P.R. Squadron or Group. .

Roughly, the forward section or detachment is composed ofe1e.ents

of personnel equipped for and capable of receiving, plotting, inter­
preting, and distributing first and second phase photo intelligence.
Hence a detachaent might consist of a single interpreter and a clerk
typist. Or, as demands and opportunity of photograp~ increase, it

,, ,
w ... ...
.. ,
~ight become a sizable body of specialists having a variety of tech­
nical qualifications.

The present interpretation section, a detachment of 3rd Photo

Tech Squadron working with 3rd Photo Grou?, does 1st and 2nd ?hase
interpretation for Tactical Air Force. It is composed of a well or­
ganized body of officers and enlisted men including interpreters,
typists, plotters and draftsmen. Although the unit may become, when
necessary, co~letely mobile and self sustaining, it is in a large
degree dependent upon the higher headquarters to which it is at­
tached for mobility and messing facilities.


The following types of photographic interpretation reports are

issued ~ the Base Interpretation Section of the 3rd Photo Tech. Sq.

AR Special harbor facilities or demolition report. May consist

of a written report, annotated mosaic or annotated prints. Compiled
only upon request.

C Airfield Report. A written report and an annotated print of

an airfield reported for the first time. A similar report may be
made on an airfield which is restudied. Routine and com~iled upon
request. "C" Series also includes airfield status reports which are
composed of a written report and a map. These reports cover the air­
fields within a particular geogra?hic area and are issued when marked
changes apnear in the airfields which fall within the area.

CD Routine reports on disposition and dispersal of aircraft on

a selected list of airfields. Same distribution as "C" reports.

D Detailed bomb damage reoort on a narticular raid or series

of raids. May consist of a wrttten report and annotated prints or
mosaic. Comptled only upon request

DS Damage report in response to a special demand or a review

of damage over a nertod. Usually made in written form, and may be
accompanied ~ an annotated print or mosaic. A weekly report on
serviceabtlity of enemy rail communications included in this series.
Report consists of a written report which gives the name and location

- ')8 ­
o t

of the communi cat fch are shown by symbols

on an accompanying map.

E Flak Report. Issued in one of two forms depending upon the

number of flak installations within a specific geographic area. One
tyne is a monotone map upon which the flak installations are annotated
and represented by conventional symbols. The ot}~r type is a written
renort in which the flak installations are described briefly and 10­
~ateo by a six figure grid reference. Routine •

HC Communications Renort. A detailed study of the targets along
a rail~ay or road. Consists of a mon~tone map annotated with the route
studied and the targets indicated. A brief description of the targets
epnears on the face of the map. The ma~ is accompanied by annotated
uhotogra~h~ of ,the principal targets. Comnlled only upon request.

HI Indust~ Reoort. A detailed study of a specific industrial

plant o~ area. May consist of a written report which refers to an
annotated mosaic, map, or to annotated prints. However, the common
form is an annotated, keyed mosaic. Compiled only upon request.

HIS An activity or special report made on a specific_industrial

plant. May consist of a written report accompanied by an annotated
nrint, or simnly an annotated print. The first type is generally used
to report activity. Routine and compiled upon request.

K Radar Peport. A written report and an annotated print of a

radar installation reported for the first time. A similar report is
issued on a radar installation which is restudied and found to have
, undergone change. Routine and compiled upon request.

S Report comniled from a study of low altitude oblique photo­

graphs made by K-25 camera. Deals primarily with military dumps and
communication targets and covers both damage and activity. Selected
photos may accompany the written report. Routine and compiled upon
request. Distribution to MATAF units and certain headquarters de­
signated by MATAF and MPIC.

TR Target Report. Consists of a written report and an annotat­

ed ~rint covering military dumps, concentrations, storage centers,
barracks, etc. Activity reports without prints are issued on targets
which have been previously reported. Routine and compiled upon re­

Special Interpretation Reports. Report made in answer to a specific

demand which does not require general distribution. Distribution:
Requestor - 2; MATAF - 3; MPIC - 1.

- 59 ­
Strafing Charts. Mosaic annotated as to obstructions to low-flying
aircraft in the vicinity of a designated target. Compiled only up­
on request. Distribution to MATAF units only unless specifically re­
quested through MPIC.

Target nrints and Target Mosaics. Annotated photos or small mosaics the loc~tion of a ~articular target and pertinent data related
to it which may be requested. Com~iled only upon request. Distribution
to ~ATAF units only when specifically requested through MPIC.

Communication Target Strip Mosaic. Mosaic giving continuous cover of

a particular line of communication annotated with targets ~ong the
line and pertinent information. Compiled only upon request. "HC"
ReDort distribution plus 4 additional sete to MATAF.

Air Crew Flak Maps. Two-color map showing radius of fire of all heavy
flak batteries at an altitude of 10,000 ft. Maps issued periodically.

Tactical Area Flak ~ap8. Four-color map showing (1) Radius of fire of
all heavy batteries for altitude of 10,000 ft.; (2) Areas of flak re­
Dorted b.r air crews; (3) Pinooint location of all heavy and light gun
positions; (4) Total number of guns at any given target. Map issued
periodically over certain geographical areas. Routine.

The following types of photographic interpretation reports are

issued by the Forward Interpretation Section or this organization.

Immediate Signal. First Dhase Report on activity and damage.

3/---Second Phase Reoorts on activity and damage as related to

communications, airfields, dumps, industry, etc. Selected prints
accompany written reports to designated headquarters.

Annotated ~lak °rlnts. Photographs annotated with flak positions. Dis­

tributed to certain headquarters as designated b.r MPIC and MATAF.

Immediate Flak Signal. First Phase Report on flak. Distributed to

MATAF operational units.

- 60 ­
Shipping interpretation is divided into second and third phase work.
Secon~ phase interpretation is concerned primarily ~ith Port Activity and
the shipping turnover which occurs between consecutive photographic covers.
Third ohase interpretation is concerned with the present state of any port
under etudy.
Second phase reports record the arrivals, departures, and internal
movements of vessels since the previous cover, and notes any new damage
to ships or port facilities. Third phase reports generally consist of an
annotated mosaic and a written report nresenting the present state, con-'
ditton, or overall picture of port facilities in aqy one port or harbor,
and may include any or all of the following points of information:­
1. Extent and location of serviceable quayage.
2. Extent and locatton of quayage mined for demolition.
3. Extent and location of quayage damaged as a result of air
attack or enemy demolition.
4. Position and identification of wrecks, inactive vessels,
and potential blockships.
S. Extent of entrance blockage.
6. Location and capacity of warehouses.
7. Location and identification of various types of cranes.
8. Location of booms.
9. Shipyard activity: Number and types of ships on slipways,
their progress and present state of completion, and number
and type of ships launChed during six month period.
On the opposite page is an annotated photograph of Savona harbor sho.­
ing acttve shipping berths, wrecks, extent of harbor entrance blockage,
and potential blockships.

- 62 ­
.... .

This section is charged with the responsibility of meeting all in­

terpretation requirements in connection with airdromes with the exception
of first and second phase interpretation of aircraft activity (which is
done by the Forward Interpretation Section). This responsibility is dis­
charged in the following ways:­

A. Pre~aration and issue on general distribution of routine Detail­

ed Interpretation Reports, together with annotated photographs.
These re~rts consist of a full interpretation on a particular
airdrome, including its hangar and repair facilities, and all
refueling points, fuel and ammunition storage points, dispersal
and general activity of the airdrome.

B. Meeting special interpretation demands received through the

Progress Section. These include:­

1. Straffing charts - A mosaic is issued with all obstructions

annotated. These annotations might include power lines,
overhead lines for electrified railways, all tall buildings,
hills and mountains within s. specified distance of the air­
drome and its dispersals. Their height above the ground is
given whenever possible.

2. Compilation of stereo cover and reports. Occasions arise

when interpretation of specified areas is requested. This
may entail examining these areas for parachute dropping
zones, for repor.ted landing grounds or airdromes not pre­
viously reported, for emergency landing areas, or for re­
ported rocket launching sites. Reports are issued together
~ith pictorial cover of the area concerned.

3. Target prints and mosaics of specified airdromes. These are

annotated to confirm or deny ground reports received.

4. A series of reports (CD series) has been recently instituted

by this section. These are issued to present a day to day
picture of aircraft dispersal on certain specified airdromes.
A gridded sketch is issued with the first report issued on
each airdrome. The accompanying and subsequent reports refer
to the aircraft location by means of the grid. A report is
issued each time the airdrome is covered.

On the opposite page is an annotated print of Bergamo/Seriate Air­

drome showing a portion of the landing and dispersal areas. Planes are
easily seen in their revetments, and one plane is seen in flight. A thin
blanket of snow covered the airdrome at the time of photography.

- 63 ­

.. 11 ,

: ,4·-~

The tunction ot ftD" Section is to assess the "Bomb Damage" and re­
pairs to ene~ installations. Written reports are issued, accompanied ~
annotated prints, or blackouts when necessary. The tollowing types of re­
ports are issued:
1. Detailed assessment ot all damage to a cit,y or town, including
industrial, civic and residential damage. A blackout showing
points ot damage is generally included with this report.
2. Reports on damage inflicted on specitic industrial aDd CODl­
.unications targets.
3. Detailed reports on bridges, giving past and present damage
and amount ot rep~ir necessary. Construction and progress
ot repairs is also noted.
The tollowing is an account ot one ot the nUlllerous enemy plans, un­
covered ~ the use ot aerial reconnaissance in the hands of a capable
photo interpreter. This is the case ot the -Little Span That Wasn't
There" at the Calsinato railroad bridge. It shows the respect the enelD)"
has for our Photo Reconnaissance, and to what lenghts he will go to de­
ceive us.
The bridge 18 a two span aftair on the .,.ital rail 1ine between the
Melan-Turin industrial area and Verona, which is the Grand Central
Station ot Italy. Our reconnaissance for the last two months had re­
vealed the bridge to be unssrviceable. Never was Ilore than one span
seen to be in place. Every other bridge on the line, however, had been
repaired and was serviceable. Following the tip-ott that the bridge
was somehow being used, photo interpreters at this section started to
look tor clues. The II1ssing span was only 50 teet long, and interpreters
knew tram experience with other bridges that it was an easy repair job.
Craters on both approaches had been repaired and the track was service­
able right up to both abutments. On both approaches there was a large
number ot rolling stock, apparently blocked. However, a more extensive
study showed that they were allan a single track and the other track
was consistently open tor traftic. Then came the clue that told the
story. About 300 yards troll the bridge, parked on a siding, was a rail­
road crane with a boom over 100 feet long (see top photo on opposite page).
The evidence was reported and the '5th Photo Recon Sq. flew a night
mission to confirm our suspicions. By the light ota flare, tile little
span was seen to be in place and the bridge was being used tor night
traffic. A locomotive was pulling the crane back to its siding atter
it had done its nightly job (see bottoll photo on opposite page).
Fighter bombers came over shortly atter and destroyed the bridge,
and so wrote the tinish to a story ot teamwork between Photo Recon,
Interpretation and Bombardment.
'-4_" -..
I , •• • •
, r'
-t 6. ~~
. /'V ..

. ,


- 66 ­
•• • •• It
! •.

The nak sectlo . •
bj'e!lt e the saving of the
lives of aircrewe and reduction of the loss of aircraft by the rapid
aooreciation and dissemination of intelligence concerning the location
or"heavy and light flak defenses. The section is divided into two
Darte 88 follows:- (1) The Forward Interpretation Section where first
nhase interpretation of enemy flak is completed and sent to Tactical
Air Force operational units by signal, and (2) the Base Section which
gathers and evaluates flak intelligence and issues confirmatory re­
ports and three basic type maps.

1. The Air Crew rlak Mao - produced for air crews in order to
~rovide them with a concrete picture of the flak defended
areas to be avoided when flying to and from the target.

2. The Tactical Flak Map - which shows the radius of fire of

heavy enemy batteries at an altitude of 10,000 feet. Also
the location of flak reported ~ air crews, the exact lo­
cation of all known flak positions and the total number of
heavy and light guns at any given target.

3. The Flak Analysis Map - used in planning the best axis of

attack and withdrawal from the target area.

In addition the flak section nrovides annotated photographs of

enemy batteries in areas where anti-flak missions may be expected, and
sunnlies information on smoke screens, searchlights, and other tech­
nical data.

Due to the shortage of flak weapons the enemy has resorted to the
use of dummy batteries to deceive our photo intelligence. The Germans
rarely, if ever, attempt to set up dummy light gun positions; however,
dummy heavy ~ositions have been found at several places in Northern
Italy. The best examples discovered are the dummy batteries near
Verona, Bolzano, Vicenza and Ostiglia. On unusually good cover, flown
at an altitude of 19000 feet, a twelve gun heavy battery west of Verona
was di~covered to be a dummy. On this excellent scale the guns were
found to be posts placed in the center of the revetments, and six of
the revetments were open ended, indicating that the real guns had been
pulled out. There was no movement in or near the battery, and the RGL
(radio gun laying) em~lacements were unoccupied. The living quarters,
however, were still on the site and there appeared the normal track
activity found at live gun positions.

Seldom in dummy positions is the ruse carried to perfection. At

Verona the RGL emplacements were empty, and six of the gun emplacements
were open ended; and altbough other conditions pointed to a live bat­
tery, these two observations gave it away as a fake. Most dummy
batteries are positions which have been active and in which the guns
have been replaced Or objects in the revetments. Very few "original W
dummies are found in the Mediterranean theatre. Original dummy positions
usually aopear too perfect and clean, and when over a neriod of time the

• •
J' \.; ,(
movement and activity whichrtakes place around a live battery is not
observed, they are reported as being d~ batteries.

The above cited examples, and many others, indicate the enemy has
an active interest in this type of deception. However, most of his
efforts to delude the' interpreter are unsuccessful, and in the few
CAses where it has been difficult to obtain good scale photos, the
complete lack of activity (especially ap~arent in snow) has been de­
tected and the Dositions revealed as dummies.

Co!llDltmications, or HC Bection, exists primarily for Ue purpose of
supplying targets for Tactical Air Force operational units. A very large
portion of the targets attacked by the 12th Air Force and MATAF during the
past 12 months have been rail and road bridges, and other vulnerable
comunmications points. HC section makes detailed photo interpretation
studies of the rail and road networks in enemy territory. Operations
Strangle, Diadem, Mallory Major and Bingo were all centered on the
interdiction of enemy sup?ly routes. Photo Intelligence on targets
attacked was supplied by HC section from route studies and interpre­
tation reports. On the Brenner Pass route a detailed strip mosaic was
laid and studied for targets from Verona to Innsbruck, with a view to
permanently blocking this vital lifeline to Germany.
Below and on opposite page are three photos of the S. Nicolo a Po
pontoon bridge. The two day photos show the pontoons lines up along the
river bank. The night photo shows the pontoons assembled into a complete
bridge with the enemy attempting to conceal it by means of smoke


- 69 ­


... . .


- 70 ­
, ,I

stry section is to sunply to Air Force and

other Headquarters all the in·formation concerning industrial install­
ati.ons that can be obtained from aerial photographs. This may include
the type of nroducts, capacity, present output, activity, and most vul­
nerable points of the target. Industrial ground reports are also checked
for reliability, and confirmation or denial reports are issued.
~en a comprehensive reoort is made or an exceptionally large plant
is stndied,the "HI" report is issued. It consists of a detailed written
reDort with a large annotated mosaic, or a group of several separate an­
notated prints, attached. However, mOBt~f the work done in this section
i~ re?Orted by means of the HI(S) or activity report. This latter type
consists of a brief written report giving a summary of available ground
information plus the details learned from photographic study of the in­
stallation. The first report on any industry also includes a single
annotated print which bears all the essential data as to location and
identification of the plant and the various functions of the individual
buildings. It can be used by planning sections and operational units.
Following the attack it can still be used for locating specific bomb
damage, and in later industry reports for reference to particular re­
pairs or other activity. .

Below is an example of the HI(S) report (No. 3RI 33S). This indus­
try was a sugar refinery at Mirandola. Italy, reported to be making al­
cohol, which was later used by the enemy as transport fuel. The Indus­
try section identified the individual buildings as ~ell as storage tanks,
and reported the nlant as active. The subsequent attack by fighter
bombers was concentrated on the refinery and storage tanks, rather than
being scattered over the entire factory. As a result the refiner,y and
several tanks were destroyed, and the installation is no longer in op­


3rd PHOTO GROUP RCN. 20 December 1944

REPORT NO. 3HI 33(5)

NOTE: Numbers in brackets refer to annotated
Print accompanying this report.
1. This sugar refinery is located just N.E. of MI'RANDOLA, which is
approximately 30 miles N.W. of Bologna.
2. A recent report states that the plant is producing alcohol.

3. On Sortie l2~Rll15, 4 October, 1944, the receiving troughs (2), and

, ,




the pulp pits (3 , are empty and ~~ereare~no other signs of activity
except one possible vehicle nearth~ 1>Ulp !l1ts (3). On Sortie l2PR
1179, 5 November 1944 the troughs are empty and the W. pulp pit (3)
isf'tlll, but there are no other signs of activity. On Sortie l2PR
1259, 22 ~ovember 1944 the receiving troughs (2) are partially filled,
t~ W. pit (3) is full and ttere are 4 railroad cars and 2 other
vehicles visible in the plant area.
4. On ~ort ie 12l'R1277, ?S November, 1944 the follo1"1ng signs or activi ty
are visible:­
(a) ~moke or steam issuing from stack of purification building (9).
(b) W. Pulp pit (3) is overflowing and the E. pit is half full.
(c) Two of the receiving troughs are empty.
(d) About 5 vehicles are in motion in the plant area.
(e) The 4 railroad cars noted on 22 Nov. are not present.
';. This is a seasonal industry and it is felt that the increased activity
is normal since this is probably harvest time. There is no evidence
to de~tnttely con~lrm the report that alcohol is being manufactured
here but the presence of the alcohol storage tanks would indicate that
the plant is capable of producing it.


l'ollowing is an extract of the interpretation report following an

attack by ~ighter Bombers:­
3rd PHOTO GROUP RCN. 20 January 1945


Sortie 5PRS/5MS3 and SPRS/5M85 continued.

(5PRS/85. 20.1.45. 3.112)
i The attack by ftghter bombers has almost destroyed the main
building, severely damaged one, gutted one and inflicted roof
damage on another.
(ii) Two of the storage tanks have been severely damaged, two dam­
aged, and 3 tanks remain undamaged.
Photos 3160, 61.
· . .


Radar, or "K" section issues interpretation reports giving location

and description of enemy radar stations. Early warning apparatus enables
the enemy to plot the course of Allied raids, dert his Elntlaircraf"t. de­
fenees, and to send fighter aircrart to oppose out attElcks. The location
of radar, therefore, must be considered of great importance to the enemy
defenses, 8.nd it is necessary that we know their location, range, and
effectiveness in planning our attacks. Enemy radar must also be knocked
out or "jammed" when invasions or am~hibious landings are contemplated.
Following is a re?ort covering the FREYA and GIANT ~~RZRURG radar in­
stallations located near Padua and ~onselice, Italy.


3rd PHoro GROUP ReN. 27 December 1944


Sortie Photo Nos. Date Scale
23PRS-851 3025, 26 22 December 1944 1/12,300



(a) A FREYA and a GIANT WURZEURG situated one mile apart are located a­
bout 13 miles SSW of ~adua, and near MONSEtICE.
(b) The FREYA, of "pole" type, contained in a substantial square emplace­
ment is located on the Eastern slope of tA ROCCA, 600 yards East of
the center of Monselice, at the following pinpoint:- GSGS 4228,
Sheet 64, Grid Ref: G.2l103035.
(c) The site is about 250 feet above sea level and has an unobstructed
field of observation over the lo~ lying ground extending S & SEe
(d) It is not possible to associate buildings in the area with the
ooeration of the FREYA.
(e) The GrANT WURZRURG is located 1 1/3 miles ESE of the center of
Monselice, end 1 mile from the FFEYA on a bearing of 118 degrees
true, at the following pinpoint:- Map Ref. as above, Grid G.25572956.
It is 25 feet above sea level.
(f) Two small buildings immediately South of the GIANT !URZEURG are
probably operational buildings.
2 gun light A/A position near the GIANT WURZBURG, Grid, G.256295.
3" " " " " " FREYA. Grid Hef. G24l304.
3 \I " " " a t Grid Ref~ G.240312.
3" " " """" G.234313.

3" " " """" G.2363l2.

About 1 mile to the South and Southwest of the Radar Station is an

elaborate system of minor defenses, including numerous machine gun positions.

External 97
Internal 10

- 74

- 75 ­
•• •
~S" Section was formed for the purpose of obtaining intelligence
from photos made with K-25 cameras. These photos have been supplied
by the XXII TAC and DAr Fighter Bombers.

The photos used &re taken at the conclusion of fighter bomber at­
tacks with K-25 cameras mounted on the wing of one or the attacking
planes. The resulting photographs are low altitude obliques of the
target and the area immediately surrounding it.
The reports include bomb damage assessment and activit,r for the
communication and dump targets covered. With the reports, a selected
print showing each target reported, is issued. The main difficulty is
identifying and locating targets by use of oblique photos at such low
a1titude. Another difficulty is that photos are usually taken fairly
soon after the attack and in many cases the targets are still smoke
obsucred. However, this type or photography has a definite value,
especially when low overcast weather prevents effective photo recon­

. ' ~


In July, 1944 a photographic study and c1assific~tion of enemy
dum~s in Italy was begun ~ the Forward Interpretation Detachment of the
3rd Photo Tech Sq. Later on, this work was carried on jointly with the
Third Phase Inte~retation Unit of 3 P.T.S. which finally, in December
1944, assumed full responsibility for reporting new dumps North of the Po
River as well as writing activity reports on those previously identified.

From the first it became ap?arent that these installations required

specialists to interpret them, as was the case with communications and
industrial targets. Constant aerial attack forced the enemy to dis-perse
vital supo1ies, particularly fuel and ammunition, and use every conceiv­
able trick to escape detectton from aerial reconnaissance.

Most of ~he permanent fuel processing and storage facilities, such

as refineries at Porto Marghera and Trieste, ~ere severely damaged. The
result was that rue1 began to turn up in all sorts of p1aces---in under­
ground tanks, drainage ditches, sugar refineries, camouflaged trench
systems, and in some cases simply dispersed among trees and shrubbery.
Pipelines were constructed across the Po River at Ostig1ia, Borgoforte
and Piacenza, where the rail bridges had been so severely damaged that
it was impractical to repair them.

In spite of all this, photo reconnaissance, with the aid of con­

siderable ground information, has succeeded in finding and classifying
more than 200 different dum_ps of all kinds. Many of these have been
attacked and destroyed, particularly those containing fuel. The fact
that the enemy is constantly seeking new means of protecting his­
suonlies and going to any length to conceal them is perhaps the most
eloquent possible tribute to the effectiveness of our photo recon­
naissance and interpretation.

1 1 ,.,.

...."a. ... iiIII~. ,,\,,,

- 77 ­


- 78 ­
PHOTO R,~9pt{ "",",$UPPORT OF


By Capt. David W. Scott

A.L.O. ldth 7th ArJv

~lIIillo e invasion beaches of Southern France on

"D" cUq as seen by a pilot of the R.A.F. 682nd Squadron.

"'D-~' had dawned on the Riviera. Froa where. I sit, the coastline
of Southern 'P'rabce resembles some ragged carcass inf'ested by a Swarll of
devouring ants. Nosing the beaches, the invasion boats lie in scores
while motor vessels dash purposetully between them and the bigger ships
at sea. Thirty odd thousand feet above, .,. celstial gaze registers the
scene as remote and toylike. The griJll fighting to establish a foothold,
the shelling, even the aerial boab&rdment are too sla8.11 in scale to be
seen in Only the largest incidents can be picked out. Over
there a whole village is burning, throwing up a huge column of almost
Ilotionless goke. ADd there, just beyond one of the busiest of the
'beaches, a terrific cascade of baabe has pockmarked the' face of the earth.
But although wy powerfUl c8118ras are noting what II\Y peering eyes cannot
detect, of the progress of the battle, of the depth of penetration, I
will know nothing until I listen to the radio news later on. Apart from
a few tires, from this altitude the whole coast inland seems inscrutably
The sole link between me and the invisible tunx>il below is • radio.
Its staccato voice gives ae excerpts from a play IIOre thrilling than
BDY wireless station ever produced.
"Got it I think. Let's go down and give it another squirt." More
trouble ahead for SOlle Jerry transport strongpoint.
"Did you see who that was bailing out? Was he one of ours?" queries
another voice, and saall wonder that wry head whips involuntarily around
when a loud voice yells in wry ear,
"Look outl Behind you on the lefU1t But the incident is probably
taking place twenty thousand feet below and possibly thirty alles away.
When there is nothing IlUch on the air elsewhere, the distress channel
SOllet1aes provides interesting listening. The resigned tones or a pilot
who has gone as far as he can on a faltering engine and who is now giving
his exact position before bailing out into 'The Drink", COllIe over conver­
"Guess it's packing up. Bailing out approximately fifteen alles
west or Base. Out. "
Occasionally a touch 0 UII"
"Thanks a lot - I mad~, it.'
· ,,~ t ~t J
upside down ~'f""ihe end or the ran­
'WaY at the JIOll8nt - 'but I made' it! 'f!;aanfs.·. ..,.'

Imagination helps to bridge the gulf of space. Although I cannot
see tragedies and triumphs of the struggle below, the rare flash of an
explosion or a haz,y column of dust from a road, help to make the vast.
sprawling scene less i.personal. There perh!-p!' BO som~ of our tanks
probing deeper into the chequered countljlls de.~ Or.. possi i t i~Ja
Panzer formation rumbling forward to hurl themselvell ."'tidal
wave from the beaches. If I'm lucky I msy catch a g se of bbmbers
at work. While taking pictures of a "bombed bridge half an hour ago I
saw three of our bombers sweep up the valley leaving the bridge area
covered in billowing smoke and dust. They, unlike myself, seemed to
fi t into the earthly scheme of things.
Travel at great speed and altitude tends to induce a certain god­
like frame of mind. When a journey of a thousand miles, during which
the Alps appear as scarcely more than wrinkles on the surface of the
world and great invasion neets look like microbes, can be done easily
between breakfast and lunch, distance loses its meaning and the struggles
of man become ignominiously remote and paltry. National capitols, huge
aerodromes slashed out of the soil, leagues of railways and roads, even
Nature's greatest moments resemble something under the naturalist's mag­
nif'ying glass.
Here in the rarefied atmosphere where trails can be used as a
burglar alarm against surprise attack and the correct functioning of
his oxygen system stands between the pilot and death in a very few
minutes, the work of aerial swing on the enemy is carried out. Speed
and the ability to spot the hunter before he spots you, are the photo­
graphers only defence. "The job entails long solitary nights, using
oxygen all the time, deep into hostile territory. But there are few
P.R. pilots who are not enthusiastic about the nature of their work
and who would not agree that a scene such as the one below me now,
compensates for all the petty discomforts of high altitude flying.
Those tiny ships are there according to ao plan which was drawn up on
intelligence gleaned from our photographs. In the weeks precec!JJ1g the
landings, guns were ferreted out which might have exacted a heavy toll
frCIII the attacking infantry and the intricacies of the beach defences
were pierced by our cameras.
With this mental pat on the back for our trade, I stuff the nose
down on the long descent to base. A hundred miles away the beer ration
should be in by now. Goodluck invasion •••••••• "

'" f •


Photographic reconnaissance in supp<?rt of the invasion of Southern

France involved many months of flying over beaches, pinpoints, coastal
areas, roads, rivers, valleys, and mountains. About seven hundred missions
were flown in the search for information needed ~ many branches of the
Army, Navy and .Air Corps. A half million prints were distributed among
interpreters, cartographers, planners, and combat troops. The story of
this photography sums up the earlier experience gained at Sicily, Salerno,
and Anzio, and amplifies it through the greater scale and thoroughness of
the French attack. Ro other amphibious operation in the Mediterranean
theater has been supported ~ so many sorties, so many prints, or so much
skillfully used photographic intelligence. Nowhere can the varied possib­
ilities of photographic reconnaissance be shown better than in the unfold­
ing history of the planning requirements from the time the first maps were
drawn from corrected prints through the study of terrain features and ene~
defensive strategy until the time the last briefing photos were distributed
to platoon leaders and the last changes in shore positions were radioed to
the invasion fleet.
PRELIMINARY MAPPING: Planning photography for the invasion of Southern
France may be said to have begun almost exactly twelve months before "D" day,
when a detachment of the Fifth Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron was requ­
ested to obtain photographic cover of a strip some thirty miles deep along
the entire coast. This cover required about ten missions with a camera of
six inch focal length (resultant scale about 1:60,000). The film was given
to the Air Survey Directorate engineers who ~gan the complex process of re­
placing the old and hopelessly obsolete large-scale maps of South France.
These first missions were months ahead of the main planning program.
By utilizing splendidly clear summer weather, the survey engineers obtained
sharper pictures and the pilots suffered fewer unsuccessful missions. The
initial flying took place before our bombers had drawn suspicious and irr­
itable German fighters and fIsk batteries to the French COastal -region.
Moreover, the engineers had ample time to work on the first map editions
before the armJ planning staff required them.
The main photographic intelligence program was launched early enough
to allow more than six months of flying before "D" day.

- 81 ­

I ~

AFHQ sent a photographic work with the Plan­

ning Staff G-2; the coordinator in turn set up an interpretation section
and procured the services of the Twenty-Third Photographic Reconnaissance
Squadron, Which was committed to the fulfillment of planning demands.
The Twenty-Third Squadron was supported by elements of the French 2/33
Squadron and the Royal Air Force 682 Squadron. Planes and personnel were
based at Alghero, Sardinia, about 200 miles from the French coast.
The French pilots soon proved very efficient in navigating over the
difficult interior terrain ot their homeland, and they returned with acc­
urate mapping runs from areas which proved extremely difficult for our
own pilots. For this reason they were assigned one of the first big de­
mands of the planning program: the extension of the original six inch sur­
vey cover to more than a hundred miles inland, to meet the mapping area
nown southward from England. The demands of the survey engineers are
exacting. The mechanisms for projecting very accurate information from
photographs allow little margin for nying error. Pictures are unsuitable
for map making if they have insufficient side or running overlap, slight
tilt distortion or cloudiness, pronounced crab or variable altitude or
badly crossing night lines.
The demands of the cartographers did not end with six inch mapping;
after suitable small-scale cover had been obtained, problems of interpre­
tation arose in areas of extensive human activity. Large areas of the
Rhone Valley were covered with 24w cameras. Missions flown tor this pur­
pose were less exacting than the 6" oover, partly because check-points
were better in the cultivated areas, and partly because perfect print
quality and nying quality were not needed.
COVERAGE OF ENEMY DEFENSES: While the survey mapping was planned
and carried out, flying was begun for the periodic cover of defenses.
The enemy was at work fortifying all of his beach areas, and within three
weeks time he could erect and camouflage 811 elaborate pillbox. It was
necessary to fly over the first ten miles of coast at frequent intervals;
24" cover sufficed for inland areas, but the waterfront required the 36"
cameras of the R.~.• F. Spitfires. By constant searching, mine fields and
barbed wire were discovered when laid; trenches were detected when dug.
Pill boxes and strongpoints were sleverly hidden by German camouflage,
but not before they had been found and analyzed by interpretation teams
that devoted months to the detailed study of repetitive and comparative
As soon as the coastal defens~ belt was well covered, special missions
were flown to search out possible secondary positions along mountain
chains and rivers. Periodic checks were made during tee entire planning
period. Sometimes natural defensive posltions were renown; sometimes
broad areas were tested by strips flown to cross any developing line.
. .
.. .. " ~. ,

BASIC COVER. Thus the mapping and the defense study jobs were begun.
The next undertaking was that of fl¥ing a broad, convenient block of good­
scale cover for use as a general view of the country, a reference library
for interpretation problems, and a basis for the comparative stud,y of
later photos.

The fl3iDg specifications tor good basic cover are relatively strict.
AU prints should be of "A" quality, and sorties should be of similar alt­
itude to facilitate the preparation of sosaics or standard-scale gridded
photos. It is most desirable to achieve cover in the fewest number of
prints furnishing adequate side and running overlap. Excessive number of
photos costs much in time and material during the many rehandlings and re­
oroerings of the planning period. Tand_ 24" cameras flown at an altitude
of 25,000 to 28,000' provided a satisfactory compromise between fl¥ing
safety and interpretable scale.

F'13ing for the basic cover program began at the coastal spot most
suitable for a landing and worked inland along the likel¥ path of advance.
The job was flown on rush priority until an area some forty by a hundred
miles was cOTered; this backlog was insurance against possible future air­
cra!tshortage or adverse flying cQ1ditions. Meanwhile a shadow program
was being fiown for the dual purpose of concealing the arm-r's main plans
and building up cover in an alternative area then being considered.

It took montha to complete the primary area, the shadow area, and fin­
ally the regico between. Extremely accurate flak and extremel¥ persistent
fighters Mde it necessary to build up basic cover by strips instead of
the more cuatoaary blocks which involve five or six runs in the same lo­
cality. TM pUots became very skil.l!ul at covering a large area with a
few long parallel runs. They di~ not have to retrace their course, or
stq in small areas on an,y missions whether f1y1ng for mapping, mosaic,
road, or pinpoint cover.

A specialized t.ype of basic cover was required by the engineers, who

had to stUdy all the routing problems bearing on the projected invasioo
and advance. Thousands of miles of roads and railroads were considered
from the standpoints of serviceability, bombing targets, demolitioo, and
repair. These routes were the key to the enemy capabilities of reinforce­
ment and retreat as well as to our capabilities of advance. Route f1¥­
ing did not require the highest quality pictures or the largest scale;
the .20" or 24" camera at 30,000' was acceptable. The job, however, re­
quired extremely good navigation over the confused mountain masses of
Southern France.

The basic cover thus flown was suitable for making mosaics, although
the best camera for general Mosaic work (1:25,000 scale) is the 12" ver­
tical, which requires on13 a quarter the maber of prints for the same
coverage and gives less distortion.
If a 12" camera is used at the same time 24" basic cover ia flown,
subsequent preparation of mosaics is much simplified. Cover of areas
not important enough to justify the preparation of a mosaic can still
be given economical distribution, if the need arises, in the form of 12"
photos. For the planning study of Southern France, the invasion coast
was considered important enough to merit the preparation of very large
scale mosaics (1:10,000) at the beginning of the planning period. Other
mosaics were given a much lower priority, but toward the end of the
period 12" m.osaics were prepared to show the country for a hundred miles
along the intended axis of advance.
COVERAGE FOR TACTICAL AIR FORCE: All the photography discussed hither­
to was flown primarily for the army planners. Other jobs, meanwhile, were
in hand for the Air Corps and Navy. For the Air Corps, missions were flown
to search out targets, obtain briefing photos, check activity, and assess
bomb damage. Principal targets included harbors, marshalling J8rds, air
dromes, bridges, industrial areas, and radar installations. Frequency of
cover ranged from several times a week to once every three weeks. When
the air program was intensified before "D" day, many more missions were
required, and the Fifth Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron was moved to
Corsica to devote itself entirely to Tactical Air Force support.
DICING MISSIONS AND OBLIQUE PHOTOS: NaTJ' planners and interpreters
submitted photographic demands from the beginning of the planning period.
Working with the ~ interpreters, they made exhaustive studies of all
beach defenses. In addition, they requested special so~ties to help them
in landing recognition and water study problems. High altitude and low
altitude obliques were flown to furnish information for models, perspec­
tive drawings, and coastline silhouettes. Pilots were briefed to "rack
up" their aircraft as they crossed the coast after their missions and to
take 6" and 24" shots of the French mainland from about 20,000' altitude.
After 8 little practice in this unusual type of photography, they began
to bring back ver,y descriptive pictures of the terrain.
The low level obliques, or "dicers", were flown for the Army and
Navy jointly. They attempted to furnish recognition shots for approach
and landing, both offshore and inshore; they also gave information about
the exact nature of beach terrain, obstacles, and defenses. The close-in
shots gave 8 description of the beach from the invader's view point. They
showed the exact condition of the beaches with their stakes, tetrahedrons,
walls, ditches, barbed wire, mines, and gun positions. They showed the
seaward faces of all structures which might be fortified; they indicated
the landmarks and routes of attack for the landing parties. Their purpose
was not so much to interpret the defenses (good scale vertical photos
gave more valuable information in the long run, and were much safer to
fly) but to give the ~lanning staff and the invading soldier an inval­
uable portrait-of just what had to be faced.
Preliminary Study of Beaches from Air

Helped Determine Best Invasion Spots

Dicing missions along t.he entire French Riviera revealed

IlJl1llzing differences in the strength of shore defenses, and
influencrd the choice of Illnding points accordingly. As a
;':-I'aphic eXllmple, t.he pillcid little cove shown on the next pagr
WIlS <'husen instmd of the area pictured above, whose beach
was st.udded wit.h concrete pyramids, with barbed wire back
of thcm. and pill boxes (not visible) in back of that. Pyramids
arc shown in proccss of instlllllltion. Those at right of picture
have bern transported to the beach in small flllt cars, will be
run down to shllllow wllter and dumped off. To get the pyra­
mids into deeper watcr, the raft shown at left was used.
'Vhen it. hlld been mllneuvercd by Il rowboat to the correct spot.,
l' pyramid WIlS lowered through the hole in the center by n
block and tackle. This work WIlS done by locally impressed
laborers who, judging from the relaxed attitude of the bathers
ahove and the denizens of the raft at left, were not making
the coast any more impregnable than thcy could help. Althoug'h
cverything looks peaceful in these pictures, German AA made
the low-level dicing missions extremely hazardous. For his
work in obtaining pre-invasion photographs, Lt. Carl Dolk,
PHOTO PLANE SXAPS I~ Third Photo Group, won the Distinguished Service Cross.


PEN FiElDS sllital>lt' tor glidl'r lallcl­

ItS "lOre filll'<! with poll's sti..kiug frolll
~ lO'U\\llllllt II height O[ ahont. tPII [('I't.
hl'lle'A"rre 1I1T1llJO"ed
o ilT('<'ulllrh'
:- . so Ilint
!dill.·\">; would hit t})(,Ill, \,"halt'H'r
tlll'ir IllIg'lt' nf IIPPl'llHeh 11'1)111" !>...

- 86 - ,

Daring the panU , ere fio1lD elODg the
greater part of the French coast; missions were scattered both for the
sake of security and because the planners considered JIOre than one area.
The rocky, irregular, and highly fortified shore between Cannes end
Toulon was the target of several missions. To reach this area, the
pilot had to navigate accurately at deck level across more than a hun­
dred miles of open sea and then fly over short sendy beaches separated
by j\1tting headlands. He had to climb over promontories and then cut
across beaches at en altitude of about 300 feet, Dot more then 100
yards offshore. BaIlking the aircraft in the normal course of turning
resulted in the side cameras shooting either the air or the water, and
had to be avoided. The enell\f fire was a further problem; a ll'rench
pilot was lost on one of these mssions, and an Americen pilot returned
to base with over 200 halt holes. Nevertheless, thanks to the persist­
ence end skill of our airmen, the troops obtained excellent dicing
photos or every i.portent invasion beach.

Offshore shots for landing recogniticn were taken on dictng missions

by using 12" cameras about a mile froll the beach end on the approach
arls. At this distance, fiying was safe, and the pictures were val­
uable in giving the silhouette and recognition features for the initial

Both six inch and twelve inch focal length cameras were used for
dicing; the six inch gave better continuous close cover of a straight
beach, and the twelve inch gave better scale for a more distant or ir­
regular target. Cameras pointed out both sides and forward. The DOse
camera was especially important because it caught gaps when side cameras
missed the target in a bank or had insufficient running overlap. On the
first dicing missions, dried salt spray obscured the nose camera window
after a long ron close to the water. It was necessary to send the air­
craft to their target at deck level to avoid spotting by hostile radar,
and so the Twenty-Third Squadron devised a JIISJJtla1ly operated spray
shield which the pilot retracted just before taking pictures.

questions to ask about beach conditions than could be enswered by ord­
inary oblique and vertical photographs, so specialized reconnaissence
was devised and carried out. What was the state of mnes, booms, UDder
water obstacles, sandbars, and shore bottoms? From time to time, when
the wind was right and the water perfectly sllOOth along certain beaches,
missions were nown for the express purpose of showing the bottom through
clear water. Color fila was used on a few occasions in an effort to
penetrate the water more clearly. Even the surface of the water yielded
information. Beach gradients can be determined by the measurement and
analysis of the wave system built up by the right kind of offshore wind.

The water, as it is blown toward the shore, pus es over the shallows and
stretches across the deeper spots; this tendency is reflected in the
wrinkles in the sea surface, which gave an accurate index to the bottom
depth and gradient. A special camera was used to obtain this intelligence
for the Navy.

AIRBORNE FORCE DEMANDS: Another specialized demand for photo cover

came from the airborne forces. Cover of particularly large scale and good
quality was necessary so that areas under consideration for paratroop and
glider landings could be stUdied for suitability of terrain and condition
of defences. Briefing photos and lay-downs were prepared, and last-minute
reconnaissance scheduled so that poles or mines introduced just before
"0" Day would be detected.

THE TACTICAL PHAS~ ll4llliDIATELY PRECEDING "0" DAY: The cover program,
in fact, entered a new phase immediately preceding "D" Lay. ~uch things
as survey, basic, or mosaic photograpny were no longer of prime importance;
during the week before the landing, almost every mission bore direct relat­
ion to th~ tactical requirements of the immediate operation. The landing
beaches were given a final check by large-scale cameras, and the roads,
railroads, harbors, and airfields were carefully watched for activity. It
was arranged so that the last missions before the landing could be briefed
from Corsica and land in Italy to be given at once to the interpreters;
vital information could then be radioed to the invasion fleet after all
personnel had embarked.

SHADOW COVliR AND ALTEP..NATE COVER: Meanwhile, another program of

missions was intensified - the shadow cover program. From the begin­
ning of the plarilling flying a generous proportion of the missions had been
diverted to the western French Mediterranean coast to conceal our main
intentions. A complete alternative coverage plan inclUding mosaics, repe­
titive, and even dicing cover, was flown in such a way as to give the plan­
ning staff all the information that it would need if the plans were changed
at the last minute. During the week or two inunediately before the landings,
a broad diversion to the west was no longer possible, but an entire small­
scale planning and reconnaissance program was carried out along a likely
looking stretch of coast less than a hundred miles from the intended invas­
ion beaches. Through-out all the months of planning, it was a standing
principle that every job which pointed toward the landing beaches must have
its shadow in a comparable, though actually less difficult, job in another
suitable region.

BEACHEAO SUPPORT: Our story of the planning cycle has now run from
the first survey missions to the last~ute pre-invasion reconnaissance.
It is canplete as far as planning itself goes, and yet i t is not quite ready
to hand over to the normal ~ photo support system because there is a
peculiarly difficult transition period to go through before the establizh­
ment of the squadrons on the beachead.
On "D" Day itself and for a day or two thereafter, communications
are immensely difficult and the situation is confused. There is a de­
mand for historical record pictures (both large area mapping and de­
scri?tive obliques) of the fleet, invaJion craft, and landing operations.
But until the front is stabilized, the greatest use of high altitude
reconnaissance is in watching the broader enemy situation on roads,
railroads, and airports. Radio contact is at first the only method of
communi_cation between the army and the squadron. Questions about eneIllY'
defenses or disoositions asked by the photographic liaison officer with
the forces are delayed in transmitting, and the distance of the aircraft
bases from the invasion coast severely limit the usefulness of photo­
granhic support at this stage. Within a very few days a drop area may
be estab"ished so that rush sorties may be delivered to interpreters
on the beach, but generally the fluidity of the situation makes inter­
pretation of defenses most difficult wntil a settled front line is
arrived at. Within a week of "D" Day it should be possible to land a
limited ~umber of aircraft each day on a beachhead airstrip. The pilots
are briefed bv the Air Liaison Officer, fly a quick mission, give their
film to a mobile laboratory un! t sent from the squadron on the invasion
fleet, and return nightly to their distant base, where there is relative
safety and convenient maintenance.

When it is possible to spare permanent airfield space for three or

four photo ships, and when it is nossible to leave these aircraft on
the field overnight without excessive danger from enemy strafing or
shellfire, and, finally, when a regular flow of supplies can be assured,
a complete advanced unit is set up and the rev~lution of the planning
cycle is c:)m,lete. Normal photo recon support once more takes over.


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DEVF,La~~T IN B-25: Towa the end of the summer of 1943 interest was
awakened tn the posstbtlitles of ni.ght photo reconnaissance. Some of this
type work had been accomplished by the RAF in the Mediterranean Theater of
Operattons and by the RAF and USAAF in England.
Extensive experimental work was c~rried on with B-25's using magnesium
flash bombs, both Britis~ and American. Experiments were made at various
altttudes from 5000 to 15000 feet, to determlne required air speeds, shutter
speeds, camera and fuse settlngs to obtain satisfactory pictures. Trial
"bomb" runs were made to determine the interval between bomb releases to
obtaIn sufficient overlap for stereosconic cover.

Two camera techniques were used, the "open flash" system, and the "Photo­
electric cell" system. In the "open flash" ~stem the camera shutter was
tied open. Film was exposed by the flash of t~e bomb, after which film was
rolled and the unit readied for the next flash. This technique produced good
pictures, but when used in combat was subjected to tnterferance from search­
lights and anti-aircraft gun flashes. In the "photo-electric cell" system
a photo-electric cell was connected to the shutter control. The bomb
flash actuated the shutter and wound the film automatically.

The data obtained from training missions was put into practice in combat
and while the results obtained were highly satisfactory more experiments
were conducted to improve technique and to fInd the best equipment su~~~ble
for thie type work. Experiments were conducted using two cameras, port
and starboard in tandem. This gave greater photo coverage and simplified
the pin-point navigation problem. The "photo-electric cell" system was
found to be the better of the two ~stemB used and the Amerlcan flash bomb
was more satisfactory than the BritiSh type used with the B-25 bomb-release
and bomb-bay set-up.

DEVEl,OPMENT !N A-20: In the spring of 1944, Dr. Harold Edgerton came to

Italy from the U.S. and introduced the "Edgerton Flash Unit" for use in
night photography. The principle of the unit was to obtain light sufficient
for pictures by lightlng the ground with large "flash bulbs" with approx­
imately 8 million candle power.

Experiments were carried out installing the units in A. B-24, B-25 and
and A-20, the units being carried tn the bomb bay of the aircraft. Several
units were installed in a B-24 and B-25. Pictures were taken at various
altitudes from 5000 to 15000 feet. Insufficient light, slowness of aircraft,
and weight of the unit ruled out these aircraft. The A-20, with one unit
installed, ~roved to be the most successful. Excellent pictures ware taken
at altitudes varying from 1500 to 3000 feet.

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, ,

~ r~.f ~U
.,-""O't b!tton on '"the control of the plane. When
a picture was to be taken the pilot pressed the button which opened the
camera shutter; when the shutter was fully opened the light flashed, the
film was exposed, the shutter closed and the film was automatically
wound. To date, results obtained in comb~t have been highly 8at~sfactory.
USES OF 1'f!GHT PHOTOGRAPH~: The main tactical value of night photo
reconnaissance is that it Qenetrates tne chief method of ene~ concealment ­
movement under oover of darkness. Determining traffic movements, locating
enemy dumps and concentrations, checking harbors, marshalling yards,
bridges, ferry sites and strips of railroad are some of the targets covered
by night photography. This type of photography frequently discloses more
activi~ than day photographs and has been used to supplement and check
intelligence gained through normal daytime channels.
LTMI14TIONS: Definite limitations, of necessity, exist in successful
night photo reconnaissance. Interpretation demands must be relatively
simple. Movement of traffic on roads, shipping in harbors, checking pon­
toon bridges and similar activities are all natural targets for night
photography. Information needed must not require detailed interpretati~n.
When flash bombs are used, relatively few pinpoints (6 at the most) can
be covered on any one mission, due to the maximum number of bombs that
can be carried.
There are limitations of navigation. Except for the half of the month
in which adequate moonlight is available, targets are difficult to find
unless located on the coast, on large rivers, on main highways, or near
landmarks visible through black nights.
Weather had been one of the chief limitatloDI3. Due to the accuracy of
nav!gatL>n demanded weather c·)ndi tions should be ideal although this
problem may soon be alleviated somewhat by the incorporation of radar
equipment. Experiments along those lines are being c,">nducted at the present The 3rd Photo Reconnaissance Group Is the only USAAF unit employ­
ing night photo operations at the present time in this theater. The night
unit consists of two B-~5's and one A-~O.
"JIIDNIGHT ROVER" A new development in night photography is in the
experimental stage in this theater at present. The operation when per­
fected will be called "MIDNIGHT ROVER" - the night counterpart of "Rover
1oe". It is planned to use the system when and if the Jerry pulls out of
his present Bologna line and retreats to the Po or the Alps. Missions
will be flown over night pontoon bridges, terries, marshalling yards and
other possible choke-points. Upon completion of the miSSiOIl, an inter­
preter will do first phase interpretation trom the negative alone. A~
tempting targets will be passed on to XXIITAC who will direct night
bombers and fighters to the targets. Radar equipment which is vital to
accurate night photography is still lacking, but it is hoped that enough
equipment can be utilized to insure success of these operations. "lIidnight
Rover" is a potentially strong weapon if operated correctly. Howeve~, speed
is of the essence and the g,ystem may or may not have time to prove its worth.
- 91 ­

An extremely large-scale night photo of a pontoon bridge over the Po River. Jerry
assembles and uses this bridge at night, then dismantles it during the day. The
bright spot in the photo is the reflection of tte flash unit.

- 92 ­

In our conversations with various usel s of aerial photography, we

have found that certain questions come up consistently. Below we have
attempted to answer fully the most common ones.

Q. What is the difference between Photo Recon and Tactical Recon (Tac/R)?
A. Photo Recon is fiown at high altitude with cameras having a long
focal length, and giving wide coverage. Tac/R planes usually f'ly at
medium altitude (about 8000') and generally use oblique cameras of
short focal length. Their mission is to photograph specific small
targets (i.e., one gun position, a specific dump, etc.) while Photo
Recon planes cover larger targets (i.e., a whole town, a large area,
a strip of railroad 100 miles long, 10 to 12 airdromes, etc.) Tac!~
also does a great deal of visual reconnaissance, while Photo Recon
does very I ittle due to the high al titude. Tac/R planes fly in pairs
and are armed, while Photo Recon planes fly alone and are unarmed.
On a Tac/R mission, one plane takes the photos and does visual recon
while his partner weaves on his tail~ protects him from interce~tion,
and warns hill if fiak is getting too close. The Photo Recon pilot
has none of these advantages.
Q. Why do Photo Recon ships ny at 20-25,000 feet while medium bombers
fiy over the same targets at 10-12,000 feet?
A. The F-5 (converted P-38) aircraft is built for high altitude and
gives best performance at 24,000 feet. Because the pilot is alone,
unarmed, and virtually unarmored, he is very vulnerable to flak and
interception. Moreover, his cameras at medium altitude do not have
wide coverage; therefore, the pilot is apt to miss his target COli­
pletely. At high altitude the wide camera coverage enables a good
pilot to cover his targets 100 percent.

Q. Why are Photo Racon planes unarmed?

A. The Photo Racon plane has been stripped of guns in order to aake
room for the bulky cameras and to increase speed. The weight of the
guns and complete armor would substantially reduce the plane's speed,
and would rob the P.R. ~ilot of his main defense - Speed. Moreover,
if the plane did have guns, pilots might be tempted to go looking
for a fight instead of concentrating their entire attention on
"getting their pictnres and getting them back w•

Q. What are the main photographic obstacles encountered?

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, .<

I '- •

A. Under an overcast, photograp c I t insufficient. Cloud

shadow and hill shadow, mist and smoke fre~tiently Qb8C!U"9 J>.hotos.

Weather is b.Y far the greatest obsta~le encountered 'in Photo Recon.

Camera failures also crop up and are unpredictable at high altitude

and under changing weather conditions.

Q. Under what weather conditions may various types of Photo Recon

nssions be fiown?

A. A mapping mission or an Army support mission must ordinarily be

flown when there is less than 5/1.0's cloud cover over the target
area, since half the area will be cloud covered and a good portion
of the other half will be shadow obscured. Pinpoint missions and
Bomb Damage Assessment missions may or ~ not be successful when
cloud cover is over 5/l0's. 'l'his would depend on the location of
the clouds, whether they are moving, amount of cloud shadow, etc.
Moreover, with more than 5/10' s clom the pilot lII8Y not be able to
recognize his target, and in some cases does not know where he took
his pictures. However, there are no hard and fast rules governing
when photo missions will go out in bad weather. Missions have been
sent out when the target area was renorted to be 8/10' s cloud cover­
ed. This would occur when the tactical urgency demanded taking a
big gamble. There i~ always the chance that there will be a small
hole over an important target upon which an operation is dependent.

Q. What is the effect of condensation trails on a photo mission?

. A. The pilot cannot safely fly while his plane is gi ring off trails.
His long, straight flight lines oan be easily seen from the ground,
and reveal his speed, direction and altitude more accurately than

Q. What is the effect of flak on a photo mission, and when is flak us­

ually encountered?

A. While fiak rarely scores a hit on a photo plane at high altitude , it

seriously inte-rfens with the pilot's efficiency. In addition to
checking his maps with the ground, operating the plane and cameras,
watching for interception, he must watch the flak to see that it does
not come too close. Flak is liable to be enc;ountered at aD:! altitude,
but photo ships get flak fairly consistently when they fly below
20,000'. Jerry knows very well when a photo ship is overhead, but
usually does not get irritable until the plane drops below 20,000',
unless there is unusual movement at the target, in which case he will
try to blast the plane out or the sky at ~ altitude.

Q. Why does flak affect a photo Idssion more than a fighter or bomber


- 94 ­

'." ... ~

" f •
A. The photo pilot can take very little evasive action and still get
pictures of his targets. Fighters and bombers can plan their
approach to the target in such a way as. to avoid or minimize the
main concentrations of flak, but the photo pilot's job is to get
photos of those very fiak batteries - therefore, he must fly direct­
il1' over them and keep his plane fairly straight and level. This pre­
sents a T8ry good target for the n.ak boys below.

Q. 1fby is base weather aore important to a photo mission than to a

fighter or bomber mission?

A. A photo mission is not suecessf'ul until the pilot "gets his photos
aDd gets th9JI backw • If a photo pilot is forced to land at another
base and- stay OTernight his photos lose such of their value, since
the information on the photos will be too late to be of much tac­
tical importance. A fighter or bomber mission is successful as soon
as the target is hit. They M3 land at 8J\V base and re1~ their
reports to the home base.

Q. What is the effect of interception on a photo mission?

A. At the approach of &D\Y aircraft, friendly or enemy, the pilot must
break off his run and take evasive action. He cannot wait lJDtil a
plane or planes get close enough to be identified before evading.
Illterceptions by friendly planes are almost as cOlllllon as those by'
the enemy. Moreover, the excessive strain of evasiTe action ~
ground the plane for several days. Thus, an interception may cost
Ilot one, but several JI1ssions.