Greek Mythology “Icarus” and Third Reich Insignia

Updated 12 August 2022

Research by Clarence Simonsen

Link to the PDF file below.

Greek Mythology


This 5th Century Greek Athenian Oil Flask [Terracotta Lekythos] is believed to contain the painted figure of the most famous story in Greek Mythology, the myth of Icarus and his father Daedalus. The identity of the winged figure is not recorded but the contorted position of the man and the diving bird [father – Daedalus] suggests to Greek experts it was the beginning of the end for Icarus, as the scorching heat of the sun melts his wings made of wax and feathers and Icarus falls into the sea and drowns.

Despite its small place in the vast repertoire of Greek Mythology, the myth of Icarus is still well known today in the 21st Century. Icarus was not a God, but a simple mortal who died because he didn’t listen to his wise father’s advice not to fly too close to the sun. This Icarus phenomenon warns mankind of the dangers of power and still teaches and haunts males in the transition from boyhood to manhood. This same changing power struggle from boyhood to manhood was used with great success by the German Third Reich during the original formation of the German Air Sports Association in March 1933.

In 1925, as Adolf Hitler and his Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei [Nazi Party] began their rise to power in Germany, they promoted sports organizations as a way to attract youth for the future of the National Socialist movement. These early Hitler Youth children were cultivated by way of sports events and judged on individual team work, initiative, and leadership qualities. These German children were outfitted with Nazi uniforms and attended summer camps where they took part in physical exercises for both camaraderie and paramilitary training. They were also judged on each person’s ability to perform physical tests and meet prescribed paramilitary criteria, then presented with awards and promotions. Paramilitary Nazi propaganda was also directed at German children age six to ten years in posters and postcards, painted waving [and wearing] the New Nazi Sports Flag Emblem, with the Swastika flying in the background. [Internet public domain]

Text version (images seen in the PDF version to be added later)

Greek Mythology “Icarus” and Third Reich Insignia

This 5th Century Greek Athenian Oil Flask [Terracotta Lekythos] is believed to contain the painted figure of the most famous story in Greek Mythology, the myth of Icarus and his father Daedalus. The identity of the winged figure is not recorded but the contorted position of the man and the diving bird [father – Daedalus] suggests to Greek experts it was the beginning of the end for Icarus, as the scorching heat of the sun melts his wings made of wax and feathers and Icarus falls into the sea and drowns.

Despite its small place in the vast repertoire of Greek Mythology, the myth of Icarus is still well known today in the 21st Century. Icarus was not a God, but a simple mortal who died because he didn’t listen to his wise father’s advice not to fly too close to the sun. This Icarus phenomenon warns mankind of the dangers of power and still teaches and haunts males in the transition from boyhood to manhood. This same changing power struggle from boyhood to manhood was used with great success by the German Third Reich during the original formation of the German Air Sports Association in March 1933.

In 1925, as Adolf Hitler and his Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei [Nazi Party] began their rise to power in Germany, they promoted sports organizations as a way to attract youth for the future of the National Socialist movement. These early Hitler Youth children were cultivated by way of sports events and judged on individual team work, initiative, and leadership qualities. These German children were outfitted with Nazi uniforms and attended summer camps where they took part in physical exercises for both camaraderie and paramilitary training. They were also judged on each person’s ability to perform physical tests and meet prescribed paramilitary criteria, then presented with awards and promotions. Paramilitary Nazi propaganda was also directed at German children age six to ten years in posters and postcards, painted waving [and wearing] the New Nazi Sports Flag Emblem, with the Swastika flying in the background. [Internet public domain]

German boys aged 10 to 18 joined the Hitler Youth and wore a short-pants version of the S.A. [Storm Troopers] Sturmabteilung uniform. Girls aged 10 to 21 joined the League of German Girls and wore a navy blue skirt with white blouse, which identified them as future mothers of the Third Reich. Created in 1930, Hitler Youth was mandatory by 1936. Internet image

Nazi ideology placed great importance on Aryan health and physical strength. This was forced on young German women to make themselves fit and strong to become healthy mothers of large “Aryan” families for the Reich. On 12 December 1935, Reichsfuhrer SS Heinrich Himmler, created the Lebensborn Program, [Fountain of Life] dedicated to producing a master Aryan race for the new Germany. Maternity homes were created throughout greater Germany, some were resort hotels, health spas, and villas which had been confiscated from the Jewish owners. The League of German girls were thoroughly indoctrinated in their duty to bear children for the Reich, in or out of wedlock. The SS men became the stud Bulls at these arranged sports camps and large scale Nazi rallies. It is well documented that over 100,000 Hitler Youth attended the Nuremberg Rally in 1936, and over 900 League of German Girls age 14 to 18 years returned home pregnant. These young women were also urged to mate with Aryan or Nordic pedigree men such as members of the Luftwaffe and they did not have to get married. The new baby ‘parcel’ was raised in the maternity home by preteen student nurses called “little blond sister.”

The little blond sisters were learning their role in Reich motherhood and they also had to fulfill their duty to the Third Reich and get pregnant. This became a marvelous time for the radical elite German male as all women, married or single, were encouraged to produce children for the Fuhrer as ‘their’ sacred duty. LIFE magazine image.

For the past fifty-five years the author has researched, collected, and painted replica aircraft nose art, badges, and unit insignia, including the Luftwaffe in WWII. It is a fact that from the first days of the Luftwaffe in March 1935, Germany had organized and painted the best and most colourful aircraft markings and emblems flying in the world. During WWII the Luftwaffe created unit emblems and badges that possibly reached 1,800 different designs. The Luftwaffe placed great value in the origin, design, and display of unit insignia, yet anything and everything seemed to be a source of inspiration for the unit artist. The only exception to this rule was the non-appearance of nude or even clothed women on aircraft or in unit insignia or emblems. The reason for this is very understandable as the Nazi Party placed the German female in her special role of producing children for the Fuhrer and the new Aryan race.

In March 1933, the new Luftwaffe requested a battlefield observation aircraft and the Henschel Hs-122B was born, first flight spring 1936. This model was redesigned and became the Hs-126B in early 1938. It flew in Spain, France, North Africa, and Russia. In the late fall of 1942, a few flew front-line duties as night harassment aircraft in the Balkans. The unit insignia of 2./NSGr-12 featured a rare nude German female thumbing her nose at the enemy.

The pioneering research and publication of Luftwaffe markings by Karl Ries in June 1963 gave the world the first data and look at identifying WWII German aircraft emblems and insignia. His work has been republished, with more photos, replica paintings, knowledge, and every year the internet seems to find more lost Luftwaffe photos of insignia. Other than a few nude witches, it appears the German nude lady riding the red and black hornet was possibly the only insignia to break the Nazi ideology on WWII aircraft markings. Personal Luftwaffe pilot aircraft markings were not rare, however, the author can only find one which featured a nude German lady or girl.

Internet free domain

Fighter pilot Gunther Scholz was a Luftwaffe veteran who flew in the Spanish Civil War, Polish Campaign, Battle of France, Battle of Britain, Operation Barbarossa, Norway and Northern Finland. He was one of only a few to fly in every major Luftwaffe operation and survive the Second World War air battles. He died on 24 October 2014, at the age of 102 years.

The history of Gunther Scholz and his aircraft markings can be found on at least three websites and just as many modeling publications. The history of his personal fuselage art is unknown, however the use of any form of German female nudity was very much “Verboten” [forbidden] by the Nazi Third Reich.

Full scale replica in colour by author

If you take years of research, then analyze and repaint the combined Nazi art design incorporated in around three thousand badges, emblems, plus the insignia used on U-boats and Luftwaffe aircraft of the Wehrmacht [Nazi German United Forces – Heer “ARMY” – Kriegsmarine “NAVY” – Luftwaffe – “AIR FORCE”] they all contained the same mass production of the Nazi Swastika and Iron Cross. You will also find that German Nazi ideology controlled and prevented the use of the German female image in any nude form other than sports, health, or giving birth to the new Aryan race. In short, the Nazi party turned Germany into one huge legal “Aryan” brothel and at the same time protected and prevented the use of the female form on any military emblem, insignia or personal art, unlike Allied Forces in WWII who painted thousands of Pin-up girls. All of Germany was controlled by this strong Nazi ideology except a secret rocket research and test sight situated on the North Baltic Coast called Peenemunde, Germany.

In my pre-teens, the author found this rocket tail art image on a captured WWII German A/4 rocket which was about to be test fired at White Sands, New Mexico, 10 May 1946. On and off, for the next fifty years the author researched, repainted, and with luck found the German artist [Gerd Wilhelm Luera de Beek] who painted this rare nude lady insignia art in the United States of America. [White Sands Missile Test Range – U.S. Army B.M.A. photo]

Author replica “American” A/4 rocket insignia painted in Mexico City, 2 October 2012

From 23 March 1942 until 18 August 1943, at least fifty-four A/4 test rockets [Aggregat] had been constructed at Peenemunde, Germany, and thirty-eight received special individual tail art paintings. The historical background on these rockets, with launch date and performance, were all recorded in a large German photo album called Helmet [home] Artillerie [artillery] Park II [HAP-11 BILD with numbers] which also contained each tail art painting in black and white images. When Dr. von Braun, his English speaking brother Magnus, and 150 top German rocket personnel surrendered to the American Army, this became the most important date in American Space development history. The Americans soon learned and located 14 tons of documents which von Braun had hidden in a tunnel in the selected British sector of Germany. These were stolen under the nose of the British and trucked to Paris, then to the United States. [this caused major Allied problems between U.S. and England] The Americans next salvaged everything they found in the underground factory in the Hartz mountains, all German launching vehicles, including A/4 rockets and shipped all to the U.S. The U.S. reaped the biggest harvest from the dismantling of the Nazi German missile establishment, which jump-started the new American Space program. When the Russian troops arrived at Peenemunde, 200 remaining German rocket scientists, and what was left behind by the Americans, were loaded onto trains for Moscow. And from these Nazi German ashes the American/Russian Space Race began.

As American intelligence [Fort Eustis] began to photograph and analyze the 14 tons of German A/4 rocket research from 1923 onwards, they also discovered the HAP-11 BILD Peenemunde photo album, with 1,458 pages, which contained 5,178 images of each launch and the tail art painted or glued on each rocket before launch. The tail art paintings gave an identifier to each rocket and for a short time [4 to 90 seconds] captured in the human mind of the Germans each special test event. The A/4 tail art was then destroyed when the rocket exploded or crashed into the Baltic after each test launch, only the black and white photos remained. At this same time, Dr. Wernher von Braun [33 years of age, born 23 March 1912] and his top test team of A/4 rocket experts and scientists were beginning to reshape the course of the U.S. Army Ballistic Missile Agency, the future American Space Program, and America’s approach to landing Americans on the Moon. The American government and press also began publishing stories in which von Braun was shown as being much more interested in space exploration than war rockets, and he was opposed to his V-2s being used against England. The author has many such publications from 1962-1969, and one titled “Moonslaught” states von Braun wished to escape to England and give his rocket secrets to the British, which was pure American Space Race propaganda.

As the American authorities analyzed the A/4 records it soon became apparent the German rocket art painted at Peenemunde was not the normal Third Reich emblems, badges and Swastika insignia, but a different art form. In fact, not one Swastika or Iron Cross appeared on any of the A/4 rockets, however nude German females appeared a good number of times.

Peenemunde rocket launch #10 took place on 17 February 1943, and this rocket had two tail art V12 images painted by technical artist Gerd de Beek. The full nude painting of a lady with sword, riding a fiery Wolf to the Moon is shown on the prelaunch photos HAP-11, Peenemunde Album sheet 35, photo #B44/43. This rocket suffered steam generator problems and the flight lasted 61 seconds, travelled 196 kilometers.

This art is very close to the nude pin-up art painted by Allied Nations during WWII, however it would never be allowed under the Third Reich in Germany. German scientists under control of Dr. von Braun were allowed to paint and fly German fully nude females on the A/4 test rockets fired at Peenemunde.

One original page from the Peenemunde HAP-11 photo album, showing tail art and launch of V3 on 16 August 1942. The “V” stood for Versuchsmuster [test model] and should not be confused with the title V-2 Hitler called all these rockets. From this date on each rocket received a launch number V3 to V50 incorporated into each A/4 rocket tail art painting by de Beek.

The first fifteen A/4 rockets manufactured at Peenemunde were prototype models used to simplify and improve on the original rocket design for mass production. Artist Gerd de Beek became the head graphic designer in charge of TB/D4 Group at Peenemunde in 1939. In November 1941, field testing of the new A/4 rocket began and the first V1 test was made ready for flight on 18 March 1942. During the static test the rocket exploded. During the early test phase each rocket was painted in a contrasting black and white paint scheme so observation devices and film could track the rocket in flight. These test rockets’ paint tracking schemes changed and in the first four launches, four different paint designs were used. The first two rockets [V1 and V2] were both painted in the same checkerboard tracking paint scheme No. 1. [the complete 360-degree rocket pattern can be found on the internet]

It is important to note the third A/4 rocket was painted in a new ‘striped’ tracking paint scheme No. 2 seen below on V3 prelaunch.

The Peenemunde album contained four different images of the A/4 “Witch” rocket tail art paintings. V3 – Gluckliche Reise – meaning Bon Voyage. Painted in striped body tracking rocket scheme No. 2. [this complete 360-degree rocket paint scheme can also be found on the internet]

The fourth A/4 rocket test on 3 October 1942, contained a full nude German lady, which was painted in the original checkered tracking scheme but a different pattern No. 3. RAL 9010 clear white and RAL 9011 Graphite Black. [again, this 360-degree tracking paint scheme is found on internet]

The most world famous Space Rocket art created by Gerd de Beek in September 1942, and it is almost unknown. This fully nude German lady should never appear in Nazi Germany, but she did. The original A/4 rocket [V4] and possibly even this tail art could survive in the Baltic today. Are any underwater deep-sea diving producers looking for a famous part of WWII history?

The launch of V4 on 3 October 1942 became the very first historic flight which achieved a maximum speed of 2,998 mph and a maximum altitude of 52.8 miles. Today the restored A/4 rocket at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., is painted in this German V4 rocket 360-degree tracing scheme No. 3 test colours. You will not find the nude lady painted on the rocket tail and it’s not because they are a family museum, as they like to tell the visiting public.


By 1947, the American government soon discovered three Peenemunde rockets carried tail art showing their use as weapons of mass destruction by Nazi Germany in WWII. These images could possibly embarrass the United States, Dr. von Braun and the Space Race. In 1957, the original HAP-11 photo album was returned by the U.S. to Deutsches Museum at Munich Germany, and forgotten. The original Peenemunde full collection [5,178 images] and much more, remains protected in Germany today.

These two V tail art photos [and one sketch V50] were found in the HAP-II photo album dated July 1943, and V41 clearly shows the rocket being used to destroy England in a mass of flames. V41 was launched on 9 July 43 and V47 was being prepared for one of the next test flights. V47 shows the rising might of the German Eagle which could also be connected with the power of the Third Reich, [Eagle head looking forward] however it was never launched and it is believed this art was destroyed in the RAF attack on 17/18 August 1943. The 50th rocket contained special anniversary images of past test rockets and it is unknown if it was ever painted. These last known A/4 tail art images leave a very strong image in the human brain and the author leaves it up to the reader to decide if they show any signs of the German rocket being constructed for just Space travel.

The third A/4 tail art image was painted for launch 23 test of V29 which took place on 11 June 1943. This painting was approved by Dr. von Braun and just four years later American authorities were looking at this image in the United States. The rocket [bowling ball V29] will destroy the Soviet Union, United Kingdom and the United States of America. [National Flags]

In late May 1943, Dr. von Braun approved this A/4 rocket tail art in Peenemunde, Germany. The only known image of the flag of the United States used on Nazi Germany A/4 rocket art. Not a good image to expose to the American public or Russians during the Cold War Space Race.

Dr. von Braun also approved the use of political art as P.M. Churchill appeared on two A/4 rockets in a very drunken condition. V19 was launch #14 which flew on 25 March 1943. V40 was launch #29 which flew on 29 June 1943.

HAP-11, Karlshagen – BLD-Archiv 1943. V19 image B385/43 BSM and writing B382/43 BSM.

This rare writing appeared on the rocket base of V19 [Drunken P.M. Churchill] photographed and glued to Blatt [Sheet] 50, March 1943. In April 1943, Arthur Rudolph endorsed the use of prisoner-of-war forced labor in the production of the A/4 rockets being constructed at Peenemunde. Ostarbeiter was the German name given to foreign slave workers from Poland, Soviet Union and Ukraine Soviet subjects. This rocket drawing displayed the Soviet Union Hammer and Sickle with the Jewish most recognizable six-pointed Star of David symbol. Why did the center symbol of the Israeli Flag appear on a Nazi rocket in Peenemunde, Germany, March 1943? The words Rot-Front [forward] are clear but the remaining writing is hard to understand. Nerden [Nerds], Gott – [God], Der – [The] and Dunken – [Dunking]. Was this writing made by a Soviet-Jewish “Ostarbeiter” used as slave labor by Dr. von Braun?

For the past seventy years the A/4 rocket art painted in Peenemunde Germany has been hidden and kept from the public eye by the Government of the United States, and ignored by historians at the U.S. Rocket and Space Museum in Huntsville, Alabama, and even the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. In July 2016, the full research by the author was published in eleven chapters on the internet by my close friend Pierre Lagace.

Preserving the Past – Table of Contents

Today [2022] the Simonsen replica A/4 rocket tail art colour paintings and original black and white photos by Gerd de Beek are on display at the Historisch-Technisches Museum Peenemunde, Germany, where the original art was created in 1942-43. A book titled Art and Weapons, [Kunst und Waffen] has also been published by Philipp Aumann and Thomas Kohler in Peenemunde. Finally, this missing [hidden] collection of WWII Third Reich A/4 rocket art can and should be further analyzed and inspected by historical experts. I fully understand it is a shock to some Americans born in Huntsville, Alabama, however it is also world rocket history and the world’s first space art which in fact later flew under the flag of the United States of America in 1946.


The research and test rocket establishment at Peenemunde contained no known emblem, badge, or official insignia, unlike the rest of the German Third Reich. The secret ‘hidden’ rocket motto could have been a “Pig with Wings?”


13 June 1942, engineer Hans Huter and the “rocket/engine-man” himself, Walter Thiel [right]. A/4 rocket with a smiling pig in background, between rocket fin #1 and #2.

The famous phrase “When Pigs Fly” originated in a Latin-English dictionary in 1616, defined as being used by writers to express disbelief.

Dr. von Braun was obviously very proud of the smiling pig rocket tail painting with disbelief motto – “When Pigs Fly. This became the first ‘known’ recorded A/4 rocket tail art painted by de Beek at Peenemunde, early June 1942, on tracking paint scheme No. 2.

HAP-11 photo album image taken on 1 August 1942, showing pre launch work being conducted on A/4 rocket prototype V3, [rocket tracking paint scheme No.2] which will be test fired in fifteen days. The German is working on the rocket engine between fin #1 [left] and fin #2 [right], just below the area where the smiling Pig art was originally painted.


Known facts:

The first smiling pig A/4 tail art appears in Peenemunde photo album #92, dated 13 June 1942.

This A/4 rocket is painted in the colour scheme No. 2 which first appeared on the third constructed prototype test rocket launch V3, constructed and painted in June 1942.

Pre Launch preparations 1 August 1942, on V3 showing new test scheme colours, but no tail marking.

Photo dated 13 June 1942, and position it was painted on rocket tail.

Author image of smiling pig tail painting.

The July 1942 HAP-11 Peenemunde photo album contains two close-up images of the prelaunch work on A/4 rocket V3 showing the new tail art with a witch. It also contains the above image of Walter Theil [pipe] and fellow A/4 rocket engineers in front of V3 with tracking paint scheme No. 2. I believe the original smiling pig art was painted over, [with witch] and it possibly never flew on a test rocket. The July 2021 publication “Art and Weapons” by Philipp Aumann and Thomas Kohler, credits the pig art as flying on the second built prototype rocket V2 which was launched on 13 June 1942. These first two prototype rockets were both painted in a checkerboard tail tracking scheme, which is very confusing, as the smiling pig art photo appeared on the second striped tracking paint scheme No. 2, first appearing on test rocket V3 in June 1942.


The first A/4 prototype rocket [left A] V1 was painted in a black and white checkerboard scheme for tracking purposes. During the first test firing on 16 March 1942, the engine and tail section exploded. The second prototype A/4 [right B] V2 was also painted in the same test tracking scheme, [the middle section of white is ice which has formed around the rocket body as liquid oxygen is pumped into the tanks] 16 August 1942, achieved lift-off but crashed into the Baltic covering only .81 miles. It is important to note the first two rockets tested at Peenemunde [V1 and V2] were both painted in the same black and white checkerboard tracking design. This black and white tracking design would change with the third constructed prototype A/4 [V3] in July 1942.


It now seems probable the very first A/4 rocket tail art in Peenemunde became this modified painting of the original ‘smiling pig’ design. This modified “Flying Pig with wings and jet exhaust” is found in one photo #93 [top of page] of the Peenemunde photo album, dated 1942. The big unanswered question being – did this A/4 tail art ever fly on a test rocket?

This A/4 rocket art was also recorded at Peenemunde, Germany, in 1942 on prelaunch German 16mm film. The little flying Pig also appears in twelve frames along with the tail section of the rocket [seven frames] painted in V3 launch tail markings. This [American copied] German captured Peenemunde film can be purchased on the Critical Past website for $190.00 [US].



This hidden Peenemunde rocket A/4 tail art is a continuing research process, and without the proper files located in Germany and the United States of America, it remains a lot of guesswork. It is still impossible to state the little smiling pig with wings ever flew at Peenemunde on an A/4 test rocket. The HAP-II photo album and captured German Peenemunde 16 mm test film show the tail art painted on prototype number three which was launched on 16 August 1942. This launch is well recorded showing the de Beek tail art of a flying witch with turned up nose HAP-11 Album # BLD-Nr. B476/42 BSM.

I believe the original pig art [with wings and jet exhaust] was painted over and replaced with the [above] witch tail art. This space vehicle became the first rocket to break the sound barrier, and after 194 seconds of flight broke apart in mid-air. From this date on all Gerd de Beek tail art contained the V [Versuchsmuster] and launch number in each of his paintings.


The Luftwaffe test section located at West Peenemunde used their official Eagle badge as identification, and one unofficial [fake] rocket belt bucket badge was offered for sale on the internet in 2014, however the real “unofficial” motto and badge had to be the little smiling pig with wings and jet exhaust. A third and last flying pig tail art appeared on V17, launched 3 April 1943. Official or not, I feel the “Flying Pig” became a most powerful art insignia at Peenemunde, Germany, and was only for Space exploration.

The Nazi Party [Parteiadler] used a black eagle with a stylised oak wreath, with a swastika at the center, which was created by Adolf Hitler on 5 November 1935. This Eagle was looking over his ‘left’ shoulder or wings.

On 7 March 1936, the Fuhrer created the national emblem of the German Reich [seen above] which used the same design, but the head of the Eagle was turned to his right shoulder or wings. This is possibly the same style Eagle art which was painted for rocket V47 at Peenemunde. Above is the magazine cover of Der Adler [The Eagle] which was published in English for the United States and sold for 8 cents, 14 January 1941. This English version was created to encourage isolation and keep the U.S. out of WWII. It also contains the badge of the Luftwaffe which was possibly the third most powerful Nazi badge during WWII.


The German National Socialist Flying Corps created another very powerful Nazi badge and this was hijacked from the Greek myth of Icarus.

With the ending of WWI, Germany signed the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, and it stated Germany had no right to possess an Air Force of powered flight. [Gliders and rockets were never included] In the following years a highly organized civilian aviation network appeared all over Germany using balloons and gliders.

This early glider design by aviation pioneer Otto Lilienthal flew on 1 May 1930.

Few of these early gliders carried any form of identification and the first markings carried the capital letter D [for Deutschland] followed by the name of the manufacturing company. The lettering was black in capitals and could appear on the nose or fuselage of the gliders. Photos also record some gliders carrying an aircraft name painted in white on the nose. Two standard markings used in early 1930 were [D-MOAZAGOTL or D-MUSTERLE]

This excellent image from the Bundesarchiv collection shows German Glider Pioneer Wolfram Kurt Erhard Hirth and the markings of his glider on 1 June 1931. The glider is a H2-PL Musterle which also contains the insignia of his private flying school. In March 1933, the German Nazi Party created Deutscher Luftsportverband [DLV] German Air Sports Association. The DLV was a secret cover organization for the future German Air Force the Luftwaffe, and their chairman became the future Commander in Chief of the Luftwaffe Hermann Goring and vice-chair Ernest Rohm. The real purpose of the DLV was to channel and develop all air-mined German youth and to hire and rally the veteran pilots from WWI for Nazi propaganda aims. Veteran heroes such as Bruno Lorzer and Ernet Udet joined and played a very significant role in the secret forming of the new Luftwaffe. Hermann Goering next created a cloth emblem for the DLV and a special Aircrew Badge [Fliegerschaftsabzeichen] which was the first German military decoration to be awarded to official DLV civilians who trained in gliders for the future Luftwaffe. The badge was made of silver and featured the German national eagle clutching a Nazi swastika surrounded by a wreath, which would be worn on the left breast pocket by pilots and observers.

[Internet image] This simple DLV German Air Sports Association badge became the first qualification badge [pilot/observer] recognized by the newly formed Luftwaffe on 19 January 1935. On orders of Hermann Goering the original badge was retired and replaced in November 1935. Today this rare DLV badge is not only hard to find for collectors, it is considered to be the first official badge of the secret Nazi Luftwaffe formation in 1933.

The March 1933 German Air Sports Association, [DLV] cloth emblem is also very high on collectors lists.



On occasion, you will find the March 1933 German Air Sports Association aircrew cloth badge also appearing on the nose of early German DLV training aircraft, such as the Klemm L25 successful training monoplane. Developed by German Hanns Klemm in 1928, this low wing, fixed landing gear aircraft, was designed as a leisure and sport aircraft. It was produced in over 600 airframes in thirty different versions, and also manufactured under license in the United Kingdom and the United States. The above Klemm L25d trainer is still wearing the badge in 1938, although the DLV was dissolved and replaced by the NSFK on 15 April 1937.

Hitler’s rise to power was completed in August 1934 when President Paul von Hindenburg died and Adolf soon became the Fuhrer of Germany. On 1 March 1935, Adolf Hitler authorized the founding of the Reich Luftwaffe, the new Air-Arm of the German Wehrmacht. This new Air Force organization soon grew in size and purpose as the Nazis began to take full control of all existing civilian aviation clubs and organizations in Germany.

In the summer of 1935, the United States top aviation magazine was able to visit Germany and report on the new German air power. The articles appeared in three issues and can be read free online.


American Aeronautical Engineer Edmund T. Allen reported in 1935 Germany was the new land of paradise and fulfillment, as that is what he was shown and appeared on the surface. The new German Air Force was being constructed as the first line of defense for the new Germany. He then reported on the glider camps which were training 4-5 thousand German pilots per year, but nobody in the Western World was reading or learning the complete truth.


On 18 June 1963, the collection, research, and preserved archives of Karl Ries were published under the title “Markings and Camouflage Systems of Luftwaffe Aircraft in WWII.” Today aviation historians owe a great deal of thanks to his skill and endeavours to preserve these lost and destroyed aircraft markings. These are his words in describing the early Luftwaffe training markings in Nazi Germany 1934-35.




The German Air Sports League [DLV] continued to operate after the Luftwaffe was formed, but slowly began to lose members to the regular military and power was slipping away. The main core of the DLV senior members were staunch Nazi party members which gave the new Luftwaffe a very strong Nazi ideological base, and this must be protected. On 15 April 1937, the DLV was dissolved by Hermann Goering and replaced by a new organization called “National -sozialistisches Fliegerkorps.” The new National Socialist Flying Corps [NSFK] was partly financed by voluntary contributions, private Nazi party individuals and of course the Luftwaffe. Under the Third Reich Nazi Regime the National Flying Corps [NSFK] instructed the new Aviation Hitler Youth in all aspects of Balloon, Glider, and early powered aircraft flight. Closely related to the Luftwaffe and the Nazi Party, the new organization was male-dominated but a few females were allowed membership and it is reported they in fact had female aircrew, but little else is known. This was partly due to the strong Nazi party ideology that wives and mothers of all soldiers were not used in combat and would never appear in any badge, insignia, or other party identification. The NSFK organization was formed on other German military units such as the National Socialist Workers Party – SA, [Strom Troops – Brown Shirts] Hitler’s Protection Squadron – SS, [Schutzstaffel] and the National Socialist Motor Corps – NSKK, comprising Rotten [Squadrons], Sturmen [Companies], Sturmbannen [Batteries], Standarten [Regiments], and Gruppen [Divisions]. The new German Flying Corps [NSFK] would be used to channel energy, to explore the German youth in training and technical support of the Luftwaffe, and most of all maintain a reserve of young aviation troops in active glider and powered aircraft training. As a Nazi paramilitary group the NSFK were issued with new uniforms and followed the same rank structure as the SA, SS, and NSKK. The NSFK now received their own distinctive Nazi insignia which came from the Greek Mythology featuring the winged man figure of Icarus. The Luftwaffe put a much greater value on the design and creation of their unit insignia and the German Nazi Party introduced and hijacked many past military events and German heroes for use by the party. When the Luftwaffe was first revealed to the world in May 1935, early units were named for past military battles and WWI fighter aces, and the new badges were presented in elaborate military presentations. Favourite German themes painted as unit insignia were the Eagle and Lions combined with the natural forces of lightning and thunder in the sky. Norse and Greek mythology featured all of these elements and Icarus became a perfect fit for the silent Glider wings of the NSFK teaching young Hitler Youth German males to fly.





The new Third Reich NSFK badge of Icarus would appear on Flying Corps documents, handbook covers, flight magazines, postcards, insignia, flags, postcards, posters, plus the nose of training gliders and aircraft. The NSFK badge enticed German male youth into training, flying, and dying for both the Fuhrer and the Fatherland by creating an immense feeling of German pride.

The Backside of a German NSFK Postcard

The Postcard front, with powerful symbols of Icarus and a German Eagle, combined with the transition from boyhood to manhood was now building a mighty Nazi Third Reich Luftwaffe.


From Hitler’s Wartime Picture Magazine Signal, published March 1940. Today’s living record of Nazi propaganda and living under the Third Reich at war.

The new Nazi badge [Greek man Icarus] would exploit German male youth enthusiasm to train as potential Luftwaffe pilots, beginning at age fourteen years. Internet.

Another Nazi propaganda color page from Hitler’s Signal magazine March 1940

The Grunan Baby II was introduced in 1933, designed by Edmund Schneider, with 4,104 constructed between 1933-44. This was the most popular glider used by the NSFK and many carried the decal NSFK badge [top] under the pilot position [20” high] as seen in these photos.

Over 16,000 Gliders were constructed in Germany from 1933 – 1944, and the NSFK was a male-dominated flying association. Female glider members were rare but one became the most famous in the world. On 25 July 1938, Luftwaffe pilot Hanna Reitsch is seen wearing her NSFK Glider pilot badge and the larger Luftwaffe pilot badge.

Hanna Reitsch remained a National Socialist until her death and stated – “She should have died at the side of her Fuhrer in 1945.” It is speculated she took the cyanide capsule Hitler gave her 26 April 1945. Died Frankfurt, Germany, 24 August 1979.

If a German citizen donated money to the NSFK this gift certificate was signed, dated, [1 March 1939] and returned with thanks for the contribution. The two powered trainers are Heinkel He-51 fighter-trainer aircraft showing the growing early power of the Luftwaffe.


The Heinkel He-49 was a single-seat biplane which first flew in 1932, as an advanced trainer aircraft, but it fact was designed as a German Nazi fighter aircraft. The advanced He-51 aircraft was designed to replace the Arado AR65 and both also flew side by side as trainers. [Full details on the internet]

The Arado 68 was one of the early fighters produced by Germany when they began rearming in 1935, and entered service with the Luftwaffe in 1936. It was replaced by the Messerschmitt Bf 109 in 1938 and became an excellent fighter trainer aircraft. The NSFK powered-flight trainer aircraft had their own badge featuring the German Luftwaffe Eagle and Greek Icarus.

By 1938, the NSFK had trained seventy-eight thousand potential Luftwaffe pilots and continued to grow. Oberstleutnant Herman Adler’s assessment of the Nationalsozialistisches Fliegerkorps stated “The work of the NSFK is bearing its fruits for the benefit of the Luftwaffe and thus for German air legitimacy, for the good of all German people and their future.” The top trainer aircraft is a Klemm KI 35 which carried many forms of aircraft markings from 1935 to 1944.

The Klemm KI 35 and Bucker Bu 133 training aircraft both appeared in NSFK Commemorative badge awards in 1938. They belonged to Gruppe 16 Sudwest, June 1938.

In 1920, Adolf Hitler took the Swastika, which was a good luck sign of the Aryan Nomads in India, and turned it into the most hated world-wide anti-Semitic symbol mankind has ever created. The Nazi Party then showered its eight million card carrying members with thousands of medals and insignia designed to enhance their German self esteem using the Swastika.

The main post card read – “Learn to Fly” and the NSFK badge could be found on just about everything from German stamps to their training gliders and powered aircraft as nose art. This strong male figure of “Icarus” became the most powerful Nazi emblem and decoration in the Luftwaffe, only the German Eagle displayed more power as a symbol.


The NSFK emblem exploited German male youth [14 years] to learn to fly and become potential Luftwaffe pilots for the new Germany. They learned the complete theory of flight, wireless communications and maintenance of gliders and powered aircraft. At the same time these young boys were taught the Nazi ideology, pro-Hitler songs, and printed anti-Semitic material in their magazine “German Air Watch.” As they matured and entered the Luftwaffe they had been totally “Nazified” in part by their NSFK god-like figure of Greek Icarus and his huge wings.

On 3 September 1939, war was declared, and the Luftwaffe had 373,000 members, which included 208,000 flying troops. British intelligence estimated 43% of these German Luftwaffe personnel had received pre-war flying training by the NSFK, and almost all had been totally Nazified as they went to war. Today the Greek symbol of Icarus appears in tens of thousands of paintings, drawings, and historical artifacts in world museums. Just as many images are carried on human skin as tattoos during their lifetime.

The death of the Greek mythological figure “Icarus” still survives today in many forms and collector items, including NSFK badges and emblems.

The Nazi “Icarus” NSFK emblem died on 8 May 1945, and ironically its demise came beside their very creator, the German Third Reich, who hijacked Icarus and encouraged German males to learn to fly under his powerful image.

Author painting on WWII RCAF Norseman aircraft skin. The bottom sketch replica was created in 1644 by Stefano della Bella, the death of Icarus.





4 thoughts on “Greek Mythology “Icarus” and Third Reich Insignia


    Thanks, Pierre, for passing this along. I cannot imagine the hours of research behind this article. Again, thanks for passing it along.


    1. Pierre Lagacé Post author

      Clarence Simonsen sent it yesterday afternoon. I quickly corrected typos, read it and posted it online in a PDF format.
      I agree this is some awesome research.


  2. WhippetView

    Clarence, I would like to publish your article titled « The Forgotten Vargas Girls » on my page at The American Pin-up on Facebook –
    Please let me know if you would allow me to do so. My contact information is David Howton – I loved the article. I have over 25,000 followers on the page, and Vargas has always been one of the most popular artists featured on the page. Thanks in advance, David



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