World War II was a hell of a time. Ask your grandpa: He'll tell you all about the solemn, grim-faced, gritty reality of the whole thing until you become grizzled by proxy. Now, we're not going to sit here and say your grandpa is full of crap (the guy could probably still gut us with a can opener). We're just saying that maybe some of the ways we picture WWII looking -- all razor-jawed men charging through the mud in black and white -- isn't entirely accurate. Because we know for a fact that at least some of the soldiers were carrying floppy dong-shaped rifles into battle, and those air aces had the most fabulous planes ...
13War Is No Excuse for Not Looking Pretty ...
You've seen that plane before, right? That, or one like it. It's the kind of thing we automatically think of when we talk about WWII flying aces: a grim-faced, begoggled young man striking a dashing figure as he mounts his coal-gray plane to do aerial battle with sinister forces. Now, let's colorize the photo:
And run it through an Elton John filter.
That is substantially more fabulous than we pictured it.
That is indeed a gentle pink WWII fighter plane. And it is not a fluke: Some fighter groups were so specialized that they only operated during certain times of day. The lovely pink planes of the RAF 16th Squadron were one such unit: Near invisible at both sunset and sunrise, the pinks were able to fly over Nazi lines and take valuable photos of enemy units. Presumably so they could post them on their blogs with absolutely scathing critiques of their outfits.
Ah, but we shouldn't make fun. Not because that's actually a clever tactic, or because their pilots were easily 10 times the men we'll ever be, but because we'll run out of jokes before we get to the really ridiculous war planes ...
12Look, in the Sky! It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's ... an Ice Cream Truck?
Well, that's some weird camouflage ...
Assembly planes, or Judas goats, worked like NASCAR pace cars: They were brightly colored so everyone in formation could see them and use them as markers to align themselves with. Or maybe their parent planes just didn't pay enough attention to them when they were growing up ...
It's like a hockey goalie wrapped in a Twister mat.
If you're going to fight fascism, why not do it with style?
Hey, kids, look! Up in the sky, it's the Wonder Bread plane! And what's that it's dropping from its underbelly -- why, Wonder Bread, of course! Let's all run toward the Wonderful Wondrous Wonder Bread Canisters, totally heedless of the integrity of our limbs!
"This leveling of your city was brought to you by Fruit Stripe Gum. Fruit Stripe: Die in fire."