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Colonel Arthur C Fiedler
|Arthur Charles Fiedler was born in Oak Park, Illinois on August 1, 1923. In April of 1942, five months after America entered WW 11, Fiedler enlisted in the Army Air Corps. He was sent to Avon Park, Florida for primary training, followed by basic training at Macon, Georgia, and advanced training at Marianna, Florida. He graduated with Class 43G in July of 1943, and was assigned as a flight instructor, flying Republic P-47 Thunderbolts at Dover, Delaware. In April of 1944 Second Lieutenant Feidler was assigned to combat duty, and was assigned to the 317th Fighter Squadron of the 325th Fighter Group (the "Cheekertails"), based in Lesina, Italy. He transitioned to the North American P-51 Mustang, naming his assigned aircraft after his wife "Helen" whom he had married in 1943. On June 24, Fiedler claimed a probable. On June 28 he attained his first two aerial victories. At that morning's briefing Fiedler was elated to learn that his squadron's mission would be a fighter sweep over Polesti, Rumania, in advance of a bombing mission targeting the massive oil refining operations in that area.. When flying fighter escort for bombers the fighters were prohibited from flying below 15,000-feet. This gave the Germans a dog fighting advantage, as the early Allison-powered Mustangs were good performers at low altitudes but relatively poor performers at higher altitudes. Forty P-5 Is from the 325th 17G took off at 0725 hours for the fighter sweep. Sweeping the target area at 25,000-29,000 feet for about 45 minutes a total of 47 enemy aircraft were encountered. During this mission Fiedler would earn his first two victories. Fiedler became an ace on July 26 when he downed his fourth and fifth aircraft, a Fw- 190, south of Vienna, and a 109 several minutes later. Promoted to Captain, Fiedler attained his eighth and final victory on January 20, 1945 while escorting B-17s to Regerisbuurg. His flight of four P-51s broke-up an attacking force of 40 German fighters. Following the War Fiedler left the military and attended the University of Illinois, earning a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. He was recalled for active duty during the Korean War, and decided to make a career in the Air Force. In addition to his 66 combat missions flown in WW 11, Fiedler would fly 247 combat missions in C-130s during the Vietnam War Col. Fiedler retired from the USAF in 1975, and currently resides in Southern California. His decorations include the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross with one OLC, the Air Medal with 22 OLCs, and the Partisan Star.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Mustang||The ubiquitous North American P-51 Mustang, which many consider to be the best all-around fighter of WW II, owes its origins to the British Air Ministry. Following Britains entry into WW II in 1939, the RAF was interested in purchasing additional fighter aircraft from American sources, particularly the Curtiss P-40. Curtiss, which was busy, was unable to guarantee timely delivery so the British approached North American Aviation as a possible second source for the P-40. North American chose to propose its own fighter design which would use the same Allison engine as the P-40. Utilizing new laminar flow wings, the North American fighter was expected to have performance better than the P-40. Developed in record time the new aircraft was designated as a Mustang I by the Brits, whereas the USAAF ordered two for evaluation which were designated XP-51 Apaches. Intrigued with the possibility of using this aircraft also as a dive bomber, North American proposed this to the USAAF which decided to order 500 of the P-51 aircraft to be modified for dive bombing use. Designated as the A-36 Invader, this version of the Mustang utilized dive flaps, and bomb racks under each wing. Some reinforcing of the structural members was also required because of the G-forces to be encountered in dive bombing. A-36s entered combat service with the USAAF prior to any P-51s. In early 1943 the 86th and 27th Fighter Bomber Groups of the 12th Air Force began flying A-36s out of Northern Africa. Despite some early problems with instability caused by the dive flaps, the A-36 was effective in light bombing and strafing roles. It was not, however, capable of dog fighting with German fighters, especially at higher altitudes. Despite these drawbacks one USAAF pilot, Captain Michael T. Russo, who served with the 16th Bomb Squadron of the 27th Fighter Bomber Group, was credited with five confirmed aerial victories in the A-36, thereby becoming the first mustang ace.|
|Me109||Willy Messerschmitt designed the BF109 during the early 1930s. The Bf109 was one of the first all metal monocoque construction fighters with a closed canopy and retractable undercarriage. The engine of the Me109 was a V12 aero engine which was liquid-cooled. The Bf109 first saw operational service during the Spanish Civil War and flew to the end of World War II, during which time it was the backbone of the Luftwaffe fighter squadrons. During the Battle of Britian the Bf109 was used in the role of an escort fighter, a role for which it was not designed for, and it was also used as a fighter bomber. During the last days of May 1940 Robert Stanford-Tuck, the RAF ace, got the chance to fly an Me109 which they had rebuilt after it had crash landed. Stanford-Tuck found out that the Me109 was a wonderful little plane, it was slightly faster than the Spitfire, but lacked the Spitfire manoeuvrability. By testing the Me109, Tuck could put himself inside the Me109 when fighting them, knowing its weak and strong points. With the introduction of the improved Bf109F in the spring of 1941, the type again proved to be an effective fighter during the invasion of Yugoslavia and during the Battle of Crete and the invasion of Russia and it was used during the Siege of the Mediteranean island of Malta. The Bf109 was the main fighter for the Luftwaffe until 1942 when the Fw190 entered service and shared this position, and was partially replaced in Western Europe, but the Me109 continued to serve on the Eastern Front and during the defence of the Reich against the allied bombers. It was also used to good effect in the Mediterranean and North Africa in support of The Africa Korps. The Me109 was also supplied to several German allies, including Finland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Slovakia. The Bf109 scored more kills than any other fighter of any country during the war and was built in greater numbers with a total of over 31,000 aircraft being built. The Bf109 was flown by the three top German aces of the war war. Erich Hartmann with 352 victories, Gerhard Barkhorn with 301 victories and Gunther Rall with 275 kills. Bf109 pilots were credited with the destruction of 100 or more enemy aircraft. Thirteen Luftwaffe Aces scored more than 200 kills. Altogether this group of pilots were credited with a total of nearly 15,000 kills, of which the Messerschmitt Bf109 was credited with over 10,000 of these victories. The Bf109 was the most produced warplane during World War II, with 30,573 examples built during the war, and the most produced fighter aircraft in history, with a total of 33,984 units produced up to April 1945. Bf109s remained in foreign service for many years after World War II. The Swiss used their Bf109Gs well into the 1950s. The Finnish Air Force did not retire their Bf109Gs until March 1954. Romania used its Bf109s until 1955. The Spanish Hispanos flew even longer. Some were still in service in the late 1960s.|
|Artist Details : Stan Stokes|
|Click here for a full list of all artwork by Stan Stokes|
Stan Stokes is a California native with more than 37 years as a full time professional artist, who developed a passion for vintage cars, trains and airplanes at an early age. Model building and RC planes filled the many hours of the young enthusiasts free time. However, unlike most other young aviation enthusiasts Stokes also displayed a great gift for artistic talent. After studying art in College, Stan decided to pursue a career as a professional artist. Stokes initially focused his great talents on depicting uniquely realistic landscapes of the western desert and mountain scenes.†More than†thirty years ago a good friend suggested that Stan combine his passion for aviation history and flying with his artistic talents, and render an aircraft or two. The rest is history. Stan has won†many prestigious awards including the Benedictine Art Award in 1975 and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museums Golden Age of Flight award in 1985. In May of 2000, Stan was honored with the National Museum of Naval Aviations R. G. Smith Award for Excellence in Naval Aviation Art. Commissioned by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, Stans 12 x 120 foot mural of the History of the Flying White House is on permanent display in the Air Force One Pavilion. In addition Stans painting of the USS Ronald Reagan is hanging in the Legacy Room of the library. In 2005 Stan also completed a painting of our nations next aircraft carrier, the USS George H. W. Bush, which is on permanent display at the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas. Stan has also completed several impressive murals for the Palm Springs Air Museum including: The Tuskegee Airmen at 12 x 60 feet and contains 51 portraits of the original Tuskegee Airmen. Dauntless at Midway at 12 x 34 feet and Corsair on Approach at 19 x 55 feet. Stans work also hangs in the Air Force art collection, the Pentagon, San Diego Aerospace Museum, and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. Stan has had the pleasure of meeting and working with many of his boyhood aviation heroes, including the late General Jimmy Doolittle, the late Pappy Boyington, Chuck Yeager, and many many others. A true aviation history buff,†Stan often spends†more time pouring over research materials for his paintings to assure their accuracy†to the smallest detail†than†he does behind the canvas. Noted for his incredible detail and strikingly realistic illustration, Stans canvases have a life-like three-dimensional effect that often leaves viewers spellbound. Today his work encompasses not only aviation and space but also portraits, landscapes, ships, classic cars and his new collection of cat-related fine art paintings. Stan particularly enjoys the tough assignment. During his 37 years as a professional artist, he has been asked to produce literally hundreds of paintings documenting historical events, people and places. Although Stan has logged many hours flying his own airplanes, in recent years pleasure flying has had to take a backseat to the artistic demands of his backlog. Stan was commissioned to paint more than twenty original paintings for an aviation museum being in the Philippines. Since the mid-1980s NASA has also tapped Stans talents from time to time and he has completed more than fifteen paintings ranging from the space shuttles to the SR 71 Blackbird. Stan has also painted numerous works for the cutting edge genius in aviation and space design, Burt Rutan.
More about Stan Stokes
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