"MUSTANGS OVER THE MEDITERRANEAN"

BY NICOLAS TRUDGIAN

Autographed by Jim Brooks, Bob Curtis, Bob Goebel and George Loving.

L/E of 1250. Signed and numbered by the artist.

Size: 34" x 24"

Price: $125

— SOLD OUT —


CLASSIC FIGHTER SERIES

To represent the P-51 pilots who flew combat in the Mediterranean theater, artist Nicolas Trudgian has chosen the distinctive Mustangs of the 31st Fighter Group. This famous Group served in Europe longer than any other during World War II.

Starting its combat career with the 8th Air Force equipped with Spitfires, it took part in the Dieppe raid in 1942. Moving to the 12th Air Force it took part in the invasion of North Africa, and the landings at Sicily and Anzio. The 31st Fighter Group transferred to the l5th Air Force in April 1944, re-equipped with P-51s, flying fighter escort duties from bases in Italy, and was heavily engaged in the Allies final offensive in Northern Italy. It was hard and dangerous flying, varying from full scale air combat to straffing airfields, trains and armour at ground level, and little time to admire the beauty of the landscape of North and Western Italy. Occasionally a pilot could afford himself, in a fleeting moment, the luxury of a glance at the pretty villages and mountains of the Italian Riviera as he passed overhead, and all who did remember some of the most spectacular scenes in the whole of Europe.

Nicolas Trudgian's new limited edition captures a glimpse of such a moment as the pilots of the 31st Fighter Group pass low over a picturesque Italian fishing village, heading out on yet another combat patrol. A wonderful close-up study of the elegant P-51 Mustang, shows off this superb fighter in every detail. With three other P-51s, the sleek fighters glint in the late afternoon sun as they head along one of the Mediterranean's magnificent coastlines. A wonderful aviation painting that merges the passive beauty of the Italian Riviera with the urgent business of war.

Each print is signed by four Fighter Aces of the 15th Air Force, making this a superb picture for collectors who admire the incomparable beauty of flight.


THE SIGNATURES

Captain JIM BROOKS
Early in 1944 Jim Brooks was transferred to Italy to join the 31st Fighter Group, flying P-51s in combat against Me109s, Fw190s and the Italian Macchi Mc202. He scored his first aerial victory on a mission to Ploesti, Rumania. Later, on a special Russian shuttle mission leading the 307th Fighter Squadron, they engaged a large formation of Ju87 Stukas, shooting down 27 enemy aircraft. Jim Brooks accounted for three. He ended his tour with 280 combat hours and thirteen confirmed victories.

Lt. Colonel BOB CURTIS
Bob Curtis arrived in North Africa in 1943, moving to Sicily soon after, flying Spitfires with the 52nd Fighter Group. He scored his first air victory over an Me109 flying his Spitfire, amd later survived a bail out when his fighter was badly damaged after a building he straffed exploded beneath him Moving across to the 15th Air Force, the 52nd Fighter Group re-equipped with the P-51 and Bob Curtis became a Squadron Commander. He added 13 more to his score flying the P-51, ending his war with 14 victories.

Colonel BOB GOEBEL
December of 1943 found Bob Goebel in North Africa checking out on Spitfires in preparation for joining the 31st Fighter Group. As soon as he arrived they reequipped with P-51 Mustangs and moved to Italy where he flew a total of 62 combat missions which included 16 hazardous trips to the Rumanian oilfields. During his combat career he led his squadron into combat seven times, and his entire Group twice, at the tender age of 21 years. He achieved 11 air victories.

Lt. General GEORGE LOVING
George Loving first saw combat in 1943, and flew over 100 missions in Spitfires before the 31st Fighter Group converted to the P-51. He took part in air battles over Italy, France, Germany and many other European countries while serving in the Mediterranean Theater, becoming an Ace in the P-51. During the Korean War he commanded an F-80 Squadron flying 113 missions against the North Koreans and Chinese communist forces before retiring to the U.S.A. as a test pilot. He retired in 1979 as Commander, 5th Air Force in Japan.