Shark mouth artwork has been used on the front of military planes for well over a century now. But where did it all begin and what is the purpose of it?
During WW1, the aeroplane was a new and innovative invention, and it immediately became one of the deadliest assets to any military.
During the early dogfight battles, respective squadrons started painting their military planes in elaborate colour schemes. This was to help with both camouflage and to identify which planes belonged to who in flight.
However, the first recording of artwork that didn't meet the above-mentioned criteria was an Italian military plane in 1913. It had the face of a sea monster in order to show the confidence and bravery of their pilots, and to intimidate and strike fear into the hearts of their enemies.
Soon thereafter, German squadrons started painting shark mouths on the nose of their military planes for the same purpose.
It wasn't until WW2 that the Military needed to repaint their fleet for camouflage purposes once again. A secret mission was conducted by the Chinese to take on the invading Japanese. In response, a small squadron from the US called the Flying Tigers were secretly snuck into China as tourists to help the Chinese. This was because the US was not technically at war with Japan just yet. These US pilots used a new kind of aircraft called the P-40 Kittyhawk and, to brand their aircraft, an aggressive tiger mouth and eyes were painted on the front air intake.
Shark mouth art is rarely used in modern times aside from one aircraft, the A10 Thunderbolt 2, which is considered to be one of the most lethal military aircraft of all time. Fitting, then, that it has a shark mouth painted on the nose.
Take a look at the video below by the YouTube channel, Simple History, on Shark Teeth Nose Art On Military Planes...