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A DEADLY ENCOUNTER RAGES HIGH ABOVE THE ITALIAN ALPS AS THE MEN OF THE 12th AIR FORCE FIGHT FOR CONTROL OF THE BRENNER PASS
While the Allies pushed ever closer towards Berlin, in the south, amidst the snow-capped mountains of the Italian Alps, an equally bitter and increasingly brutal battle was raging as the Axis forces struggled to keep open their last major supply route – the Brenner Pass.
The Luftwaffe had retreated and fighter operations now rested with the remnants of the ANR, the part of the Italian Air Force that had remained loyal to Mussolini and the Germans. Supplied with the latest Bf109s, this ramshackle group of Italian pilots were in short supply of everything – except courage. Even as the last months of the war drew near they battled on, heavily outnumbered but an ever-present threat to the men of the US 12th Air Force.
Anthony Saunders’ dramatic painting captures an encounter on 14 March 1945 when B-25 Mitchells from the 321st Bomb Group ran into a group of ANR Bf109s from 1 Gruppo Caccia. Adding great authenticity to this piece, each print is personally signed by two highly-decorated pilots who braved the ANR onslaught and fought many epic battles over the Italian Alps and the Brenner Pass, creating a historic collectors piece.
Colonel ARTHUR C. ‘ART’ FIEDLER - P-51 Ace with the 325th Fighter Group, scoring 8 victories.
Captain DAN P. BOWLING - B-25 Mitchell pilot with the 321st Bomb Group.