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Aircraft #16 - 02268 "The Bat Out of Hell" - Markings

A new film about the Doolittle Raiders was recently released from Discovery House about the life of Sgt. Jacob DeShazer. The film contains a lot of original footage from the B-25s of the Hornet. Upon further review of this footage, we believe that we can be fairly confident about the markings on the left side of aircraft 02268.

Below are a few screenshots from the film footage:

The previous frames are part of a rather fast moving pan of the 16th aircraft.

This is the frame that led me to the new conclusion regarding the nose markings.

Below is the frame with an enhanced contrast on the nose area. This area may possibly have been painted out at some point before the take-off, but I am led to believe that the numbers on the nose are 58, and are in either insignia yellow, or some other non-white color. This does correspond with markings known to have been on the B-25s from their stateside assignments.


Based on the evidence above, as well as the better known still photos of this aircraft, the markings of the 16th Doolittle Raid aircraft are approximately as depicted in the profile below. We am not 100% sure about the color of the nose numbers, and there may be some error in the exact placement of various elements, but we believe that the profile is generally accurate.

Click on the picture above for a larger view.


On the nose numerals:

There has been some question raised about the possibility that the correct number on the nose (assuming that the photos above do indeed show a numeric nose marking) should actually be 68. At first this seems to be a most reasonable assumption, especially considering that the tail would end in the same digits. However, if you see the digital film in the video, it seems much more like 5 than 6.

One other comment we have received is that it appears that the numerals might have been hand painted in the photo above. This is certainly a possibility, but we do not believe it to be likely. There is a large amount of photographic evidence indicating that various aircraft from the 17th Bomb Group had similar nose markings and they all appear to have been applied by stencil. One other possibility is that the

One other note is that we are NOT certain about the color of the numbers on the nose. I think it most likely that they are insignia yellow, but they could be red, or some other color. The 34th Bomb Squadron (members of which crewed this aircraft) typically used blue as their special markings on cowls and spinners.

Another aircraft with numbers on the nose

The pictures below are from another website and show two of the Raider's aircraft at the modification center in Minneapolis where the Raiders' aircraft apparently received their long-range fuel tanks.

The top plane - and the left plane in the bottom picture has number 63 on the nose - I've seen a higher resolution copy of these pictures in the book Destination Tokyo. In the book, it seems pretty clear that the aircraft to the right, is 02242 - which we know had the number 3 on the nose as well.

Other photos of 02268 follow - click to enlarge:

The photos above are generally assumed to be of 02268. Aircraft 02267 was also tied down at the back of the Hornet at at least one point, but the port engine appears to have been over the edge of the deck, making the pictures above more likely to have been taken of 02268.

The webmaster personally believes that the following photo follows closely in sequence to the two photos above.

Note the two ships have closed into position, and the placement of the two bombers at the rear of the deck.


Below are the two video clips I have for sources.

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Last website update:
January 02, 2009

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