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Artifact Friday: Stars and Stripes Newspaper

Stars and Stripes is the official newspaper of the US military. Authorized by the Department of Defense, it is both produced for and published by US military personnel since the American Civil War. These newspapers offer an interesting glimpse into past military conflicts and provide the opportunity to view it through the perspective of servicemen and women. They also provide a look at various military innovations from their date of publications, such as the below panel from a Second World War article detailing the use of helicopters.

When most people think of aircraft of World War II, they likely think of two things: the fighter planes like the P51 Mustang or Messerschmitt Me 109, and the bombers like the Avro Lancaster and Boeing B17. Helicopters, by contrast, are often seen as a more modern invention, but experiments with rotorcraft date back to the 1920s, and during World War II, both the Allies and Axis utilized some form of helicopter.

One example of these helicopters is featured in the article: The Sikorsky R-4 Hoverfly. Designed by Igor Sikorsky, the Hoverfly’s prototype made its first flight in 1942 and its successful test prompted the military to invest in this new form of aircraft, with it quickly becoming the first successfully mass-produced helicopter. The USAAF would order around 100 R-4s and they would also see service with the US Navy, US Coast Guard, and even Britain’s Royal Navy.

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