These expertly colourised photographs show the war machines of the Second World War like they’ve never been seen before.
The tanks that fought epic duels in the North African desert, among European towns and in the jungles of Asia have been brought stunningly to life.
Fascinating pictures show a British commander and Indian crew in a Sherman tank as they encounter an elephant in Burma, a French Army Sherman landing on Normandy beach and an American M10 tank firing near Saint Lo.
Other incredible shots show American tank destroyers moving forward during heavy fog to stem the German offensive during the Battle of the Bulge, a German Tiger Tank driving at speed and Sherman tanks carrying infantry at the start of Operation Goodwood in Normandy.
The old photographs were brought back to life after being painstakingly colourised by design engineer Paul Reynolds, 48, from Birmingham.
He said: ‘I don’t really have a message to convey, the content of the photo does that, however I am glad that by colourising these photos more people are aware of the happenings of World War One and World War Two.’
The M4 Sherman, officially named the Medium Tank M4, was the most widely used medium tank by the United States and the Western allies in the Second World War. The M4 Sherman proved to be reliable, relatively cheap to produce, and possible to create in great numbers. Pictured above is a British Army Sherman during the campaign to liberate Normandy in 1944. These old photographs have been brought back to life after being painstakingly colourised by design engineer Paul Reynolds, 48, from Birmingham. He explained his motivation: ‘I think colourising detailed photos really brings them to life – you notice detail that usually get missed due to the monotone background’
The tanks that fought epic duels in the North African desert, among European towns and in the jungles of Asia have been brought stunningly to life. This 1943 photograph shows Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, leader of British Army forces during the campaign to chase the Nazis out of North Africa, standing by a camouflaged M3 Lee tank. The American tanks, first built in 1941, were named after General Robert E Lee, the man who commanded the Confederate forces in the American Civil War. But when modified by the British, they were known as ‘Grants’ – named after the Union general Ulysses S Grant. British Lees and Grants first saw action against Nazi general Erwin Rommel in the Battle of Gazala, Libya in 1942. The Axis forces defeated the Allies
The British commander and Indian crew of a Sherman tank from the 9th Royal Deccan Horse, 255th Indian Tank Brigade, encounter a newly liberated elephant on the road to Meiktila, Burma on March 29, 1945. The Burma campaign, which sought to clear the Japanese out of South Asia, was brought close to its conclusion after victories at the Battle of Meiktila and Mandalay. Led by Field Marshal William Slim, the Allies defeated the Japanese after winning air supremacy – and went on to seize the Burmese capital, Rangoon. Colouriser Paul Reynolds explained his motivation for bringing such photographs to life: ‘I colourise these photos to bring our past to a new generation of people. Many of my colourisations on my Facebook page get viewed by tens of thousands of people – many from the 16 to 24 age group’
Tanks were an essential part of the Allies’ plan to invade the Nazi empire by landing on the beaches of Normandy. Pictured above is an American M10 tank destroyer, evidently named ‘Bessie’, after making ground in 1944. Colouriser Paul Reynolds said: ‘I don’t really have a message to convey, the content of the photo does that, however I am glad that by colourising these photos more people are aware of the happenings of World War One and World War Two’
Pictured: An M36 Jackson tank destroyer during the Battle of the Bulge. American soldiers who operated the tank often named it simply ‘TD’, the initials for ‘tank destroyer’. At the time of the Battle of the Bulge – the last major offensive by the Germans during the Second World War – there were several hundred in operation. The battle, which followed a surprise attack by the Nazis in the Ardennes Forest region of Belgium and Luxembourg, featured vicious tank duels between the Allies and Germans amid the freezing cold winter of 1944-1945. In mid-January, however, it was clear the Allies had won and that the offensive had been a disaster for the Nazis
This fascinating photograph shows a submerged Sherman tank being recovered from the River Biferno, near Campo-Marino in Italy, during October 1943. The Allied campaign to destroy fascist Italy began in 1943 and ended in the spring of 1945. There were nearly 1.5million casualties during the bloody struggle, alongside thousands of tanks and aircraft. From September 1943, the Italian Royal Army joined the Allies in the hope of liberating their country from fascism
American-built Sherman tanks of the Staffordshire Yeomanry, 27th Armoured Brigade, carrying infantry from the Third Division, move up at the start of Operation Goodwood, Normandy, on July 18, 1944. Goodwood, which occurred between July 18 and 20 in Normandy, involved an estimated 1,100 British tanks and several hundred Nazi tanks. It is believed to be one of the biggest tank battles in British military history, with hundreds of British armoured vehicles being destroyed and nearly 3,500 troops being killed or wounded
A British Sherman tank advancing near Catania, Sicily, on August 4, 1943. Catania was severely bombed during the Second World War from 1940 until its liberation in August 1943 by the British 8th Army. The Germans evacuated the city on August 5, 1943, but years earlier – starting on June 5, 1940 – around 100,000 people had been moved to neighbouring villages
35th Infantry Division Halftrack and Panzer IV (left) during the Battle of the Bulge in 1945. The Panzer IV was a German medium tank developed in the late 1930s and used extensively throughout the Second World War. Nearly 8,500 of the tanks were built, making it the commonest Nazi tank of the war. About 300 were also sold to Finland, Romania, Bulgaria and Spain, and they even ended up being used by Syrians in the 1967 war with Israel
A French Army Sherman tank lands on a beach in Normandy after disembarking from the USS LST-517 on August 2, 1944. Since its design in 1940, an astonishing 49,234 of the ubiquitous Sherman tanks were manufactured. They appeared in the Arab-Israeli wars, the Vietnam War and Indo-Pakistan War of 1965, among many others
An American M10 firing near Saint Lo, June 1944. The M10 was a tank destroyer designed in 1942 and widely deployed during the Second World War. It was manufactured by Ford and General Motors. The M10, of which 6,406 were built, used a three-inch M1918 gun to smash shells into the armour of enemy tanks
A Matilda II tank of the 7th Royal Tank Regiment in the Western Desert, 19 December 1940. The Matilda II was an infantry tank – designed to support troops as they came under heavy fire – designed in 1937 and used between 1939 and 1945. The tanks were heavily armoured but, as a consequence, very slow. Unlike other tanks, they were not adept at pushing quickly behind enemy lines and seizing territory. But there were still 2,987 of the tanks built, many of which being deployed in North Africa
The Germans’ most common tank was the Tiger I (officially known as Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger Ausf H). It was deployed on all German fronts during the Second World War. The formidable tank weighed 50 tons (54 metric tons) and was heavily armoured. About 1,350 Tiger tanks were produced in total between August 1942 and August 1944. In 1943, the Tiger II was introduced. Only 492 of the Tiger IIs were built, but they were feared among Allied forces for their power and armour
Pictured: AN M4 Sherman stuck in Okinawa Stream. The devastating 82-day Battle of Okinawa was one of the bloodiest in the Pacific War, with 20,195 Americans dying and an estimated 100,000 Japanese
Pictured: A Sherman tank in Frisa, Italy, driven by British troops. To the tank’s left are Indian troops helping in the struggle to liberate the Italians from the control of fascism
American tank destroyers move forward during heavy fog to stem German offensive during the Battle of the Bulge. The picture was taken near Werbomont, Belgium, on December 20, 1944
An Allied M10 tank destroyer driving through the ruins of Rohrwiller, in the far west of France, in February 1945. Three months after this photograph was taken, the Nazis surrendered and the world began to recover from the cataclysm of the Second World War
Pictured: A German Tiger Tank being cleaned by troops. The heavy tank became one of the most notorious of the war, considered to be of a superior design but featuring many flaws and and suffering from various complications
Pictured: A captured Soviet JS-2 heavy tank with German writing on the side explaining that it is designated for the Wehrmacht Surpreme Command
A self-propelled howitzer M7 Priest of the 14th Armored Field Artillery Battalion of the 2nd Armored Division at the intersection of Holgate Street and the railway line between Paris and Cherbourg
Pictured: An American M26 Pershing medium tank, of which 2,212 were produced during the Second World War. They were also used during the Korean War