Dark Defenders Artist Proof by Robert Bailey

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In early 1945, Leutnant Jorg Czypionka takes off from his base at Burg-bei-Magdeburg in Germany, to defend the area from an incoming Lancaster raid.

Lt. Czypionka is one of the very few Luftwaffe pilots who flew the revolutionary Messerschmitt 262 jet during night operations in WWII. This was the Kommando Welter 10/NJG­11 and Jorg flew 'Red 6.' Another 262 takes off while Lt. Czypionka climbs for height. Below, we see two night fighter Me­110's warming up for night missions, with ground crew standing by. An Me­109 is parked after its day's work. Because a black-out was in effect, runway lights were lit for only a few minutes. For the same reason, a mechanic hastily closes a workshop door to prevent light from being seen by marauding Allied fighters.

Oberleutnant Kurt Schulze (flew the Me-109) Began his service as a cadet in 1939. As a wireless operator, he flew in Me 110's over southern Russia with 3.(F)11. From 1942 - 44 he was Communications and Navigation Officer of 1/KG-2 and flew night missions to England as a navigator in Do 217's. While with KG-2, he became a pilot and in 1944, flew Me 109G's with III.JG-5 from northern Finland and Norway. There, he participated in photo reconnaissance missions over Murmansk, (F)124. In early 1945 he commanded 1/JG-51 in Gdansk, where he flew the last of his 103 missions and ended the war commanding 13/JG-5 in Norway. He was credited with 3 victories and holds the Iron Cross 1st and 2nd Class, Flight Clasp, etc. After the war, he spent two years as a P.O.W. in France.

Leutnant Jorg Czypionka (flew the 262 jet)
is one of the few German Luftwaffe pilots who flew the revolutionary Messerschmitt 262 jet fighters in night combat missions. Born in Berlin, Germany, in 1921, Jorg joined the Luftwaffe after graduation from high school. From 1941 to 1944 he was a flight instructor for single engine, multi-engine and instrument flying. In mid 1944 he was transferred to Nachtjagd Ergaenzungs Staffel Ludwigslust and trained to fly the Me109 and Fw190 fighters for night fighting. Lt. Czypionka then joined 10./NJG-11 in Jueterbog, flying 109's, which were specially equipped for high speed and high altitude use. His missions were against R.A.F. Mosquitos proved too fast for the 109's, a new squadron within 10./NJG-11, 'Kommando Welter' was formed in January, 1945. They were equipped with single seat Me262 jet fighters in which Lt. Czypionka has two confirmed victories in 'Red 6.' He was decorated with the Iron Cross.

Leutnant Hans H. Busch (flew the 262 jet) was born in 1924 in Hamburg, Germany. In 1942, he volunteered for the Luftwaffe. During training he flew the Blue 181, KI 35, Arado 66, Fw44, W33, W34, Coudr. 445, Ju86, Ju52, Ju88, and Siebel 204. He was then assigned to Bomber Wing 51, flight training for long-range night fighter duties. At this time he flew the Me110, Me210 and Me410. A directive from Adolf Hitler made KG-51 the 'Blitz Bomber Unit.' Lt. Busch went on to fly the Fw190. In December 1944 he made his first flight in the Me262 jet at Neuburg/Donau. On January 13th, 1945, he lost an engine on takeoff and the aircraft was written off. He sustained only minor injuries.

Sheet Size: 34" wide x 24" high.