RUNNING THE GAUNTLET - Multi-Signed Edition
The Me262 jet fighter has fascinated aviation historians and Art Collectors alike. Without doubt, one of the most famous and technologically advanced fighters of WW2, the 'Schwalbe' or Swallow was the ultimate 'throw of the dice' by the Luftwaffe in the war. Despite some 1400 being manufactured, fewer than 300 actually saw service and those that did flew and fought under increasingly dangerous operational difficulties.
The Me262 could outrun any Allied fighter with a top speed of over 540mph. It was armed with a battery of four 30mm mk108 cannon and some carried the first rudimentary air-to-air rockets under the wings (R4M's). This all combined into a lethal package ideal for destroying Allied heavy bombers AND evading the hordes of escort fighters now ranging freely over the Reich.
The Jet did, however, have it's drawbacks. It's Junkers Jumo 004 turbojets suffered from unreliability and only had an operation life of around 25 hours (!!) additionally, the jet used a great deal of precious fuel and was extremely vulnerable during take-off and landing - something that Allied Fighter pilots knew well. Both US and RAF pilots regularly targetted known Luftwaffe jet bases, circling around awaiting for the jets to return from their missions, short of fuel and highly vulnerable. The RAF termed this 'Rat-catching' and it was VERY dangerous work as the bases were bristling with Flak guns.
Despite the speed advantages of the jet, Allied pilots were more than confident to meet them in combat and were eager to add an Me262 to their score. Many did so - some actually scoring more than one of the jet!
By the final few months of the war the only really effective Luftwaffe challenge to Allied air power was from the Me262 jet Units, 'JG7' and the famous Galland-led 'JV44' in Bavaria. Pilots from all fronts were arriving to fly the jet with Galland - Aces such as Steinhoff, Barkhorn, Baer, Herget and Krupinski all made their way to join his 'circus' in Munich. Galland knew that his jets were vulnerable during landings and so organised a small force of Fw190D-9's to 'cover' the Me262's during this critical phase.
It is the Me262 jets of 'JV44' that Robert Taylor chose to depict in his classic 2004 release 'Running The Gauntlet'. An Me262 is on approach to the airfield with wheels and flaps down - the most vulnerable situation for the jet pilot. P-51D's of the 353rd Fighter Group have spotted the jet and one has made a firing pass, damaging the Me262. The Mustang pilot has now been distracted by the arrival of the 'Dora 9's' of the airfield protection Staffel, so there is a chance that the jet pilot may make it onto the airfield in one piece!
This release had several Editions but this is a special Multi-Signed Edition'
Paying tribute to the pilots of the world's first operational jet fighter - and also the Allied pilots who took on the Me262 in combat, this Edition is Signed by Artist Robert Taylor and no less than TWENTY SEVEN Luftwaffe, USAAF & RAF veterans!
OBERLEUTNANT WALTER SCHUCK - JG7 - Knights Cross with Oak Leaves
Schuck flew the Me262 with JG7 and became an 'Ace' with the jet scoring 8 victories. He was shot down in combat with P-51D 'Ace' Joe Peterburs of the 55th FG. He scored 206 Victories.
LEUTNANT HORBERT HANNIG - JG7
Hannig flew Fw190A's with JG54 on the Eastern front before joining III/JG7 to fly th Me262 jet in the final Months of the war. He scored 42 Victories.
MAJOR GENERAL DON STRAIT - 356th FG
Don Strait flew P-47 Thunderbolts and later P-51D 'Jersey Jerk with the 356th FG He scored a total of 13.5 victories.
LIEUTENANT COLONEL CLYDE EAST - 10PRG
East joined the RCAF and flew Spitfires with 414 Squadron before transferring to the USAAF and flying recce P-51 sorties over Europe. He scored the first US victory on D-Day (a Fw190). He scored a total of 13 vitories.
MAJOR ERICH RUDORFFER - JG7
Rudorffer flew throughout WW2, from the Battle of Britain to the brutal Russian front. He Commanded I/JG7 flying the Me262 and scored 12 victories with the Jet. His total score is 222.
LEUTNANT ALFRED AMBS - JG7
One of the newer pilots, Ambs joined III/JG7 in early 1945 and found conditions to be highly dangerous! Despite the hazards, Ambs flew the Me262 till the end of the war and became an 'Ace in the type scoring 6 victories.
BRIGADIER GENERAL ROBIN OLDS - 479th FG
Olds flew both the P-38 Lightning AND P-51D Mustang with the 479th FG. Uniquely, he became an Ace in BOTH types scoring 13 victories. He later flew F4 Phantoms in Vietnam.
COLONEL DONALD CUMMINGS - 55th FG -
Cummings flew P-51D Mustangs with the 55th FG. In February 1945 he became one of only two pilots to shoot down TWO Me262's in a single Mission! He scored 6.5 victories.
MAJOR GUNTHER RALL - JG300
Rall flew with JG52 for most of the early part of the war. He later commanded JG11 and JG300 in Defence of the Reich. He is the third highest scoring Ace in history with 275 victories.
2nd Lieutenant William 'Bill' WHEELER - 332nd FG 'Tuskegee Airmen'
Bill Wheeler joined the famed 332nd FG at Ramitelli, Italy, in August 1944 flying the P-51D Mustang. Flying escort Missions deep into Europe, the 332nd encountered the Luftwaffe in the air and on the ground. Wheeler destroyed three aircraft.
LEUTNANT HUGO BROCH - JG54
Broch served with JG54 'Green Hearts' and flew the Fw190A. He scored a total of 82 victories in WW2.
2nd Lieutenant Alexander JEFFERSON - 332nd FG 'Tuskegee Airmen'
Jefferson flew the P-51D Mustang with the famous 332nd FG 'Red Tails'. He flew many escort Missions for B-17 and B-24 raids. On 12th August 1944 while attacking a Radar installation his Mustang was hit by Flak and he was forced to bale out and was taken POW.
FELDWEBEL MANFRED LEISEBEIN - JG52
Liesebein flew the Me109G with the famed JG52 on the Eastern Front. He scored 5 victories.
MAJOR CLARENCE 'BUD' ANDERSON - 357th FG
Anderson was a top Ace of the 357th FG flying P-51D 'Old Crow'. He flew two tours and scored 16 victories.
OBERLEUTNANT WALTER WOLFRUM - JG52
Wolfrum flew the Me109 with JG52 on the Eastern Front. In the Autumn of 1944 he encountered US P-51 Mustangs escorting US Bombers on raids into Romania. He scored 137 victories.
LIEUTENANT GEORGE HARDY - 332nd FG
At just 19 years old Hardy joined the 99th FS of the 332nd FG 'Red Tails'. He flew P-51D 'Tall in the saddle' on many high altitude missions but also dangerous ground strafing attacks. He flew 21 missions before VE Day.
MAJOR HANS-EKKHARD BOB - JG51/JV44
Bob flew throughout WW2 flying the Me109 and Fw190 fighters. In 1945 Bob reached 'JV44' Adolf Galland's squadron of Aces flying the Me262 jet from Bavaria. He became the Squadron Adjatunt. He scored 60 victories.
LIEUTENANT CHARLES LANE - 332nd FG
Lane flew P-51D Mustangs with the 332nd FG and flew 26 escort Missions over Europe.
PILOT OFFICER TREVOR GRAY - 64 Squadron
Gray flew Spitfires during the Battle of Britain with 64 Squadron and later served with 58 OTU.
FELDWEBEL HEINZ RADLAUER - JG51
Radlauer flew with the famed JG51 'Molders' piloting both the Me109 and Fw190. In the last few weeks of the war he flew the Fw190D-9 fighter as wingman to 'Ace' Heinz Marquardt. He scored 15 victories.
2nd LIEUTENANT WILLIAM HOLLOMAN III - 332nd FG
Holloman flew with the famed 'Red Tails' flying the P-51D in escort and strafing missions over Germany and Austria in the closing stages of the war.
OBERST HAJO HERRMANN - JG300
Herrmann flew Bombers in the early stages of the war before creating JG300 to fight Allied Bombers at night without radar! He scored 9 Kills.
SQUADRON LEADER PERCIVAL BEAKE - 164 Squadron
Beake flew Spitfires in the Battle of Britain with 64 Squadron. He later flew with 92 Squadron before Commanding 164 Squadron during the Normandy invasion flying the Hawker Typhoon. He scored 2 victories.
2nd LIEUTENANT HOWARD BAUGH - 332nd FG
Baugh joined the 99th FS in Sicily in 1943 initialling flying the P-40. He later flew the P-51 Mustang and completed 135 missions. He was credited with a half share in a Luftwaffe Fw190.
FELDWEBEL ADOLF DENZ - ZG76
Denz flew with ZG76 on the Eastern Front before transferring to 'Defence of the Reich'. Denz flew the big Me110G 'Pulk Zerstorer' fighter equipped with extra guns and rockets. Although formidable against Bombers the big Messerschmitt fighter was highly vulnerable to Allied escort fighters!
2nd LIEUTENANT LEO GRAY - 332nd FG
Gray joined the 100th FS of the 332nd FG the 'Tuskegee Airmen' in 1944. He flew the P-51 Mustang over Italy escorting US Bombers to targets.
STAFF SERGEANT JAMES SHEPPARD - 332ND FG
Sheppard was assigned to the 100th FS, 332nd FG as ground crew in 1943 in Italy. He later made Crew Chief with the 301st FS.
The Print Measures 33x25 and comes with the COA.
A GREAT SELECTION OF WW2 SIGNATURES!!