Signed by the artist and numbered.|
From a sold out 1997 publication
Overall size: 32" x 23 1/2"
Image size: 25 1/4" x 16"
("Nicolas Trudgian" watermark does not appear on print)
At first light on August 1, 1943 a force of 178 B-24 Liberator bombers lifted off dusty airstrips in the Libyan desert. They were to fly a 2000 mile round-trip deep into enemy territory, bomb a heavily defended target, and return to their North African base - without fighter escort. So began one of the bloodiest and heroic missions in the annals of aerial warfare. The target: the oil refineries at Ploesti. One third of Germany's petroleum products were supplied from Ploesti, situated deep in Rumania and well beyond the range of Allied bombers based in England. Deprived of this vital supply of fuel, Germany's mighty war machine would grind to a halt. The high command was aware of this and the installations at Ploesti were defended accordingly. To attack such a heavily defended target with the required degree of accuracy it was necessary to bomb from a perilously low level, a task for which the B-24 was notoriously unsuited. The mission called for inspired leadership, cool determination and courage beyond the call of duty - and all of these were given in plenty.
As the first wave of bombers roared into the target, some as low as 50 feet, the German defenses opened up with a barrage of fire. Within moments the entire area erupted with exploding bombs, bursting shells, gushing flames and billowing palls of smoke. One by one the gallant crews took their aircraft through the intense wall of Ack-Ack and 88mm ground fire, and into the burning inferno to deliver their deadly cargo. Of the 178 B-24s dispatched, 52 were lost, and all but 35 aircraft suffered damage, one limping home after 14 hours and holed in 365 places. Ploesti witnessed countless acts of heroism, for which the crews received more decorations for bravery than any other mission of the war.
"OPERATION TIDAL WAVE" is a moving tribute to the 1700 aircrew who flew the tortuous Ploesti Raid. Depicted exiting the target at extreme low-level are B-24s of the 44th and 98th Bomb Groups, with the 98th BG B-24 'Sandman' in the immediate foreground. In the distance other Liberators lucky enough to have survived the fiery maelstrom make their escape. Behind them fires rage among the structures of the refinery as yet more crews enter the holocaust.
In addition to the artist this print was individually signed by FOUR distinguished B-24 Liberator pilots who flew the historic raid on Ploesti:Signatures:Major General William H BRANDON
Major General Richard D "Dick" BUTLER
Colonel William R CAMERON
Colonel Charles E HUGHES