The Best Nose Art from World War II – Telling Their Stories
YouTube / TJ3 History
In this post, we’ll look at some of the best WWII aircraft nose art and the incredible stories behind them:
5. Thompson Litchfield – “The Blonde Angel”
The P-47 Thunderbolt flown by Captain Thompson Litchfield was dubbed as the blonde angel likely after his lady back home.
What made this design particularly unique is the female face and the flowing blonde hair so prominently on the side of the fighter. This plane is one of the many Thunderbolts that flew over Europe. Litchfield was eventually shot, and while he managed to bail out, become a POW, and survive the war, the Blonde Angel was lost during his final mission.
4. Moon Mullins – “Little Lady”
First Lt. Moon Mullins from the 20th Fighter Group would have one of the most recognizable art pieces in his fighter in a bare female flying in the form of an angel which would come to be known as the Little Lady.
In this war, Mullins is credited with taking down just one Fw 190 in a dogfight over Europe. However, this kill is something worth mentioning as it’s one of the more advanced FW fighters. However, it wasn’t long before Mullins was killed in a training accident in October 1944 when he crashed in the North Sea. Both Little Lady and the Lieutenant would be lost in this incident.
3. Richard Hewitt – “Big Dick”
Major Richard Hewitt of the 78th Fighter Group painted his Mustang with one of the most memorable pieces of nose art in his fighter squadron.
Going with the nickname Dick, he would eventually dub his P-51, “Big Dick”. Hewitt flew his Mustang with this title along with a pair of dice in 10 combat missions before the war’s end.
2. B-25 Trainer – “In the Mood”
In the Mood was a B-25 that was delivered to Turner Field, Georgia for pilot training in 1944.
From this point until the end of the war, this plane would be used in teaching pilots to fly. She served this role well and was a great plane for the US Army Air Corps until her retirement in 1958.
1. B-17 91st Bomb Group – “Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby”
This fortress was named after the song of the same name by the Andrews Sisters. It was originally named Shoo Shoo Baby but a third Shoo was added after the pilot was changed in 1944 after the original flyer’s tour of duty ended.
Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby would only last three months in the front before she took off on her final mission on May 29th, 1944. She’s listed as missing in action during this bombing raid in Poland. The plane suffered mechanical and engine failures during the run, and the crew eventually decided to land in neutral Sweden.
Upon getting the crew returned to the United States, Sweden would get to keep the 91st Bomber Group’s B-17. Thus, Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby would enter civilian service after the war ended since it was now technically owned by Sweden. It would join Scandinavian Airlines, becoming a reliable member of their fleet.