World War 2


These Vapor Trails in the Sky Look Like White Brushstrokes on Canvas

Featured image for the 10 Shortest Wars article. Group of World War II heavy bombers on a mission

These Vapor Trails in the Sky Look Like White Brushstrokes on Canvas

Vapor trails, or condensation trails as they are better known, are a relatively familiar sight and something we regularly see in the sky as a plane passes overhead. However, in this particular video, after dropping bombs on Dresden, Germany, during World War II, the sight of Allied bombers with vapor trails just hits differently. With this in mind, let’s look at this insightful video that looks deeper into these vapor trails.

What Is a Vapor Trail?

A vapor trail can appear after any airplane if it has enough altitude.

If you’re wondering what a vapor trail is, you’re not alone. In short, vapor trails are harmless to people but are a spectacle all the same. Whenever a plane’s engine produces water vapor from the physical plane, it condenses into ice crystals at altitudes where the outside air is too cold for steam. As such, vapor trails emanate from the engine, producing a cloud-like appearance that trails the aircraft.

Bomber Trails

Bomber Trail
The first view of vapor trails shows multiple bombers in action.

In this first shot from the video, you can see bombers in the distance after their nighttime bombing run in Dresden, Germany. Each bomber leaves its vapor trail as it returns to base. A total of 1,350 bombers from the 8th Air Force took part in this attack.

Underside View

Underside View
This underside view shows thinner vapor trails following each bomber.

This underside view better shows the vapor trails coming off each of the four bomber engines. As the video shows, every engine on every bomber produces the same effect.

Side Vapor View

Side vapor view
The side vapor view shows even more bombers as part of the attack group.

In the live video, the plane on the far left of the still shot shows how much vapor is produced while traveling back to base. It’s an incredible sight as these planes consider their mission complete.

Rear View

Rear View
The rear view of these planes shows a vapor trail that helps hide at least one bomber.

This is yet another view of the vapor trail. You have five jets in the image this time, but the fourth plane’s vapor trail almost completely hides one. Rest assured, the video will show five planes in full view.

Wing View

Wing View
This is a rare shot from inside the plane, looking out over the wing.

A rare view that most people never get to see is the look of a vapor trail from the wing of another plane. It’s great to see the work of the cameraman in World War II, who was able to take such an incredible shot.

Huge Vapor Trail

Vapor Trails
The vapor trails are most prominent in this photo.

This underbelly view gives you the full impression of how widespread a vapor trail can be from the bomber’s engines. The plane to the far right leaves almost no gap between its vapor trail.

Distance Shot

Long Distance Shot
This long-distance shot shows multiple bombers heading back home.

As the cameraman from one bomber takes video of bombers in the distance, it’s very different from the previous picture. In this image, the vapor trails look far less pronounced.

Up Close

Up Close
This up close image shows dozens of bombers in the background.

With this shot, you get a good look at one of the bombers returning from the bombing run. You can easily thedistinguish the top and bottom turrets and the guns protruding from the rear turret.

Bombs Away

Bombs Away
The bombs drop on their way to attack German positions in Dresden.

As part of their mission, the bombers dropped a huge salvo of bombs on critical German buildings. The hope was to disrupt German supply runs and hinder their war effort.

Bombing Attack

Bombing Attack
Bombs continue to fall on Dresden to break German supply lines.

This still image provides one more view of the bombing attack underway. There are six total bombs pictured in this video, but each bomber was capable of dropping as many as 80 bombs, depending on the size of the weapon.

Watch the Full Video

Full Video
The full video shows multiple shots of bomber vapor trails.

Watch the full video to get the full sense of the American bomber attack. The video includes nighttime scenes from the bombing run, showing that the bombs hit their targets and caused massive explosions.

To top