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Was V-Mail a Victory?

V-Mail service operated for 41 months. Since this experiment, the Post Office and Department of Defense have not returned to microfilm technology for personal mail.

The global network of V-Mail stations doubtlessly came at an expense of requiring shipping space for setting up and maintaining operations for the photographic equipment and processing materials as well as the personnel employed in this endeavor. Whether this balanced out with the savings on mail shipping cannot be determined. Final calculations for two of the main goals -- delivery speed and reduction of cargo space -- were not compiled.

The Army summarized the outcome as: “V-Mail service did to a large degree achieve the purposes for which it was inaugurated. It evidenced remarkable cooperation between the War, Navy and Post Office Departments” (Army Postal Service During World War II 229). The report went on to analyze the “shortcomings,” which included: the problematic initial design of the letter sheet, the size of the facsimile (photographic-print letter) that was difficult to read, as well as the lack of timely determination of facilities, responsibilities, and procedures (229-230).