"'Keep 'Em Flying' Is Our Battle Cry!" Vintage WWII Poster by Smith and Downe, Circa 1942

Keep ‘Em Flying Is Our Battle Cry is a 1942 World War II patriotic American propaganda poster by artist team Dan V. Smith and Albro F. Downe. The poster features a beautiful full-color image of three Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses set in front of a large, waving American flag.

The poster was presented by the United States Army Recruiting and Induction Service. It was published as an appeal to the American public to support the war effort by serving in the Army Air Corps. The poster indicates “First Class Fighting Men Needed” and goes on to describe qualities they are looking for in aviation cadets and soldiers. 

The United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) was the military aviation arm of the US Army between 1926 and 1941. During World War II, the Corps became the United States Army Air Forces, before officially becoming the United States Air Force in 1947.

This poster features three Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses which were four-engine heavy bombers created in the 1930's for the United States Army Air Corps. The B-17 developed a reputation as a fast, high-flying, long-range bomber with heavy defensive armament. It was recognized for its toughness based upon stories and photos of badly damaged B-17s safely returning to base.


Good condition. Light creasing, small loss in upper left corner, above flag. Repaired tear at center of flag. Poster has minor foxing along outer border only, not affecting image. Color is original and still very vibrant. Printers code at bottom right margin reads, “P-37-RPB-3.7.42-50M”. The names of both artists are printed in upper clouds, right side, “Dan V. Smith – Albro F. Downe”.  Unframed poster dimensions: 38 1/2" H x 25 1/2" W. 

Poster has been archivally framed in a custom-built black and silver frame.

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