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April 10, 2015

50 Vintage Photos of Wonderful Military Aircraft Nose Art During World War II

Loved and hated, photographed and censored, the paintings known as Nose Art have been a controversial tradition.

The origin of Nose Art goes back to ancient times when some charioteer decorated his vehicle to distinguish it from others in battle. Throughout the ages, it has been observed that man's desire to personalize an object or make it unique is often magnified by the stress of war.

During the First World War, the Red Baron and the Hat-in-the-Ring squadron succeeded in creating a unique identity that proved to be both a tactical advantage and a unifying force among squadrons and flight crews. By the Second World War, most types of aircraft were produced by the thousands. All that distinguished these planes from each other were tail numbers, stenciled on the tail for identification purposes. Like the ancient charioteers, air and ground crews set to work to create an identity for their craft and perfected what has become known as Nose Art because it was generally found on or about the nose of an aircraft. Just as the Nose Art came in all sizes, the quality of the art work varied from truly professional work to simple but no less powerful images. Most of this folk art was lost when all but a few of the planes were scrapped.

Following the Second World War, Nose Art all but disappeared from US aircraft with a few exceptions in Korea and rare instances in Vietnam.

























































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