P. 1
Signal Corps the Outcome

Signal Corps the Outcome

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Published by Bob Andrepont
United States Army history of the Signal Corps during World War II, part 3 of 3
United States Army history of the Signal Corps during World War II, part 3 of 3

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Published by: Bob Andrepont on Feb 06, 2011
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05/20/2013

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The Army's photographic service con-
tinued to create lively discussions at
official levels throughout the last two
years of war. The photographic service
accounted for only 3 percent of the total
of Signal Corps activity, yet General
Ingles said in the late summer of 1944,
"I get more kicks and commendations
from the results of that service than from
the results of all the rest of the Signal
Corps activities put together."1
General Ingles might have added that
the photographic service was the least
understood of Signal Corps' responsibili-
ties. Few persons outside of the Signal
Corps had any knowledge of the capa-
bilities or limitations of military pho-
tography, or any understanding of Army
policies concerning its use. In fact,
throughout the war years, War Depart-
ment policies on Army photography
tended to be contradictory and confus-
ing. Photography was expected to be
all things to all staff divisions. The War
Department's Bureau of Public Rela-
tions was interested chiefly in dramatic,
timely films and pictures for public
viewing; training officers thought of
photography in terms of mass teaching
by visual methods; field commanders
wanted tactical pictures for immediate
strategic planning; a half-dozen War
Department staff agencies gave Army

Pictorial Service directions and assigned
projects with a blithe disregard for
co-ordination with other agencies. All
depended upon the provisions of AR
105-5, which placed the Army's photo-
graphic responsibilities with the Signal
Corps except for work assigned by the
Secretary of War to other agencies.2
The photographic activities of all the
armed services suffered from "a fairly
universal lack of full co-operation, and
therefore of full use, from Washington
to the fighting fronts," one high-ranking
Signal Corps photographic officer re-
marked after the war, "Some few indi-
viduals saw the entire problem . . .
but by and large, too often through all
ranks and grades the photographic mis-
sion was an irritating gadfly—sometimes
to be slapped down, more frequently to
be brushed away, and often merely to
be ignored." 3

The general lack of ap-
preciation of photography perhaps was
more apparent in the overseas theaters
than in the zone of interior. But it is
certainly true that not until the war was

1

Ltr, Ingles, CSigO, to Tully, AFHQ, 17 Aug
44. SigC EO 312.1 Personal Ltrs.

2

(1) OCSigO R&W Action 1, Gen Code for
ACSigO, for Dir Contl Div, and for Dir P&O Div,
29 May 44, sub: Photo Responsibilities of the
CSigO. SigC OCSigO file, Photo Coverage. (2) Incl,
Outline of Photo Activities of the SigC Relation-
ships With Mil Photography, with Memo, Secre-
tary, Army Pictorial Board (Col Kirke B. Lawton),
to ACofS, G-4, et al., 1.0 Apr 43. SigC 334 APB,
pt. 1, 1943-44-

3

Col Darryl F. Zanuck, Editorial in Signals, III,
No. 3 (January-February, 1949) , 12.

ARMY PHOTOGRAPHY AT HOME AND OVERSEAS

541

PROP DEPARTMENT OF THE SIGNAL CORPS PHOTOGRAPHIC CENTER, ASTORIA, L.I.

over did sober recalculation and assess-
ment result in recognition of the real
value of the Army's photographic serv-
ice contributions.

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