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WW2 blog topic: The Flying Tigers, and various logos

January 15, 2015

Third squadron, Hell's Angels

Flying Tigers logos

Note Shark's (tiger's) teeth nose art, Red Hell's Angels logo, Flying Tiger logo, and the red stripe of third squadron. Public Domain photo.

Here is more information from my recent book purchases. The American Volunteer Group's third squadron was the first to get an actual squadron logo approved by Colonel Chenault. They called themselves the Hell's Angels and their logo was nude red angels, outlined in white (angels from hell). More P-40s from this squadron ended up painted with squadron logos than the other two squadrons in the American Volunteer Group. This was because they were the first squadron to get a logo approved, so they had the more time to get them painted on before they went into combat. Also, they cut different stencils that were used to repeatedly paint the various versions of the logo which reduced the amount of time required.

The first squadron, Adam and Eves

The next squadron to get logo approval was the first squadron. Their logo featured an apple, on which Eve chased Adam. Originally, Colonel Chenault declined the design for fear it would look like the Japanese red roundel. So the first squadron was stymied until it occurred to them that some apples are green when ripe. The design was approved with the new color.

The initial logos for the first squadron were stick figures, which quickly progressed to a fleshed out version. Due to time constraints, not all of planes 1-33 were painted with the apple logo before they went into combat. Original stick figures of Adam and Eve were actually done in chalk and later painted over.

The second squadron, Panda Bears

The second squadron became the Panda Bears and their logo was to be various cartoon versions of a panda bear. This was the last squadron to get their logo approved, so fewer of their planes received painted squadron logos, since the American Volunteer Group was soon engaged in more pressing preparations for battle. The most famous of the second squadron Panda Bears was probably that of Tex Hill and his Texas Panda cartoon logo.

~ Jon

Daniel Ford, Flying Tigers – Claire Chennault and the American Volunteer Group. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, (1991).
Terrill Clements, American Volunteer Group Colours and Markings. Oxford: Osprey Publishing Limited, (2001).
Larry M. Pistole, The Pictorial History of the Flying Tigers. Virginia: Moss Publications (June 1981).


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