The Essex class comprised the most modern American aircraft carriers that operated during the Second World War, being the backbone
of the US Navy from mid 1943 onwards. Besides, it constituted the most numerous class of capital warships built
during the 20th century, with 24 units completed.
The aerial threat during the Second World War gave as a result that the main naval units were scalloped with numerous automatic
cannons of 20 or 40 millimeters in caliber. This photograph shows a quadruple 40-millimeter mounting, installed upon the original
127-millimeter cannons on the old battleship USS Arkansas.
Also the paratroopers, which would constitute the vanguard of the landing during Operation Overlord, were subjected to exhausting
Pilot of a German interceptor Focke Wulf Fw 190 preparing for immediate take-off. Vital pieces of the equipment are the life
vest and the parachute, elements that saved the lives of many aviators. The helmet is fitted with headphones and oxygen mask,
this latter indispensable for flying at the high altitudes (over 7000 meters) that the Fw 190 could operate on. The equipment
includes as well a wraist watch, a wraist compass, sunglasses, a pistol for distress signals - with ten signal and smoke
cartridges - carried on the thighs along with a large jackknife, and a waterproof chocolate box serving as emergency
Polish laborers watched by German soldiers dig trenches around Warsaw to prepare the defense against the foreseeable Soviet attack.
The secret weapons program was the last hope of Germany to give a turn to the fate of war. This photograph shows a V-1 missile in
flight. This contraption was basically a rocket-propelled aircraft in which the human pilot was replaced by a gyroscopic device,
which guided the flying bomb towards the target. As the V-1 flew like a normal aircraft would do, and its speed was not
higher than that reached by the best fighter aircraft, some skilled pilots were able to intercept these flying bombs and
destabilize their path when hitting them with the wingtips of their aircraft.
Experimental explosion of one of the first American atomic bombs. Not much time would pass until this science-fiction experiment
were turned into an atrocious reality.
In this photograph, taken in 1944 on the stern deck of the old battleship USS Arkansas, is visible a Kingfisher seaplane placed
on its catapult. Capital ships eventually stopped carrying these aircraft because of the high risk of fire that they represented.
American soldiers with camouflage clothes training in rocky terrains similar to those that await them in the French coasts of
An American paratrooper armed with a Thompson sub-machine gun has just arrived to the ground.
American soldiers preparing an emplacement from where managing a radio device.
American aviator Don Gentile posing on his legendary P-51 Mustang, named Shangri-La, which was broken while performing
unauthorized acrobatics over the Debden RAF airfield. Between February and March 1944 they were credited to Gentile 16 or 17 enemy
aircraft destroyed; the array of little iron crosses that indicate this achievement can be seen painted beneath the cockpit.
A German infantryman watches the enemy lines in an outpost on the Siegfried Line.
Very different to the V-1, the V-2 was a much more effective but also expensive weapon. This missile, launched in vertical
position, was able to reach altitudes of up to 100 kilometers before reverting its pitch and starting to dive towards its
target, with notable precision and at speeds as high as 5500 kilometers/hour. This rendered the V-2 practically invulnerable
to any anti-aircraft defense or aircraft, and allowed it to arrive without being heard, for it travelled much faster than sound.
Despite of Americans considering themselves as delayed in respect of Germans in the "atomic race", they managed to be the first to obtain the terrible weapon,
which they continued experimenting in the desert of Nevada still during many years after the end of the war.