By early 1945, the air war over Germany had turned in favor of the
allies. Though months of tough fighting remained, long-range
fighters like the P-51 Mustang and the continued pounding by
American bombers were ushering in the end game for the
In this painting, 78th Fighter Group P-51’s are escorting home B-17
Flying Fortresses. The primary Mustang, WZ-S was named,
“Sherman Was Right
by her pilot 1Lt. Frank E. Oiler. The name
was inspired by a famous speech given by Civil War general
William Tecumseh Sherman where he spoke of “war being hell.” The
second Mustang in the scene, WZ-H, was named "Mischievous Nell"
and flown by Capt. James Farmer. Unfortunately, WZ-S was lost
on 4 March 1945. The ship was flown that day by 2Lt. Louis
Hereford on an escort mission to Augsberg.
The B-17s in Rick’s painting are from the 303rd Bomb Group
based at Molesworth, England. As the formation nears the coast of
England at the end of the day. the Mustangs will peel off and head
for their home at Duxford, England. Though everyone has to
remain vigilant, the crews are mindful that it is “almost quittin’
time” for the day………and hopefully soon too for the air war.