"LIGHTNING ENCOUNTER"

BY NICOLAS TRUDGIAN

Autographed by Larry Blumer, Joseph A. Dobrowolski, Robert C. Milliken and Dick Willsie.

L/E of 1000. Signed and numbered by the artist.

Size: 33 1/2" x 24 1/2"

Price: $150

— SOLD OUT —


WARBIRD LEGENDS SERIES

German 'Kriegslok' Locomotives built specifically to haul vital armaments and supplies to the battle-front, were an important target for marauding Allied aircraft, particularly during the period leading up to and following the Normandy invasion, and the advance through Italy. Many ground attack missions were mounted against these freight trains, and it was common practice for fighters returning from all manner of battle sorties to add to the mayhem by shooting up rolling stock as it trundled across the countryside of occupied Europe.

One of the primary tasks of the Fighter Groups of the 9th and 15th Air Forces during that crucial phase of the war was to impede supplies heading for the various battle fronts, and this vital role was something for which P-38 pilots gained an admirable reputation.

Based in 1944 at Andover, in the southern counties of England, 485 Squadron, of the 370th Fighter Group, were in the thick of these dangerous low-level attack rmssions during that tumultuous episode of the war, and their pilots were typical of the many who racked up big scores of ground attack victories in the European Theater.

Nicolas Trudgian's new painting LIGHTNING ENCOUNTER recreates a typical scenano, with P-38 Lightings launching a surprise attack on a German freight train as it winds its way through the hills in northern France. Caught by the P-38 pilots as it crosses a viaduct - previously damaged by Resistance saboteurs - the train will be lucky to make its destination. Already some of the wagons are on fire, the locomotive has taken some hits, and there are three more Lightnings on the way into the attack.

Yet again this highly popular artist has painted an action-packed picture, full of accurate and exciting detail, that vividly encapsulates a few awesome moments of an air war fought so desperately fifty years ago. Superb fine art prints, each individually signed by four distinguished P-38 Lightning pilots who flew in Europe, are available signed by Nicolas Trudgian, and consecutively numbered, making this a collectors piece.


THE SIGNATURES

Captain LARRY BLUMER
Arriving in Europe in the months before D-Day, Larry Blumer first saw combat in April 44. In August 1944, heavily outnumbered, he shot down 5 Fw190 in 15 minutes. Commanding 393rd Fighter Squadron he flew chase support missions for the U.S. 1st and 3rd Armies, on one occasion taking on the 17th Panzer Division on his own. Losing a wing and engine in the encounter he crashed and had to crawl for 6 hours back to the British lines. Larry Blumer flew over 100 combat missions and was credited with 7 air victories.

Lieutenant Colonel JOSEPH A. DOBROWOLSKI
Enlisting in June 1942, Joseph Dobrowolski was assigned to the 367th Fighter Group, 9th A.F., and arrived the European Theater, April 1944, flying P-38s out of Stoney Cross in England. He flew his first combat mission a month later. Flying throughout the whole D-Day invasion period he notched up 175 combat hours, the majority in the hazardous ground-attack role, chalking up many ground victories before returning to the U.S. in November 1944. He retired Lieutenant Colonel in 1967.

First Lieutenant ROBERT C MILLIKEN
Robert C. Milliken flew his first combat mission with the 429th F.S., 474th FG., 9th A.F. in April 1944. During and after the D-Day operations he flew many ground support and escort missions, getting his first victory in June. Having completed a tour of 69 missions he volunteered for two further missions during the Battle of the Bulge and on 18th December he became an Ace. He finished the war with 5 victories and retired from active duty in December 1945.

Colonel DICK WILLSIE
Joining up in 1942, Dick Willsie was posted to North Africa with the 414th Night Fighter Squadron where he flew 31 night fighter missions. He transferred to the 96th Squadron, 82nd Fighter Group, 15th Air Force flying the P-38 on 82 day combat missions through to the end of hostilities in Europe. He notched up a large number of ground attack victories and three aerial victories in his P-38 'Snake Eyes'. He later served in Korea and Vietnam and retired from service in 1974.