14 January 1945; and the war was not going well for Germany. The noose was tightening as American, British and Canadian armies, having broken out from their Normandy landings seven months earlier, stood on the banks of the Rhine. In the east vast numbers of Russians were driving relentlessly towards Berlin. On their bomb-cratered airfields the Luftwaffe prepared for the final onslaught during the Defense of the Reich.
Despite the shock of Operation Bodenplatte on New Year’s Eve – the Luftwaffe’s unexpected yet unsuccessful attempt to wipe out the Allied air forces on their advanced airfields in the Low Countries – Germany had all but surrendered air superiority to the Allies. Today, therefore, was yet another gamble as they assembled some 200 fighters to counter nearly 900 Eighth Air Force bombers, and almost as many fighter escorts, tasked with destroying oil refineries, storage depots and other strategic targets in central Germany. For the Luftwaffe the day was to end in retreat and disaster; they lost 161 fighters, the highest number ever recorded. Never again would the once mighty Jagdverbänd rise in strength to challenge the Mighty Eighth.
Few artists can capture the ferocity of an aerial battle with the skill and ability of Robert Taylor, and this breath-taking painting will undoubtedly rank as one of the pinnacles in his long and distinguished career. He captures a moment during that massive aerial battle in January 1945 near Ludwigslust in northern Germany, as enemy fighters from JG300 and JG301 make a head-on attack through a close formation of B-17s from the 390th Bomb Group who are heading to bomb Magdeburg. But their ever-vigilant P-51 escorts are aware of the threat and quickly engage the enemy with devastating results.
In the center of the action Flt Lt Joe Peterburs of the 20th Fighter Group screams past the Bf109G of Lt Bruno Klostermann from II./JG300 who is attempting to penetrate the bomber formation. Peterburs claimed an Fw190 during the battle, Klostermann, however, will not survive the day.Signatures:Limited Edition:
Signed by these three who fought in this epic battle:
Lt GÜNTHER SINNECKER - Bf109 Ace with JG302 & JG300 / 5 victories
Col JOE PETERBURS - Pilot on P-51s with the 20th FG / 2 victories
T/Sgt WILLIAM STOVALL - Top Turret Gunner on B-17s with the 390th BG
Includes the three above plus:
Lt Col ‘LUCKY’ LOWMAN - Pilot on P-51s with the 20th FG
1st Lt KEN SHARPE - Pilot on B-17s with the 388th BG
Oblt GÜNTHER SEEGER KC - An Ace on Bf109s with JG2 & JG53 / 56 victories
Oblt WALTER WOLFRUM KC - An Ace on Bf109s with JG52 / 137 victories
War in Europe Edition:
Includes all above plus the companion print Fighter Escort and the following:
Fw OSKAR BÖSCH - A Bf109s & Fw190s Ace with JG3 / 18 victories
Lt FRITZ TEGTMEIER KC - An Ace on Bf109s & Me262s with JG54 & JG7 / 146 victories
1st Lt LEO CROCE - Co-Pilot on B-17s with 398th BG
Col ‘BUD’ ANDERSON - An Ace on P-51s with the 357th FG / 16¼ victories
Lt Col WALTER DRAKE - Pilot on P-51s with the 479th FG / 1 victory
Capt LEO KERNS (on companion print) - Pilot on P-51s with the 20th FG / 1 victory
Includes all above, plus the companion print and an original pencil drawing!
GenLt GÜNTHER RALL KC - Flew Bf109s & Fw190s with JG52 & JG300 - the 3rd highest-scoring Ace in history with 275 victories.
Maj HANS-EKKEHARD BOB KC - An Ace who flew Bf109s, Fw190s & Me262s with JG54, JG3 & JV44, scoring 60 victories
Brig Gen ROBIN OLDS - Legendary USAAF Fighter Ace on P-38s & P-51s with the 479th FG, scoring 17 victories
Each original drawing is conservation matted to include the original signatures of a further three pilots of both the Luftwaffe and USAAF who fought in the skies over Germany as the Allies pushed for victory during WWII:
Col HARRY MUMFORD - A B-17 pilot with the 95th BG who led the first USAAF daylight raid on Berlin.
Gen PAUL DOUGLAS - Flying P-47s with the 368th FG, he scored 8 victories and became was one of the most decorated US Aces.
Oblt WALTER SCHUCK KC - Flew Bf109s & Me262s with JG5 & JG7 scoring 206 victories. He was finally shot down by Joe Peterburs.