The tri-motor Ju52 made its maiden flight in April 1932, and was quickly in service with airlines in over 30 countries, Lufthansa operating two aircraft between Berlin, London, and Rome before the end of the year. Clandestine work on a military version was also under way, the first bomber conversion appearing in 1934. Armed with a pair of machine guns, the Ju52/3mg3e could carry a bomb load slightly in excess of 1300 lbs., but it was in the air transport role that the Ju52 would excel.
After cutting its military teeth as a troop carrier in the Spanish Civil War, the Ju52 came into its own during the invasions of Poland and Norway by which time over 550 of the type were in service. But its relatively low speed made the Ju52 an easy target for anti-aircraft gunners, and in the five days it took the Wehrmacht to crush the Netherlands and Belgium no fewer than 167 were totally destroyed.
The Ju52 supported every Wehrmacht operation on every front during World War II, carrying paratroopers, towing gliders, transporting munitions and supplies, and evacuating casualties, but at a heavy price: In the final evacuation of Tunisia over 400 Ju52s were lost in less than three weeks. At the end of the war fewer than 50 of the 4800 Ju52s built were still surviving. In a twist of irony, following refurbishment, ten of these went into service with British European Airways in 1946!
Robert Taylor's beautiful painting captures this classic aircraft in another wartime role for which it became famous: A Ju52 of Luftflotte 2, escorted by Me109s of JG-53, transports important military personnel over the Dolomites in the summer of 1942. With the setting sun illuminating the mountain tops in a brilliant light, the panoramic vista is both chilling and spectacular. As the aircraft lumbers across the impressive mountain scenery, members of the High Command can be seen in conference in the cabin, while the crew in the cockpit concentrate on the "Special Duties" flight plan. Behind them, unprotected from the elements, a lone gunner keeps a watchful eye. Prints from this sensational painting are signed by German World War II veterans having a special association with the historic aircraft depicted in Robert's latest painting.
Leutnant Herbert Kaiser
Herbert Kaiser joined the Luftwaffe before the war, and by 1938 he was a fighter pilot with II./JG186. He flew in the invasion of Poland and then during the Battle of France, scoring his first victory in May 1940. He took part in the Battle of Britain before transferring to the Balkans. In August 1941 he was posted to the Russian Front, then North Africa followed by Italy and the Dolomites. In March 1944 he joined JG1 in the defense of the Reich. Seriously wounded in a parachute jump in August 1944 he was hospitalized until February 1945. He then joined Adolf Galland's JF44. He flew over 1000 missions and achieved 68 victories. He was awarded the Knight's Cross in 1943.
Oberleutnant Günter Seeger
In February 1940, Gunter Seeger was an Unteroffizier with 3./JG-2, scoring his first victory in the early days of the Battle of Britain, He served on the Channel Front until November 1942, including several months with the Geschwaderstabsschwarm. In December he transferred to the Mediterranean theatre with II./JG-2 before joining 6./JG-53. In February 1943 he joined 7./JG-53 becoming Staffekapitan in September 1944. He flew in North Africa, in the Dolomite region and in Sicily. Awarded the Knight's Cross, Gunter Seeger flew over 500 combat missions in the west and scored 56 victories.
Oberfeldwebel Alexander Uhlig
Alexander Uhlig joined the first German Parachute regiment in 1937 and saw action in Czechoslovakia, and the Polish Campaign. In May 1940 he jumped during the Battle of Narvik in Norway after which he transferred to flying duties with the Ju52. Between 1941 and 1943 he took part in over 170 Ju52 operations including the landings in Crete. In June 1944 he was again in action on the ground commanding the 16 Kompanie Parachute Regiment 6. Ordered to lead a small company of 30 Paras against positions of the US 90th Infantry Division, Uhlig's company defeated the entire US battalion taking over 230 prisoners, including the battalion commander. For this he was awarded the Knight's Cross. Uhlig was eventually taken prisoner of war and taken to England. In April 1947 still under guard despite the end of hostilities, he escaped and made his way back to Germany. He was never re-captured; so at least one German did escape from a POW camp and made it back to Germany - even if the war was over!
Major Werner Roell
At the beginning of the war, Werner Roell flew with St.G77 during the Norwegian Campaign, flying in the Ju52 equipped Transportgruppe. He was one of the first pilots to land in Norway during that campaign. He flew in Yugoslavia, Crete, and later in Russia. Transferring to the Ju87 equipped 4./St.G.77 he flew over 400 combat missions in the Stuka and destroyed a Soviet light cruiser near the Crimea. He was awarded the Knight's Cross in 1943 for Stuka operations against shipping, tanks and bridges. In early 1945 he was summoned by Adolph Galland to join his 'Squadron of Experts' in JV44, where he served until the end of the war. He flew a total of 447 combat missions.
Oberfeldwebel Theo Gerling
Theo Gerling was born in 1916. During the war he flew the Ju52 with the Luftwaffe's Transportgruppe, taking part in combat operations in virtually every theatre, first as an observer and later as a pilot. In January 1943, flying a Ju52, he undertook one of the very last flights into Stalingrad, before the capitulation of General Paulus and the 6th Army garrison. He flew a total of 528 combat missions during the war and was awarded the German Cross in gold.
Oberleutnant Helmut Schwarz
Helmut Schwarz joined the German Armed Forces in September 1939 becoming a Leutnant in 1941. From April 1941 as Stäffelkapitan of the Sonderstäffel (Special Staff), to October 1944, by then Oberleutnant, he commanded transport planes in action over the Mediterranean flying Ju52 and SM92. From then until 1945, he was involved with night fighter training. With around 1500 flying hours to his credit, Helmut Schwarz flew in more than 300 missions, and was awarded the Iron Cross Class I. After the war he was involved with the Ministry of Defence and became a commander with NATO's air defence sectors. He retired as Brigadegeneral.
Hauptmann Claus Semmelhaack
Claus Semmelhaack was a pilot and captain with the Luftwaffe's KGrV106, flying the Junkers Ju52. He took part in the airborne invasion of Norway during April 1940, including the Narvik Campaign. He flew on the Eastern Front, flying in the Smolensk region. Later in the war he became a flight instructor. He was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class.
Overall Print Size: 34 7/8" wide x 23 7/8" high.
Image Size: 28" wide x 16" high.