In the course of adding masts and other details to ships earlier this year, I collected some useful links on various WW2 ships, and leaned hard on the work of some of the amazingly talented ship modellers out there.
The Historic Naval Ships Association’s collection of WW2 recognition and target ID manuals (not PDF, unfortunately, but nicely HTML’ized) is worth a look, as is the rest of their huge online library – check out the grey menu down the right hand side for all sorts of mostly-WW2 manuals, publications, and plans.
Meanwhile over on the gloriously named Last Stand on Zombie Island, a really cool article on how navies made smoke (deliberately). Lots of other cool WW1 to WW2 naval stuff over there too, well worth a look.
I know I’ve linked to Boom & Zoom Graphics before, but their basic guide to the paint schemes and markings of common WW2 aircraft is nice and clear and worth bookmarking.