USAAF Nose Art Research Project


Reluctant Dragon
B-17G-75-BO 43-38011

100th Bomb Group, 349th Bomb Squadron


Nose art painted by
Ernesto LOVATO
100th Bomb Group, 349th Bomb Squadron
Thorpe Abbotts, England

Reluctant Dragon

Named after the Walt Disney movie of 1941 it was one of Ernesto Lovato's finest and most elaborate nose art paintings. Disney cartoons were a very popular source for nose art imagery but whereas many of the painters simply copied the screen or printed characters, Lovato created an entirely new dragon. Several crew members also sported A2 leather jackets with a similar design painted on the back by Ernesto. One of the jackets can be found at the 100BG museum at Thorpe Abbotts.

Assigned to the crew of Robert Chamberlain, the Fortress flw its first mission on 7th August - unfortunately, dense cloud turned the formation back without bombing. Later more successful missions to Brest, Bremen, Ruhland, Merseburg and Magdeburg followed. The plane seems to have been a lucky ship as very little damage was reported.

However, on 30th November Merseburg brought a change of luck and some serious flak damage. So severe was the damage that the plane was declared uneconomical to repair and salvaged for parts.


© Ray Bowden 9 August 2022