"FIRST STRIKE ON BERLIN"

BY NICOLAS TRUDGIAN

Autographed by Morton Magoffin, C.B. Red Harper and Ed McKay.

L/E of 600. Signed and numbered by the artist.

Size: 34 1/2" x 23 1/2"

Price: $175

— SOLD OUT —


"No bomb shall fall on German soil" was the brash claim made by Reichmarshal Hermann Goering before the start of World War II.

A couple of years into the war the Luftwaffe's boastful commander updated his arrogant statement with "If enemy bombers ever appear over Berlin you can call me Meier". On March 6, 1944 they called him Meier. The German supreme would have kept his head well down on that day, for it was the day the Eighth Air Force arrived overhead the German capital.

Berlin - Big B to the bomber crews - was protected by the cream of the Luftwaffe, and by thousands of anti-aircraft batteries strategically positioned around the city. To approach Berlin from the air was the bomber pilots nightmare. Of the 700 bombers that set out that historic day, 69 would not return; but the B-17 gunners and their escort fighters gave as good as they got.

On that first successful daylight raid, and on the many missions to Berlin that followed, losses were high, but the daytime bomber strikes against the heart of Nazi Germany had an incalculable effect on enemy morale, to say nothing of the disruption to the German war machine. They did more: they signalled to Goering and his Führer that their fate, and that of the Third Reich, was sealed; and the 140,000 USAAF aircrew who flew the torturous attacks to Berlin earned themselves a special place among those who have endeavoured against tyranny.

Nicolas Trudgian's new painting relives the fearsome aerial combat on March 6, 1944, as B-17 Flying Fortresses are attacked en-route for Berlin. Screaming in head-on, Fw190s of II./JG I based at Stormede, charge into the bomber stream. With throttles wide open, 56th Fighter Group P-47 Thunderbolts come hurtling down to intercept. B-17 gunners are working overtime; the air is full of cordite, smoke, jagged pieces of flying metal and hot lead. We are in the midst of one of the fiercest aerial battles of the war.

In the foreground Lucky Lee survives the first onslaught, but her luck won't hold today. Our Girl Sal to the right of the picture will fare better - she will be the only 100th BG aircraft to make it back to her home base from this epic raid.

Limited edition prints are signed by bomber and fighter pilots who flew the Berlin raids more than half a century ago.


THE SIGNATURES

Joining artist Nicolas Trudgian in signing each print in the edition are a P47 Ace who flew escort missions to Berlin and two pilots from the Bloody One Hundredth, who flew their B-17s to Berlin on March 6, 1944.

Colonel MORTON MAGOFFIN
Mort Magoffin went to West Point in 1933 to be trained as a soldier, but preferred to be a flyer instead, graduating for the Service in 1937. Serving first with the 94th Pursuit Squadron, in April 1941 he was posted to jom the 15th Pursuit Group as Squadron Commander in Hawaii, and was present at the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Posted to Europe, Mort arrived in England in .

November 1943. Group Commander of the 362nd FG - the first P-47 Group m the 9th Air Force based at Wormingford. In addition to the regular search and destroy missions of the 9th, Mort took part in the early March escort missions to Berlin. On August 10, he was shot down and wounded by flak near Falaise, luckily being liberated from a Paris hospital by the Allies a few days later. Mort was an Ace with 5 victories in World War II.

Captain C. B. RED HARPER
Red Harper joined up in late 1940 and after training was posted to the 350th Squadron, 100th BG. Based at Thorpe Abbotts flying the |B-17 Flying Fortress, he flew his first combat mission on February 28, 1944. Red flew with the Bloody One Hundredth on the first |successful daylight mission to Berlin - March 6, 1 1944, just one of his 35 combat missions.

First Lieutenant ED McKAY
Ed joined the US Marine Corps in 1937, but transferred to the Air Force in November 1941. Posted to the 350th Squadron of the 100th BG, Ed flew his first combat mission in January 1944 in the B-17, and on March 3 took part in the recalled raid to Berlin. Flymg his regular plane Alice from Dallas II, his gunners claimed three fighters en-route. On March 6, they again went to Berlin, this time successfully Ed served in both the European and Mediterranean theaters, and flew the B-29 at the end of the war.