Having caught sight of a small group of U-boats from the Kriegsmarine’s 9th Submarine Flotilla returning to port, the Fw190 pilots, at the end of their coastal sweep, decide to welcome the U-boats home and give the submariners a suitable fly-past salute. For the tired crews this was a moving “homecoming” to the U-boat crews after such an arduous spell out in the North Atlantic.
For collectors with an interest in U-boats, acquiring the original signatures of U-boat captains is extremely difficult, especially those who were awarded the Knight’s Cross, With the average life expectancy of a U-boat crew member just a few weeks, U-boat commanders who survived the war were a rarity, especially in 1999 when this stunning piece was published.
The fact that three such men signed this edition is just one of the reasons why the piece met with such great critical acclaim. It is also why copies are in so much great demand today. First there was Siegfried Koitschka who first served under the legendary Erich Topp on U-552 before taking command himself. As captain of U-616 from 1942 to 1944 he undertook nine patrols lasting 204 days. Then there was Heinrich Schroeteler who commanded U-667 on four patrols into the North Atlantic and, at the end of the war, was captain of U-1023. And, finally, Helmut Witte, commander of U-159 who, on four patrols from 1941 to 1943, sank nearly 120,000 tons of Allied shipping.
If these three legendary U-boat commanders were not enough, the prints are also signed by three iconic Fw190 Pilots:
Kapitänleutnant SIEGFRIED KOITSCHKA Knights Cross
Kapitänleutnant HEINRICH SCHROETELER Knights Cross
Korvettenkapitän HELMUT WITTE Knights Cross
Oberleutnant ERHARD NIPPA Knights Cross
Oberst ADOLF DICKFELD Knights Cross – 136 victories
Major ERICH RUDORFFER Knights Cross with Oak Leaves & Swords – 222 victories
“The Homecoming” remains one of Robert Taylor’s most dramatic and creative pieces and is a rare opportunity for collectors to acquire stunning piece along with outstanding original autographs.