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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Art Star: 1943

Art Star: 1943

Touching up the U.S. Army Air Forces insignia on a "Vengeance" dive bomber manufactured at Consolidated-Vultee's Nashville division. February 1943. View full size. 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Alfred Palmer.

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Vultee Vigilant

That actually looks like it might be the fabric covered wing of a Vultee L-1 Vigilant. You can see the rib tapes and the metal leading edge and slat. The Vengance had metal wings.


This looks like the wing of the aircraft instead of the side. Carrier planes had folding wings.

[Could be. But the photographer's caption says "insignia on the side of the fuselage." - Dave]

Aircraft Insignia

The subject of official aircraft insignia is somewhat complex. There are actually two different "rules" about insignia, one of which is no longer followed. However, at the time of this photo, the US Civilian Insignia was still this symbol while the US Military Insignia dropped the red ball so that there would be no confusion with Japanese markings. I assume these planes were considered "civilian" aircraft until the military took possession, hence the discrepancy in the marking. I cannot find that the US Civilian Insignia was ever changed (the military insignia was changed several times during WWII), but in 1947 it was made optional and no one uses it today.

Curious then...

because I checked the Naval Historical Center's page and they show that the insignia was changed to just a white star in May of '42.

[Someone should show her that Web page. - Dave]

I wonder about

The date of the photo.

I was under the impression that the "meatball" insignia (red ball in the white star) was dropped by US forces sometime in 1942.

[This is one of 293 photographs in the Library of Congress archives taken by Alfred Palmer on his visit to the Consolidated-Vultee factory in Nashville in February 1943. - Dave]

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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