|368th Fighter Group Nose Art
A brief history and origins of World War 2 Nose Art
|Click on images to see full size
|Example of Esquire Magazine art used on
397th FS P-47 "Naughty Dotty" flown by
Steve Halpin and also used to decorate an
office wall at Metz AB.
Nose art on Army Air Force planes was very common while the U.S. Navy and Marine Corp held to
a restrictive approach to aircraft markings. The AAF allowed room for this freedom of expression
and AAF Regulation 35-22, Dated Aug 1944, Authorized decorating any Air Force equipment with
individual designs and encouraged this as a means of increasing morale among the crews.
The main cultural sources of World War Two era nose art were the pin-up girls and comic strips of
the era. The popular men's magazine Esquire provided many design ideas. The most duplicated nose
art images were the product of Esquire's artist Alberto Vargas. Comic strip characters provided
another source to be duplicated. The characters of Milt Canniff and others such as Capp, Herblock,
and Sgt. George Baker found there way on planes. Walt Disney characters also graced the side of
many planes, including the German Ace Adolph Galland who had Mickey Mouse on the side of his
Bf-109E during the battle of Brittan.
The nose art could also be patriotic related, hometown themes, animals, mystic figures, or maybe a
good luck symbol. Most planes included a name or slogan to accompany the art.
Many planes had the name of a wife or girl back home, while other expressed the warrior spirit.
Left: Adolph Galland used Mickey Mouse
on his Bf-109E during the Battle of Brittan.
|Alberto Vargas Esquire Magazine
Earl Kielgass from Arizona made reference
to his home and wife Loraine with his art
|Nose art could make reference to the pilot
"Crazy Jim": Jim Gamblin, 396th FS
"Loupin Lou": Alex LeLoup, 395th FS
"Fearless Dick": Dick Kik, 395th FS
Some examples of character art.
|Nose art portrayal of women in
World War Two can be
characterized as free-spirited and
daring. Perhaps reflecting a freer
attitude regarding sexuality in the
American culture. Some nose art
was very sexual in nature.
|Some pilots and crew chief's
simply placed the name of their
wife or girl back home.
|Clifford Price's D3-K based on the
January 1945 Vargas Esquire Magazine
Sometimes it was just a simple statement.