Video of The Week: WWII Color Military Mystery Film – Help Us: What is this?

Can you identify where and when this color WWII film was taken?  This film
was spliced to another years ago and turned up in our research.  What were
the soldiers and sailors up to?  Looks like preparations for an amphibious
assault, but where?  When?  Please add your commentary to the video page.

Video Views:   Runtime:   2:05 Year:   ????
Video #:   5006 Tags:  , , , , , ,
  • Ed Gosnell

    The ship is AP-69, USS Elizabeth C. Stanton.  Wicki says she participated in the invasion of North Africa and then was used for amphibious training in Chesapeake Bay.  After that it was the invasion of Sicily, then Salerno, then Normandy and finally shipped to the Pacific where she ended the war.  I’d guess the video was from the first two missions, North Africa and then the training off Chesapeake Bay.  Nice find.

  • Richard Bennett

    The area looks like Alaska or the pacific north west.  Perhaps it is showing an amphibious landing exercise?

  • Joseph Martanovic

    Could be 3rd Division training off of the coast of Virginia in October or September, 1942 prior to leaving for  North Africa which they invaded on November 8 th 1942

  • Sean Spoonts

    At the :48 second mark the film shows a naval officer talking to an army officer. If you look closely the army officer is wearing a patch from the Third Infantry Division on his left shoulder. The film appears to be late 1943 from the equipment and uniforms. The black board resting against the tent at the 10 second mark shows the date of December 4th without the year. The North Africa landings took place on Dec. 8th 1942 so the 3ID would have been still been at sea on December 4th. But in 1943, on May 10th German and Italian forces surrendered to the Allies and the 3rd ID was still in Africa and jumped off from there for the invasion of Sicily in June of 1943. The December date on the blackboard does not work for the Sicily invasion. But it does work for the 3rd ID landing at Anzio on January 22nd 1944. I’m going to guess that this film depicts preparations for the Anzio landing by the 3rd ID in Pozzouli Italy .  Southern Italy matches the depicted terrain well, the Dakota flying over the low mountain with the sea in the background is pretty good evidence. It sure isn’t Fort Stewart Geogia.  Returning to to the blackboard at the airbase it seems to be a sortie board for a P-38 Fighter Group.  Probably the 14th FG which saw action in Africa, Sicily and Italy.  Two of those squadrons in the group, the 48th and 49th, between  9/43 to 9/45 were in Triolo Italy which was described as a turf runway that was later improved with steel matting.  I think the video probably depicts them in Triolo Italy.  The 3rd ID went to Pozzouli Italy about 150 south of Naples to rehearse for the landings at Anzio on December 18th.  The sortie board has a December 4th date on it so it makes sense to conclude that the camera man was in transit to cover the landing rehearsal in Pozzouli.  The footage of the landing shows it to be a rehearsal.   None of the troops are wearing combat packs or jackets.  The Navy personnel are not wearing helmets, flash paint or life jackets.  There are no prelanding bombardment fires or damage to the landing area visible from a bombardment.  I think this further supports the theory that its the 3rd ID rehearsing for the Anzio landing at Pozzouli.

    • Dan Debree

      I thinkthe P-38 film is the14th FG at Youks-les-Bains, Algeria, on 4 Dec 1942.  The on-call pilots are listed for the 48th FS, 49th FS, and 94th FS.  All three of these squadrons were attached to the 14th FG at Youks-les-Bains, on 4 Dec 1942.  I think you can even read “4 Dec 1942, 0700″ on the top of the board….

      • Dan Debree

        Sorry, correction, those are Callsigns, not on-call pilots.

    • Mike G.

        I noticed that none of the troops on the rope ladders coming off the ship were wearing any jackets, Boat leaving the ship was P69-17, but at 1:36, the troops unloading from “P69-20 and were wearing long coats, so it must have been cold, then at 1:40 the troops coming off “P69-7″ looked like the were not wearing jackets, then at 1:50 just before the end, it looks like they are in long coats again running… It looks like 3 different video clips (for the landing scenes)…
      Mike G

  • Apppleinc

    The air station served as a training base for numerous squadrons before they deployed to support combat operations in the Pacific.
    Later in the war, the station served as home to Marine squadrons
    that were trained to operate from aircraft carriers providing close air support for their fellow Marines on the ground.

  • Apppleinc

    December 4, 1942; seems to be the date according to the board shown in the beginning. During this time a Marine Corp airfield was being commissioned, Marine Corp Air Station Santa Barbara.