"BRINGING THE PEACEMAKER HOME"

BY ROBERT TAYLOR

Autographed by C.E. "Bud" Anderson, James D. Fletcher, Marion H. Havelaar and Steve N. Pisanos.

L/E of 750. Signed and numbered by the artist.

Size:32 1/2" x 23 1/2"

Price: $295


By 1944 the USAAF were despatching bombers deep into Germany on a grand scale. In June alone no fewer than 28,800 aircraft were despatched into hostile air space, the scale of operations such that enabled hitting a dozen or more different targets on a single day.

Even with the benefit of long-range fighter escort, the bomber formations had to run the gauntlet of the Luftwaffe's fighter defenses as they approached and departed the target area. With plenty of practice during the previous 12 months the German fighter pilots had developed highly successful techniques of attack against the American four-engined bombers, and whenever they engaged in numbers, USAAF losses were heavy - 37 bombers failed to return from raids against synthetic oil plants and aircraft factories at Leipzig on June 29.

On July 20 it was the turn of the 91st Bomb Group to attack an airfield near Leipzig, suspected of harboring the new menace - the Luftwaffe's revolutionary Messerschmitt Me262 jet. As the formation spread out for the bomb run, the 401st squadron took the low position - the most vulnerable to fighter attack.

Just as the crew of The Peacemaker steadied the ship to sight the target, the squadron was set upon by Focke-Wulf 190s. The formation leader was set on fire wingtip to wingtip, almost colliding with Peacemaker as the stricken aircraft slid into the void below. At that moment, cannon shells ripped into Peacemaker as a Fw190 flashed past within 200 feet, its guns blazing. Hit in the wing and tail, the bucking B-17 began to slip below the rest of the formation. She was a long way from home.

Robert Taylor's dramatic portrayal of events picks up the story as the injured bird limps towards the sanctuary of the English coast. That she has got this far is a miracle, due in no small part to the close attentions of escorting P-51B Mustangs of the 361st Fighter Group.

To keep her flying, the crew are jettisoning everything that can be safely bundled out of the aircraft. The front hatch is open and bombardier Marion Havelaar has reluctantly despatched his 201b bomb sight to the ocean below - for him, an act of total sacrilege. The Peacemaker made it back to Bassingbourne that day; eight others did not.


THE SIGNATURES

Of great significance to collectors, aircrew personally involved in bringing 'The Peacemaker' home, and in fighter escort, have joined Robert Taylor in signing this important new edition.

Col. C. E. 'BUD' ANDERSON
'Bud' Anderson went to England with the 357th Fighter Group in 1943. He quickly showed he was a natural pilot, and flying the P-5 IB Mustang scored his first victory on one of the early Berlin escort missions. After completing his first tour he came back for a second, arriving in Europe in time for the 357th's most successful mission on 27 November, 1944, adding three to his personal score that day. By the war end he had flown 116 combat missions and was credited with 16 air victories. After the war Bud became a leading fighter test pilot, he has flown more than 120 aircraft types. He served in Korea and commanded the 355th Fighter Wing in south east Asia. He retired in 1972.

Lt. Col. JAMES D. FLETCHER
The day after Christmas in December 1941 James Fletcher enlisted in the service. Completing his pilot training, he was posted to join the 91st Bombardment Group - The Ragged Irregulars at Bassingbourne in England. Flying the B-17G with the 401st Squadron, James flew his first combat mission on 28 March, 1944 and on 20 July was co-pilot of The Peacemaker on the raid to Leipzig. Badly mauled and damaged, the pilots eventually got her home safely to Bassingbourne. James Fletcher went on to complete 32 missions in the B-17 in Europe, and over 4000 hours of flight time as a command pilot. He retired in 1976, with 30 years active service in the USAF.

Lt. CoL MARION H. HAVELAAR
Marion Havelaar joined the service on 24 August, 1942. After training he was posted to England joining the 401 st Squadron, 91st Bomb Group - The Ragged Irregulars - based at Bassingbourne. Flying the B-17G, he made his first combat mission on 2 June, 1944, but lost his original crew to Me 410s on a mission to Berlin, 21 June, 1944. Marion flew the rest of his tour as a replacement crew member and on 20 July, 1944 he was flying as deputy lead bombardier in the B-17 The Peacemaker. Badly shot-up with one crewman wounded, they made it safely back, four others from the 401st did not. Marion later flew 29 missions in B-29s in Korea, and served in Vietnam. He retired from the USAF in 1971.

Col. STEVE N. PISANOS
Steve Pisanos arrived in America from Greece in 1938. He volunteered for the Royal Air Force in 1941. After training he was commissioned and posted to 268 Squadron RAF, flying the P-51A. He transferred to the 71st Eagle Squadron, comprised of American volunteers flying Spitfires, later absorbed into the USAAF 4th Fighter Group. Steve Pisanos became an Ace on 1 Jan, 1944. On 5 March, 1944 he obtained his 10th victory in a P-51 on an escort mission over France but was forced down through engine failure. Evading capture by the Germans, he served behind enemy lines with the French Resistance, the American OSS and the British SOE. He returned to England in Sept 1944 following the Allied liberation of Paris. He retired in 1973.