"STRUGGLE FOR SUPREMACY"

BY ROBERT TAYLOR

Autographed by Col.C.E. "Bud" Anderson, Lt. Col. Ernest E. Bankey, Col. Conald Cummings, Col. Walker "Bud" Muhurin, Gen. Lt. Guenther Rall, Ofw. Helmut Rueffler and Hptmn. Hans Weik.

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

Size: 32 1/4" x 24"

Price: $295.00

— SOLD OUT —



By the beginning of 1945, it was clear that Germany would lose the war. The American strategic bombing campaign was destroying the Nazi war machine and had reduced the flow of supplies to the front lines to a trickle. The German fighter pilots still flying had been in combat for more than five years with scarcely a break.

Still, the beleagured Luftwaffe pilots continued to intercept the massive bomber formations when they could. Though the Air Force fighters could escort the heavies all the way to the target, the German pilots could still on occaision concentrate enough strength in one area to break through the American defenses and do serious damage.

Robert Taylor's first edition of 2001 dramatically reconstructs a typical aerial contest in January, 1945. P-51 Mustangs of the 357th Fighter Group, escorting a heavy bomber raid deep in enemy territory, have engaged a force of ME-109s. A massive dogfight has developed high over the Rhine, drawing the interceptors away from the main bomber force, a partial victory in itself. But the battle is by no means over.

As Captain Robert Foy of the 363rd Squadron engages one of the ME-109's in a daring head-on pass, P-47 Thunderbolts of the 56th Fighter Group climb to give support. From the right, more than a dozen Luftwaffe fighters are joining the fray. The action is painted as only Robert Taylor can, with a stunning cloudscape gving depth and perspective to a classic World War II air combat scene.

Joining Robert in signing each print in this new edition are four distinguished U.S. 8th Air Force fighter aces and three high scoring Luftwaffe Aces who flew and fought in the skies over Europe during World War II

SIGNATURES

Colonel C.E. "Bud" Anderson
"Bud" Anderson went to England with the 357th Fighter Group in 1943. He soon got himself on the score sheet in a dogfight with a bunch of ME-109s. On June 29, 1944, on a mission to Leipzig, his squadron ran into a formation of FW-190s. In the ensuing battle, Anderson shot down the leader and two others. After a short leave in the U.S., he returned for a second tour, arriving just in time for the 357th's big day on November 28. With the 353rd FG, they took on a huge formation of some 200 enemy fighters; Anderson added three more to his score. His final victory came in another fierce contest west of Berlin. He finished the war with 16 aerial victories.

Lt. Col. Ernest E. Bankey
After combat training, Ernest Bankey arrived in England for his first tour with the 364th Fighter Group in February, 1944. On December 27, during the Battle of the Bulge, his group ran into a large mass of Luftwaffe fighters near Bonn, Germany. In the dogfighting melee that followed, Bankey shot down 5 enemy aircraft and shared credit for another. During two tours in England, he flew over 110 combat missions and was credited with 11.5 aerial victories and 5 on the ground.

Col. Donald Cummings
Joining the USAAF in 1941, Don Cummings saw action in England, Africa and Italy, taking part in the Battle of Anzio. Flying with the 12th Air Force and later with the 8th in England, he flew there with the 55th Fighter Group out of Wormingford. Cummings flew a total of 150 combat missions. On February 25, 1945, he became one of only two fighter aces to shoot down two ME-262 jet fighters on a single mission. He served in occupied Germany after the war ended.

Col. Walker "Bud" Mahurin
"Bud" Mahurin earned a reputation while flying with the 56th Fighter Group as one of the USAAF's most colorful aces. In a 17-month period of combat, he suffered one crash and bailed out three times, ending up behind enemy lines, where he evaded with the aid of the French Resistance and returned to England. With his score at 21 German aircraft, he transferred to the Southwest Pacific Theater, where he added a Japanese aircraft to his score. Mahurin commanded the 4th Fighter Interceptor Group in the Korean War, adding 3.5 MIG-15s to his tally before being shot down again, spending 16 months as a POW.

Generalleutnant Gunther Rall
Currently the top living ace in the world with 275 aerial victories, Gunthter Rall is a legend. Scoring his first air victory in the Battle of Britain, he soon assumed command of 8/JG-52. After a transfer to the Eastern Front, his score mounted until he was hospitalized by a crash. Within months he was back, as Kommandeur of III/JG-52 gaining the Wing's 500th victory. Later he was Kommandeur of II/JG-11 on the Western Front, and in March 1945, led JG-300. He was awarded the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords.

Oberfeldwebel Helmut Ruffler
Helmut Ruffler joined 9/JG-3 in february 1941 and soon proved himself a masterful fighter pilot. His scores mounted quickly, and by the end of 1942 his tally stood at 50 victories. Surviving being shot down in June, 1943, he was posted as a flight instructor but was sent back into battle, joining 4/JG-3 in defense of the Reich. In March, 1945, he was promoted to leader of 9/JG-51. Shot down 5 times during the war, Ruffler flew over 690 missions and scored 98 victories.

Hauptmann Hans Weik
Born in 1922, Hans Weik was one of the younger Luftwaffe aces who, after comissioning was posted to Russia in the spring of 1943, flying with Geschwaderstab JG-3. In the spring of 1944, he was promoted to lead 10/JG-3, becoming one of the most respected Staffel commanders in Germany. In the final weeks of the war, he transferred to Lechfeld for training on the ME-262. Hans Weik flew over 100 missions and achieved a total of 36 aerial victories, 24 of them in the west.