Below is a random picture from these galleries.

random WW2 nose art

B-24 nose art

B-17 nose art

more B-24 nose art

B-26 nose art

WW2 Nose Art

Aircraft Pinups and Decorations

By , Aug. 2002. Updated Sept. 26, 2012.

Aircrews in World War II decorated their planes with pictures of pinups and pretty girls, typically modeled after the "cheesecake" art of Gil Elvgren, Alberto Vargo, and George Petty. It was (and still is) an interesting practice. Some see a deep, psychological impulse - attaching a talisman, a good-luck charm, to the aircraft as a way of warding off evil, death, and bullets. I don't know. Maybe the young guys just liked looking at pictures of pin-ups.

Different services and units had different policies about aircraft usage and decoration. Marine and Navy aircraft were generally shared by different pilots, with consequently less personalized decoration. Army Air Force airplanes were assigned to individual pilots (or in the case of bombers, to particular air crews). Thus, some of the most lavish and imaginative nose art adorned USAAF planes.

B-24s on Okinawa

The first set of photographs were provided by Bill Cline. They were taken in World War Two, by his father, Frank Cline. Frank enlisted in the Marine corps as a private in 1942. In around 1952 he was selected as a LDO (Limited Duty Officer), and retired from HQMC (Headquarters Marine Corps) in 1974 as a Lt. Col. the Avionics Officer after 32 years of service. He survived WWII, Korea and Vietnam, but didn't survive walking pneumonia in 1984. The squadron patches sewn on his flight jacket included: VMF-222, VMF-223, VMF-(AW)513, VMF-542

In 1945, the Marines were on Okinawa, on the Morotai Peninsula. Army Air Force B-24s were located nearby. Presumably these photos are of those B-24s. Many from the 22nd Bomb Group, "The Red Raiders."

Here is a sample of this set:

Liberty Belle II Liberty Belle II

See the rest of Frank Cline's B-24 nose art pictures

B-17 Nose Art

The second set, mostly B-17s of the 8AF, was supplied by another email correspondent in mid 2005. Detailed notes on these pictures (name, serial number, Bomb Group & Squadron, notes) in this Word document.

Here is a sample of this set:

B-17 nose art Mojo

See the rest of Eighth Air Force B-17 nose art pictures

Those traveling in Indiana can see a restored B-17G, decorated as "Liberty Belle," at Grissom Air Base in Peru, Indiana.

B-24 Nose Art

The third set, sixteen pictures, mostly B-24s, were provided by Pam Powers, taken by her father, Richard F. Powers, Pacific theatre WW2, gunner/photographer, 50 missions for US Army Air Corps.

Here is a sample of this set:

Barbara JeanBarbara Jean

See the rest of Powers' B-24 nose art photos.

B-26 Nose Art

The fourth set, a few B-26 bombers, was provided by the niece of John Netherland, an engineer who worked on the roads and runways in Germany and France.

Here is a sample of this set:

Liberty Belle II Red Light Rose

See the rest of B-26 nose art, by John Netherland

My thanks to Bill Cline, Pam Powers, and other contributors for making these photos available. If you have any original, unpublished pictures of WWII nose art or decoration that you would like posted, please email them to me.