A brief history of Nose Art
art was invented by the Axis counties (Italy and Germany), it was brought into prominence by the United States of America.
The first recorded nose art was that of a sea monster painted on an Italian flying boat’s nose way back in 1913. Nose
arts were results of a human brainwave to transform the vacant space in an airplane into something useful, innovative and
also creative. It also proves the human intelligence. It may have been crazy ideas to generate pieces of art on airplanes
but the ideas of yesterday turn into the wonders of today and the heritage of tomorrow.
During World War II, the personalization of an aircraft by
giving it a name, painting an image on it, and in many cases doing both began in the early months of the war, increased in
frequency as the war progressed, and reached its peak in 1945. In the case of bombers, a bomb tally was often added as well
and this provided a powerful visual record of the success and longevity of the aircraft. In some cases, additional information
such as whether an operation was a day raid or a night raid and the type of weapons carried were also noted. The destruction
of enemy fighters was sometimes indicated and often other details such as awards received by aircrew while flying the aircraft.
If a bomber crew was assigned a particular aircraft, they
were sometimes able to choose the name and artwork and this enabled a powerful bond to develop between the men and the machine.
Often, but not always, the name and the artwork were directly related to the letter designation for the particular aircraft
within the squadron.
The vast majority of World War II aircrew were in their very
early twenties and many even flew wartime operations while in their teens. So it is not surprising that the majority of the
nose art reflects their interest in "pin-up" girls of the day and other images related to their interest in the opposite sex.
However cartoon characters were popular subjects as well, many of them created by Walt Disney.
Nose art still exists today, with not only air forces but civilian operators, as many of the pilots who flew
these Invaders as either air tankers or executive transports actually flew them in combat.