Maps and charts have always played an important role in the planning and execution of military operations. Military maps, nautical charts, and fortification plans form a significant part of the holdings in the Cartographic Branch of the National Archives.
Among these records include a recently digitized series of World War II Records from the Adjutant General’s Office of the War Department (Record Group 407). These records are available to view and download from the National Archives Catalog.
This series consists of maps and charts, overlays, city plans, aerial photographs, photomaps, pencil sketches, and architectural drawings relating to the European, Mediterranean, and Pacific theaters of war during the Second World War.
The records were prepared by Allied armies, corps, divisions, and subordinate engineer components and collected by the Adjutant General’s Office.
Typical records found in this series include terrain studies, maps showing defenses, maps relating to military operations, maps showing engineer activities, maps showing roads and bridges, and maps showing administrative boundaries.
Learn more about these records from Amanda Pritchard at the National Archives Cartographic Branch, on the Unwritten Record blog: World War II Records Digitized.
Photos, from above: 71st Infantry Division – World War II; and General Pays Off, 1945 courtesy National Archives.