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Old May 20th, 2009, 01:58 PM   #1

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Writing on planes in WW2


WW2 - I have seen American aircraft with mascots and writing on them, messages to enemy almost. I think the same goes for bombs too (or is that more of a stereotype?)

I am just wondering if the British, Germans or Russians did the same (esp. with regards to the aircraft) or was it a peculiarly American practice?
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Old May 20th, 2009, 03:36 PM   #2

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Re: Writing on planes in WW2


Writing and painting symbols, messages, mascots, and insignia on warplanes began well before World War II and certainly was not solely an American phenomenon. In fact, at he dawn of aerial warfare, in World War I, the Germans, French, and British were illustrating their aircraft long before any Americans took to the air...

Many books about aircraft in World War I and II will show you the range of artistry displayed on warplanes of both eras - and as you'll see, it was a phenomenon that occurred irrespective of nationality.
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Old May 21st, 2009, 08:25 AM   #3

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Re: Writing on planes in WW2


Thanks for the info. Do you know of any good books on aircraft of the time. I'm writing a book part of which is set during the battle of britain / blitz and need to know about aircarft and bombs.

I can't seem to find any info on how the bombs were constructed, how they were disarmed (if indeed they could be?)

Any help = much appreciated
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Old May 21st, 2009, 09:02 AM   #4

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Re: Writing on planes in WW2


There are many, many books about World War II aircraft. Any decent university library should have some, as would a reasonably-sized local city or county library. The books I own about this subject are 25+ years old and are long out of print. However, your local bookstore or Amazon will have many books that should help you out. As an example:

[ame="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=World+War+II+Aircraft"]Amazon.com: World War II Aircraft: Books[/ame]

The bombs themselves are another matter altogether. There are fewer sources about this information, and most of them are pretty dry, technical reads. The only comparable books I own deal only with land and naval artillery, so I wouldn't be of much help here. Perhaps some of our WWII gurus can help you out...
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Old May 21st, 2009, 09:21 AM   #5

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Re: Writing on planes in WW2


I came accross an article a while back about some Roman slingshot that had been found which was engraved with slogans such as "Take that" So it would seem that this type of humour has been around for a very long time.
A bit of topic, I know, but I thought you might find it interesting.
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Old May 21st, 2009, 10:35 AM   #6

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Re: Writing on planes in WW2


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There were some good ones.
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Old May 21st, 2009, 11:09 AM   #7

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Re: Writing on planes in WW2


Coincidence, I have started my fourth book in my little series, and it is set during May 1940 (Fall Gelb). Of course, I will be dealing more with the little known planes, such as the FK58, the DXXI, the Dewotine, and of course the ever present ME-109s, the Hurricanes, and the Spitfires.

Dont forget the Do-117, He-111s, and Ju-88s. And for me, the old Ju-87 Stukas will be there too. From one Richard to another...Good Luck!
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Old May 21st, 2009, 12:25 PM   #8

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Re: Writing on planes in WW2


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Don't forget the Texas made B-24D
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Old May 21st, 2009, 08:10 PM   #9

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Re: Writing on planes in WW2


As to nose art, I really dont remember it being as prevelant in 1940 European Air Forces. I think that this was more of an American thing, and not seen that much in the early war years before the Yanks went over there. While aircraft art did catch on bigtime in WWI, I think that the peacetime rules and regulations crowd put the stifle on a lot of that during the inter war years. Stuffed shirts you know.

Hmmm, nose art during the 1940 Blitz...This was the period right after the "Phoney War" and the Battle of France and the Low Countries. There was still a lot of pre-war "mickey mouse" stuff still going on then. I dont remember when the RAF discarded the silly white flying suits and the three ship formations in favor of the more flexible "finger four" style formations that the Luftwaffe used. I imagine that the nose art came back in when the peacetime silliness and spit and polish sort of disolved in the face of real combat.
There were some little checkerboard patterns on some RAF planes, denoting that they were flown by Poles, etc. The Luftwaffe had some unit symbols on thier birds, like the horse head shields and the very cool spinner paint job on the nose cones and such. Now the French...they might have had some nose art on thier planes before the fall of France. I would research that a little more if I were you. They were into that kind of thing.
Russians loved to decorate thier planes and tanks and such. But just look to the Kremlin for artistic explanation of Russian thought. Nothing of artisitc value is considered done in Russia unless it is overdone! But by the time that they started fighting the Germans in 1941, things were already in full swing.
As to American planes, lets see...in 1940 Europe, there were not all that many American military planes (fighters) on hand, probably because they were often seen as inferior to European types. The P-40 was seen by the RAF as not suited for high altitude air superiority fighting over Northwest Europe because its high altitude performance suffered, I think it was to having only a single stage supercharger, or something like that.
Though the French did use the Curtiss Hawk 75s with good results. The Douglas A-20 was around then, ordered by several countries. The P-40 had also been ordered by some of the nations that fell to Germany, and the planes sent elsewhere. Many American types were just then developing, and were not ready for service quite yet. So, there probably were not a lot of American planes to Europe yet by the fall of 1940.
Now, if we are talking about the DC-2s (KLM) and DC-3s in civillian service (ubiquitous), or the PBY Catalinas, or other non-fighter aircraft, then yes, they were starting to appear in numbers.
There were some wierd planes flying around England back then...Paul Defiants, Skuas, Lystanders.
Maybe someone else on the forum knows more about the nose art topic of early WWII combat planes in 1940 and can lend us a hand in understanding this topic?
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Old May 21st, 2009, 08:40 PM   #10

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Re: Writing on planes in WW2


Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Stanbery View Post
Maybe someone else on the forum knows more about the nose art topic of early WWII combat planes in 1940 and can lend us a hand in understanding this topic?
What's to understand? Does one wonder why they de-faced government property? Well, they were "rugged individualists."
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