by Nicolas Trudgian
Overall Print Size: 37" x 23"
Edition Size: 500
As 1944 drew to a close, Hitler made his final gamble of the war, mounting a massive strike force aimed at splitting the Allies Forces advancing upon Germany. His armor, supported from the air, would rip through the Ardennes to Antwerp, capture the Allied fuel supplies, and cut off all the opposing forces to the north. Hitler's commanders were dubious of the outcome but nevertheless obeyed orders, and the operation was launched on December 16th. Allied intelligence had discounted any German counter-offensive and the initial wave, comprising eight Panzer divisions, took the Allied forces completely by surprise. A parachute drop of English-speaking German soldiers in American uniforms behind the assault zone added to the confusion. Advancing some thirty miles and almost in sight of the River Meuse by December 26th, the SS Panzers had ground to a halt with empty fuel tanks and were at the mercy of Allied counter-attacks. By January 16th the German penetration was repulsed and Hitler's beloved Panzer units retreated in tatters. The Fuhrer's last gamble had failed.
"ARDENNES OFFENSIVE" vividly depicts the Fw190s of JG1 providing close support to the 9th SS Panzer Division, as they spearhead Germany's final major offensive of World War II - the Battle of the Bulge. Seen advancing on the 82nd Airborne Division, the King Tiger tanks, with the aid of Luftwaffe ground-attack fighters, drive the Americans back through the snowy fields of the Ardennes on Christmas Day, 1944. It was the last, short-lived, and ultimately unsuccessful advance made by German forces during World War II.
In addition to the artist this print was individually signed by TWO Luftwaffe pilots and TWO Panzer officers who fought in the historic Ardennes Offensive:
- Oberstleutnant HELMUT BENNEMANN
- Oberstleutnant HANS LUTZ
- Leutnant SIEGFRIED MULLER
- Oberst EBERHARD STEPHAN
Comes with a Certificate of Authenticity.