In the late summer of 1943, the United States Eighth Army Air Force was striving to prove its long-held theory of daylight bombing over Germany and suffered some heavy casualties when, on occasions, no less than one-fifth of the bombers were brought down. Nevertheless, despite the lack of a long-range escort – for the splendid P-51 Mustang did not make its appearance until the following year – the “mighty Eighth” pressed on against the formidable Germany fighter defenses and their losses were such that a B-17 navigator wrote, “it seemed that we were littering Europe with our dead.”
On every daylight raid over Germany there were a few stragglers who, damaged by fighters or flak, or both, tried to make the hazardous flight back to the UK, and the farther they fell back from the main formation, the more vulnerable they became to prowling and aggressive German fighters.
In this classic painting, Frank Wootton captures superbly all the drama and skill of air fighting as the General of Fighters himself, Adolf Galland, and Johnnie Johnson circle warily over a damaged B-17, each watching for an opening and both very much aware that other fighters, whether friendly or hostile, could at any time join the party.
Each print has been signed by two legendary Fighter Aces:
Air Vice Marshal JOHNNIE JOHNSON CB CBE DSO** DFC* / 38 victories
Generalleutnant ADOLF GALLAND – Knights Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords & Diamonds / 104 victories