The deafening sound of piston-engine aircraft scrambling from an airfield in anger was a heart-stopping event regularly witnessed on both sides of the Channel throughout the summer of 1940. The sight of so many fighters climbing into battle was as thrilling as it was dangerous for the pilots jockeying with each other in their rush to get airborne. The Luftwaffe fought the Battle of Britain from airfields situated mainly in France, Belgium and Holland, the greatest concentration being in the Pas de Calais, where the distance to the English coast is a mere 22 miles. Fighter squadrons were scattered throughout the French countryside, and from these airfields flew the Luftwaffe's battle-hardened fighter pilots, many already with dozens of victories to their name. Each day, weather permitting, they flew free-hunting patrols across the Channel and along the coast of Kent, aggressively looking for action. The sheer numbers of German aircraft crossing the Channel each day made victory seem a foregone conclusion; but for the resilience, courage and devotion of the RAF fighter pilots, and the flawed tactics of Reichmarschall Goering, it probably would have been. Nicolas Trudgian's painting recreates a typical scene as the Me109s of JG3, under the command of Hans von Hahn, and sporting the group's colorful Dragon emblem on their cowlings, scramble from their base at Colombert, near Calais, heading for the battlefront.
Each print is individually signed by two veteran Luftwaffe fighter Aces who flew in the Battle of Britain, adding great collectability to this new issue.
Oberstleutnant Gunther Scholz After seeing action in the Spanish Campaign, Gunther Scholz flew with 7./JG54 in Poland and France, and during the Battle of Britain. Transferring to the Eastern Front he flew with III./JG5 from February 1942, later with Geschwaderstab JG5. In July 1944 he was posted to Norway. Scholz was awarded the Iron Cross I and finished the war with 33 victories.
Oberleutnant Erwin Leykauf Erwin Leykauf flew with JG27 at the beginning of the Battle of Britain, then with JG54 where he scored his first 7 victories. Transferring to the Balkans and later the Eastern Front, in 1943 he joined JG26 flying the Fw190. At the end of the war he was with JG7, flying the Me262. Erwin was awarded the Iron Cross I and II and his victories had climbed to 33.
Overall print size: 27 1/8" wide x 18 3/4" high.