THE WORLDPOST
06/14/2011 01:49 pm ET Updated Aug 14, 2011

World War II Bombers: Amazing Shots Of Allied Crews At Work From LIFE.com

A freak U.S. accident stirred the wartime memories of many this week, when a B-17 bomber made an emergency landing in a cornfield outside Chicago before being consumed by flames, the Associated Press reports.

Fortunately, all aboard escaped unharmed, and if nothing else, the brief flight served as a reminder of who the now-iconic planes were an integral part of life on the frontlines during World War II.

LIFE.com is celebrating the technology and spirit of WWII-era Allied bombers and their crews with a new vintage gallery, much of which is presented in vivid color.

Check out a selection of photos below. Be sure to check out the full gallery from LIFE.com.

Photos and captions courtesy of LIFE.com.

Flight and ground crews of a B-17 bomber make adjustments to their plane prior to a mission in England, fall 1942.

Crew of a U.S. B-26 Marauder nicknamed "Ginger" discusses an upcoming run in England in 1944.

An American soldier paints a logo on the nose of a B-17 bomber in England, fall 1942.

Three American military personnel, possibly ground crewmen, sit on their bicycles in front of a B-17 bomber in England in 1942.