USAAF Nose Art Research Project


Wabbit Twacks
B-17F-85-BO 42-30040

96th Bomb Group, 337th Bomb Squadron


Nose art painted by
Sgt Johnnie WHITE
96th Bomb Group
Snetterton Heath, England

Wabbit Twacks

This Boeing built B17F was originally assigned to 384BG and was reported at their base in Grafton Underwood in late May 1943. On its first mission, 21st June to Antwerp, one of the waist gunners brought down an Fw190. On 6th July however, the Fort was transferred to 96BG and was assigned to Capt Walter Flagg. Johnnie White lost no time in painting his glorious artwork based loosely on the "Bugs Bunny" character. It seems likely that each mission completed saw an extra cartoon bomb motif added to the jumbled trail, 13 are shown in this photo. A further 14 swastikas denoting fighter kills are also added -- an impressive tally for any crew and probably includes those claimed by the previous owners, 384BG.

On 14th October 1943, the 8th Air Force struck Schweinfurt and suffered severely. 96BG lost seven Fortresses and their crews including "Wabbit Twacks III" flown by 1Lt Robert Harmeson. Caught by fighters just after bombing the target, Harmeson managed to get the damaged aircraft back as far as France before bailing out his crew. His co-pilot was killed and several crew were captured including Lt Harmeson. Five men, however, succeeded in evading the Germans and escaped capture although one of them was eventually turned over to the Gestapo in May '44, in spite of having crossed into Spain.


© Ray Bowden 20 July 2024