WWII Airplane Silhouettes
May 3, 2005 11:57 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for online examples of WWII-era airplane silhouettes, labeled as "American," "British," "Japanese," or "German," as used by civilians during WWII to spot enemy aircraft. Help?

During WWII, citizens volunteered to watch for enemy aircraft (WaPo article). They would use (and memorize) cards/papers with airplane silhouettes, and would be prepared to call in to some central command if they saw an enemy plane/fleet preparing to attack American soil (a la Pearl Harbor). Some names for these programs included "Operation Skywatch," the "Air Warning Service," or the "observation corps."

Online, I've been able to find decks of playing cards with airplane silhouettes, as well as a picture of an old 3-D plane spotting model (click here and Ctrl-F for "CARDSTOCK SILHOUETTE MODELS"), but not a resource that features the images as they would have looked on those training papers. I'm trying to find online graphics of the black-and-white silhouettes as the "observation corps" would have used. I've looked and looked, and had little success. Can anyone here help me out with this?

Ideally, they'd be public domain, too.
posted by Alt F4 to Grab Bag (6 answers total)
Response by poster: I should note, too, that Brownpau sent me this link, which is outstanding. More along this line would be tremendous, if any of you know how to find more pages like this.
posted by Alt F4 at 12:06 PM on May 3, 2005

Looks like you need a copy of the Warplane Spotters Manual which you might be able to get via interlibrary loan from your local library.
posted by jessamyn at 12:13 PM on May 3, 2005

Janes Defense has been publishing a book of warcraft silhouettes for decades. Contact them for thoughts about WW2 resources
posted by seawallrunner at 12:33 PM on May 3, 2005

That should give you titles to search for.

Also, if you're close to DC, drop into the library of congress and ask to see this:
LC Control Number: 95128646
Type of Material: Text (Book, Microform, Electronic, etc.) - Collection
Brief Description: [World War II pamphlets. Part 4].
57 items.

CALL NUMBER: Collection Level Cataloging Coll Mgmt--D743
Copy 1
-- Request in: Jefferson or Adams Bldg General or Area Studies Reading Rms
posted by cosmicbandito at 12:34 PM on May 3, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks, all, for your help. That Warplane Spotters Manual looks perfect. I'll try and get to the LOC soon so I can check that out in more detail.

You all are great.
posted by Alt F4 at 5:58 PM on May 4, 2005

Phenomenal resource.
posted by Miko at 6:17 PM on May 4, 2005

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