DESERT SHARKS AND EAGLES
by Nicolas Trudgian
Overall Print Size: 35½" x 23½"
Edition Size: 450
The air war fought in the skies above the inhospitable wastelands of the North African desert were among the most hotly contested of the war. The outcome of the bitter land war raging below largely depended upon who controlled the air space above, and both sides knew it. JG-27, having cut its teeth in the battles of France and Britain, was the first Luftwaffe unit to arrive in North Africa. Commanded by the mercurial Eduard Neumann, its Me109s were superior to the Hurricanes and P-40 Kittyhawks flown by the RAF pilots and, without the restriction of close escort duties dictated on the Western Front, the JG-27 pilots roamed the desert skies, closing in combat with the British fighters at every opportunity. The North African air campaign spawned many fighter aces, including Hans-Joachim Marseille who claimed more than 150 victories in his short career - more than any other Luftwaffe ace flying against RAF pilots. The scale of the desert air war is highlighted by raw statistics: 1400 British aircraft lost; over 1200 Luftwaffe destroyed.
"DESERT SHARKS AND EAGLES" depicts P40 Kittyhawks of No. 112 Squadron clash with Me109s of JG27 over the Libyan desert, February 1942. Below them, the desolate beauty of the Libyan desert stretches as far as the eye can see. Led by 'Killer' Caldwell and later, Billy Drake, No.112 Squadron was in constant combat with Edu Neumann's JG27 fighters as they jousted for air-supremacy above Rommel's advancing Afrika Korps.
In addition to the artist this print was individually signed in pencil by FOUR pilots who fought in the desert campaign:
TWO Royal Air Force pilots:
- Group Captain Billy DRAKE
- Squadron Leader Neville DUKE
and TWO Luftwaffe pilots:
- Hauptmann Emil CLAUDE
- Oberst Eduard NEUMANNAND
Comes with a Certificate of Authenticity.