Night time aerial warfare in the European theater was not as obvious to the ground observer as daylight combat. Massive bomber attacks with their attendant contrails could be seen for miles. At best, night aircraft would be heard streaking across the dark void.
Night combat posed sets of skills and threats unknown to daylight aircrews. The Allied pilots and navigators intruding into enemy airspace in darkness faced the Luftwaffe Me-110’s, Ju-88’s and Fw-190’s. These enemy aircraft were tasked with seeking out marauding enemy planes and disposing of them and their crews who were intent on completing their assigned interdiction, mapping and bombing missions. But not all night combat ended in the favor of the Luftwaffe. When shot down behind their own lines, those Germans who survived uninjured would have only wounded pride, the necessary paper reports to complete, and the ride back to the geschwader to fight another day.
In Robert Bailey’s painting, a Me-110 has just left its base, but by unfortunate chance has met a Mosquito in the night sky. The crew of the downed aircraft is assisted out by German rail guards. Meanwhile, the victorious Mossie crew decides to make a low pass in order to observe their victory, startling those on the ground. Because of the hissing steam coming from the locomotive, those passengers on the platform are oblivious to the action. This time, the German night fighter crew has been very lucky indeed.
Flight Lieutenant D. W. Schmidt joined the R.C.A.F. in 1941. He attended O.T.U. in Britain before joining 236 Squadron as a Coastal Command Beaufighter pilot. Sixteen days later he was with a ferry unit at Lyneham, testing Beaufighters. During that year he was posted to Malta to join 227 Squadron. In six sorties he claimed eight aircraft. He also scored many hits on Italian shipping. At war's end he was in the U.K. with 404 Coastal Mosquito squadron. He holds the D.F.C. and Bar.
Warrant Officer 1st Class Stanley G. Reynolds joined the R.C.A.F. in 1942 at the age of 18. In June 1943, after receiving his pilots wings, he was posted to England. After training on Blenheims and Beaufighters, he was posted to 410 Squadron where he made 35 flights in Mosquitos. Stan was awarded a wound stripe for injuries received on active service, and is a member of the renowned 'Guinea Pig Club.'
F/Lt. Cliff Rhind RCAF
Sheet Size: 33" wide x 20" high.
Image Size: 28" wide x 14 1/2" high.