Art Of The Week: Tom Lea

A few weeks ago I saw the Darkest Hour, the film about Winston Churchill and just how easy it would have been for Britain to just give up. One of the books that I have in my library is an abridged history of WW2 from Time Life books that has been in the family since the late 1960’s. In addition to Churchill’s text, the book has photo and art sections including some paintings from the Pacific theatre done by a man named Tom Lea. The pictures are stark in their images of the weariness and horrors of war and in showing the determination of the people involved in the war to get the job done regardless of the cost. The cost was high, as this famous picture shows.

Lea did not pull his punches as this gruesome picture of a marine’s last seconds shows.

Combat Gallery Sunday: The Martial Art of Tom Lea

In addition to the WW2 pictures, Lea was apparently a life long artist of Texas history and culture.

You can find out more about the artist here as well as buy his books,

An Aircraft Carrier In Drydock



The US Navy’s large nuclear carriers need to be refueled at an interval of about every ten to fifteen years. Since refueling is an involved process requiring the removal a significant amount of deck plating the ship typically undergoes a complete overhaul at the same time.  This takes about a year and means that the ship and it’s crew are placed into living  a different kind of life while the ship occupies the drydock.

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Defending Europe From An Invasion From The Sea

This post from War History showed up on my Facebook timeline.  It’s a small album of pictures of the Atlantik Wall built by Nazi Germany to stop an Allied invasion. The defense failed. The Atlantik Wall was a huge effort on the part of the Wehrmacht using some 600,000 workers.  Massive concrete bunkers and gun emplacements were built all up the Atlantic coast.

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Navy Tests New Electromagnetic Catapult

On an aircraft carrier getting planes off the deck as quickly as possible can be life or death.

The developments that led to this catapult are the result of nearly a century of carrier operations.

Here’s two videos showing typical carrier operations during WW2.

And a longer movie about aircraft carriers and operations.

The development of jet aircraft in the 1950’s created some real problems for carrier operations.

Here are some scenes from the movie “The Bridges Of Toko Ri

Some more Korean War era footage.

The addition of the canted landing deck in the early 1950’s and the use of the catapults has greatly improved the ability of a carrier to maintain operations as it allows both landing and launching operations to operate simultaneously.

Here’s the Oriskany in the Vietnam era.

More Vietnam era.

Some modern carrier operations videos.

The carrier deck is a very dangerous place.

It’s easy to see why the navy invested in the electromagnetic catapult for the new carriers.  It’s going to help eliminate soft launches and remove the steam from the deck.  Both of which will make the deck safer. Which is always a good thing.