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USAAF Nose Art Research Project


Nose Art Themes

Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse

Many artists and animators employed at Walt Disney's Studios used their talents and skills during WW2 to produce a multitude of official insignia for USAAF groups and squadrons using the full range of Disney characters. A number of designs were also created for individual aircraft and Mickey Mouse was a particular favourite for use on Venturas (PV-1s) destined for the US Navy due to the proximity of the Lockheed Vega plant. However, it was assumed for many years that these were painted by Disney artists but in fact they were done by a civilian employee of Lockheed Vega, George McCraw.

Mickey Mouse is harder to find on USAAF aircraft and few examples of the cartoon seem to have been used unofficially by those who painted nose art on other types of bombers, fighters or transports. This is surprising considering the immense popularity of Disney's characters and the simplicity of the artwork. If you have found any more examples of Mickey Mouse used on nose arts, please share them with me.

Mickey Mouse was also popular with members of the RAF and appeared on some rare examples of nose art found on Lancaster and Halifax bombers assigned to the Canadian and Australian units. Indeed, a somewhat distorted variation was also used by the Luftwaffe's Lehrgeschwader 2 on their aircraft during the campaign against France, and, later, as a personal emblem for Hauptman Horst Carganico on his Me109, assigned to JG5.

Mickey Mouse first made his appearance in Disney's movie "Plane Crazy" in 1928, inspired by the exploits of Charles Lindberg's first solo crossing of the Atlantic a year earlier. Created in secret by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks, Mickey Mouse was an instant success and the later "Steamboat Willie" became the first cartoon with synchronised sound.

Both name and image of Mickey Mouse are copyrighted by The Walt Disney Company and I use them here purely for historical/educational purpose

NameSerial #TypeUnit
A Token for Tokio
Mickey Mouse promotes War Bond purchasing on this Ventura
PV-1UnknownA Token for Tokio
A Ventura Gosh
PV-1 VenturaUnknownA Ventura Gosh
Aren't Those New Blockbusters Beautiful
PV-1 VenturaAren't Those New Blockbusters Beautiful
A Horsa glider aasigned to one of the Troop Carrier units, 9AF
Horsa GliderUnknownCatharina
Course We Will
PV-1 VenturaCourse We Will
Goodby Hitler!
PV-1UnknownGoodby Hitler!
He's Not So Tough Folks
PV-1 VenturaUnknownHe's Not So Tough Folks
I'm Savin' Somethin' Fer The Japs
PV-1 VenturaUnknownI'm Savin' Somethin' Fer The Japs
PV-1 VenturaKwit-cher-belli-akin
Let them come gang...
B17UnknownLet them come gang...
M. Mouse Loans
Possibly re-assigned to RAAF or RNZAF
PV-1M. Mouse Loans
Mickey Mouse
41-6194P-47C-2-RE4th Fighter Group, 335th SquadronMickey Mouse
Mickey Mouse
42-52055451st Bomb Group, 726th Bomb SquadronMickey Mouse
Mickey Mouse
42-94851B-2434th Bomb GroupMickey Mouse
Mickey Mouse
P-47UnknownMickey Mouse
Mickey Mouse Sharkmouth
459th Bomb Group, 756th Bomb SquadronMickey Mouse Sharkmouth
Our Gunners Can Make Five O's 5
PV-1 VenturaUnknownOur Gunners Can Make Five O's 5
Rat & Sas
B-25Rat & Sas
Rat Race
42-78128464th Bomb Group, 776th Bomb SquadronRat Race
Shucks 10 Japs In 10 Minutes Now What Will We Do
PV-1 VenturaShucks 10 Japs In 10 Minutes Now What Will We Do
Super Race Huh
PV-1 VenturaSuper Race Huh
That's The Finish For That Sub Pilot
PV-1 VenturaUnknownThat's The Finish For That Sub Pilot
We can take care of em up here!
A Ventura heading for Alaska or the Aleutian Islands
PV-1UnknownWe can take care of em up here!
We've got their number
A Ventura destined for the Pacific
PV-1UnknownWe've got their number
Lt Ken Mccleary
42-76076362nd Fighter Group, 379th Fighter SquadronWheelboy
Wow Look At All The PV-1's
PV-1 VenturaUnknownWow Look At All The PV-1's

Information Update for Readers of
"Plane Names & Fancy Noses - 91st Bomb Group (Heavy)"

© Ray Bowden 21 April 2018