P-40C R.T Smith Nose Art Panel
P-40C Warhawk R.T Smith Nose Art Panel
Flown by Robert T. Smith
Dimensions: 28″ x 18" Shipping $28.00.
Robert T. Smith received his flight training at an Aeronautical College in California. His flight training consisted of two separate flight training rides with "Robert L. Scott". Scott would later become his wingman on his first combat mission in China.
Smith finished his basic flight training in the P-40C Warhawk at Randolph Field in Texas. His advanced combat flight training was at Brooks Field which was also in Texas. There he was a basic training instructor and earned a commission to Second Lieutenant.
Smith decided to join the American Volunteer Group with the Chinese Air Force". The fighter group he joined was the "Flying Tigers" which at that time were flying the Curtiss P-40C Warhawk's. This all was taking place at the same time that Pearl Harbor was under attacked.
Smith received his promotion to flight leader during World War II while flying with the 3rd. Pursuit Squadron. This Squadron was the "Hell's Angels" and he shot down 10 enemy combat fighter planes. He received two medals from the Chinese government.
The use of nose art made it easier to identify friendly aircraft. It was located on the front of the fuselage of a military aircraft and considered to be graffiti at that time.
The practice expressed the individuality of the combat pilots. It reminded them of their memories of home and what peacetime life was all about. It was also viewed as a type of emotional safeguard against the stresses of war. The possibility of not returning home grew greater with every mission. The appeal of nose art was that it was not approved by the military. But the regulations against its widespread use wasn't enforced.