BATTLE OF BRITAIN 50th ANNIVERSARY TRILOGY
SUMMER VICTORY, EAGLE ATTACK & HURRICANE FORCE form the Trilogy and are available here as a Matching Numbered Set (#26)
by Robert Taylor
‘Adlertag’ – Eagle Day! – Hitler’s code name for the start of the Luftwaffe’s great and decisive aerial offensive intended to bring the RAF to its knees, clear the Spitfires and Hurricanes from the skies above the South coast of England, and prepare the way for the 250,000 amassed German troops standing in readiness to cross the Channel.
Like fighter pilots of any airforce from any era the Me109 Geschwaders of the Luftwaffe were made up almost entirely of young men who, drawn by the great adventure, simply wanted to fly. By a coincidence of time they were called upon to play their part in the greatest aerial contest of all time, and in so doing write their names indelibly into history. Primed and ready, equipped with the superb Me109 fighter, these combat-experienced pilots were eager for battle. The disadvantage of fighting at the extremity of their range – often allowing them no more than 10 minutes of actual combat – was balanced by well-tried battle tactics, great leadership and undisputed courage.
Adlertag saw twelve hours of almost continuous battle, and the uniquely talented aviation artist Robert Taylor takes up the story on this momentous 13th August, 1940 when the Luftwaffe staged their most concentrated attacks. A schwarm of Me109’s peel off to attack a bunch of Spitfires which have dived out of the sun upon a large formation of He111 bombers. Already the lead pair of Me109’s are bringing their guns to bear and moments later the two pilots in the foreground will flick-roll their fighters and follow into attack.
Dominating the scene is a magnificent study of the remarkable Me109 – the finest German fighter of the war. All around the sky is filled with the drama of aerial combat portrayed with a colourful reality that is the hall-mark of the world’s foremost aviation painter.
Eagle Attack is signed by the following highly distinguished Luftwaffe pilots:
General Adolf Galland
General Gunther Rall
General Dieter Hrabak
General Walter Krupinski
At first just specks on the horizon, but quickly they become larger as they approach at high speed. They look like Spitfires. Closing fast, they skim low above the harvest fields and now the sound of Merlin engines at full throttle is unmistakable. Yes, they are Spitfires!
With gun ports whistling the little fighters swoop past in a headlong rush to refuel, rearm, and climb back into battle. Just time as they rush by to glimpse the Me109 down in the wheat field below – one of the many victories for the squadron on that brilliant summer morning. In moments they are gone. Peace and quiet again descends upon this idyllic English countryside scene leaving one Luftwaffe pilot, his battle run, to contemplate his misfortune and his fate as farm workers hurry towards him.
The Battle of Britain commenced at the beginning of July, 1940. During the next two and a half months, at the height of a glorious English summer, the Royal Air Force fought with the Luftwaffe what was to become the greatest aerial conflict in history. Never before, nor since, has air fighting been so sustained in its intensity over such a period. And no fighter in history has captured the imagination more so than the Spitfire.
Summer Victory – The Signatories
This print is signed by 4 distinguished Battle of Britain Spitfire Aces:
Group Captain BRIAN KINGCOME
Wing Commander BOB DOE
Air Commodore ALAN DEERE
Group Captain SIR HUGH DUNDAS
Sunday 15th September, 1940; a date that will live for ever in military history. The day the Luftwaffe made its final, massive effort to defeat the RAF, and pave the way for Hitler’s invasion of England. The day the tremendous air battles between the RAF and the Luftwaffe came to a climax – when every single man and machine in Fighter Command climbed into battle. The day Churchill was told: ‘There are no reserves!’
Robert Taylor’s outstanding painting ‘Hurricane Force’ puts us right into the midst of the Battle of Britain, some 12,000 feet over London, with the Hurricanes of 257 Squadron as they tear into a mass of Heinkel III Bombers and escorting Me109’s. In the foreground a Hurricane pilot reefs his machine
around having knocked out one of the enemy; his wingman targets another. In the background and below, the fighting is everywhere. The whole sky is embroiled in a mass of aerial warfare. In the thick of the heaviest fighting, the brute force quality of the go-anywhere do-anything Hurricane is seen at its best, its pilots wreaking havoc amongst the massed formations of enemy raiders.
The huge aerial contests of the Battle of Britain inevitably developed into a series of individual fights: one-on-one duels, squadron versus squadron. The British pilots, their confidence and morale on the upsurge from recent successes, had the fight of their lives. By the afternoon of 18th September the massed attacks by the Luftwaffe had been routed, and one by one, as the British returned to their bases, the significance of their victory began to dawn upon the sweat-soaked exhilarated pilots of the RAF. They had won the Battle of Britain!
Hurricane Force – The Signatories
This print is signed by 4 distinguished Battle of Britain Hurricane Aces:
Group Captain FRANK CAREY
Wing Commander GEOFFREY PAGE
Air Commodore PETE BROTHERS
Group Captain PETER TOWNSEND.
Note: All three secondary market prints in this trilogy have Certificates of Authenticity from the Military Gallery publishers.