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Captain Gunther Schack (deceased)
|Major Günther Schack was born in Bartenstein, a small town in Eastern Prussia, on 12 November 1917 as the son of Dr. Willy Schack and his wife, Dorothea (maiden name: Nietzki). He studied at the University of Stuttgart and at the Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule. In 1937, when he first tried to join the Luftwaffe, he was categorised as wehruntauglich (unsuited for military service) because of a sports injury earlier in his life. Günther Schack resubmitted an application as a volunteer and was accepted into the Luftwaffe on 2 September 1939. After being trained as a fighter pilot, Schack was posted to 7th Staffel of Jagdgeschwader 51. Schack claimed first aerial victory in combat on 23 July 1941 on the Eastern front. Meanwhile, he had been promoted to the rank of Unteroffizier. After his 48th aerial victory, he was ordered back to Germany to serve as a flight instructor and was promoted to Leutnant on 1 January 1943. In mid 1943 he returned back to the Eastern front, now serving in the 9th Staffel of JG 51. He claimed his century mark in aerial combat on 3 September 1943. On 8 December 1943 he was made Staffelkapitän of 9./JG 51. Leutnant Günther Schack was awarded the Oak Leaves to his Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 20 April 1944 for 133 aerial victories. Schack was then promoted to Hauptmann on 1 July 1944. In December 1944, now a Gruppenkommandeur, in charge of I./JG 51. After this Gruppe was disbanded on 1 May 1945 he briefly was named commander of the 4th Gruppe of Jagdgeschwader 3. By the end of the war, he had scored 174 victories in 780 aerial combats, and was shot down 15 times. Günther Schack died 14 June 2003 in Schmidt near Nideggen he was a German World War II fighter ace who served in the Luftwaffe from 1939 until the end of World War II in 1945. He claimed 174 enemy aircraft shot down, all of them on the Russian front. He survived being shot down 15 times during his 780 combat missions. After the war he lived secluded in the Eifel Mountains, and devoted himself to philosophical research.|
Colonel Gerald Brown (deceased)
|Gerald Brown arrived in Europe in August 1943, completing his first tour with the 38th Fighter Squadron, 55th Fighter Group, becoming the first P38 Ace in the 8th Air Force. Volunteering for a second tour, this time flying P-51 Mustangs with the 334th FS, 4th Fighter Group at Debden. In September 1944 he was forced to bail out of his burning P-51 over enemy territory, but escaped to return to his squadron, and completed his second tour in November 1944. Gerry Brown later flew in Korea, but was shot down, spending three years in captivity. Sadly, he passed away on 9th December 2007.|
|Colonel John Lowell|
Hauptmann Alfred Grislawski (deceased)
|Alfred Grislawski joined 9./JG52 in 1940, quickly becoming an Ace. An outstanding fighter pilot, his air victories were 133 in over 800 combat missions until he was severely wounded. he was awarded the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves. Died 19th September 2003.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Fw190||The Focke-Wulf 190 development project began in 1937. Conceived as a hedge against total dependence on the Messerchmitt 109, the 190 was designed by Kurt Tank utilizing a radial engine. This was against generally accepted design criteria in Germany, and many historians believe that the decision to produce a radial engine fighter was largely due to the limited manufacturing capacity for in-line, water-cooled engines which were widely used on all other Luftwaffe aircraft. Despite these concerns, Tanks design was brilliant, and the 190 would become one of the top fighter aircraft of WWII. The first prototype flew in mid-1939. The aircraft had excellent flying characteristics, a wonderful rate of acceleration, and was heavily armed. By late 1940 the new fighter was ordered into production. Nicknamed the butcher bird, by Luftwaffe pilots, early 190s were quite successful in the bomber interceptor role, but at this stage of the war many Allied bombing raids lacked fighter escort. As the war dragged on, Allied bombers were increasingly accompanied by fighters, including the very effective P-51 Mustang. The Allies learned from experience that the 190s performance fell off sharply at altitudes above 20,000 feet. As a result, most Allied bombing missions were shifted to higher altitudes when fighter opposition was likely. Kurt Tank had recognized this shortcoming and began working on a high-altitude version of the 190 utilizing an in-line, water-cooled engine. Utilizing a Jumo 12-cylinder engine rated at 1770-HP, and capable of 2,240-HP for short bursts with its methanol injection system, the 190D, or Long Nose or Dora as it was called, had a top speed of 426-MPH at 22,000 feet. Armament was improved with two fuselage and two wing mounted 20mm cannon. To accommodate the changes in power plants the Dora had a longer, more streamlined fuselage, with 24 inches added to the nose, and an additional 19 inches added aft of the cockpit to compensate for the altered center of gravity. By mid 1944 the Dora began to reach fighter squadrons in quantity. Although the aircraft had all the right attributes to serve admirably in the high altitude interceptor role, it was not generally focused on such missions. Instead many 190Ds were assigned to protect airfields where Me-262 jet fighters were based. This was due to the latter aircrafts extreme vulnerability to Allied attack during takeoff and landing. The 190Ds also played a major role in Operation Bodenplatte, the New Years Day raid in 1945 which destroyed approximately 500 Allied aircraft on the ground. The High Command was impressed with the 190Ds record on this raid, and ordered most future production of the Doras to be equipped as fighter-bombers. In retrospect this was a strategic error, and this capable aircraft was not fully utilized in the role for which it was intended.|
|Lightning||Designed by Kelly Johnson the P38 made its maiden flight on the 27th January 1939 and introduced into service in 1941. they cost $134,284 at the time each and a total of 10,037 were built. The Lockheed P-38 was introduced as a inceptor fighter but soon proved a valuable long range bomber escort for the 8thUS Air Force's B-17 and-24 bombers as they bombed targets further into Germany.|
|Liberator||he initial production batch of B-24As was completed in 1941, with many being sold directly to the Royal Air Force. Sent to Britain, where the bomber was dubbed "Liberator," the RAF soon found that they were unsuitable for combat over Europe as they had insufficient defensive armament and lacked self-sealing fuel tanks. Due to the aircraft's heavy payload and long range, the British converted these aircraft for use in maritime patrols. Learning from these issues, Consolidated improved the design and the first major American production model was the B-24C which also included improved Pratt & Whitney engines. In 1940, Consolidated again revised the aircraft and produced the B-24D. The first major variant of the Liberator, the B-24D quickly amassed orders for 2,738 aircraft. Overwhelming Consolidated's production capabilities, the aircraft was also built under license by North American, Douglas, and Ford. The latter built a massive plant at Willow Run, Michigan that, at its peak (August 1944), was producing fourteen aircraft per day. Revised and improved several times throughout World War II, the final variant, the B-24M, ended production on May 31, 1945. he United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) took delivery of its first B-24As in mid-1941. Over the next three years, B-24 squadrons deployed to all theaters of the war: African, European, China-Burma-India, the Anti-submarine Campaign, the Southwest Pacific Theater and the Pacific Theater. In the Pacific, to simplify logistics and to take advantage of its longer range, the B-24 (and its twin, the U.S. Navy PB4Y) was the chosen standard heavy bomber. By mid-1943, the shorter-range B-17 was phased out. The Liberators which had served early in the war in the Pacific continued the efforts from the Philippines, Australia, Espiritu Santo,Guadalcanal, Hawaii, and Midway Island. The Liberator peak overseas deployment was 45.5 bomb groups in June 1944. Additionally, the Liberator equipped a number of independent squadrons in a variety of special combat roles. The cargo versions, C-87 and C-109 tanker, further increased its overseas presence, especially in Asia in support of the XX Bomber Command air offensive against Japan. So vital was the need for long range operations, that at first USAAF used the type as transports. The sole B-24 in Hawaii was destroyed by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. It had been sent to the Central Pacific for a very long range reconnaissance mission that was preempted by the Japanese attack. The first USAAF Liberators to carry out combat missions were 12 repossessed LB-30s deployed to Java with the 11th Bombardment Squadron (7th Bombardment Group) that flew their first combat mission in mid-January. Two were shot up by Japanese fighters, but both managed to land safely. One was written off due to battle damage and the other crash-landed on a beach. US-based B-24s entered combat service in 1942 when on 6 June, four B-24s from Hawaii staging through Midway Island attempted an attack on Wake Island, but were unable to find it. The B-24 came to dominate the heavy bombardment role in the Pacific because compared to the B-17, the B-24 was faster, had longer range, and could carry a ton more bombs. In the European and North Africa Theatres On 12 June 1942, 13 B-24s of the Halverson Project (HALPRO) flying from Egypt attacked the Axis-controlled oil fields and refineries around Ploiești, Romania. Within weeks, the First Provisional Bombardment Group formed from the remnants of the Halverson and China detachments. This unit then was formalized as the 376th Bombardment Group, Heavy and along with the 98th BG formed the nucleus of the IX Bomber Command of the Ninth Air Force, operating from Africa until absorbed into the Twelfth Air Force briefly, and then the Fifteenth Air Force, operating from Italy. The Ninth Air Force moved to England in late 1943. This was a major component of the USSTAF and took a major role in strategic bombing. Fifteen of the 15th AF's 21 bombardment groups flew B-24s 1st August 1943 Operation Tidal Wave: A group of 177 American B-24 Liberator bombers, with 1,726 total crew, departed from Libya to make the first bombing of the oil refineries at Ploieşti, Romania, the major supplier of fuel to Germany. The mission temporarily halted oil production, but 532 airmen and 54 of the planes were lost. After a 40% loss of production, the refineries would be repaired more quickly than projected. Germany's Radio Reconnaissance Service had intercepted and decrypted the Allied messages about the raid and the departure from Libya, and anti-aircraft defenses were in place despite the low-level approach of the bombers.|
|Artist Details : Robert Taylor|
|Click here for a full list of all artwork by Robert Taylor|
The name Robert Taylor has been synonymous with aviation art over a quarter of a century. His paintings of aircraft, more than those of any other artist, have helped popularise a genre which at the start of this remarkable artist's career had little recognition in the world of fine art. When he burst upon the scene in the mid-1970s his vibrant, expansive approach to the subject was a revelation. His paintings immediately caught the imagination of enthusiasts and collectors alike . He became an instant success. As a boy, Robert seemed always to have a pencil in his hand. Aware of his natural gift from an early age, he never considered a career beyond art, and with unwavering focus, set out to achieve his goal. Leaving school at fifteen, he has never worked outside the world of art. After two years at the Bath School of Art he landed a job as an apprentice picture framer with an art gallery in Bath, the city where Robert has lived and worked all his life. Already competent with water-colours the young apprentice took every opportunity to study the works of other artists and, after trying his hand at oils, quickly determined he could paint to the same standard as much of the art it was his job to frame. Soon the gallery was selling his paintings, and the owner, recognising Roberts talent, promoted him to the busy picture-restoring department. Here, he repaired and restored all manner of paintings and drawings, the expertise he developed becoming the foundation of his career as a professional artist. Picture restoration is an exacting skill, requiring the ability to emulate the techniques of other painters so as to render the damaged area of the work undetectable. After a decade of diligent application, Robert became one of the most capable picture restorers outside London. Today he attributes his versatility to the years he spent painstakingly working on the paintings of others artists. After fifteen years at the gallery, by chance he was introduced to Pat Barnard, whose military publishing business happened also to be located in the city of Bath. When offered the chance to become a full-time painter, Robert leapt at the opportunity. Within a few months of becoming a professional artist, he saw his first works in print. Roberts early career was devoted to maritime paintings, and he achieved early success with his prints of naval subjects, one of his admirers being Lord Louis Mountbatten. He exhibited successfully at the Royal Society of Marine Artists in London and soon his popularity attracted the attention of the media. Following a major feature on his work in a leading national daily newspaper he was invited to appear in a BBC Television programme. This led to a string of commissions for the Fleet Air Arm Museum who, understandably, wanted aircraft in their maritime paintings. It was the start of Roberts career as an aviation artist. Fascinated since childhood by the big, powerful machines that man has invented, switching from one type of hardware to another has never troubled him. Being an artist of the old school, Robert tackled the subject of painting aircraft with the same gusto as with his large, action-packed maritime pictures - big compositions supported by powerful and dramatic skies, painted on large canvases. It was a formula new to the aviation art genre, at the time not used to such sweeping canvases, but one that came naturally to an artist whose approach appeared to have origins in an earlier classical period. Roberts aviation paintings are instantly recognisable. He somehow manages to convey all the technical detail of aviation in a traditional and painterly style, reminiscent of the Old Masters. With uncanny ability, he is able to recreate scenes from the past with a carefully rehearsed realism that few other artists ever manage to achieve. This is partly due to his prodigious research but also his attention to detail: Not for him shiny new factory-fresh aircraft looking like museum specimens. His trade mark, flying machines that are battle-scarred, worse for wear, with dings down the fuselage, chips and dents along the leading edges of wings, oil stains trailing from engine cowlings, paintwork faded with dust and grime; his planes are real! Roberts aviation works have drawn crowds in the international arena since the early 1980s. He has exhibited throughout the US and Canada, Australia, Japan and in Europe. His one-man exhibition at the Smithsonians National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC was hailed as the most popular art exhibition ever held there. His paintings hang in many of the worlds great aviation museums, adorn boardrooms, offices and homes, and his limited edition prints are avidly collected all around the world. A family man with strong Christian values, Robert devotes most of what little spare time he has to his home life. Married to Mary for thirty five years, they have five children, all now grown up. Neither fame nor fortune has turned his head. He is the same easy-going, gentle character he was when setting out on his painting career all those years ago, but now with a confidence that comes with the knowledge that he has mastered his profession.
More about Robert Taylor
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