Rare Limited Edition by Robert Taylor featuring Stuka dive bombers over the Mediterranean in 1941. At 0426 hours on 1st September 1939, three Ju87Bs of 3 Staffel, Stukageschwader 1 took off from Elbing to record the first bombing mission of World War Two. It marked the beginning of six years of relentless endeavour by the notorious Stuka and its courageous crews. Following its success in the Polish and French ‘Blitzrieg’ campaigns the Stuka was seen by the German High Command as the supreme new weapon to succeed long range artillery. With its banshee-like wailing siren the Stuka pilots would deliver destruction from the skies and create a devastating psychological effect upon all those below. An evil-looking aircraft, its spatted undercarriage for all the world looking like the extended talons of some monstrous bird, the Ju87 Stuka was arguably the most menacing looking combat aircraft ever conceived. Having the ability to make an almost vertical controlled dive, its pilots could plant their bombs with greater accuracy than any other dive-bomber of the war, but its effectiveness required total control of the air, and over Southern England that was a situation it never got. Quickly the Stuka pilots found how vulnerable they were against the fast manoeuvrable fighters of the RAF. Though it never again achieved the decisive successes of Poland and France, the Ju87 was operated effectively on all fronts in the most theatres. Poorly armed, slow and vulnerable by any standards, it was nevertheless the aircraft flown by the most highly decorated Knights Cross winner of the war, Hans Rudel, who flew 2530 missions and claimed over 500 tanks destroyed. In spite of its shortcomings the Stuka enjoyed success wherever the Luftwaffe maintained a measure of control in the air, and was one of the few aircraft of either side to fly operationally throughout the war. The Stuka when dressed for war was an awesome spectacle. Robert Taylor’s outstanding painting shows a formation of Ju87’s bombed up and fitted with long range tanks heading out on a shipping strike over the Mediterranean in 1941, providing a memorable record of this remarkable aircraft. Each print is signed by the artist along with four highly decorated Luftwaffe Ju87 pilots: Gerhard Studemann Kurt Kuhlmey Franz Kieslich Helmut Fickel Edition: 1250 Overall Print Size: 34 x 24 inches

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