When the distinctive twin-boomed P-38 Lightnings arrived in England in 1942 they brought with them for the first time the ability to provide bomber escort all the way to the target. Remarkably maneuverable for a high-speed twin-engined aircraft, in capable hands it was a match in combat for the fast single-engined fighters of the Luftwaffe. Its great versatility was demonstrated in the ground attack role, its tasks at the time of the D-Day landings including low-level strafing of enemy positions.
Nicolas Trudgian’s evocative painting shows a bunch of 20th Fighter Group P-38s climbing out from their base at Kingscliffe, Northamptonshire, at dawn, as they head for the Normandy beaches on a low-level strike mission. Below, in a sleepy Northamptonshire village the local residents are awakened by their regular “early morning call,” courtesy of the busy P-38 pilots. This morning, as if the ear-splitting crescendo of the P-38s isn’t enough, U.S. Army trucks rumble through the village.
Clearly visible in the foreground of Nick’s exquisitely painted landscape is a typical English village of the 1940s. The pub, center of life in the village, and popular with the pilots in the evenings, is surrounded by quaint thatched cottages and winding country lanes. An ancient bridge spans the river while the old watermill slowly turns in the gentle current of the mill race. Above this peaceful rural setting the lead aircraft fills the canvas, every detail of the P-38 clearly visible as it skims the chimney pots en-route to the battle front.
Representative of the many thousands of P-38 Lightnings that served with the USAAF in Europe during WWII, each print in the edition has been signed by four fighter Aces who flew the P-38 in combat, providing a nostalgic reminder of the valiant contribution the P-38 and its pilots made to the air war in Europe.
Colonel HUB ZEMKE
Brigadier General ROBIN OLDS
Colonel ARTHUR JEFFREY
Colonel JACK ILFREY