Argunners Magazine has compiled a list with some of the most incredible footage from World War 2 caught on tape. This list includes rare (color) footage or extraordinary events caught on tape. The list may not be complete, contact us if you know of other footage.
These videos were caught by video cameras and were stored, publicized and are kept in an attempt to prevent similar occurrences. The creation of this article is similar in intention as well as to show you readers what could soldiers went through and what may go wrong in various (military) circumstances.
See also 7 Military Tragedies caught on Tape
Loyce Deen’s Burial at Sea
Sad video of Loyce Deen being buried at sea with the plane he gave his life in during World War 2 on November 5, 1944. AMM2C Loyce Deen was a Gunner on a Grumman TBF Avenger who lost his life after attacking Japanese vessels during the Battle of Manila Bay. Deen received a direct hit from 40MM Anti-Aircraft fire. With the plane heavily damaged and his body to badly mangled, Loyce Deen was buried with the aircraft at sea with military honor.
The skipper also ordered not to strip the plane for parts which was quite an extraordinary tribute. Loyce Deen is also the sole USN sailor who was – purposely – buried at sea with his plane! You can find a website in Loyce Deen his honor.
Combat Footage from Japanese Kamikaze Attacks
Following video contains intense combat footage of Japanese Kamikaze attacks on US Ships during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. In total the Japanese Kamikaze pilots sunk or damaged between 150-232 ships during the Battle of Okinawa alone, taking 29 Allied ships with them to the bottom. Around 1,500 Japanese suicide pilots died attacking American ships. The U.S. lost 3,048 men at hand of the Kamikaze and more than 6,035 were wounded.
This footage can be seen in the series WWII in HD. Footage was dramatized with sounds.
The Death of a Tank – Sherman and Crew Perish in Okinawa
This sad footage shows an USMC M4A3 Sherman Tank of the 6th Tank Battalion burning after hitting a heavy Japanese IED – typically an aircraft bomb or artillery shell in conjunction with an anti-tank mine – on Okinawa in 1945. Nearby soldiers who got wounded by this explosion are carried away from the battlefield. Due the result of the explosion the Sherman was flipped over and the crew got trapped inside. None of the crew survived the incident.
Read more here “The Death of a Tank“.
Color Footage of a Messerschmitt 262 being shot down
Rare color footage of a Messerschmitt 262 being shot down by a U.S. Fighter plane. Near the end of World War 2, in Europe. U.S. gun camera footage of an American fighter firing at a German Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter. Several hits are seen on the wings and then on the tail of the Me 262, which appears to accelerate, while emitting smoke. It is then seen with its right engine smoking heavily. It is again attacked and apparently shot down. Most Me 262 were shot down when they were returning to their base and trying to land, as at that moment the Me 262 likely had no more ammunition and fuel left.
Explosion of the USS John Burke
On December 28, 1944, while transporting ammunition to Mindoro, Philippines, a Japanese kamikaze, flying an Aichi D3A “Val”, chose the SS John Burke as his target and crashed into Burke at around 1020 hours. Few seconds later it disintegrated in a tremendous explosion. All souls were lost. Several ships nearby were damaged by the force of the blast and flying fragments. One of them sank before it was identified. It was one of the most powerful non-nuclear explosions in history.
Japanese Flying Boat Kawanishi H8K Emily Shot Down
Incredible gun camera footage from World War II documentary “The Fighting Lady“, which was narrated by Robert Taylor and directed by William Wyler. This documentary followed the USS Yorktown from it’s initial launch to the battle of the Philippine Sea in 1944. The Fighting Lady shows clips of carrier operations, aerial battles, and life aboard the ship.
This rare color footage shows a Japanese Flying Boat Kawanishi H8K Emily taking many hits from Hellcat fighters before finally crashing into the sea.
Explosion and Sinking of the HMS Barham
Dramatic Newsreel footage captured the sinking and explosion of the Queen Elizabeth Battleship HMS Barham. A salvo of torpedoes from German submarine U-331 struck from close range on HMS Barham on November 25, 1941 in the Mediterranean. Within four minutes, the battleship had listed over to Port and the ships magazines had exploded, sinking the battleship and killing 863 men. The terrifying explosion was caught on film by cameraman John Turner who was on an adjacent ship.
Air Death – a B24 shot down in Carolines raid
This footage shows B-24 “Brief” (44-42058) get hit and crashing down. B-24 “Brief” had taken off from Angaur Airfield, flying on a bombing mission against anti-aircraft installations on Koror, Palau Islands. Whilst over Koror, the B-24 was hit by anti-aircraft fire. The fuselage fell in a flat spiral until it crashed. 10 crew members were on board. 9 were killed in the crash except the Navigator, 2nd Lt Wallace F. Kaufman. Sadly, 2nd Lt. Wallace F. Kaufmann was captured and executed by the Japanese.
A myth surrounds this footage that it was an American bomb striking the wing of the plane. However, according to many specialists, the cleaned up version of the film has been analysed and it shows that the wing is struck from the below and thus it was not friendly fire but a hit from AA fire.
Color Footage of U.S. P-51 Fighters Attacking over Tokyo, Japan
This color footage shows U.S. P-51 Mustang fighters strafing and attacking targets over Tokyo, Japan. The footage was taken from the award winning 1945 Documentary “The Last Bomb”.
Compiled Footage of the Pacific War – Combat and Unraw
This video includes various compiled footage of the Pacific War. Some of the scenes in the video are unraw and can be distressing to some. They do share images of the various nations that served in the Pacific and not solely the U.S. military.
Incredible color footage from the 1944 documentary, Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress
Incredible color footage from the 1944 documentary, Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress, during an air raid and combat over Germany. You’ll be able to see a B-17 going down out of control after being hit. Followed by footage of some B-17’s that were severely damaged by Flak but still were able to make it home. Read more here.
Two Bristol Bolingbroke Mk IV Crash Midair
On April 14, 1943, three World War II Bristol Bolingbroke Mk IV from the Royal Australian Air Force were performing a low pass for the cameras. When the aircraft at the center climbed, its tail hit the left wing tip of the aircraft on the right. Both crashed into the water.
“The two Beauforts A9-27 and A9-268, of the RAAF’s 8 OTU, collided over Jervis Bay on 14 April 1943 while performing a ‘Prince of Wales’ break for people of the media. (…) All eight crew members were killed when both aircraft hit the water: Crew of A9-27 F/O Raymond Sydney Green (Pilot), F/O Maurice Francis Hoban, F/Sgt Eric William Sweetnam, Sgt Albert John Bailey. Crew of A9-268 F/Lt David George Dey (Pilot), P/O Jack Norman, P/O Rex Lindsay Solomon, Sgt Hugh Sydney George Richardson.”
Crash of Bristol Blenheim, Pilot bails out in last seconds
Footage from a British RAF Bristol Blenheim crashing with the pilot bailing out in the last seconds before the crash during Operation Crusader in 1941. Pilot is taken prisoner by Italian soldiers. Footage from Istituto Luce.