FIRST STRIKE ON BERLIN
by Nicolas Trudgian
Overall Print Size: 34½" x 23½"
Edition Size: 1000
"No bomb shall fall on German soil" was the brash claim made by Reichmarshal Hermann Goering before the start of World War II. A couple of years into the war the Luftwaffe's boastful commander up¬dated his arrogant statement with "If enemy bombers ever appear over Berlin you can call me Meier." On March 6, 1944 they called him Meier. The German supremo would have kept his head well down on that day, for it was the day the Eighth Air Force arrived overhead the German capital.
Berlin - Big B to the bomber crews - was protected by the cream of the Luftwaffe, and by thousands of anti-aircraft batteries strategically positioned around the city. To approach Berlin from the air was the bomber pilot’s nightmare. Of the 700 bombers that set out that historic day, 69 would not return; but the B-17 gunners and their escort fighters gave as good as they got. On that first successful daylight raid, and on the many missions to Berlin that followed, losses were high, but the daytime bomber strikes against the heart of Nazi Germany had an incalculable effect on enemy morale, to say nothing of the disruption to the German war machine. They did more: they signaled to Goering and his Fuhrer that their fate, and that of the Third Reich, was sealed; and the 140,000 USAAF aircrew who flew the torturous attacks to Berlin earned themselves a special place among those who have endeavored against tyranny.
Nicolas Trudgian's "FIRST STRIKE ON BERLIN" relives the fearsome aerial combat 011 March 6, 1944, as B-17 Flying Fortresses are attacked en-route for Berlin. Screaming in head-on, Fw190s of II./JG I based at Stormede, charge into the bomber stream. With throttles wide open, 56th Fighter Group P-47 Thunderbolts come hurtling down to intercept. B-17 gunners are working overtime; the air is full of cordite, smoke, jagged pieces of flying metal and hot lead. We are in the midst of one of the fiercest aerial battles of the war. In the foreground "Lucky Lee" survives the first onslaught, but her luck won't hold today. "Our Girl Sal" to the right of the picture will fare better - she will be the only 100th BG aircraft to make it back to her home base from this epic raid.
In addition to the artist this print is personally signed in pencil by with THREE B-17 crew members from the 100th Bomb Group:
- Colonel MORTON MAGOFFIN
- Captain C. B. RED HARPER
- First Lieutenant ED McKAY
Comes with a Certificate of Authenticity.