Flight Lieutenant Donald J. M. Blakeslee of 133 Eagle Squadron exits his Spitfire MkVb at the Lympne airfield after his fourth mission of 19th of August 1942. On this date, during Operation Jubilee - the joint British-Canadian amphibious assault against German forces on the French coast at Dieppe, RAF Fighter Command flew hundreds of sorties in support of the landings. Among the RAF units active during the day were the three all American volunteer Eagle squadrons, who between them accounted for 10 enemy aircraft destroyed, 5 probable and 12 damaged, Blakeslee himself being credited with two destroyed and two probables. The following month, the Eagle squadrons were absorbed into the U.S. 8th Air Force as the 4th Fighter Group, under the leadership of Don Blakeslee.
Mk I Spitfires of 610 Squadron flying a defensive patrol low over the White Cliffs during the height of the Battle of Britain in August 1940.
B17G-30-BO of the 333rd Bomb Squadron, 91st Bomb Group encounters home defense Me109s over Germany in 1944.
Two SBD-3s, S-9 and S-11 of VS-5, fly from the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier against the dark clouds of war and a rising sun, the symbol of the Japanese empire. In this case, the sun is symbolic of hope and the dawn of a new day as the tide turns in the Pacific at the Battle of Midway in June of 1942.
August 1944, RAF HawkerTyphoons of 247 Squadron, armed with rockets and 20mm cannon launch a series of devastating attacks against the German Seventh Army and Fifth Panzer Army in the Falaise Gap. The German units had been almost completely surrounded by advancing allied ground forces, and contained within an area bounded by the four towns of Trun, Argentan, Vimoutiers and Chambois near Falaise. The Germans began their retreat by the only remaining route, through the Falaise Gap, whereupon the allies began a sustained air assault in an attempt to prevent their escape, and with deadly results. On a single day the Typhoons would destroy 175 German tanks.
It gives a nice, icy mood, perfect for December 1944, when Dahl flew his &quot;Blaue13&quot; on bomber intercept missions with JG 300. By the way, the clouds at the top of the image remind me of layers of cirrus, formed by dissipating aircraft contrails. I am not sure if it was intentional, but it's a nice hint to their creators: the hordes of allied heavy bombers Walter Dahl and his Schwarm is hunting for.
P-40 fighters of the 325th FG, 12th AF, the dreaded Checkertail Clan , as they attack a German tank column in the African desert during the defeat of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps ' in Tunisia in the early spring of 1943.
J.G. Boon von Ochssee, a dutchman serving aboard the HMS Speaker, ditches his Grumman Hellcat JW867 into the Indian Ocean. He was picked up safely by a destroyer escort soon after and would continue flying Hellcats until the end of the war.
Adolf Galland and Heinz Bär lead a group of Me-262's towards an encounter with Allied B-24's high above the clouds.
This one depicts the Spitfire Mk.XIVe as flown by Flying Officer Burgwal of 322 (Dutch) Squadron. Burgwal was 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 unbalance.
In a strange quirk of fate, 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.
Duxford became home to the 78th Fighter Group when they arrived in England with their P-47B Thunderbolts in 1943. The objective of the American fighter units was to gain air superiority over the Luftwaffe in support of their daylight bombing campaign. By 1944 they achieved their objective. Richard Taylor commemorates the valiant contribution of the 78th Fighter Group with a fine new rendition showing P-47D Thunderbolts departing Duxford en route for the north coast of France, and a low-level strafing mission. It is the spring of 1944, and with the Normandy invasion just days away, the Thunderbolts are already painted with invasion markings.
Mist and fog swirled eerily over the Eder Lake on the night of 16/17 May 1943 as four specially modified Lancasters of 617 Squadron, under the leadership of Wing Commander Guy Gibson, circled overhead. Their target, the mighty Eder Dam, was barely visible in the valley below. Immediately following the successful breach of the Mohne Dam, Gibson had led his remaining aircraft 50 miles to the south-east to hit their second target, the Eder Dam. Surrounded by high ground with thousand feet ridges, the Eder was altogether a more testing target. The Lancaster pilots would need to dive steeply into the gorge that formed the Eder lake before undertaking a steep turn towards the Dam itself. As if this were not demanding enough in the darkness of night, they then had to fly towards the target at precisely 60ft above the lake at the exact speed of 230mph, before releasing their Barnes Wallis designed hydrostatic bouncing bombs. Pilots Shannon and Maudsley tried time and again to position their laden bombers correctly before managing to release their weapons – but the dam still held. Now success depended solely on Knight carrying the last bomb! With time and fuel now a concern, Knights first effort to position, like Shannon and Maudsley before him, failed, but his second run favoured the brave. Knight released his bomb with absolute precision, striking the wall at precisely the crucial point. With a tremendous explosion the Eder Dam collapsed before their eyes. Robert Taylors sensational new painting vividly shows the dramatic moment of impact. In the cockpit Knight and flight engineer Ray Grayston fight the controls to clear the dam, combining their physical strength to haul the lumbering Lancaster up and over the dam and to clear the high ground that lies ahead. Below and behind them, the second of Germanys mighty western dams lies finally breached
Desperate for new pilots in the South Pacific, in August 1943 the First Marine Wing appointed the unconventional fighter ace Major Greg ‘Pappy’ Boyington to pull together a newly formed squadron from a mix of experienced combat veterans and untested novice pilots. The Marine Corps gave him just four weeks to turn this motley group into a fighting force ready for combat. Boyington succeeded beyond all expectations and the rest is history. Equipped with the Chance Vought F4U Corsair, they called themselves 'The Black Sheep', and under Boyington's leadership, saw action at Guadalcanal, Munda, the northern Solomons, Vella Lavella, Bouganville, and Tokokina Kahili, and were the first to lead fighter sweeps over the major Japanese base of Rabaul. In a period of just eighty-four days Boyington's pilots recorded 273 Japanese aircraft destroyed or damaged, 97 confirmed air victories producing eight fighter Aces, sank several ships, destroyed many ground installations and numerous other victories. With typical mastery, Robert Taylor has brought to life an encounter over Rabaul in late December 1943, paying tribute to one of the US Marine Corps‘ most famous fighter squadrons, and its outstanding leader. With the Japanese airbase at Rabaul visible in the distance, 'Pappy' Boyington and his fellow pilots of VMF-214 tear into a large formation of Japanese Zekes and a series of deadly dogfights have started, one Zeke already fallen victim to their guns. For their outstanding contribution to the war in the South Pacific, the 'Black Sheep' were awarded one of only two Presidential Unit Citations accorded to Marine Corps squadrons during the war in the Pacific.
The Blohm und Voss V-138 Flying Boat, out of Norway, were ocean going reconnaissance planes for spotting enemy supply convoys that were shipping supplies, troops and equipment. It was known by their crews as “Der Fliegende Holzschuh” “The Flying Clog.” They would call into bases on the coast for JU-88’s to bomb and strafe the supply ships. All three engines on the B&V 138 were diesel and they would land in the North Atlantic and German U-Boats would surface and refuel them. The Blohm und Voss crew could eat and sleep while the plane was being refueled giving them a break because they could be away for weeks. The gun turret in front was fired by pilot by remote. In the rear there was a gunner. In the dramatic painting by Roy Grinnell, it depicts BV138C-1 of 2/KU. FL. Gr (Kusten-Fliegeruppe) 406 in North Norway, 1942.
July 7, 1944. Captain Clarence E. &quot;Bud&quot; Anderson slides in behind a trio of ME-109s flying in perfect formation, seemingly oblivious to the huge armada of bombers and fighters in the vicinity. 357th Fighter Group leader Tommy Hayes, spoiling for action, calls out on the radio, &quot;Andy! Where are you?&quot; Focused on the business at hand, Anderson replies, &quot;Can't talk now....Gotta shoot!&quot; As he triggers his guns, the mic is still keyed, and everyone hears the rattle of his quad .50s. Above, Old Crow gets good strikes all over the target, bringing Anderson's total claims to 12 1/4 in the air.
Bound for Tokyo, Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle launches his B-25 Mitchell from the heaving deck of the carrier USS Hornet on the morning of 18 April, 1942. Leading a sixteen-bomber force on their long distance one - way mission, the Doolittle Raiders completed the first strike at the heart of Imperial Japan since the infamous attack on Pearl Harbour four months earlier. Together, they completed one of the most audacious air raids in aviation history.
The highest scoring fighter pilot in history, Erich Hartmann shoots down his last victim, his 352 nd , a Soviet Yak-9 Fighter over Brno in Slovakia. Erich Hartmann is depicted piloting his Messerschmitt ME109 &quot;Black Tulip&quot;, on 8 May 1945, last day of the war.
&quot;Bogies, 11 o'clock high!&quot;, shouted Lt. Doug Canning, breaking a two-hour radio silence. Maj. John Mitchell had led sixteen P-38's of his 339th fighter Squadron from Guadalcanal's Henderson Field to Bougainville on 18 April 1943 to intercept the Betty bomber carrying Japanese Imperial Combined Fleet commander Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto. Now, after flying 400 miles at 50 feet above the water, navigating by pure dead-reckoning, the flight sighted two Betty bombers escorted by six Zeroes descending toward Ballale Island. Maj. Mitchell and twelve Lightning's climbed to provide high cover while Capt. Tom Lanphier and Lts. Rex Barber, Frank Holmes, and Ray Hine - designated 'attack flight&quot; - turned to intercept the bombers. As they climbed toward the Betty's, Lanphier saw three Zeroes diving to defend the bombers and turned sharply into the lead fighter, leaving Barber to continue the attack on the bomber. Curving in behind the lead bomber, Barber raked the descending Betty from wingtip to wingtip. Thick black smoke began to stream from the right engine and the bomber snapped to the left. Moments later is sliced into the jungle, the crash site marked by a rising column of black, oily smoke. Turning toward the coast, Barber finished off the second Betty now under attack by Frank, and downed a Zero that had belatedly joined the battle from nearby Kahili Airdrome. Shortly after, Mitchell call &quot;Mission accomplished!&quot; and fifteen Lightning's turned toward Guadalcanal. Lt. Ray Hine, last seen skimming the water with smoke trailing from his engine, did not return from the mission and was never found. This extraordinary interception, executed by P-38's based near Guadalcanal, was made possible through radio interception and signal decryption efforts by Navy intelligence facilities at Pearl Harbor and other Pacific locations.
The German Me 262 jet fighters, used primarily to attack USAAF heavy bomber formations in early 1945, were very vulnerable to fighter attacks during take-off and landing. The Allies had therefore adapted a strategy of having fighters patrol in the vicinity of Me262 bases, waiting for the return of the German jets from their missions. These ambushes soon proved highly effective, with the Luftwaffe losing many jets to the guns of the USAAF. To counteract the mounting losses special units were formed, equipped with the Focke-Wulf 190 D-9 (&quot;Dora Neun&quot;), regarded by many as the Luftwaffe's finest piston-engined fighter of the war. Manned by experienced veterans of JG52 and JG54, they were tasked with providing top cover for the jets at their airfields at Munich, and Ainring near Salzburg. 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 &quot;parrot wing&quot; was born. One of this unit's elements was the so-called &quot;strangler swarm&quot; led by Lt. Heino Sachsenberg. Here we see Sachsenberg in his Focke Wulf 190 Dora 9 &quot;Rote 1&quot; W.Nr. 600424, as he turns into P-51s over the airfield of Ainring in an attempt to protect the approaching jet fighters from the Mustangs' attack.
At 14.00 on the 9th February 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.
It is the late summer of 1940, and the Battle of Britain is at it’s height. Racing for the coast, following a bombing mission over southern England, a straggling He111 of KG55 has been attacked by a Spitfire of RAF Fighter Command. The bomber is badly damaged, but in the nick of time a pair of Me109s of JG26 have come to the rescue, sending the Spitfire diving into the Channel. If they are lucky the Heinkel crew may still make it back to their base in France.
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.
Led by Squadron Commander Roland “Bee” Beamont, Hawker Typhoons of 609 Squadron are dramatically illustrated as they scramble from their base at Manston in April 1943.
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.
This image reflects the unique nose art of one of the B-24's in the Zodiac Squadron. The original nose art was painted by Phil S. Brinkman while he was assigned to the Army Air Force Station 174 in Sudbury, England. Brinkman joined the Army Air Corps in the summer of 1942. He was assigned to Special Services, when he entered the army, since he was an accomplished commercial artist at the time. Shortly after he arrived at Davis-Monthan Airbase in Tucson, Arizona, he completed a large mural which attracted attention and was seen by the commander of the 834th Bomb Squadron, Captain &quot;Jip&quot; Howell, who set up a transfer to bring Brinkman into the 834th. The idea of adorning the B-24's of Capt. Howell's with unique nose art resulted in the famous &quot;Zodiac Bombers&quot; including &quot;Leo.“ In the spring of 1944, the 486th Bomb Group, comprised of the 832nd, 833rd, 834th and the 835th Bomb Squadrons was sent to England.
Captain Erich Topp steers his Type VIIc U-Boat number U-552 Red Devil towards the sanctuary of the base at St Nazaire after another patrol during the grueling Battle of the Atlantic in 1942. In the skies above, heading back out to hostile waters is a giant Focke Wulf 200 Condor from III/KG40 and three Ju88Ds from KGr 106 whose missions will be to search for vulnerable Allied shipping for the submarine Wolfpacks to attack. The third-highest scoring U-Boat ace, Captain Erich Topp sank a total of thirty ships and damaged three more whilst commanding the Red Devil.
It depicts Focke-Wulf Fw 190D-9's of JG-26 intercepting B-24s high above Germany during the last months of the war.
Fw Wilhelm Hopfensitz of IV/JG3 piloting his Focke Wulf F190, closes in on a B-17 Flying Fortress of the 838th BS over Belgium, 23 December 1944.
4 June 1942: one of the defining moments of the Pacific War when the tide turned against the Japanese aggressors at America's Midway Islands. Lieutenant Richard H. Best and his two wingmen in their Douglas Dauntless SBD dive-bombers have just launched a successful attack on the Japanese flagship aircraft carrier Akagi . The crushing defeat inflicted on the Japanese Navy by the very much smaller United States Pacific Fleet at Midway, put an end to Japan's ambition to dominate the central Pacific region, and removed the Japanese threat to Hawaii.
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.
In the pre-dawn of September 1st 1939, units of Hitler's Luftwaffe and Wehrmacht were poised to smash across Poland's borders to begin WWII. At sunrise, formations of German bombers were over Krakow and attacked the Polish airbase of Rakowice. Meanwhile, several miles to the west on a secret airfield at Balice, 121 Fighter Eskadra (Squadron) of Army Krakow's 2 Dyon (Air Regiment) was alerted to the attack by the noise of explosions and flaming horizon. Leaping from his bed and pulling on his flight clothes, 28 year-old veteran flyer, 2nd Lt. Wladek Gnys ran with his CO, Capt. Mieczyslaw Medwecki, to their gull-winged PZLP.11c fighters. As they took off to make an interception of the German attackers, the pair was surprised by fire from passing Ju-87 Stukas of I./StG2, and Medwecki was downed. In attempting to evade, Gnys went into a stall, but regained control just above the ground. Climbing once again, he managed to put two bursts into the engine of another Stuka, which turned away trailing a plume of smoke. Later, at 5000 feet, Gnys spotted two Do-17E bombers of III/KG77 just above the rising early-morning fog. Putting his small fighter into a near-vertical dive, Gnys banked steeply toward the Dornier on the right and fired his four 7.7mm machine guns, silencing the rear gunner and hitting the port engine. He then climbed and banked to the left, away from his smoking victim, to pursue the second German. Attacking from the second bomber's port side, Gnys dove and fired, getting hits on the cockpit. Realizing that the two mortally wounded Dorniers were on a collision course, he continued his dive below and away from them. Returning to base, the victorious pilot did not see the two crashed bombers smoldering in a farmyard near the village of Zurada... the first victories over the Luftwaffe in World War II! Gnys later fought with the French Air Force in the Battle of France, the Royal Air Force in the Battle of Britain, and ended his combat career as the squadron leader of the 317F Squadron , RAF.
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 depicts Lady Lil of the Air Apaches 345th Bomb Group, 498th Bomb Squadron. A B-25 is attacking Japanese shipping off the coast of China, April 1945. Pilot: Lt. Albert J. Beiga. The Raid was between Amoy and Swatow, west of Formosa.
Hauptmann Hans-Joachim Marseille, better 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. On this day, he fought and defeated no less than seven Curtiss Kittyhawk fighters in an incredible eleven minutes.
1942 – Kunming, China. Before the pilots of the legendary 1 st 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! The ingenious armorers of the AVG 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 &quot;Tex&quot; Hill and armorer Chuck Baisden.
Captain Don S. Gentile of the Debden-based 336th Fighter Squadron - 4th Fighter Group (8th Air Force) maneuvers his North American 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!'
The Junkers Ju87 Sturzkampfbomber, known to the British simply as the Stuka, had already acquired a deadly reputation across Europe, its siren screaming as the ungainly dive-bomber struck terror into the hearts of those below. In 1940 its pilots crossed the Channel with their grim-looking aircraft 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. High explosive bombs detonate within the sheltered anchorage as escorting Bf109s from JG51 race in to protect their lumbering charges. Four Stukas and two Me109s are dispatched, for the loss of just one RAF aircraft.
Un Macchi MC205V derriba una fortaleza volante B-17G de la 15 Fuerza Aérea Estadounidense sobre los cielos italianos. El Macchi MC 205 Veltro perteneciente a la primera Scuadriglia Asso di Bastoni (As de Bastos) del primer Gruppo de Caccia de la A.N.R. (Aeronautica Nazionale Republicana) que era la Fuerza Aerea de la recién constituida Republica Social Italiana, que fiel a Mussolini continuaba colaborando con la Luftwaffe después de haberse producido la rendición italiana. Cuando se produjo el armisticio italiano 112 cazas Macchi MC.205 Veltro fueron a parar a la Aeronautica Nazionale Reppublicana de Mussolini, mientras que otros 37 aparatos del mismo modelo fueron a parar a la Fuerza Aérea Italiana Cobeligerante al lado de los aliados. Los Macchi MC.205 Veltro de la Aeronautica Nazionale Reppublicana tuvieron un gran papel en la defensa Italia contra las fortalezas volantes B-17 y B-24 norteamericanos interceptándolos en el camino hacía sus objetivos en Alemania, Yugoslavia e Italia, y consiguieron un gran número de derribos de los nuevos cazas P-51 Mustang estadounidenses. Al final de la Segunda Guerra Mundial los Macchi MC.205 Veltro de la Aeronautica Nazionale Republicana derribaron un total de 58 aviones aliados.
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 in February 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.
During World War Two, the German battleship Tirpitz had become the scourge of Royal Navy. The battleship had been moved into a fjord in northern Norway where she threatened the Arctic convoys and was too far north to be attacked by air from the Great 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. The task was given to Avro Lancasters of No. 9 and No. 617 Squadrons, who operated from a staging base in Russia to attack Tirpitz with Tallboy bombs. They damaged her so extensively that she was forced to head south to Tromsø fjord to be repaired. This fjord was in range of RAF Avro Lancaster bombers operating from Scotland, and from there, in October, she was attacked again, but cloud cover thwarted the attack. Finally on 12 November 1944, the two squadrons of Avro Lancasters attacked Tirpitz, capsizing her. All three RAF attacks on Tirpitz were led by Wing Commander JB &quot;Willy&quot; Tait, who had succeeded Wing Commander Cheshire as CO of No. 617 Squadron in July 1944.
The Messerschmitt Me-163 rocket fighter aircraft, perhaps better known as the Komet , was possibly the most radical German manned fighter aircraft design to actually enter the WW II combat theatre. Here Me-163 Komet fighters of the Luftwaffe 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.
&quot;Red Tailed Black Angels&quot; del 322 Fighter Group, también conocidos por los Tuskegee Airmen. Fue un experimento de la muy racista sociedad USA de los años 40 para comprobar si los negros eran capaces de pilotar aviones y de enfrentarse al enemigo con dignidad en los cielos de Europa. Estos hombres demostraron que así podía ser a pesar de las dificultades que no solo le pusieron en el combate el enemigo sino también a pesar de las dificultades que les pusieron en casa los de su propio país. Al final de la guerra se anotaron un total de 109 aparatos enemigos derribados a cambio de la vida de 150 de sus hombres. Destacaron especialmente en el papel de escolta de las formaciones de bombardeo durante los raids diurnos en el corazón de Europa donde se ganaron el apodo que he citado antes por parte de las tripulaciones que protegían por el color de las colas de sus Mustangs. En la imagen una obra de Stu Shepherd donde se ve el P-51B Mustang del Cap. Ed Toppins en el momento de derribar un Bf-109 en los cielos de Italia en 1944.
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. It was the latter strike I wanted to show, the airfield is already burning from the first attack when Jg-6's 1 st 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 1 st 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.
Dawn breaks over the English countryside. This is the summer of 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.
Escort P47, over Utah Beach, on the background &quot;la pointe du Hoc&quot; (6th june 1944)
Within two days of the D-Day Normandy invasion, on 8 June 1944 Commander of US Air Forces in Europe, General Carl Spaatz, ordered a massive new offensive to halt the supply of oil to the enemy forces. As top priority his bombers would henceforth concentrate their attacks on Germany’s oil refineries. Those in range of air bases in England would feel the full force of the Eighth Air Force, while the installations further south in Romania, Hungary, and southern Germany would be attacked by bombers of the Fifteenth Air Force based in Italy. To add to the pressure, RAF Bomber Command was coordinated to attack the refineries in the Rühr by night. As the huge mass of American bombers streamed into the daylight skies, the Luftwaffe quickly changed tactics to counter the potentially devastating threat with a new specialist tactic- the Sturmgruppe. Flying their redesigned and heavily armoured Sturmböcke Focke Wulf Fw190 A-8 heavy fighters, pilots of the newly formed IV Sturm/JG3 Gruppe were urgently assigned the task of attacking the vast bomber streams in an effort to protect the refineries. Escorted into battle by Messerschmitt Mel09s to hold off any escorting American fighters, The Focke Wulf Fw190s tactic was to make en-masse lightning attacks on carefully selected targets. With the American bomber formations spread over miles of sky. The Sturmgruppe aimed for the less well defended centre of the stream, attacking from the rear with concentrated cannon fire, with the pilots of IV Sturm /JG3 sworn on oath to press home their attacks at the closest possible range, even ramming their targets if necessary to ensure a kill, these desperate tactics were to inflict considerable damage to the allied bomber offensive during the final year of the war. Richard Taylor’s exciting new limited edition captures the scene: Closing at high speed with all cannons blazing. Unteroffizier Willi Maximowitz is seen flying his distinctive “Black 8” with IV Sturm/JG3, as he dives in to attack a formation of USAAF B-24 Liberators from the 93rd Bomb Group. The American gunners have a frightening task on their hands to fend off the attack until help arrives.
1941 - Junkers Ju88 A-4 del III Gruppe/Lehrgeschwader 1, sobre el Desierto de Túnez
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 &quot;Betty&quot; Bombers, then strafed by Zeroes. Some American pilots managed to counterattack, two such heroes, LT. General USAF (Ret.) Joseph Moore and Colonel USAF (Ret.) Sam Grashio,are pictured in &quot;Too Little Too Late&quot;. Lt. Joe Moore in his Curtiss P-40B Tomahawk at 22,000 feet over Clark Field is defending against the Japanese attackers as war begins on December 8, 1941 in the Philippines. Over the smoke below is Petty Officer First Class Saburo Sakai's Zero pursuing Lt. Sam Grashio in his P-40E.
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 his 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.
Birmania 1944. Dos Hurricane Mk IIC atacan en el río Ukhrul a un puente utilizado por japoneses. El principal era pilotado por el piloto anglo-argentino &quot;Dick&quot; Lindsell DFC comandante del Escuadrón 60. El avión en cuestión pilotado por Lindsell se llamaba &quot;Suertudo&quot; y tenia pintado un Patoruzú del lado derecho. Su matricula era MU-L.
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 &quot;Checkertail Clan&quot; 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.
2 ª G U E R R A M U N D IAL AVANCE MANUAL
HIGH FLIGHT – Keith FerrisOh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;Sunwards I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirthOf sun-split clouds - and done a thousand thingsYou have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared andswungHigh in the sunlit silence. Hovering there,I’ve chased the shouting wind along and flungMy eager craft through footless halls of air,Up, up the long delirious burning blueI’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace,Where never lark, or even eagle, flew;And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trodThe 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 cotaen su Spitfire. Pocos días después falleció.
COASTAL PATROL - Richard TaylorAGO 1940 - Batalla de Inglaterra: Spitfires Mk1 del 610 Sqn de Biggin Hill patrullan cerca de Dover.
B17 NINE-O-NINE - Steve Heyen1944 - Bombarderos B17 del 333 Bomb Sqn se enfrentan a los cazas Me109 sobre Alemania
DAUNTLESS AGAINST A RISING SUN - William PhillipsJUN 1942 - Batalla de Midway: 2 SBD-3 del USS Yorktown vuelan hacia la flota japonesa.
CLOSING THE GAP - Robert TaylorAGO 1944 - Hawker Typhoons del 247 Sqn atacan con cohetes y cañón los panzer alemanes en retirada de Normandía. En un día destruyeron 175 tanques del 5º y 7º Ejército.
FW190 STURMGRUPPE FORMATION - John Wallin LibertoDIC 1944 - Volando a alta cota, los Fw190A-8 ‘Sturmbock’ de la JG 300 se dirigen al encuentro de las formaciones de bombarderos aliados B-17 y B-24.
FW190 STURMGRUPPE FORMATION (detalle) - John Wallin LibertoEl Oberstleutnant Walther Dahl en su ‘Azul 13’ lidera los Fw190 de la JG300 “Wilde Sau”. Dahl consiguió 128 derribos, uno de ellos embistiendo un B-17 con su avión.
DESERT SHARKS - Heinz KrebsABR 1943 - Cazas P-40 Warhawk del 325 Ftr Gp atacan una columna de carros del Afrika Korps de Rommel en el desierto tunecino.
SPLASH LANDING – Gareth Hector1943 - Un Grumman Hellcat del HMS Speaker ameriza por emergencia en el OcéanoÍndico
GALLAND’S ACES - Dieter Meyer1945 - Los Oberstleutnant Adolf Galland y Heinz Bär se dirigen con un grupo deMesserschmitt Me-262 a interceptar a los bombarderos aliados sobre Alemania.
AGO 1944 – El Tte Burgwal del 322 (Dutch) Sqn usa la punta del plano de su SpitfireMkXIV para desviar una V-1 de su trayectoria e impedir que alcance Londres. Por este método logró 19 derribos de bombas volantes.
CAUGHT ON THE SURFACE - Robert TaylorJUL 1943 - Por extraña coincidencia, un hidro Sunderland del 461 Sqn hunde el U-461 con cargas de profundidad en el Golfo de Vizcaya.
DAYS OF THUNDER - Richard TaylorMAY 1944 - Cuatro P-47D Thunderbolts del 78 Fighter Group despegan de Duxford poco antes del desembarco en Normandía.
DAMBUSTERS BREACHING THE EDER DAM - Robert TaylorMAY 1943 - Cuatro Avro Lancaster del 617 Sqn, modificados para llevar la enorme bombarompe-presas de Barnes Wallis, logran reventar las presas de Mohne y Eder en una noche.
FLY FOR YOUR LIFE - Robert TaylorDIC 1943 - El Maj. ‘Pappy’ Boyington y sus F4U Corsairs del VMF-214 “Black Sheep” se enfrentan a un grupo de Zeros japoneses sobre Rabaul.
RAIDERS OF THE NORTH ATLANTIC - Roy Grinnell1942 - Un hidro Blohm und Voss B&V-138 de reconocimiento dirige un ataque de Ju-88s contra mercantes aliados en el Mar de Noruega.
CANT TALK NOW…. GOTTA SHOOT - Dan Zoernig7 JUL 1944 - El Cap. ‘Bud’ Anderson, del 357 Ftr Gp, sorprende a 3 Me-109s en formacióncerrada. Cuando oye por la radio “Bud ¿Por dónde andas?”, responde con la frase que da título al cuadro.
INTO THE TEETH OF THE WIND - Robert Taylor18 ABR 1942 - El Tcol Jimmy Doolittle, al frente de 16 B-25 Mitchell, despega del USS Hornet, al inicio de su audaz raid sobre Tokio.
HARTMANNS LAST VICTORY - Mark PostlethwaiteMAY 1945 - Erich Hartmann, consigue su derribo número 352, un Yak-9 sobre Brno en Eslovaquia, el último día de la guerra, a los mandos de su Me109 ‘Tulipán Negro’.
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED - Roy Grinnell18 ABR 1943 - La emboscada de 16 P-38 Lightning finaliza con el derribo por el Tte Barber del ‘Betty’ japonés, con el Almirante Yamamoto a bordo.
AMBUSH - Heinz Krebs1945 - El Tte. Sachsenberg se enfrenta con su Fw 190D de la Papagei Staffel a los P-51 Mustang, para proteger la recuperación de los Me 262 indefensos.
BLACK FRIDAY - Mark Postlethwaite9 FEB 1945 - 9 Bristol Beaufighters son derribados por Focke Wulf 190 durante un aciago raid sobre el Fordefjord en Noruega.
NARROW ESCAPE - Heinz KrebsSEP 1940 Batalla de Inglaterra: un renqueante He111 es acosado por un Spitfire de laRAF.
CLASH OF EAGLES - Roy GrinnellMAY 1944 - El Tte Hackmann, con el cañón de su Bf109G encasquillado, opta por embestir al P-51B Mustang del Cap Bennett del 336 Ftr Sqn.
TYPHOON SCRAMBLE - Richard TaylorABR 1943 - El Sqn. Ldr. ‘Bee’ Beamont del 609 Sqn lidera un ‘scramble’ desde Manston en U.K. con su Hawker Typhoon.
FORTRESSES UNDER FIRE - Keith FerrisAGO 1944 - El B-17G ‘Thunder Bird’ y sus colegas del 303 Bomb Group son atacados por Me 109s y Fw 190s, de regreso de una misión sobre Wiesbaden.
LEO OF THE ZODIAC BOMBERS - Roy Grinnell1944 - Pintura del morro de uno de los B-24 Liberators del 834 ‘Zodiac Squadron’ del 486 Bomb Group.
SEAWOLVES - Nicolas Trudgian1942 - El U-552 ‘Red Devil’ regresa a su base de St Nazaire durante la Batalla del Atlántico, sobrevolado por un Fw200 Condor y tres Ju88Ds del KGr 106.
DESPERATE DAYS - Gareth Hector1945 - Cazas Focke Wulf 190D del JG-26 interceptan a los B-24 Liberators sobre Alemania durante los últimos meses de la guerra.
CLOSE COMBAT - Mark PostlethwaiteDIC 1944 - Sobre Bélgica, un Fw190D se ceba en un B-17 dañado que se ha quedado atrás.
THE FAMOUS FOUR MINUTES – R. G. Smith4 JUN 1942 - Batalla de Midway: en sólo 4 minutos los SBD Dauntless del Enterprise y Yorktown, destruyen los portaaviones japoneses Kaga, Akagi y Soryu.
INTO THE TEETH OF THE TIGER - William PhillipsDIC 1943 - Sobre China, un P-40 del 75 Ftr Sqn ‘Flying Tigers’ colisiona frontalmente con un ‘Oscar’ japonés, derribándolo, y sigue combatiendo logrando 4 victorias más.
FIRST KILL- Roy GrinnellSEP 1939 - Primer día de la guerra: El Alf. Wladek Gnys con su PLZP-11 logra derribar dos Dornier Do-17E sobre los cielos de Polonia.
SEMPER FI SKIES John D. Shaw 21 MAY 43 - Sobre Guadalcanalel Cap. Archie Donahue con su Corsair del VMF112‘Wolfpack’ derriba 5 cazas en una misma misión: ‘Ace in a day’
RAID ON THE CHINA COAST - Roy GrinnellABR 1945 - Dos B-25 Mitchell del 498 Bomb Sqn ‘Air Apaches’ atacan a mercantes japoneses en el puerto de Amoy.
STAR OF AFRICA - Heinz Krebs15 SEP 1942 - El Hptn Hans-Joachim Marseille obtiene su victoria nº150 contra un Curtiss Kittyhawk de la RAF. ¡Ese día logró 7 derribos en sólo 11 minutos!
SHARK SIGHTING - John D. Shaw1942 - Kunming (China): Los armeros del 1st AVG ‘Flying Tigers’ se las ingenian para armonizar el visor y los cañones de los Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk.
ONE MAN AIR FORCE - Wade MeyersABR 1944 - El Cap. Don Gentile del 336 Ftr Sqn se prepara con su P-51B ‘Shangri La’ para abrir fuego sobre un Focke Wulf Fw190A.
OPEN ASSAULT - Robert Taylor29 JUL 40 - Ju87 Stukas escoltados por Bf109s son interceptados por Hawker Hurricanes tras un ataque en picado sobre el puerto de Dover.
DAVID AND GOLIATH – Roberto ZanellaJUN 1943 - Un Macchi MC205 Veltro del Escuadrón ‘Asso di Bastoni’ derriba un B-17G sobre los cielos italianos.
OPERATION CERBERUS - Philip West11 FEB 1942 - 6 torpederos Fairey Swordfish son abatidos sin lograr impedir a los buques Scharnhorst, Gneisenau y Prinz Eugen el paso del Canal de la Mancha hacia Alemania.
TIRPITZ MISSION ACCOMPLISHED - Mark Postlethwaite12 NOV 44 - Avro Lancasters de los Sqns 9 y 617 consiguen hundir el acorazado Tirpitz, refugiado en el fiordo de Tromso en Noruega.
PLAYING THE LAST ACE - Heinz Krebs1945 - Cazas Me-163 Komet cruzan en vertical una formación de la 8ª Air Force antes de caer sobre ellos desde arriba.
RED TAILED BLACK ANGELS - Stu Shepherd1944 - Los Tuskegee Airmen del 322 Ftr Gp eran todos de raza negra y pintaron de rojo las colas de sus P-51B. Aquí el Cap Ed Toppins abate un Bf-109 sobre los cielos de Italia.
“HAPPY” NEW YEAR - Gareth Hector1 ENE 1945 - Operación ‘Bodenplatte’: Cazabombarderos Fw190 del JG-6 arrasan el aeródromo de Eindhoven (Holanda) en un ataque sorpresa al amanecer.
ON WINGS AND A PRAYER - William PhillipsSEP 1940 - Al amanecer, una patrulla de Spitfires del 92 Sqn se dirige al encuentro de la Luftwaffe durante la Batalla de Inglaterra.
FLYING ON A SPECIAL D-DAY – Julien Lepelletier6 JUN 44 - Sobre Utah Beach, un Republic P-47D Thunderbolt en misión de escolta.
RAMRAIDERS - Richard Taylor8 JUN 44 - Los Fw190A del IV Sturm/JG3 Gruppe se abalanzan sobre los B-24 Liberators del 93 Bomb Gp con orden de derribarlos a toda costa, incluso embistiéndolos.
JUNKERS Ju88 – Shigeo Koike1941 - Un bombardero Ju88 A-4 del III Gruppe/Lehrgeschwader 1 sobrevuela el desierto de Túnez.
TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE - Keith Ferris8 DIC 1941 - El Tte Moore en su P-40B Tomahawk intenta defender Clark Field (Filipinas) del ataque sorpresa japonés.
ONE THE HARD WAY - Dan ZoernigDía de Navidad 1941 - El Tte Dupuoy del 1stAVG ‘Flying Tigers’, agotada la munición, derriba un Oscar japonés cortándole el plano con su P-40 Tomahawk.
SUERTUDO - Carlos García1944 - El piloto anglo-argentino ‘Dick’ Lindsell con su Hurricane MkIIC ‘Suertudo’, lidera el ataque a un puente en Birmania.
THE EAGLES NEST - John D. Shaw7 MAY 1945 - Berchtesgaden: Dos P-51 del ‘Checkertail Clan’ saludan a los veteranos de la Easy Company (Band of Brothers), celebrando el final de la guerra.