Ramraiders by Richard Taylor.
Within two days of the D-Day Normandy invasion, on 8 June 1944 Commander of US Air Forces in Europe, General Carl Spaatz, ordered a massive new offensive to halt the supply of oil to the enemy forces. As top priority his bombers would henceforth concentrate their attacks on Germanys oil refineries. Those in range of air bases in England would feel the full force of the Eighth Air Force, while the installations further south in Romania, Hungary, and southern Germany would be attacked by bombers of the Fifteenth Air Force based in Italy. To add to the pressure, RAF Bomber Command was coordinated to attack the refineries in the Ruhr by night. As the huge mass of American bombers streamed into the daylight skies, the Luftwaffe quickly changed tactics to counter the potentially devastating threat with a new specialist tactic - the Sturmgruppe. Flying their redesigned and heavily armoured Sturmbocke Fw190A-8 heavy fighters, pilots of the newly formed IV Sturm/JG3 Gruppe were urgently assigned the task of attacking the vast bomber streams in an effort to protect the refineries. Escorted into battle by Me 109s to hold off any escorting American fighters, the Fw190s tactic was to make en-masse lightning attacks on carefully selected targets. With the American bomber formations spread over miles of sky, the Sturmgruppe aimed for the less well defended centre of the stream, attacking from the rear with concentrated cannon fire. With the pilots of IV Sturm JG3 sworn on oath to press home their attacks at the closest possible range, even ramming their targets if necessary to ensure a kill, these desperate tactics were to inflict considerable damage to the allied bomber offensive during the final year of the war.
|Item Code : DHM2639||Ramraiders by Richard Taylor. - This Edition|| Buy 1 Get 1 Half Price!|
|PRINT||Signed limited edition of 400 prints. ||Image size 24 inches x 16 inches (61cm x 41cm)|| Reschke, Willi|
+ Artist : Richard Taylor
|Signatures on this item|
Leutnant Helmut Ballewski
|Helmut Ballewski was one of the 'younger' generation flyers, not joining the Luftwaffe until November 1942. Posted to JG53 PIK AS he flew all of his 47 missions in the west. With IV./JG53 from January 1945, Helmut Ballewski was Helmut Bennemann's wingman on Operation Bodenplatte. He also flew fighter bomber operations on the Bridge at Remagen operation. He was awarded the Iron Cross.|
|Leutnant Kurt Wuppermann||Kurt Wupperrnann was called up in 1942, and with a love of flying, joined the Luftwaffe. After completing his pilot training, he was posted to join JG54 Greenhearts flying the Fw190A-8. Transferring to the northern sector of the Eastern Front, he notched up three quick victories and flew oil combat operations continually until 18 December 1944, when he was shot down over the Baltic near Riga, making an emergency landing. On theground, he was rescued by Strafgeschwader 291, but had suffered bad facial injuries. So great was the need for experienced pilots in the last months of the war however that after six weeks in hospital he was patched up and flying combat again.
Oberfeldwebel Willi Reschke
|One of the outstanding younger Luftwaffe pilots, Willi Reschke was one of the leading members of JG300 Wilde Sau flying the Fw190A in the 'Defence of the Reich'. Towards the latter months of the war he transferred to the Stabsschwarm of JG301, still flying the Fw190A. Awarded the Knight's Crossin April 1945, he was credited with 26 victories - all in the west - including 18 four engined bombers.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Fw190||The Focke-Wulf 190 development project began in 1937. Conceived as a hedge against total dependence on the Messerchmitt 109, the 190 was designed by Kurt Tank utilizing a radial engine. This was against generally accepted design criteria in Germany, and many historians believe that the decision to produce a radial engine fighter was largely due to the limited manufacturing capacity for in-line, water-cooled engines which were widely used on all other Luftwaffe aircraft. Despite these concerns, Tanks design was brilliant, and the 190 would become one of the top fighter aircraft of WWII. The first prototype flew in mid-1939. The aircraft had excellent flying characteristics, a wonderful rate of acceleration, and was heavily armed. By late 1940 the new fighter was ordered into production. Nicknamed the butcher bird, by Luftwaffe pilots, early 190s were quite successful in the bomber interceptor role, but at this stage of the war many Allied bombing raids lacked fighter escort. As the war dragged on, Allied bombers were increasingly accompanied by fighters, including the very effective P-51 Mustang. The Allies learned from experience that the 190s performance fell off sharply at altitudes above 20,000 feet. As a result, most Allied bombing missions were shifted to higher altitudes when fighter opposition was likely. Kurt Tank had recognized this shortcoming and began working on a high-altitude version of the 190 utilizing an in-line, water-cooled engine. Utilizing a Jumo 12-cylinder engine rated at 1770-HP, and capable of 2,240-HP for short bursts with its methanol injection system, the 190D, or Long Nose or Dora as it was called, had a top speed of 426-MPH at 22,000 feet. Armament was improved with two fuselage and two wing mounted 20mm cannon. To accommodate the changes in power plants the Dora had a longer, more streamlined fuselage, with 24 inches added to the nose, and an additional 19 inches added aft of the cockpit to compensate for the altered center of gravity. By mid 1944 the Dora began to reach fighter squadrons in quantity. Although the aircraft had all the right attributes to serve admirably in the high altitude interceptor role, it was not generally focused on such missions. Instead many 190Ds were assigned to protect airfields where Me-262 jet fighters were based. This was due to the latter aircrafts extreme vulnerability to Allied attack during takeoff and landing. The 190Ds also played a major role in Operation Bodenplatte, the New Years Day raid in 1945 which destroyed approximately 500 Allied aircraft on the ground. The High Command was impressed with the 190Ds record on this raid, and ordered most future production of the Doras to be equipped as fighter-bombers. In retrospect this was a strategic error, and this capable aircraft was not fully utilized in the role for which it was intended.|