As the air war raged over Berlin and other German cities, night-fighter units such as NJG-100, the original Eastern Front night fighter Geschwader, were redeployed nearer home in the final desperate defense of Germany. By late 1944 the Luftwaffe's night fighting aircraft were being flown by experienced crews using sophisticated electronic equipment and, though fighting a losing battle, had become the scourge of the RAF's night raiders.
Nicolas Trudgian's dramatic painting reconstructs a night action flown by one of the Luftwaffe's most successful night-fighter pilots: A Junkers Ju88 G-6, piloted by Major Paul Zorner, Gruppenkommandeur III./NJG-100, based at Stubendorf, intercepts and badly damages a four-engine Lancaster of RAF Bomber Command over Germany in late 1944. Shedding debris and trailing flames, there may just be time for the crew to bale out before the mighty bomber falls away into the dark abyss.
With the aid of his Fug 220 and upward-firing Schrage Musik armament, Zorner has stalked his prey, and attacked from beneath unseen. The crew of this Lancaster didn't stand a chance, and with the moonlight briefly glinting on his aircraft, the accomplished Ju88 pilot slips away into the darkness of the night. A remarkable painting conveying the nerve-tingling tension and drama of war in the night sky.
Major Paul Zorner, Gruppenkommandeur of II./NJG-100 brings down a Lancaster over Berlin, late 1944.
Major Paul Zorner
Originally a transport pilot, Paul Zorner flew in North Africa, the Mediterranean and southern Russia before re-training as a night-fighter pilot, joining II./NJG-2 in 1942 flying the Ju88. In December he took command of 2./NJG-3 operating first the Do 217 and then the Me110. At the beginning of 1943 he was squadron commander of 3./NJG-3 and then 8./NJG-3, which he led until April 1944, when he took command of III./NJG-5, re-equipping with the Ju88G-6. In October 1944 he was promoted to become Kommandeur of II./NJG-100.
Paul Zorner was credited with 59 victories and was awarded the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves.
Overall print size: 25 1/4" wide x 18 7/8" high.