It was known as the Jagdverbände, the fighter arm of the Luftwaffe, and by June 1940 it boasted some of the world's greatest fighter pilots. With tactics honed to perfection, these battle-seasoned veterans dominated the skies of Europe.
But as the war progressed, the Luftwaffe fighter pilots faced another battle, the increasingly desperate war of attrition as the Allied air forces slowly, but inevitably, ground the German war machine into defeat. By early 1945 Allied air supremacy was overwhelming.
And yet despite overwhelming odds, from within their ranks came the most successful air Aces ever to fly in combat - names such as Hans-Joachim Marseille, the top-scoring fighter pilot in the West, the legendary Erich Rudorffer who scored more multiple victories than any other pilot and of course the Fighter General, Adolf Galland, who achieved all of his 104 victories in the West. In total more than 100 Luftwaffe fighter pilots are known to have scored 100 or more victories, and 568 Jagdverbände flyers were holders of the Knight’s Cross, Germany’s highest awarded military honor.
Robert Taylor’s stunning new painting, beautifully captures a group of Bf109Gs from III./JG26, as they return to their forward base after a long fighter sweep along the Channel coast in early 1944. In his unmistakable style, and with inordinate skill, Robert deftly evokes a moment of rare tranquillity amidst the carnage of war as the lengthening sun glints across the frozen landscape during the short days of winter.
The prints in this new release are personally autographed by an outstanding collection of Luftwaffe fighter pilots who flew in those momentous air battles over Europe, including one of III./JG26’s most legendary commanders - General Walter Krupinski. Since endorsing the edition with his signature, the General has sadly passed away giving even greater meaning to this new release and providing aviation art connoisseurs with a remarkable and valuable future collectors piece.Signatures:The Limited Edition:
Stabsgefreiter HUBERT-LUDWIG PFLAUM Iron Cross - Flew Me109's with II JG./53.
Feldwebel HEINZ RADLAUER Iron Cross 1st Class - Flew Me109's & Fw190's with JG51 scoring 15 victories.
The Collector's Editions:
Include all of the signatures in The Limited Edition plus:
Leutnant HELMUT BALLEWSKI Iron Cross - Flew Me109's & Fw190's with JG53, all in the West.
Feldwebel ERNST GIEFING Iron Cross - Flew Bf109's & Me262's with JG7 scoring 6 victories.
Oberstleutnant NORBERT HANNIG Iron Cross 1st Class - Flew Me109's & Fw190's in the East and West with JG54 achieving 42 victories.
Unteroffizier GERHARD KOTT Iron cross 1st Class - Flew Me109's & Fw190's with JG3 and JG4 in the East and West scoring 8 victories.
The Collectors Editions are also signed by three iconic Luftwaffe Aces, all of them senior Knight’s Cross holders:
Major ERICH RUDORFFER Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves & Swords - Flew Me109's, Fw190's & Me262's with JG2, JG54 & JG7 over the East and West achieving more multiple victories than any other pilot. The 12th highest scoring Ace in the West with 222 victories.
Oberfeldwebel WILLI RESCHKE Knight’s Cross - Flew Bf109's & Fw190's with JG302 & JG301 in the East and West achieving 27 victories
Generalleutnant WALTER KRUPINSKI Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves (1910 - 2000) - Flew Me109's over the East & West with JG52, JG5 & JG11 later commanding JG26. Also flew the Me262 with JV44. Completed over 1,110 combat missions and scored 197 victories. (The General signed the editions prior to his death on condition and with the agreement that prints would be released at a later date.)
The Tribute Edition:
Contains all the components of the Collectors Editions but includes these signatories who amassed over 1600 victories between them:
Oberleutnant WALTER WOLFRUM Knight’s Cross - Flew Me109's with JG52 in the East and West scoring 137 victories.
Oberleutnant WALTER SCHUCK Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves - Flew Me109's & Me262's with JG5 & JG7 scoring 206 victories.
Feldwebel OSCAR BÖSCH Iron Cross 1st Class - Flew Fw190's in the East and West with JG3 scoring 18 victories.
Oberstleutnant HEINZ MARQUARDT Knight’s Cross - Flew Bf109's & Fw190's with JG51 over the East & West scoring 121 victories.
Major HANS-EKKEHARD BOB Knight’s Cross - Flew Me109's, Fw190's & Me262's in the East and West with JG54, JG51, JG53 & JV44 scoring 60 victories.
The matted signatures.......
Generalleutnant ADOLF GALLAND Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords & Diamonds - The Fighter General he flew Me109's & Me262's with JG26 & JV44. The 4th highest scoring Ace on the Western Front scoring 104 victories.
Oberstleutnant ERNST-WILHELM REINERT Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves & Swords - Flew Me109's and Me262's with JG77, JG27 & JG7. The 14th highest scoring Ace in the West with 174 victories.
Generalmajor JOSEF HAIBÖCK Knight’s Cross - Flew Me109's & Fw190's in the West & East with JG26, JG52 & JG3 scoring 77 victories.
Hauptmann HUGO DAHMER Knight’s Cross - Flew the Me109 with JG26, JG77 & JG2 in the West scoring 57 victories.
Oberst JOHANNES NAUMANN Knight’s Cross - Flew Me109's with JG26 & JG6 in the West scoring 45 victories.
Oberstleutnant HELMUT BENNEMANN Knight’s Cross - Flew Me109's with JG52 & JG53 in the West scoring 92 victories.