The Art of War
The paintings of Tom Lea, Life magazine's artist-correspondent during World War II.
- By Rebecca Maksel
- AirSpaceMag.com, February 06, 2009
By October Lea reached Italy. “I told [General Doolittle] all I wanted in Italy was to make a study of a fighter strip newly taken from the enemy, for my story of fighter planes across the world…. At 0710 General Born and his crew showed up, and we took off at 0720 in a scarred old Fortress that had 43 missions and seven Nazi planes painted on its battered nose…. And finally landed at Grotaglia…a big field that had the hell knocked out of it. We were there three hours—I took photos, made sketches, and color notes in the rain, amid the ruins. I can make a very fine painting of it, worth all the trouble I’ve had to get there…. Sometime after 1400 we took off again, making a wide swing over southern Italy. We coasted Sicily from Messina to Gerbini, then cut in and flew overland to Gela. Some of the country around Catania was so battle-scarred that from the air it looked like a cratered landscape on the moon.”