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Questions about Bomber nose art....

Discussion in 'Military Training, Doctrine, and Planning' started by FredWhiteAndBlue, May 20, 2013.

  1. FredWhiteAndBlue

    FredWhiteAndBlue New Member

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    Hello everyone! I'm new to the forum and I'm curious about WWII Bomber nose art. I'm doing some research for a paint scheme I plan on doing. My questions aren't so much about the pin-up girls, but more about everything the other parts of the nose art; the bombs, the battle ships, the swastikas, the Japanese flags, etc. What exactly do they stand for? I'd imagine these symbols were earned in some way, I just want to know what they did to have them painted onto their bomber. Some bombers have a LOT of bombs painted on them, some not so many, and same goes for the other symbols.

    Can someone educate me on how these were earned and what they mean? It would really help me design the artwork for my own paint job.

    Thanks!
    -Fred-


    P.S. Here's a couple examples of the kind of nose art I'm talking about.....
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. DaveBj

    DaveBj Member

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    The bombs represented the number of bombing missions accomplished. In the second picture, the swastikas probably represented confirmed fighter shoot-downs by the bomber's gunners.

    DaveBj
     
  3. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member Patron  

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    I have never seen a "roller packer" on the nose of a B-25 before !!! LOL, Or any other plane, strange kill, but important in the making of air bases.

    The first ship appears to be a tramp steamer, small freighter, and the second one's profile looks to be a destroyer escort with a high freeboard. B-25's were often used against shipping with great success.
     
  4. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    What aircraft are you planning on modelling? and what theater?

    The markings tended to vary, but DaveBj is correct in that bombs designated bombing missions completed, and swastikas/rising sun flags denoted enemy aircraft "confirmed"(although not always true) shot down.

    On "Heavenly Body", the steamroller would likely have been destroyed by one of their bombs, as would be the merchant ship and warship painted by the pilot's window. As seen in this photo the crews sometimes painted their names by their positions.

    On "909", she flew somewhere around 140 missions, as her "bomb"s show, also, in the top two rows there can be seen 10 bombs marked "B" - which designate missions to Berlin.

    Other markings you are likely to run across would be trains, trucks, tanks, etc. If you are doing bombers that flew in the CBI, you will likely come across camels - denoting supply runs flown over the Himalayas(aka "The Hump").

    Finally - a note - it would probably be better to rely on period photographs rather than those of aircraft that are now flying. or the most part, they are not the original aircraft, but only made up to look like the original. The B-25 in your first photo never left the States. The only period photo I have seen of "Heavenly Body" only shows 19 missions, and none of the extras - granted the photo was taken in 1944. I believe that "909"s "nose art" is mostly faithful to the original.
     
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  5. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    I almost missed that, Gaines. That is funny!!
     
  6. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    I have to ask...being a limey....Whats a roller packer....
     
  7. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

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  8. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    It authentic I really would like to know the story behind that marking, the Japanese where terribly short of engineering equipment and the vehicles where almost as hard to destroy as a medium tank by aircraft armament (possibly harder as they carried a lot less flammable material).
     
  9. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member Patron  

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    urgh, interestingly the big roller on the front, filled with water for weight, had a very similar cousin that had steel dowels sticking out of it about 6" apart and they had "feet" welded to them . It was used to tamp the ground prior to the smooth roller. It is call a "sheep's foot" in road /runway nomenclature ....,over here in the colonies.

    Gaines
     
  10. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    The answer might be found here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Heavenly-Body-Robert-Shanks/dp/0741412187
     
  11. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    Cheers Gaines...Now I know what your all on about...
     
  12. Dohman81

    Dohman81 New Member

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    Here's my Dad's plane, the Who Cares, probably from the North Africa campaign. 48 missions flown at this point :
     

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