USAAF Nose Art Research Project


8 Ball ()

Bam's Mam ()

Eatin' Kitty ()

Problem Child ()

Prop Wash (43-27517)

Sack Time Sal ()

Norman L HARMS

12th Bomb Group, 82nd Bomb Squadron
North Africa

One of the first bomb groups in action in North Africa was the 12th "Earthquakers". This B25 equipped medium bomb group had departed from the USA in July 1942 and arrived in Egypt in early August, based initially at Ismalia and Deversoir. Their first mission was flown on the night of 16th August to strike Mersa Matruh. The group went on to excel itself in support of British and Commonwealth troops fighting in the harsh and inhospitable desert terrain. Later the unit was transferred from the 9th Air Force to the 12th and continued its fight over Sicily and the Italian battle lines. Later still, it moved to fight against the Japanese in the Pacific region.

Somehow, in spite of the unbelievably difficult conditions, Norman Harms painted several nose art images on the unit's B25C Mitchell medium bombers. His style incorporated the cartoon "Big Eyes" based on LIFE magazine's Paul Benson originals. His use of images incorporating big eyes, often also on a bulldog, became a distinctive trade mark of the 12BG and the 82BS in particular. LIFE magazine's Paul Benson created numerous risque cartoons using characters with big eyes which seem to have served as inspiration for others. Sadly, Norman Harms left no signature on his nose art work and it is difficult to distinguish his images from others in the 12BG who used a similar approach.

Shown at left are several examples of the work this artist is thought to have completed but there were many others and there were other artists in group that used the same image of cartoon bulldog and the big eyes.

Captain Norman L Harms was a copilot, and if anyone can any information on the history of any of the planes and their crews, or the origin of the cartoon style I would greatly appreciate hearing from them. I would also love to see any further examples of his impressive nose art work. Interestingly, a training book entitled "Sweet Bombing" produced for the Bombardier Class 14 of 1943 displays another example of the "Big Eyes" cartoon.

 Additional image Of Norman L HARMS 

© Ray Bowden 11 August 2022
Information Update for Readers of
"Plane Names & Fancy Noses - 91st Bomb Group (Heavy)"