January 1st., 1945. Fuel bowsers explode amongst parked Typhoons as Staffelkapitan Siegfried Mueller and his wingman Feldwebel Oscar Boesch of 1V/JG-3, lead a surprise strafing attack on Eindhoven aerodrome, Holland.
As 1944 came to a close, Germany stood defiant. She was surrounded by the advancing Russian Juggernaut on her eastern border, and the American and British armies and air forces in the west. Her industrialized cities lay in ruins, victims to the incessant day and night bombing campaigns by the allies. The German population had grown weary after nearly three years of worsening news and ever increasing hardships in supporting the war effort.
One of Germany's last desperate attempts to reverse the tide of war was initiated on January 1st, 1945 in "Operation Bodenplatte". It was designed to deliver a fatal blow to the Western Allied Forces by destroying their parked and fueling planes on the ground early in the morning. Instead, it was a disaster from which the Luftwaffe would never recover.
Every available front line combat aircraft, consisting of over 800 Luftwaffe planes, were utilized for the attack at allied airfields west of the battle line. The series of air raids cost the Luftwaffe a price in pilots and planes they could not afford to lose. At day's end, over 230 pilots and 300 planes were lost, while the Allies lost about 200 planes and a small number of pilots. In addition, the loss of nearly 30 Luftwaffe Commanders was a cost that was not realized until to late. Clearly, it was a campaign born out of desperation. Germany had spent its last hope of a turn-around in the conflict and had lost. The road to defeat for Germany would be shorter now, and would end a few months later in Unconditional Surrender.
In Robert Bailey's combat painting "Wakeup Call!", raiding Focke Wulf 190's of IV/JG-3, and Messerschmitt 109's are seen strafing the airfield at Eindhoven, Holland. Confusion reigns on the ground, with pilots and ground crews scrambling for slit trenches and foxholes. German fighters streak across the aerodrome, pumping cannon shells into every allied airplane they see.
Eagles Edition, Artist Proof Edition and Remarque Edition is signed by:
Feldwebel Oscar Boesch
Joined the Luftwaffe in 1942 and volunteered for Sturmstaffel 1, a specially formed unit charged with attacking the heavy daylight bombers. On his first mission he downed a B-17 but was almost killed when he flipped his Fw 190 on landing. On his second mission he was shot down while attacking a formation of B-24's, although he downed one of them. His good luck helped him survive through eight Fw 190's that he totaled while in action. Boesch has 18 confirmed victories and was awarded the Iron Cross 1st and 2nd Class. On his last of 120 combat sorties, he collided with a Yak-9 west of Berlin, was captured by the Russians and escaped. Today, he still flies at air shows in the U.S. and Canada.
Staffelkapitan Richard Franz
Joined the Luftwaffe in 1940. By June of 1942 he was in Africa with 9/JG-27, escorting Stuka missions. After recovering from malaria he was with 3/JG-77 in September 1943, flying missions on various fronts in Italy. He then volunteered for Sturmstaffel 1 and was later with 7/JG-11 as Staffelkapitan. While with this unit, he flew in Operation Bodenplatte, striking two allied airfields near Maastricht, Netherlands. Near war's end he was shot down by Russian fighters and spent three years in captivity. He has 23 victories, plus 4 Russian T-34 tanks. Decorations include the Iron Cross 1st and 2nd Class, Flight Clasp in Bronze, Silver and Gold.
Leutnant Theo Nau
Joined the Luftwaffe in 1943. His first missions were in home defense with 7/JG-11 and later during the German offensive in the Ardennes. The "Bodenplatte" mission took him to Asch in Holland, striking P-47's. On January 14th, 1945, he was shot down by Capt. Joe Cordner of the 365th Fighter Group. Lt. Nau parachuted from his stricken aircraft and after some time in hospital, joined JG-77 in Czechoslovakia. His last flight was in an Me 109 on May 8th, 1945. At war's end he was a P.O.W. of the Americans and was turned over to the Russians. He escaped and fled to West Germany, where he was released by U.S. occupation troops.
Unteroffizier Herbert Dosch
Is from Darmstadt and entered the Luftwaffe in 1940. He flew the Fw 44, Kl 35, Bu 131, Bu 181, Arado 66, Arado 96, Fw 56, Devotine520, He 51, Me 108, Me 109 and Fw 190. His first mission was in the Fw 190. In 1944 he was in the Home Defense with II/JG-1and was credited with his first victory. During his 7th mission, he was wounded and parachuted. He flew in France during the Allied invasion, and was wounded again. At the end of 1944 a Spitfire again caused him to use his parachute. During Operation Bodenplatte his target was the airport at St. Denis-Westrem in Belgium.
Staffelkapitan Siegfried Mueller
Was born in Silkau and joined the Luftwaffe in 1941. During 1943 and 1944 he was with JG-51 in Italy, Sturmstaffel 1 in Berlin, and IV Gruppe JG-3. In April 1945 he flew with JG-7 and was made a P.O.W. by the Americans at war's end. He racked up 181 sorties, with 17 victories on the Western Front and 3 in the East, for a total of 20. He had two bailouts and five crash landings. Mueller led JG-3 into the attack on Eindhoven during Operation Bodenplatte in "Red 10". Decorations include the Iron Cross 1st and 2nd Class and German Cross in Gold.
Unteroffizier Fritz Wiener
Joined the Luftwaffe in 1942 at the age of 17. In 1944 he briefly served with Jagdgruppe 200 during the Allied invasion. In October 1944 he was transferred to II.7/JG-11. In mid December the unit was ordered to support German ground troops in the Ardennes Offensive (Battle of the Bulge) and participated in Operation Bodenplatte. Mid January saw Wiener re-deployed to Berlin/Straussberg to fight advancing Soviet forces. On January 29th, 1945, he was shot down by Soviet flak and severely wounded. He was hospitalized until the war's end, having completed about 25 missions.
Sheet size: 23 1/2" high x 34" wide.
Every 'Wakeup Call!' print is accompanied by a matched number of 'Norway Patrol', from a beautifully rendered pencil drawing by Robert Bailey. Depicted is Oberleutenant Kurt Schulze leading a 'schwarm' of Me109's on patrol off the coast of Norway during October, 1944. 8/JG-5.
Sheet size: 12" high x 17" wide.
Individually signed by Oberleutenant Kurt Schulze and Robert Bailey.
The Luftwaffe Edition was signed by ELEVEN members of the Luftwaffe: (this edition was issued late w/o a signers list)