RUNNING THE GAUNTLET by Robert Taylor - The Generals Edition

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RUNNING THE GAUNTLET - The Generals 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 the ULTRA-RARE 'Generals 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 TWELVE Luftwaffe and US veterans!

THE SIGNATURES

OBERLEUTNANT WALTER SCHUCK - Knights Cross with Oak Leaves - Flew the Me262 with JG7 and scored 8 victories with the jet.

LEUTNANT HORBERT HANNIG - Flew the Me262 with JG7 

MAJOR GENERAL DON STRAIT - Flew the P-51 with 356th FG - scored 10.5 Victories

LIEUTENANT COLONEL CLYDE EAST - Flew the P-51 with 10 PRU and scored 14.5 victories

MAJOR ERICH RUDORFFER - Knights Cross with Oak Leaves & Swords - Flew the Me262 with JG7 and scored 12 victories with the jet.

LEUTNANT ALFRED AMBS - Flew the Me262 with JG7 and scored 6 victories

BRIGADIER GENERAL ROBIN OLDS - Flew the P-51 with the 479th FG and scored 13 victories

COLONEL DONALD CUMMINGS - Flew the P-51 with the 55th FG - In Feb 1945 he became one of only two pilots to shoot down two Me262's in a single mission!

GENERALLEUTNANT ADOLF GALLAND - Knights Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords & Diamonds - Formed 'JV44' and flew the jet fighter to wars end - he became the only General in history to lead a Squadron into battle!

FELDWEBEL ERNST GIEFING - Flew the Me262 jet with III/JG7 andf scored 2 victories

CAPTAIN JIM BROOKS - Flew the P-51 with the 31st FG and scored 13 victories

COLONEL WALKER 'BUD' MAHURIN - Flew the P-47 with the 56th FG and scored 21 victories

These combat pilots combined have almost 1100 victories between them!

The Print measures 33 5 Inches and comes with the CoA

An opportunity to acquire a rare release!!