Though color photography was invented decades before the start of World War II, it was still a rather niche process, which was a lot more expensive than black-and-white photography. The rarity of color film was compounded by the hazards of shipping during wartime, and the difficulties involved in reproduction and printing.
Nevertheless, thousands of color images were produced during this devastating global conflict. Some 3,000 of these were assembled by the British Ministry of Information and eventually ended up in the collections of Imperial War Museums across the United Kingdom, which now hold over 11 million photos of conflict from World War I to the present day.
Below you can see some fantastic color photographs from World War II.
Click on images to enlarge
A crew from the 16th/5th Lancers, 6th Armored Division, clean the gun barrel of their Crusader tank at El Aroussa, Tunisia.
Nurses and convalescent aircrew at Princess Mary's Royal Air Force Hospital, Halton, Buckinghamshire, England.
Private Alfred Campin of the 6th Batallion, Durham Light Infantry during training in Britain.
An Air Raid Precautions warden inspects the damaged buildings in Holborn, London, England.
British paratroopers prepare for a practice jump from an RAF Dakota based at Down Ampney, Wiltshire, England.
Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery explains Allied strategy to King George VI in a caravan in the Netherlands.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower and his senior commanders at Supreme Allied Headquarters, London, England.
Lancaster bombers nearing completion in Avro's assembly plant, Woodford, Manchester, England.
Lieutenant Vernon R. Richards of the 361st Fighter Group flies his P-51D Mustang, during a bomber escort mission. Location unknown.
A 5.5-inch gun crew from the 75th Medium Regiment, Royal Artillery, in action in Italy.
A couple of British soldiers admire the Caryatids on the Acropolis while sightseeing in Athens, Greece.
The RAF's top-scoring fighter pilot, Wing commander James Johnson, with his Spitfire and pet Labrador in Normandy, France.
Dutch civilians dance in the streets after the liberation of Eindhoven by Allied forces.
Images: Imperial War Museums