Original British WWII Royal Air Force and Ground Forces Map Lot - 6 Maps

Item Description

Original Items: Only One Lot of 6 Available. For operations which demanded co-operation between both ground and air forces, it was essential that both branches of the military use the same map. This helped facilitate planning, briefing, and inter-communication, as well as ensuring a common basis for referencing map coordinates. Maps used for such operations, therefore, had to meet the needs of all parties involved.

The Royal Air Force (R.A.F.) employed amber lighting in the cockpit area of their planes when flying after dark, to minimize the loss of the flight crew's night-vision, thus allowing them to see both the instrument panel and objects through the window simultaneously. The colors on the maps, therefore, had to be selected so as to be visible under these special lighting conditions. During operations, air crews were also forced to use their maps in cramped and unstable conditions subject to intense vibration, so legibility and clarity were of great importance.

Ground forces, on the other hand, required more topographical detail than was present on the typical navigation chart used by the R.A.F.

Distinguishing Features of an "Army/Air" Map
The scale of the map had to be large enough to show a sufficient amount of detail for the ground forces, while remaining small enough to show as much geographic area coverage as possible for the air forces--typically 1:250,000 (1 cm = 2.5 km).

The road color was selected so that, under the amber light, it would neither fade out and disappear, nor become so dark that it would be confused with railways. The object was to cause the main roads to appear as an apparent sepia color.

Coastlines were made to be more visible under the amber lighting conditions by applying a blue "verge" to highlight the transition from water to land. Rivers were also slightly thickened for emphasis as they were important aids to navigation.

Forests and Wooded areas were printed in a brilliant green, as--like water features--they were also important aids to navigation. Their distinctive shapes, as seen from the air, could often be used to identify them.

Hypsometric layers, representing increasing levels of elevation, were printed in graduated tints of violet. Selected critical spot-heights were shown on ridges and summits which constituted dangers to flying in fog or darkness. Where necessary, these spot-heights were printed inside a white "text box" in order to stand out clearly against the violet-coloured mountain background.

The Maps Featured In This Lot:
- 1944 Unlabeled Map of the British Coastline (28 ½” x 23”): The map is in good condition with lovely detail. It is unlabeled for a location at the top but it appears to be the south eastern part of England with towns and camps labeled from Cambridge to Kent up to Norfolk.
- 1944 Air Map of Marseilles (34” x 25”)
- 1944 RAF Map of The Highlands (37 ½” x 28”): This example is labeled as an RAF Aeronautical map for the Scottish Highlands. The map appears to have been printed by the US Army in Washington DC.
- 1941 Air Map of Torino (34 ½ x 24 ½)
- 1944 RAF Map of North Scotland (38” x 28”): The map was printed by the US Army in Washington DC.
- 1942 Air Map of Graz, Austria (35 ½” x 28”): The map was printed by the US Army in Washington DC.

All maps are in good, legible condition with all colors and markings still very clear. All come ready to be displayed!

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