Spectacular color photos capture WWII tank crews in training

As the mechanized German Army swept through Europe in the early years of World War II, American military brass recognized the need to develop a strong armored force.

In 1940, the former 7th Cavalry Brigade was reorganized and activated as the 1st Armored Division.

For the next two years, as engineers and factories rushed to design and manufacture new tanks, the men of the 1st Armored trained at Fort Knox, Kentucky (also home to the famous gold depository).

21 PHOTOS
Tank training at Fort Knox: 1942
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Tank training at Fort Knox: 1942

A tank driver

(Photo via Library of Congress)

An M4 tank

(Photo via Library of Congress)

An M3 tank and crew

(Photo via Library of Congress)

An infantryman crouches beside a half-track with an M1 Garand.

(Photo via Library of Congress)

The crew of an M4 tank

(Photo via Library of Congress)

An M3 Stuart light tank drives through a water obstacle

(Photo via Library of Congress)

An M3 tank crew aim small arms

(Photo via Library of Congress)

An infantryman aims an M1 Garand from inside a half-track.

(Photo via Library of Congress)

A tank commander poses for a flash-lit profile.

(Photo via Library of Congress)

(Photo via Library of Congress)

An M3 tank

(Photo via Library of Congress)

An infantryman takes aim with a Browning machine gun.

(Photo via Library of Congress)

(Photo via Library of Congress)
(Photo via Library of Congress)

A mechanic works on a troop transport vehicle.

(Photo via Library of Congress)

(Photo via Library of Congress)

A construction worker helps build a new power line into the rapidly growing installation.

(Photo via Library of Congress)

(Photo via Library of Congress)
(Photo via Library of Congress)
(Photo via Library of Congress)
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Thousands of recruits were introduced to hulking tanks, half-tracks and armored vehicles, and trained in newly developed tactics and doctrines for a modern kind of warfare.

In 1942, Office of War Information photographer Alfred T. Palmer visited Fort Knox, shooting in exquisitely detailed 4x5 color film to lend the images a monumental, intimidating power.

Learn more about WWII weapons:

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