Aerial Pictures and Photographs of Germany at the end of World War II

The Trolley Mission May 1945

This web site tells the story of a sightseeing tour of Germany at the end of the European War. Thousands of men who had, in countless ways, played a part in the aerial attack on Germany received their first opportunity to see the fruits of their labors. The Royal Air Force (RAF), the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), and the United States Army Air Forces (AAF, USAAF) all played a part in the destruction.

The Trolley Missions were low-level flights over Germany between 7 May 1945 and 12 May 1945. Sometimes the Trolley Mission is also called low level mission, low level tours or Cook's tours. The purpose was to provide all ground personnel with an opportunity of seeing the results of their contribution in the strategic air war against Germany. Apart from the crew members, the ground personnel were the passengers. The special was that aerial photographs were taken during the flights by the passengers if they owned a camera. These pictures and photographs were not taken on military command. Because the photos were not military reconnaissance photographs, these photos are not collected in the military archives or at the National Archives and Records Administration.

Today, these aerial photos are still in private ownership. Maybe your father or your grandfather participated in the Trolley Missions. And, perhaps you've inherited these photos? Please, see the "Help and Research" section. Now, more than 70 years later Markus Lenz is researching, analyzing and collecting photographs from the Trolley Mission. He was born in 1975 and lives in Frankfurt/Main, Germany. He is a private pilot, an economic historian, and he wrote book about the Trolley Mission. This book includes a historical description and an analysis of air navigation. The book was written in cooperation with the 392nd Bomb Group Memorial Association in German language.

Die Trolley Mission der US-amerikanischen Luftwaffe vom 7. bis zum 12. Mai 1945 - Historische und bislang unveröffentlichte Luftbilder deutscher Städte und Industriebauten im Zweiten Weltkrieg
The first edition of this book is written in the German language. It's availabe at, at or at The book contains 232 pages and more than 200 aerial photos taken during the Trolley Mission. At the moment the author is planning a second edition, because there are more photographs. Markus Lenz is going to ask veterans' organizations, bombardment group associations, and individuals who have posted such aerial pictures on Flickr, on Facebook or on other social media channels. And, the author is looking for more pictures using this web site.

The book is sold at the cost price without profit margin. Only the manufacturing and printing costs have to be covered. The author's purpose is to create a photo collection to donate it to the famous Saxon State and University Library Dresden, one of the largest and best endowed academic libraries in Germany. The aerial pictures and photographs taken during the Trolley Mission represent an extraordinary historical value for the history of the Federal Republic of Germany.

For reaching more people - especially descendants, children of bomber pilots and bombardment group members - there is a new edition of this book, specially designed for e-book devices, like Amazon Kindle. And, it is written in the English language including more than 20 pictures, charts and maps.

This e-book is written for the Kindle Paperwhite device offered by Amazon:

But remember, the e-book is only a brief summary of the German book. After 70 years, it's difficult to find people who can give information about the Trolley Mission. And for a German author, it's even more difficult to understand relationships and infrastructure of the United States Air Force in 1945. But so far, the e-book edition is actually a good way to find eyewitnesses and to generate attention to this special matter of World War II.
The Trolley Mission 1945: Aerial Pictures and Photographs of Germany, 24 hours after World War II Kindle Edition