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B24 Liberator Nose Art

 B24 Liberator Nose Art

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(Information gathered from various web sites dedicated to the B24 "Liberator" and Nose Art.)

More B-24 bombers were built than any other type of bomber that participated in World War II. The first B24 "Liberator" flew in December, 1939. The first bomber versions were sent to the Royal Air Force in mid 1941. The US Army Air Force took delivery of the B -24 later the same year. The B-24 had more capabilities than any aircraft of its time. It flew as a transport, a fuel tanker, a spy plane, to reconnoiter ocean areas, as an electronic counter measure aircraft, and as the lead plane for other types of bombers to form up on for missions.

Nose Art is the genre of art used to decorate combat aircraft. Ever since men used airplanes as an instrument of war, they have decorated them with this unique art form. Nose art made the aircraft easier to identify other than just simply using the serial number. This gave the plane a personality; it became an entity. When you saw the "Dragon Lady" returning from a bombing run you could immediately surmise what crew had made it back.

Aircraft nose art did not begin as an American phenomena during World War II. The Italians and Germans are credited with initiating this tradition. The first recorded example appeared as early as 1913. It was a sea monster painted on the nose of an Italian flying boat. The Germans, in late World War I, also helped initiate the tradition by adding a painted mouth under the propeller spinner of the nose. Some prefer to describe this as the first nose art because it was applied to the front rather than the side of the airplane; hence the name "nose art".

Although, history shows this artwork spans World War I to current times, its golden age is said to be during World War II and the Korean War. During this time period Army Air Force officials tolerated nose art in an effort to boost the morale of the crew. This lack of restraint combined with the stresses of war, and high probability of death resulted in an excess of nose art that has yet to be repeated. Nose art took on many forms such as cartoon characters, graffiti, animals, and of course, the female pin-up.

The female pin-up occurred in various stages of dress (often undress). Lack of restraint helped foster the imagination of the artists and aircrew and the sexy pin-ups reflected this wild abandon. As a result, the Army Air Force unsuccessfully tried to restore a sense of decorum with AAF Regulation 35-22 in August of 1944. This regulation allowed nose art, but tried to institute a "sense of decency".

 

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