Long Haul to Berlin
by Anthony Saunders
In early 1945 what remained of the Luftwaffe continued a stubborn resistance. In one of their last massed attacks of the war, a group of 25 Me262s, predominately from JG7, engage a formation of B-17s from the 483rd Bomb Group during a mission to attack the Daimler-Benz tank factory in Berlin on 24 March 1945. Luckily for the bombers, their fighter escort, Mustangs from the 332nd Fighter Group,
The raid was the longest bombing mission ever undertaken by the US Fifteenth Air Force during World War II - a 1,600 mile round trip involving a gruelling ten-hour mission from their bases in southern Italy, crossing the Alps twice. With insufficient fuel to make it back to base, the crews knew that on their return they would have to land their B-17s on any friendly Allied airfield in northern Italy they could find.
|Overall size: 19¾" x 26"||Available in the following editions|
|200||Limited edition||Signed by two Tuskegee Mustang pilots and two B-17 crew||$195|
|25||Artist's proof||As above||$295|
|10||Double Remarque||As above||$795|
|Lt. Col. Harry Stewart
At age 17, and aware that his conscription into WWII was imminent; he passed a military exam to identify potential pilots and enlisted in the US Army Air Corps. After completing his pilot training at Tuskegee Air Field, he was awarded his wings and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, all whilst he was still a teenager. In 1944 he was sent to Italy and joined the 301st Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group, 15th Air Force, where he fl ew ‘Red Tail’ P-51 Mustangs on bomber escorts and enemy fighter interceptions. On 1st April 1945 he was one of eight pilots escorting B-24 Liberators to targets in Austria when they encountered a mixed force of around 16 Fw190s and Bf109s, of which 12 were shot down and Harry accounted for three Fw190s, which earned him a DFC.
He completed a total of 43 combat missions during WWII scoring three victories.
|Lt. Col. Robert Friend
Realizing it was the first step to becoming a military pilot, he joined the Civilian Pilot Training Program in 1939 gaining his private pilot’s licence before successfully completing training at Tuskegee. He was commissioned as an officer in the US Army Air Corps and assigned to 301st Fighter Squadron of the 332nd Fighter Group, first in North Africa and then at Ramitelli Airfield in Italy. His first role was as Combat Operations Officer, responsible for planning strategic and tactical missions before flying operationally with the 12th Air Force on anti-shipping patrols. The unit then transferred to the 15th Air Force in Italy to support the strategic bombing campaign, and he flew P-47s and then his famous P-51 ‘Bunny’ as wingman to the unit commander Benjamin O. Davis.
Undertaking fighter sweeps and escort missions to targets in France, Romania, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Germany he completed 142 combat missions in WWII. He served in Korea and Vietnam before becoming heavily involved in the US Space Program in both a Military and civilian capacity.
|Staff Sgt. Douglas Ward
Joining the US Army Air Corps in 1942 he originally trained as a mechanic but later volunteered for Aircrew and was posted to the 301st Bomb Group, 15th Air Force as a Ball Turret Gunner on B-17s. From their base in Italy they were tasked with bombing targets across
Europe from France in the west, Poland in the north-east and Greece in the east, during which time they were often escorted by the P-51 ‘Red Tails’ of the 332nd Fighter Group. As the Normandy Campaign intensified, Doug moved to the 305th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force based at Chelveston in Northamptonshire, England where flew missions over France and Germany in support of the Allied advance through occupied Europe. He completed a total of 37 missions.
|Staff Sgt. Richard Kaminski
Although he was initially drafted into the army, Dick quickly managed to transfer to the Air Force and after completing Gunnery School was posted to serve as an Air Gunner on heavy bombers. In late 1944 he was shipped to England where he joined the 750th Bomb Squadron, 457th Bomb Group part of the 8th Air Force based at RAF Glatton in Cambridgeshire. Serving as a Waist Gunner on the B-17 ‘McGuire’s Chophouse’ he flew missions right across Europe as the Allies advanced through France, Belgium, Holland and Germany, completing a total of 15 daylight operations before the end of hostilities.
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