Aviation Art - Knight of the Reich by Robert Taylor

February 13, 2015
by eHangar
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Knight of the Reich by Robert Taylor

Knight of the Reich by Robert Taylor – JG52

The morning of 15 October, 1943, dawned like many others over the Ukraine. The chill in the air hinted at the prospect of another winter of savage fighting on the Eastern Front. But it wasn’t the forthcoming winter that was on the minds of the fighter pilots of III./JG52, it was their Russian adversaries.

Ever since the battle for Kursk, the Wehrmacht had been on the defensive. The Russians counter attacked, beginning a military offensive that would eventually lead to the gates of Berlin. As the German Army fell back, JG52 was forced back as well, moving from one makeshift base to another.

JG52 still strong

However, JG52 was still feared by the growing numbers of an ever-improving Soviet Air Force. And for good reason, for within its ranks, JG52 held some of the highest scoring fighter Aces in the history of aerial warfare, including Günther Rall, one of the Luftwaffe’s most successful Aces.

Already highly decorated with the Knight’s Cross, Oak Leaves and Swords, the Kommandeur of III./JG52 now led his unit’s Bf109G fighters on their first sweep of the day. After their early morning scramble, they were looking for action and, like most days, it wasn’t long before they found it, spotting a group of Soviet fighters over the city of Zaporozhye.

JG52 triumphant

Before the enemy pilots could react, the Bf109s dived in and Hauptmann Günther Rall quickly downed a Soviet La-5 to claim his 222nd victory, and continue on, shooting down two more within the hour. It was the start of a remarkable month, in which Rall scored a staggering 40 victories and, a few weeks later on 28 November, took his personal tally past 250.

He would end the war with 275 confirmed victories, making this JG52 pilot the third highest scoring Ace in history.

May 15, 2014
by eHangar
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Breakout by Anthony Saunders

Edition : Signed and Numbered Print
Edition Size : 400
Type: Limited Edition Lithographic Print
Date of Issue : February 2010
Issue Price : US$ 145  UK£ 85
Edition Status : Available at Publisher
Medium : Oil

The pride of the German Kriegsmarine, the battleship Bismarck, breaks out from Norwegian waters into the open sea on the evening of May 21st 1941, accompanied by an escort fleet and a complement of Me109s from 3./JG77 and Me110s from ZG76. It’s voyage would be short lived, however. After a shattering victory over Britain’s famous HMS Hood, the Royal Navy hunted and eventually sank the mighty battleship on May 27th, 1941.

This print was issued available as a portfolio pair with Eismeer Patrol by Anthony Saunders.

Each copy of Breakout is personally signed by Karl-Fritz Schlossstein who flew in Norway with ZG76. Every print is also signed by the artist, and hand numbered.

May 8, 2014
by eHangar
Comments Off on Clash of Eagles by Roy Grinnell

Clash of Eagles by Roy Grinnell

Edition Size : 500
Type: Limited Edition Lithographic Print
Print Size : 28″ x 24″
Date of Issue : September 1992
Edition Status : Sold out at Publisher (but may be available from Artist or other Dealers)
Medium : Oil

The story behind this harrowing scene is as follows: On the morning of May 25, 1944, three pilots from the 4th Fighter Group, the “Debden Eagles”, 336th Fighter Squadron, 8th Air Force, were over Germany looking for trouble. Flying near Botenheim, they encountered German planes from III JG1, 9th Staffel.

During the ensuing dogfight, a Messerschmitt Bf109G-6/AS (also known as an Ausburg Eagle) came up behind Captain Joseph H. Bennett’s P-51B Mustang, while staying below the P-51’s propeller gust.

The Bf109’s guns jammed, but the young Luftwaffe pilot, Oberfähnrich Hubert Heckmann, was determined not to let the American flyer get away. Heckmann pulled up to the P-51’s height and rammed his Bf109 fighter right into the tail of Bennett’s aircraft. The impact sheared off the tail and rear fuselage section and came within a few feet of the rear fuselage tank. With his aircraft’s nose thrust skyward, Bennett bailed out near Botenheim. Going into a loop, the P-51 crashed into a house in the middle of the village. His own plane seriously damaged, Heckmann managed to make a belly crash landing.

Bennett, a former RAF Eagle Squadron pilot, was captured and taken to a jail by German military officials. Heckmann later came to introduce himself and meet the first American flier he had put out of commission as a German pilot. Bennett remain a German prisoner until the end of the war. The 336th Fighter Squadron lost another Mustang in this fight but made claims of shooting down five of the enemy.

After the war, the two airmen became friends and met every year for their reunion. Both men are now deceased.

Roy Grinnell’s painting depicts the crippled Bf109G-6 diving away, its propeller blades bent, while P-51B 43-6572 sheds its rear end. Two other Mustangs can be seen in the distance and the winding Rhine below.

The limited edition prints were signed by the artist and both pilots.