By the early winter of 1944 Allied bombing missions to Germany had become an almost daily occurrence. Most Luftwaffe fighters had been re-assigned to “Reich’s Defense” duties in an attempt to thwart the ever-increasing destruction of German cities.
One German fighter which played a significant defensive role was the advanced Focke-Wulf Fw-190D. With its superb high altitude performance ability and heavy hitting 20mm guns, it could do severe damage to any aircraft it found in its sights. Usually three or four well-aimed 20 mm rounds could mean the end of service for a bomber.
On the other side, the B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator were dangerous not just as bombers, but as defensive fire platforms, hence the name ‘Fortress”. Each bomber was equipped with about 10 -12 .50 caliber machine guns which could hit targets a mile away with accuracy and lethality.
Luftwaffe pilots didn’t relish the idea of attacking the bombers streams and they calculated their odds of making it though one firing run on heavy bombers as 50:50. More than one bomber might be firing at an attacking Luftwaffe fighter and it’s a wonder that the bombers didn’t shoot each other down. The fact that Allied bombers destroyed more enemy fighters in WWII than all other means combined stands as stark testimony to the level of danger they represented to attacking aircraft.
Like two top predators circling each other in a contest to the death, aware of the others abilities, extreme caution and skill was necessary to ensure survival and victory was equally attainable by either side.
THE CANVAS GICLÉE EDITION
This canvas edition measures 30 x 22 inches and has been signed by the artist.