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Thunderheads Over Ridgewell by Robert Taylor (AP) - RobertTaylorPrints.com

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Thunderheads Over Ridgewell by Robert Taylor (AP)


Thunderheads Over Ridgewell by Robert Taylor (AP)

In the early days of the USAAF daylight bombing campaign, before the arrival of long-range fighter escorts, rarely was a mission flown without Luftwaffe interception and the ever-present barrage of anti-aircraft fire. The Eighth Air Force crews literally fought their way through swarms of enemy fighters and thick flak to hit their targets, then fought their way home again. Seldom a formation returned without losses and casualties, but inexorably the American bomb groups struck deeper and deeper into enemy territory. Bomber crews lucky enough to survive a complete tour were few and far between. They knew this when they arrived in England at the start of their tour, and the awesome task they faced banded the flyers together like brothers. They flew and fought for each other, their country and liberty with determination and a camaraderie that only those who went through the experience could fully appreciate. In his tribute to the USAAF bomber crews, Robert Taylor has selected the 381st Bomb Group to represent, and pay tribute to all those who flew the perilous daylight raids out of bases in England into the heavily defended skies above enemy occupied Europe. Roberts emotive painting shows 381st Bomb Group B-17 Fortresses returning to Ridgewell on a summer afternoon in 1944 during a period when the Group reached the peak of it effectiveness- for several months it was the top ranked outfit in the Eighth. Between June 1943 and the end of hostilities the 381st completed 297 combat missions, hit almost every important target in German hands and was credited with the destruction of 223 enemy aircraft. One aircraft, more than any other, came to symbolise the great bombing campaign of the USAAF in Europe during World War Two, and in his spectacular new painting Robert Taylor captures the magnificence of Boeings legendary B-17 Flying Fortress. In his inimitable style the artist brings to life an exact wartime scene, a battle-damaged aircraft making apparent the fearsome task tackled daily by those who flew the hazardous missions to occupied Europe during the greatest air war ever fought.
Item Code : RT0002APThunderheads Over Ridgewell by Robert Taylor (AP) - This Edition
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Mighty Eighth Edition. Limited edition of 25 artist proofs.

Supplied with companion print Another Mission Completed
Image size 25 inches x 16 inches (64cm x 41cm) Brashear, Turner G
Klein, Edward A
Peters, Vincent J
+ Artist : Robert Taylor
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Other editions of this item : Thunderheads Over Ridgewell by Robert Taylor.RT0002
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PRINTAircrew Edition. Signed limited edition of 400 prints. Image size 25 inches x 16 inches (64cm x 41cm) Brashear, Turner G
Klein, Edward A
Peters, Vincent J
+ Artist : Robert Taylor
£250 Off!
Supplied with one or more  free art prints!
Now : £200.00VIEW EDITION...
PRINTMighty Eighth Edition. Signed limited edition of 250 prints.

Supplied with companion print Another Mission Completed.
Image size 25 inches x 16 inches (64cm x 41cm) Brashear, Turner G
Klein, Edward A
Peters, Vincent J
+ Artist : Robert Taylor
£80 Off!Add any two items on this offer to your basket, and the lower priced item will be half price in the checkout!
Supplied with one or more  free art prints!
Now : £250.00VIEW EDITION...



Extra Details :
About this edition :

Companion Print Another Mission Completed :



Weary crews clamber out of their B-17 Fortresses at the end of another gruelling raid deep into the hostile skies over German occupied Europe. As ground personnel survey their aircraft for damage - and few will have returned without some - pilots, navigators, bombardiers, and gunners head for de-briefing, some refreshment, and a well earned rest. They will check to get news of aircraft and friends who have not returned, ponder over their own experiences during the past hours in combat, and steel themselves for the next mission. And so it will go until they end their tour, or fall in the line of duty. Either way they will not flinch. Robert Taylor's sensitive pencil drawing, so life-like it could have been made on the spot as the B-17 crews walk towards him, provides an appropriate adjunct to Thunderheads over Ridgewell - the artist's outstanding rendition showing the Mighty Eighth in their element. A fitting tribute to a legendary Band of Brothers.




Signatures on this item
NameInfo


Captain Turner G Brashear
Joining up on June 1st 1943, Turner Brashear arrived at Ridgewell in time to fly his first combat mission on 24th November 1944m with the 535th Bomb Squadron, 381st Bomb Group. He flew as aircraft commander on 27 missions right up to VE-Day. On the 11th April 1945 returning from a mission to Munich, his B17 suffered a mid air collision over the Rhine, as another aircraft descended into his, shearing off the right horizontal stabilizer. The bomber spun downwards for 8000ft before Turner managed to regain some control, coaxing his aircraft home with great skill.


First Lieutenant Vincent J Peters
Vincent Peters flew his first combat mission in October 1944 flying B17s with the 535th Bomb Squadron, 381st Bomb Group out of Ridgewell. He flew missions to attack the Nazi capital Berlin, to Cologne and Dresden, as well as targets in the Ruhr valley. On 1st January 1945, during a mission supporting the Battle of the Bulge, his aircraft was hit and he and his crew were forced to bail out.


Major Edward A Klein
Edward Klein joined the USAAF on 21st September 1941. As a bombardier he was posted to England, and became part of the 381st Bomb Group, based at Ridgewell, flying B-17s with the 534th Bomb Squadron. Ed Klein went on his first combat missions, to Germany, on 8th October, 1943, and the following day was under constant fighter attack for four and a half hours. On 31st October he went to Schweinfurt. On 6th March 1944 he flew on the first bombing of Berlin by American bombers. Finishing his 25 mission tour in March 1944 he had been Squadron Leader, and Group Leader. Ed Klein retired from the service in 1963.
The Aircraft :
NameInfo
Flying FortressIn the mid-1930s engineers at Boeing suggested the possibility of designing a modern long-range monoplane bomber to the U.S. Army Air Corps. In 1934 the USAAC issued Circular 35-26 that outlined specifications for a new bomber that was to have a minimum payload of 2000 pounds, a cruising speed in excess of 200-MPH, and a range of at least 2000 miles. Boeing produced a prototype at its own expense, the model 299, which first flew in July of 1935. The 299 was a long-range bomber based largely on the Model 247 airliner. The Model 299 had several advanced features including an all-metal wing, an enclosed cockpit, retractable landing gear, a fully enclosed bomb bay with electrically operated doors, and cowled engines. With gun blisters glistening everywhere, a newsman covering the unveiling coined the term Flying Fortress to describe the new aircraft. After a few initial test flights the 299 flew off to Wright Field setting a speed record with an average speed of 232-mph. At Wright Field the 299 bettered its competition in almost all respects. However, an unfortunate crash of the prototype in October of 1935 resulted in the Army awarding its primary production contract to Douglas Aircraft for its DB-1 (B-18.) The Army did order 13 test models of the 299 in January 1936, and designated the new plane the Y1B-17. Early work on the B-17 was plagued by many difficulties, including the crash of the first Y1B-17 on its third flight, and nearly bankrupted the Company. Minor quantities of the B-17B, B-17C, and B-17D variants were built, and about 100 of these aircraft were in service at the time Pearl Harbor was attacked. In fact a number of unarmed B-17s flew into the War at the time of the Japanese attack. The German Blitzkrieg in Europe resulted in accelerated aircraft production in America. The B-17E was the first truly heavily armed variant and made its initial flight in September of 1941. B-17Es cost $298,000 each and more than 500 were delivered. The B-17F and B-17G were the truly mass-produced wartime versions of the Flying Fortress. More than 3,400 B-17Fs and more than 8,600 B-17Gs would be produced. The American daylight strategic bombing campaign against Germany was a major factor in the Allies winning the War in Europe. This campaign was largely flown by B-17 Flying Fortresses (12,677 built) and B-24 Liberators (18,188 built.) The B-17 bases were closer to London than those of the B-24, so B-17s received a disproportionate share of wartime publicity. The first mission in Europe with the B-17 was an Eighth Air Force flight of 12 B-17Es on August 12, 1942. Thousands more missions, with as many as 1000 aircraft on a single mission would follow over the next 2 years, virtually decimating all German war making facilities and plants. The B-17 could take a lot of damage and keep on flying, and it was loved by the crews for bringing them home despite extensive battle damage. Following WW II, B-17s would see some action in Korea, and in the 1948 Israel War. There are only 14 flyable B-17s in operation today and a total of 43 complete airframes

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