320th Marauder Markings

 

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The Squadron Insignias

441st Bomb Squadron

 

The initial 441st Squadron insignia consisted of an outline of the U.S. map with the lions heart escutcheon above it and the Air Corps winged prop over it on the left. Accross the map ran a scroll with the Latin motto Finis Origine Pendet (the end depends upon the beginning). This insignia was used by the squadron from its inception in 1943 until early 1944 and was commonly painted on the nose of the aircraft. The early A-2 jacket patch used the same insignia made out of tufted cloth.

In early 1944, while on Sardinia, the Squadron altered their design background to a quadranted circle of red and yellow overlaid with a royal blue silhouette of a B-26. The winged Air Corp prop was placed in the lower left quadrant and the Lions Heart in the upper right quadrant. At this time as well, the patch was changed on the A-2 jackets to this same insignia. The patch was made of leather.

 

442nd Bomb Squadron

 

The 442nd Squadron's orignial insignia was a cartoon figure of Donald Duck cradling a bomb and charging forward. This design which, caused the 442nd to be nicknamed the Ugly Duckling Squadron, was used throughout the war. The only alteration was fitting the duck with a USAAF shirt, tie, and cap in early 1945.

 

443rd Bomb Squadron

 

The 443rd throughout the war used a black African native figure crouching in jungle foliage and blowing a bomb out of a blowpipe. The figure held a shield with the U.S. star insignia.

 

444th Bomb Squadron

 

A Walt Disney style Thumper rabbit in foot-stomping pose was the original 444th Squadron emblem. Later the Squadron changed the design by having the rabbit riding on a shark mouth painted bomb, wearing long johns, helmet, goggles and scarf and holding a blunderbuss.

The 444th Squadron adopted the famous shark-mouth insignia while stationed at Tafaraoui early in 1943. This marking continued with the squadron through V-E day.

 

Group Identification Markings

Tail Band

 

When the 320th commenced combat operations in North Africa there was initially no group identification on the aircraft. In July 1943, however, the 42nd Bomb Wing ordered that a 10 inch band be painted around the fuselage of all B-26s just behind the rear gunner's position under the stabilizer. This was done for the remainder of the war. When natural aluminum aircraft arrived to the MTO during February 1944, additional thin black banding around the stripe was used to better demarcate the Groups tail banding. Group recognition colors assigned were: yellow for the 320th, red for the 17th, and white for the 319th.

 

Battle numbers

 

In October of 1943, 48-inch high battle numbers were ordered to be painted on both sides of the plane's rudder. These battle numbers replaced the "last three digits" of the serial number that had previously been utilized for aircraft identification. As in pre-war Air Corps practice, aircraft of the first Squadron were asssigned numbers between 1 and 24, the second Squadron, 25 to 49, the third 50 to 74, and the fourth squadron 75 to 99. The 320th painted its battle numbers below the serial number in military block-style (angled corners) and were usually wider in stroke than other MTO units, namely the 319th and 17th. Initially, battle numbers were painted in white, but by the end of 1943, after the 320th moved to Sardinia, the group color, yellow, was used in order to better distinguish the ships in combined formations. When natuaral metal planes started arriving, as with the tail banding, the battle numbers were outlined in black.Serial numbers were changed to black as well.

 

Spinners and Cowlings

 

Mid-way through the war, the aircraft spinners of many of the aircraft were painted red. In addition, while stationed in Dijon,France, the cowlings of many of the aircraft were painted red as well. This was particularly true of the 441st Bomb Squadron.Also seen, but far less common were yellow painted cowlings. Radio direction finder housings under the nose were also painted red so that crews would not bump them.

 

 


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