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  #1  
Old 05 October 2009, 08:04 PM
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Airplane Lockheed during World War II

Comment: This is an email that I have received many times this week. I teach American History so I was wondering of the validity of this. I would love to use it in my classroom if it is:

Lockheed During W.W.II (unbelievable 1940s pictures). This is a version of special effects during the 1940's. I have never seen these pictures or knew that we had gone this far to protect ourselves. During World War II the Army Corps of Engineers needed to hide the Lockheed Burbank Aircraft Plant to protect it from a possible Japanese air attack. They covered it with camouflage netting to make it look like a rural subdivision from the air.

BEFORE:


AFTER:














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  #2  
Old 05 October 2009, 08:31 PM
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Airplane

On the surface, it sounds plausable. I know that there was some impressive Camoflage work done in Britain at the time, so it is physically possible.

googling, I found more to this:
Quote:
Not only is the item not true in fact part of the ruse was to mask the studio as Lockheed so the Japanese would not get suspicious. For many years after one of the sound stages bore the leftover letters "HEED AIRCRAFT COMPANY," obviously the remanants of a fake Lockheed sign. By the way Douglas Aircraft Company in Santa Monica - now Santa Monica Airport - was similarly disguised.
I know that blogs are poor evidence, but I thought that it made an interesting addition to the question.

I'm still looking.

ETA: Here is Lockheed's homepage. Two interesing litems on their contact page:

Quote:
Media Questions: All questions from media professionals should be directed to our Corporate News & Information contacts.
I do not think that I qualify as a "media professional" and do not feel that I have the right to invoke the Snopes name in sending in the question. Perhaps Jenn, Snopes, or Barbara would be qualified to use this link.

Quote:
Specific questions about the corporation: Resources do not permit response to questions regarding our history, requests to locate employees, or requests for detailed information on business unit programs.
Sounds like a dead end as far as me getting info from the horse's mouth goes.

Last edited by DemonWolf; 05 October 2009 at 08:38 PM.
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  #3  
Old 05 October 2009, 08:40 PM
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Boeing did it as well.

Does it count as FOAF if I mention my dad was working there at the time, and told me about it years later?

ETA: More, from Boeing's own site:

Quote:
By 1941 Boeing workers were building B-17s at a rapidly increasing rate. Burlap houses and chicken-wire lawns camouflaged the rooftops of Boeing Plant 2 in Seattle so that, from the air, the bomber manufacturing center looked like a quiet suburb.
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  #4  
Old 05 October 2009, 08:45 PM
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Wolf

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tootsie Plunkette View Post
Boeing did it as well.

Does it count as FOAF if I mention my dad was working there at the time, and told me about it years later?
IMO, no. You are reporting an eyewitness account as related to you by the eyewitness.
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  #5  
Old 05 October 2009, 08:46 PM
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Glasses

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tootsie Plunkette View Post
Boeing did it as well.

Does it count as FOAF if I mention my dad was working there at the time, and told me about it years later?
I've always thought it was strange that they chose to camoflage Plant 2 as a residential neighborhood when all the area around it was industrial. I think it made it stand out even more. Plus, the streets didn't run parallel to the real streets in the area. ETA: I worked at Plant 2 for my first four years with Boeing. Now I work at a site most people (even in Puget Sound) aren't aware exists.

Seaboe

Last edited by Seaboe Muffinchucker; 05 October 2009 at 08:55 PM. Reason: grammar
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  #6  
Old 05 October 2009, 08:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaboe Muffinchucker View Post
I've always thought it was strange that the chose to camoflage Plant 2 as a residential neighborhood when the all the area around it was industrial. I think it made it stand out even more. Plus, the streets didn't run parallel to the real streets in the area. ETA: I worked at Plant 2 for my first four years with Boeing. Now I work at a site most people (even in Puget Sound) aren't aware exists.

Seaboe
From what I've read, that doesn't matter, the important part is making it appear so dramitcally different from what the bombardier is expecting that it will pass through his scope unnoticed and the plane pass out of range before he can identify the target. Also, to make it impossible to identify specific buildings. Remember: The bomber crew has never been to the neighborhood and only knows what to look for from his breifings. He also has a limited number of bombs and none to spare for saying, "hmm... that's oddly placed, I should bomb it to be sure."

amazingly enough, when we are looking for a specific object, objects that do not look like that specific object are basically "invisible" as far as our brains go. (we see them, but the brain does not process the presence as possibly being the item and is dismissed without you noticing the object.)
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  #7  
Old 05 October 2009, 09:29 PM
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I've seen these photos in at least a couple of books on WWII aircraft production. I can't imagine that there's any call to doubt them.

The last photo shows a Constellation and several P-38 Lightning, aircraft known to be manufactured at SoCal Lockheed plants.
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  #8  
Old 06 October 2009, 12:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoKu View Post
I've seen these photos in at least a couple of books on WWII aircraft production. I can't imagine that there's any call to doubt them.

The last photo shows a Constellation and several P-38 Lightning, aircraft known to be manufactured at SoCal Lockheed plants.

True, but the photos could be of another place, perhaps a military base, other than the Lockheed plant.

I saw the question as:

1) Are the photos unaltered? I believe them to be real photos. The are physically possible and depic actions known to have ossured (the camoflaging of important military/industrual locations.)

2) Do the photos depict what is being described? I do not yet know. They could be Lockheed or a collection of different places. The parking lots would seem to indicate an industrial location, rather than a military base. The street could be Lockheed, or it could be a place in London (both cars are parked facing the same way and I cannot see the sterring wheels or any distictive markings.
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  #9  
Old 06 October 2009, 01:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DemonWolf View Post
The street could be Lockheed, or it could be a place in London (both cars are parked facing the same way and I cannot see the sterring wheels or any distictive markings.
You can see the steering wheel of one car in the second but last photo and it's on the left side.

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  #10  
Old 06 October 2009, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floater View Post
You can see the steering wheel of one car in the second but last photo and it's on the left side.
Your eyes are better than mine.
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  #11  
Old 06 October 2009, 01:57 PM
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I can make out the steering wheel, too.
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  #12  
Old 06 October 2009, 02:05 PM
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The bus in the third photo is built for driving on the right side. Just look at the open door.
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  #13  
Old 06 October 2009, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
I can make out the steering wheel, too.
I do not doubt him and I apologise if it seemed that I did. I am at work and I can't really blow up the images.
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  #14  
Old 06 October 2009, 02:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DemonWolf View Post
I do not doubt him and I apologise if it seemed that I did.
No, I didn't think you were doubting him. I was just chiming in.
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  #15  
Old 06 October 2009, 02:34 PM
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Besides, I only have one eye.
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  #16  
Old 06 October 2009, 03:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DemonWolf View Post
True, but the photos could be of another place, perhaps a military base, other than the Lockheed plant...
Sorry, I wasn't clear. I've seen these photos in at least a couple of books on WWII aircraft production, specifically in the context of the SoCal Lockheed plant. There were other photos in the series that established that context pretty clearly. One of the books might have been Forge of Freedom, but I'm away from my books right now and can't check.
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  #17  
Old 06 October 2009, 03:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DemonWolf View Post
I know that blogs are poor evidence, but I thought that it made an interesting addition to the question.
I've probably posted this before, but what the heck ...

My father spent his entire working career as an engineer with Douglas Aircraft (later McDonnell Douglas) in southern California, and I recall hearing him tell an anecdote related to this:

Supposedly, when Lockheed was camouflaged after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Jack Warner approached the military to ask if they would camouflage his studio's facilities as well. After all, Warner had a lot of money invested in all those soundstages, lots, and equipment, the Japanese would surely love to target something as symbolically American as a film studio, and they were doing important war work by turning out all sorts of training, informational, and propaganda films.

The brass tried their best to put off Warner, giving him evasive answers and stalling and shuffling their feet, and finally when he grew too insistent and could be put off no longer, they sheepishly explained to him that the purpose of camouflage was not to "hide" something, but to make it look like something else -- and they couldn't provide him with the same type of camouflage as Lockheed, because they'd camouflaged Lockheed to look like Warner Bros.
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  #18  
Old 06 October 2009, 03:41 PM
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On the sixth picture, the booth at the gate to the car park is on the left side. Meaning that the cars must be left hand drive.
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  #19  
Old 06 October 2009, 05:15 PM
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The photos are mentioned here, although the actual images are blacked out due to copyright restrictions:

http://books.google.com/books?id=0bR...C&pg=RA1-PA178
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  #20  
Old 06 October 2009, 06:00 PM
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Airplane

The official Burbank Airport website has a few similar photos in their 75th anniversary photo album, with the caption "During World War II, camouflage netting was placed over airport buildings and parking lots." It certainly seems plausably that the photos in the OP are from the same time.
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