During World War II, sixteen US Army Air Force Combat Camera Units (CCU) provided still and motion picture coverage of the war in every theater of operation. The visual record was used for operational analysis, training, public information and as a permanent historical record. Combat camera units often comprised 23 men, 15 of which were on combat/flying status. Camera repair men were important, keeping the delicate cameras in running order.
Not all cameramen returned home. As a matter of fact, the cameramen suffered the highest percentage of casualties of any service in World War II.
Here is already some information regarding the CCU’s:
1st Combat Camera Unit (15th Air Force)
The 1st Army Air Forces Combat Camera Unit which was constituted on Feb 4, 1943.
2nd Combat Camera Unit
Constituted as 2 Army Air Forces Combat Camera Unit on 4 February 1943. Activated on 12 Feb 1943. Redesignated as 2 Combat Camera Unit on 1 August 1945. Inactivated on 30 November 1945.
3rd Combat Camera Unit
Constituted as 3 AAF Combat Camera Unit and activated on 12 February 1943. Inactivated on 27 October 1945.
1 Motion Picture Unit, 12 February 1943;
Eighth Air Force 3 November 1943;
8 Reconnaissance Wing (Provisional) (attached to 2 Bomb Division), 27 February 1944;
325 Photographic Wing, Reconnaissance, 9 Aug 1944;
Eighth Air Force, 6 Feb 1945;
VIII Fighter Command, 16 Jul-27 Oct 1945.
World War II: European-African-Middle Eastern Theater
4th Combat Camera Unit
After VE-Day, Gen. ‘Hap’ Arnold ordered Col. Owen Crump to document the bomb damage in Germany; the task fell to the 4th C.C.U., who took advantage of Occupation rules and filmed captured Hermann Göring, the death camps in color. The hundreds of hours of film exposed as part of ‘Special Film Project 186’ has never been shown because the Army Air Force didn’t invest the $1 million estimated cost to produce a series of documentary motion pictures.
6th Combat Camera Unit (South Pacific, 1942-1945 )
7th Combat Camera Unit (Pacific)
8th Combat Camera Unit (Europe)
Attached to the 25th Bomb Group. They flew on bomber operations with all three divisions of the 8th Air Force as well as with the Mosquitos of the 25th Bomb Group, where they participated at 230 combat missions.
9th Combat Camera Unit (Egypt and Italy)
10th Combat Camera Unit (India)
Active by November1944, inactivated after 1 May 1945.
11th Combat Camera Unit (Pacific)
Depot Field, later Harmon Field, Guam
12th Combat Camera Unit
16th Combat Camera Unit (China)
Active on May 1, 1943, Commanding Officer Captain Wilfrid M. Cline.