Searchlights on the Rock of Gibraltar, 1942.
The searchlights in this photo aren’t intended for the use of the crews running the lights. Their purpose is helping the anti-aircraft gunners spot incoming bombers. And the anti-aircraft gunners aren’t located at the lights. The glare from light reflecting off the fog doesn’t impact them as much, the benefit of the light in spotting bombers is greater than the harm of reduced visibility from glare.
Gibraltar was a very big choke point, basically whoever owned it would be who got the use of the Mediterranean. No ship could basically get through this strait of Gibraltar without being sunk. Since the British owned it, it meant no Italian/German planes or boats could get through. Since the Axis were in control of the North Africa and they wanted to secure their holdings, Gibraltar seemed like an easy point of bombing and attacks to destroy its fighting power. Which is why they have so many lights and anti-aircraft guns on the rock, to try to deter and eliminate any would-be attackers.
17-year old Pelé in Sweden before the 1958 World Cup.
Pelé turned 18 during the cup, helped Brazil to reach the finals and then win 5-2 against Sweden, crowning Brazil as world champions for their first time ever, which turned him overnight into an international sensation. On 29 June 1958 Pelé became the youngest player to play in a World Cup final match at 17 years and 249 days. He scored two goals in that final as Brazil beat Sweden 5–2 in the capital of Stockholm. His first goal where he flicked the ball over a defender before volleying into the corner of the net, was selected as one of the best goals in the history of the World Cup. Following Pelé’s second goal, Swedish player Sigvard Parling would later comment: “When Pelé scored the fifth goal in that Final, I have to be honest and say I felt like applauding”. The 1958 World Cup was probably the last time his life was relatively normal. Before the tournament, he was more of a mystery outside of Brazil; after, one of the most popular athlete that ever lived.
23. London After an Air Raid
City of London after a German air raid, color photograph, 1940.
The building in the center of the photograph is the Old Bailey, one of London’s courts. The statue atop is of course the Lady of Justice. This iconic buildings including St Paul’s, where this picture is taken, are a testament to the incredible work done by the London firemen in saving them. There’s a memorial outside St Paul’s dedicated to them. On 29th/30th December 1940 the Germans deliberately targeted London with incendiary bombs during a period of low tide in the Thames, so the fireman had to work through deep mud all the night to get the water to save the city. What resulted was called The Second Great Fire of London. 29 bombs fell around the Cathedral, and one actually hit the dome, and fell through.
When the sirens went off, all civilians were meant to get to air raid shelters (including ones on Tube platforms). The only people above ground should have been military personnel and the home guard. If you weren’t one of those two, you would be investigated to make sure you weren’t a looter. If you weren’t, you would be told to get underground. This picture was taken from atop St Paul’s cathedral, which means it is likely this picture was taken by somebody in the home guard used as part of the warning system to see when enemy planes arrived and departed.
24. Lighting a Cigarette
German soldier lighting his cigarette with a flamethrower, 1940s.
Somewhere in Eastern Front. Flamethrowers had two fuel lines. The line he is lighting is cigarette with is sort of like a pilot line. It is a smaller fuel line that stays lit and can produce a bit of a larger flame when its trigger is pressed. The second line is for the big fire. This contains a thicker gelatinous type of fuel. So the flamer will pull the first trigger making the pilot flame larger, then pulls the second trigger emitting the thicker fuel which gets lit by the pilot flame raining hellfire upon anyone in its path. So technically its not really a blowtorch, but just a little pilot flame. Still it’s badass lighting your cigarette that way.
25. Inspecting a Destroyed Tank
Two American soldiers inspect a destroyed German King Tiger tank, Belgium, 1944 .
Also they’re all admiring the three beautiful passing girls. Photo taken near the village of Corenne, Belgium.
The tank in the photo is Tiger II number 312, of the 3rd company 501 SS schwere Panzer Abteilung and 82nd Airborne Division troops. More likely it ran out of gas. Most of the time during the Battle of the Bulge, the ever thirsty Königstigers were either stuck in traffic on the narrow winding roads or desperately looking for American petrol dumps that hadn’t been blown up before they got there. Or there could have been a bridge. All the ones that didn’t break (or run out of fuel) got stopped by the first bridge they came to. Tiger II weighed like 70 tons. The next heaviest heaviest allied tank was 46 tons. Proper bridges were no problem but smaller bridges could be a problem if the river banks where too steep for it to be forded with snorkel.