PDA

View Full Version : 1943 US aircraft national insignia



Chuck_Older
01-25-2004, 06:45 AM
OK, I know that in 1943, the US national insignia was ringed in red. But WHY was it like this?

*****************************
do I hear the echoes of the days of '39? ~Clash

Chuck_Older
01-25-2004, 06:45 AM
OK, I know that in 1943, the US national insignia was ringed in red. But WHY was it like this?

*****************************
do I hear the echoes of the days of '39? ~Clash

SkyChimp
01-25-2004, 06:53 AM
Red was in.

Regards,
SkyChimp
http://members.cox.net/rowlandparks/skychimp.jpg

Chuck_Older
01-25-2004, 07:00 AM
That's the best answer so far! http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

*****************************
do I hear the echoes of the days of '39? ~Clash

chris455
01-25-2004, 11:24 AM
It was one of many attempts to incorporate all 3 national colors into USAAF insignia.
It failed primarily because of confusion with the Japanese Hinomaru ("meatball") insignia.
Hard to believe, but true.
S!

horseback
01-25-2004, 11:43 AM
This is my second attempt. The first was lost to a server error, and I'm sure it was much better.

This issue goes back to America's entry into the First World War. US military flying units had not agreed upon a national aircraft insignia at this time, so when US units reached France, somebody had to come up with SOMETHING, and fast. The other Allies had all chosen bullseye roundels incorporating their flag's colors as insignia for their airpalnes, and since the British and French also had red white & blue national colors, they'd already taken the two best combinations.

American commanders hastily chose a blue /red /white bullseye, with white being the center disc. Not only was it ugly (one can only guess what "The Queer Eye For the Straight Guy" fellas would have said), but according to my late paternal grandpa who was 'Over There' working on Nieuports, Camels and SPADs, it also turned out to be the same as the Imperial Russian insignia. How embarrassing (although it did explain why those British and French pilots always had a silly smirk on their faces).

Postwar, the Departments of the Army and the Navy finally agreed upon a roundel incorporating a white star centered on a blue disc, with a red disc at the center of the star. Everybody was happy. Red, white, blue, reminiscent of the flag, looked good on those thirties fighters. It was proudly worn until early 1942.

Enter the Japanese, with their all red 'meatballs' and a monochrome fixation instead of a decently diverse multicolored national insignia. Allied ground personnel, deeply resentful of being repeatedly shot at by Japanese airplanes, became extremely non-discriminating about shooting at any aircraft sporting the slightest hint of a red disc.

Accordingly, by late Spring of 1942, US and Commonwealth air units in the Pacific grudgingly painted out their red center discs. The US military, in the interests of uniformity, decreed that the red disc be painted out on all US military aircraft. One can picture a couple of pudgy careerist O-5s at the Pentagon behind this one.

There was still an element that questioned whether it was "patriotic" to exclude one of our national colors from our aircrafts' official national insignia. Accordingly, our pudgy careerists (now O-6s) went back to work, and in Spring 1943, the decree came forth that US military aircraft national insignia would superimpose the blue disc and white star over a white stripe, with the whole being outlined with red in proportion to the diameter of the disc.

Red, White and Blue! There was rejoicing and pride in the land, and our pudgy Pentagon careerists were on their way to stars on their collars.

But Allied AA gunners, having been conditioned to the lack of red on Allied aircraft, now tended to shoot the hell out of anything that had any red paint on it. This was particularly hard on escorting fighters in the Pacific, where bombers from the AAF would be escorted by Navy/Marine types unfamiliar to the bombers' gunners. Even in the ETO and the Med, the addition of red caused some confusion about identification.

Our pudgy boys at the Pentagon hastily backtracked, but managed to keep the white stripe, only now with an acceptable blue surround. The red was officially retired from the insignia in September of '43. The new insignia lasted through the war, and our pudgy friends no doubt retired with their stars.

Cheers

horseback

"Here's your new Mustangs, boys. You can learn to fly'em on the way to the target. Cheers!" -LTCOL Don Blakeslee, 4th FG CO, February 27th, 1944

OberstWileyII
01-25-2004, 11:47 AM
Excellent and VERY informative post, Horseback...thanks!

http://imagehost.auctionwatch.com/preview/wi/wileycoyote2/IwoJimatiny2.gif (http://people.ee.ethz.ch/~chapman/flightsims/oberstguncam/Movies/SandsOne.WMV)
<A HREF="http://people.ee.ethz.ch/~chapman/flightsims/oberstguncam/Frameset/" TARGET=_blank>Click on Flag-Raising to view full length 4Mb version
...Or, click HERE to Visit Wiley's WWII GunCam World</A>

Chuck_Older
01-25-2004, 01:08 PM
Thanks, Horseback http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

*****************************
do I hear the echoes of the days of '39? ~Clash

ZG77_Lignite
01-25-2004, 01:15 PM
Interesting read Horseback, as are most all of your responses, thank you sir.

As a side note, if you read this: If you get a server error in the 'java window' (for lack of a better term) after typing out all of that, instead of closing the window down, try right clicking and looking for a 'back' button to retrieve all your typed stuff. It works for me in Netscape at least, and has saved a bit of hassle.