During World War II, the Germans built a highly secret research station at Peenemunde – laboratories, workshops and an administrative complex designed for creating huge stockpiles of newly developed pilotless airplanes and rockets. Hitler planned to launch thousands of these V-1 and V-2 weapons daily in a saturation onslaught against southern England, calculated to produce the final destruction of their will to continue the fight.
“The night mission I have pictured,” said artist Frank Wootton, “flown by Bomber Command, was one of the most effective and important of the war. Six hundred aircraft flew more than 600 miles to wage the attack. Pathfinder flares illuminated the target with burning magnesium and a full moon carved the dark Baltic coastline in sharp relief. A wall of smoke was released in an attempt to hide the facility but it spread too slowly and too late.”
In this image, English bombers and German fighters are in combat, set against the bright carpet of fire and explosion. Because of this raid, the great quantities of weaponry required were never realized and the plan to break the English will was defeated in a single blow.
Each print has been signed by five veterans that participated in the raid on Peenemunde:
Squadron Leader CHARLES LOFTHOUSE
Squadron Leader NORMAN SCRIVENER
Squadron Leader ANTHONY D LAMBERT
Squadron Leader LAWRENCE “PIL” PILGRIM
Flight Lieutenant JACK STEPHENS
Flight Lieutenant GEOFFREY WHITTEN
Warrant Officer ANDREW J.C. PEGRUM