Wartime Aviation Art Music: George Fenton Theme: " Memphis Belle " World War 2 Click to turn pages
HIGH FLIGHT – Keith Ferris Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth, And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; Sunwards I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth Of sun-split clouds - and done a thousand things You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung High in the sunlit silence. Hovering there, I’ve chased the shouting wind along and flung My eager craft through footless halls of air, Up, up the long delirious burning blue I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace, Where never lark, or even eagle, flew; And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod The high untrespassed sanctity of space, Put out my hand, and touched the face of God. John Gillespie Magee RCAF ( † Dec 11, 1941) Compuso este poema tras un vuelo de alta cota en su Spitfire. Pocos días después falleció.
FOURTH MISSION OF THE DAY – Gil Cohen
COASTAL PATROL - Richard Taylor August 1940 – Battle of Britain: Mk1 Spitfires of 610 Sqn from Biggin Hill patrol The White Cliffs near Dover.
B17 NINE-O-NINE - Steve Heyen 1944 - B17 bombers of 333 Sqn Bomb face Me109 fighters over Germany
DAUNTLESS AGAINST A RISING SUN - William Phillips JUN 1942 - Battle of Midway: 2 SBD-3 from USS Yorktown fly towards the Japanese fleet.
CLOSING THE GAP - Robert Taylor August 1944 - Hawker Typhoons of 247 Sqn launch rocket and gun attacks on German Panzer tanks in Normandy. In one day these air strikes destroyed 175 tanks.
FW190 STURMGRUPPE FORMATION - John Wallin Liberto DEC 1944 - Flying at high altitude, the Fw190A-8 'Sturmbock' of the JG 300 is directed to meet the formations of Allied B-17 and B-24 bombers.
FW190 STURMGRUPPE FORMATION (detail) - John Wallin Liberto Oberstleutnant Walther Dahl in his 'Blue 13' leads the FW190s from JG300 "Wild Boar". Dahl was involved in 128 ‘dogfights’ , one ramming a B-17.
DESERT SHARKS - Heinz Krebs P-40 fighters of 325th FG, 12th AF, the dreaded Checkertail Clan , attack a German tank column during the defeat of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps ' in Tunisia in early 1943.
SPLASH LANDING – Gareth Hector 1943 J.G. Boon von Ochssee, a Dutchman serving aboard HMS Speaker, ditches his Grumman Hellcat JW867 into the Indian Ocean. He was picked up safely by a destroyer escort and would continue flying Hellcats until the end of the war.
GALLAND’S ACES - Dieter Meyer 1945 - Adolf Galland and Heinz Bär lead a group of Me-262's towards an encounter with Allied B-24's high above the clouds.
August 1944 – This one depicts a Spitfire MkXIVe flown by Flying Officer Burgwal of 322 (Dutch) Squadron, a high scoring V-1 killer with 19 kills. This image shows one of his kills, this time by tipping over the V-1 flying bomb that was headed for London. This would make the V-1 crash as it had no ailerons or internal systems that could compensate for this imbalance.
CAUGHT ON THE SURFACE - Robert Taylor JUL 1943 - A Sunderland of 461 Sqn RAAF, identification letter U, destroys submarine U-461, a type XIV tanker, one of three German submarines caught on the surface by Allied aircraft in the Bay of Biscay on July 30, 1943. At extreme low level, Sunderland U braves a barrage of gunfire from all three encircling German submarines to deliver a successful depth charge attack, sinking U-461 in a single pass. In an act of grace, the Sunderland pilot returned to the scene to drop a dingy to the U-boat survivors.
DAYS OF THUNDER - Richard Taylor MAY 1944 - Four P-47D Thunderbolts of 78 Fighter Group depart Duxford aerodrome for a low-level strafing mission over the north of France.
DAMBUSTERS BREACHING THE EDER DAM - Robert Taylor MAY 1943 - Four Avro Lancasters of 617 Sqn, modified to carry the huge dam-busting bouncing bombs designed by Barnes Wallis, breach the Mohne and Eder dams in one night under the leadership of Wing Commander Guy Gibson.
FLY FOR YOUR LIFE - Robert Taylor DIC 1943 - Maj. Greg 'Pappy' Boyington and his F4U Corsairs of VMF-214 "Black Sheep“ combat a group of Japanese Zeros over Rabaul.
RAIDERS OF THE NORTH ATLANTIC - Roy Grinnell 1942 –The Blohm and Voss B & V-138 reconnaissance flying boats out of Norway oversee a Ju-88s attack against Allied merchant ships in the Norwegian Sea .
CAN'T TALK NOW…. GOTTA SHOOT - Dan Zoernig 7 JUL 1944 - Cap. 'Bud' Anderson, of 357 Fighter Gp, surprising two 3 Me-109s in close formation. When he hears on the radio "Bud, where are you?” he replies with the phrase that forms the title of the painting.
INTO THE TEETH OF THE WIND - Robert Taylor 18 ABR 1942 -Jimmy Doolittle, flying his B-25 Mitchell, takes off from the carrier USS Hornet, to launch his daring raid on Tokyo, the first strike at the heart of Imperial Japan four months after Pearl Harbour.
HARTMANN'S LAST VICTORY - Mark Postlethwaite MAY 1945 - The highest scoring fighter pilot in history, Erich Hartmann shoots down his last victim, his 352nd, a Soviet Yak-9 Fighter over Brno in Slovakia. Hartmann is shown piloting his Messerschmitt ME109 "Black Tulip", on 8 May 1945, the last day of the war.
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED - Roy Grinnell 18 APR 1943 -An ambush by 16 P-38 Lightnings ends with the shooting down by Lt. Rex Barber of the Japanese 'Betty' bomber carrying Japan’s Imperial Fleet Commander Admiral Yamamoto, architect of the attack on Pearl Harbour. US intelligence had discovered Yamamoto would be flying to Ballale Island and the Lightnings flew 400 miles at 50ft above the water to make the avenging kill.
AMBUSH - Heinz Krebs German Me 262 jet fighters, were vulnerable to fighter attacks during take-off and landing. To counteract mounting losses special units were formed to provide cover. In order to make these aircraft clearly discernable to the German anti-aircraft gunners, their undersides were painted red with white stripes, thus the legend of the "parrot wing" was born. One of this unit's elements was the so-called "strangler swarm" led by Lt. Heino Sachsenberg seen here in his Focke Wulf 190 Dora 9, as he attempts to protect the approaching jet fighters from the P.51 Mustangs' attack.
BLACK FRIDAY - Mark Postlethwaite 9 FEB 1945 - At 14.00 on February 9 1945, 31 Bristol Beaufighters of 445 (RAAF), 404(RCAF) and 144 Squadron (RAF) took off for a strike against a small German Naval Force hidden in Fordefjord. By 19.00 that evening, 404 Squadron were coming to terms with the loss of six of their aircraft, 11 men dead one POW. In total, nine Bristol Beaufighters were lost that day along with one North American Mustang. The Germans lost 5 Focke Wulf 190s. Fourteen Allied aircrew and two German pilots were dead.
NARROW ESCAPE - Heinz Krebs SEP 1940 Battle of Britain: an ailing He111 is harassed by a Spitfire of the RAF. Just in time, two Me109 of JG26 fly to the rescue.
CLASH OF EAGLES - Roy Grinnell MAY 1944 - Lt. Hubert Hackmann, his guns jammed, rams his Messerschmitt into Capt. Joseph H. Bennet’s 336 Ftr Sqn P-51B Mustang, destroying it. Bennett was captured after parachuting safely over Germany. He and Hackmann became friends, meeting regularly for reunions after the war.
TYPHOON SCRAMBLE - Richard Taylor Led by Squadron Commander Roland “Bee” Beamont, Hawker Typhoons of 609 Squadron are illustrated as they scramble from their base at Manston in April 1943.
FORTRESSES UNDER FIRE - Keith Ferris This image is the 25 foot high by 75 foot wide mural in the World War II Gallery of the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. The B-17G, 42-38050, “Thunder Bird” of the 303rd Bomb Group, based at Molesworth, England, is seen at 11:45 AM, 15 August 1944, over Trier, Germany, on its return to base from a mission to Weisbaden. B-17Gs “Bonnie B”, “Special Delivery”, and “Marie”, are seen below as a Messerschmitt 109G and Focke Wulf FW 190 attack “Thunder Bird’s” element. Jeff Ethell’s research for the mural revealed the names and aircraft identities of all U.S. and many German participants in this battle in which the 303rd lost nine Fortresses in this attack by Luftwaffe fighters.
LEO OF THE ZODIAC BOMBERS - Roy Grinnell 1944 – Painting on the nose of one of the B-24 Liberators of the famous 834 'Zodiac Squadron‘ of the 486 Bomb Group based at Sudbury in England, which had Zodiac signs on every plane.
SEAWOLVES - Nicolas Trudgian 1942 - The German submarine U-552 ‘Red Devil’ returns to its base at St Nazaire during the Battle of the Atlantic, escorted by a Fw200 Condor and three Ju88Ds of KGR 106.
DESPERATE DAYS - Gareth Hector 1945 - Focke-Wulf Fw 190D-9's of JG-26 squadron intercepting B-24s high above Germany during the last desperate months of the war.
CLOSE COMBAT - Mark Postlethwaite DEC 23 1944 - Feldwebel Wilhelm Hopfensitz of IV/JG3 piloting his Focke Wulf F190, closes in on a B-17 Flying Fortress of the 838th BS over Belgium.
THE FAMOUS FOUR MINUTES – R. G. Smith 4 JUN 1942 - Battle of Midway: One of the defining moments of the Pacific War. In just 4 minutes Douglas Dauntless dive-bombers from the Enterprise and Yorktown, destroy the Japanese carriers Kaga, Akagi and Soryu.
INTO THE TEETH OF THE TIGER - William Phillips There’s more than one way to bring down an opposing fighter, as 1st Lt. Don Lopez learned on December 12, 1943. He and his comrades of the 75th Fighter Squadron were at 6,000 feet over South Central China when the young airman experienced his first scramble. Lopez ripped his P-40 into the middle of a flight of Japanese “Oscars” and quickly engaged one of them, flying directly at one another, firing steady hits. Lopez expected his opponent to break off, but neither did so. Head-on only a few feet apart, the Oscar swerved right … too late. Lopez lost three feet off the end of his wing, but the Japanese pilot lost substantially more, including control of his aircraft, which plunged toward the earth. Undaunted, Lopez pressed the attack again and scored enough victories to join the ranks of “ace” fighter pilot.
FIRST KILL- Roy Grinnell SEP 1st 1939 – On the f irst day of WW2 2nd Lt. Wladek Gnys in his gull-winged PLZP-11 fighter shot down two Dornier Do-17E over the pre-dawn skies of Poland as the Germans launched their surprise attack on his country.
SEMPER FI SKIES John D. Shaw 21 MAY 43 - This scene depicts Corsairs of VMF-112 ‘Wolfpack’ in combat near Guadalcanal in 1943. On May 21, Captain Archie Donahue became an ‘ace in a day’ by shooting down 5 enemy aircraft in one mission. He would repeat this feat 2 years later while serving aboard the USS Bunker Hill.
RAID ON THE CHINA COAST - Roy Grinnell APRIL 1945 - The plane shown is Lady Lil of the Air Apaches 345th Bomb Group, 498th Bomb Squadron, a B-25 piloted by Lt. Albert J. Beiga as he attacks Japanese shipping off the coast of China, between Amoy and Swatow, west of Formosa.
STAR OF AFRICA - Heinz Krebs Hauptmann Hans-Joachim Marseille, known as the Star of Africa, was probably the most formidable opponent the British ever encountered in the air. He was victorious in 158 aerial combats against the Royal Air Force, 154 of which were fighter aircraft. Marseille died undefeated whilst bailing out of his Me 109 which had developed an engine problem on the return leg of an uneventful sortie. Marseille is seen here at the moment of his 150th aerial victory on September 15th, 1942, when he fought and defeated no less than seven Curtiss Kittyhawk fighters in an incredible eleven minutes.
SHARK SIGHTING - John D. Shaw 1942 - Kunming, China. Before the pilots of the legendary 1st American Volunteer Group ‘The Flying Tigers’ could take to the skies against the enemy, the all-important task of boresighting the .30 caliber wing guns of their P-40's had to take place! Their ingenious armourers were often forced to improvise, but as the Tigers' incredible combat record can attest, these great Americans got the job done! Artist John D. Shaw has recreated this scenario, featuring likenesses of actual AVG personnel, such as "Tex" Hill and armourer Chuck Baisden.
ONE MAN AIR FORCE - Wade Meyers Captain Don S. Gentile of the Debden-based 336th Fighter Squadron manoeuvers his P-51B-7-NA Mustang 'Shangri-La' while engaging an FW-190A-7 on April 8, 1944. For his actions this day, Gentile was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, America's second highest award for valor in combat. General Dwight D. Eisenhower presented the award personally, and when introduced to the young fighter pilot, Eisenhower remarked, 'You seem to be a one-man air force!'
OPEN ASSAULT - Robert Taylor The Junkers Ju87 Sturzkampfbomber, known to the British simply as the Stuka, had a deadly reputation, its siren screaming as the ungainly dive-bomber struck terror into the hearts of those below. In 1940 they crossed the Channel to terrorise the southern towns and ports of England. Robert Taylors painting Open Assault, depicts Hurricanes of 501 Squadron attacking a force of Ju87 Stukas as they dive-bomb naval vessels and installations in the port of Dover on 29 July 1940. Four Stukas and two Me109s are dispatched, for the loss of just one RAF aircraft.
DAVID AND GOLIATH – Roberto Zanella JUN 1943 – A Macchi MC205 Veltro from A Squadron 'Ace of Wands' shoots down a B-17G over Italy.
OPERATION CERBERUS - Philip West The Channel Dash (officially known as Operation Cerberus) was one of three operations during the Second World War for which the Fairey Swordfish was to become the most famous. Heavily outgunned in the Straits of Dover on this day, February 11, 1942 by the German warships Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen, with their accompanying flotilla of destroyers and motor torpedo boats, and with top cover provided by deadly fighter aircraft of the Luftwaffe, all six Fleet Air Arm Fairey Swordfish were shot down. Only five of the eighteen aircrew survived. Here we see the Swordfish flown by Sub. Lt. Kingsmill and Sub. Lt. Samples with PO Bunce in the rear, fighting for their lives with his machine gun.The bravery of the Fairey Swordfish aircrew in this and all other operations is a matter of history and must never be forgotten.
TIRPITZ MISSION ACCOMPLISHED - Mark Postlethwaite 12 NOV 44 - Avro Lancasters of 9 and 617 Sqns sink the battleship Tirpitz, as it shelters in Tromso Fjord in Norway. During World War Two, Tirpitz had become the scourge of the Royal Navy and had been moved to northern Norway where she threatened the Arctic convoys, too far north to be attacked by air from Britain. She had already been damaged by an attack by Royal Navy midget submarines and a series of attacks from carrier-borne aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm, but both attacks had failed to sink her.
PLAYING THE LAST ACE - Heinz Krebs 1945 - The Messerschmitt Me-163 rocket fighter aircraft, perhaps better known as the Komet , was possibly the most radical German manned fighter aircraft design in WW II. Here Me-163 Komet fighters climb vertically through an 8th Air Force bomber formation and its top fighter cover before swooping down on the heavies for their short but often deadly attack.
RED TAILED BLACK ANGELS - Stu Shepherd 1944 - The Tuskegee Airmen of 322 Ftr Gp were known as the ‘Red-Tailed Black Angels’ with their black fuselage and red painted tails of their P-51Bs. Here Capt. Ed Toppins destroys a Luftwaffe Bf-109 over the skies of Italy.
“ HAPPY” NEW YEAR - Gareth Hector January 1st 1945. All across western Europe airfields are thrown into chaos as the Luftwaffe unleashes a desperate surprise offensive to destroy allied air power on the ground. 'Operation Bodenplatte' would instead result in the death knell for the once formidable German air force. However there were some successes, Eindhoven the home of the RAF's 2nd TAF was hit hard, firstly by Jg-3 and then in a case of mistaken identity by Jg-6. Here, the airfield is already burning from the first attack when Jg-6's 1st Gruppe race across the airfield causing even more damage. Red '12' belonged to Ewald Trost, he was luckier than most as his aircraft was shot down but he survived and was taken prisoner. Ironically the 1st Gruppe was to enjoy the most success for Jg-6 that day, the rest of the unit couldn't find their designated target at Volkel and as a result found themselves simply trying to stay alive and get home.
ON WINGS AND A PRAYER - William Phillips Dawn breaks over the English countryside. This is September 1940 and the island nation is in the grips of war--the Battle of Britain. A woman riding her bicycle, hearing the roar of approaching aircraft, stops to gaze upward. She watches Spitfires from 92 Squadron streak across the sky, determined to search out and destroy the fighters and bombers of Hitler's Luftwaffe. Silently the woman offers up a prayer.
FLYING ON A SPECIAL D-DAY – Julien Lepelletier 6 JUN 1944 - And a Republic P-47D Thunderbolt flies over Utah Beach on an escort mission.
RAMRAIDERS - Richard Taylor 8 JUN 44 – Two days after D-Day the RAF and USAF begin to halt the supply of oil to enemy forces by bombing Germany’s oil refineries. The Luftwaffe are ordered to shoot down the bombers at all costs, even by ramming. Closing at high speed with all cannons blazing. Unteroffizier Willi Maximowitz is seen flying his distinctive “Black 8” IV Sturm/JG3, as he dives in to attack a formation of USAAF B-24 Liberators from the 93rd Bomb Group.
JUNKERS Ju88 – Shigeo Koike 1941 - A Ju88 A-4 bomber of III Gruppe / Lehrgeschwader 1 flies over the Tunisian desert.
TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE - Keith Ferris Pearl Harbor wasn't the only place that was attacked on December 7th. Across the International Date Line - making it officially December 8th - lay Clark Field, which was pounded by Japanese "Betty" Bombers, then strafed by Zeroes. Some American pilots managed to counterattack. Lt. Joe Moore in his Curtiss P-40B Tomahawk is depicted at 22,000 feet over Clark Field idefending against the Japanese attackers as the Pacific War begins.
ONE THE HARD WAY - Dan Zoernig Christmas Day, 1941. American Volunteer Group Flight Leader Parker Dupouy finds his guns jammed during combat high over the Gulf of Martaban. Determined to bring down his adversary, he rams the Hayabusa Oscar of Lt. Hiroshi Okuyama of the JAAF 64th Sentai. Though he lost four feet of his wingtip and his entire aileron, Dupouy made it back to base to fight another day. Lt. Okuyama's aircraft, however, broke up in flight and carried him to his death. Dupouy went on to score 6.5 victories in the air before war's end.
” LUCKY” - Carlos García 1944 - The Anglo-Argentine pilot Dick ‘Lucky’ Lindsell in his Hurricane MkIIC leads the attack on a bridge in Burma.
THE EAGLES NEST - John D. Shaw May 7, 1945 . . . With Goring's champagne and Bavarian beer, the veterans of Easy Company celebrate the end of World War II in Europe. Fate could write no better ending for the paratroopers who jumped into the darkness of Normandy, slugged through the mud of Holland, and froze in the woods of Bastogne. Now, in Berchtesgaden's storybook Alps, P-51s of the "Checkertail Clan" cap the party as the Band of Brothers enjoy the spoils of war, the beauty of peace, and a toast to the heroes who fell along the way.