Winter of '41 by Nicolas Trudgian features Mk Vb Spitfires returning to base during the winter of 1940-41. With the Battle of Britain won, and the first chinks in Goering's armour exposed, RAF Fighter Command is at last able to carry the war to the enemy. It is the bittersweet winter of '41. The notion that after defeating the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain the RAF had secured supremacy of the skies, is one of the great misconceptions of World War II. Though there was never more intense, nor desperate, air-to-air fighting, the great air battles between the opposing air forces had more than another four long years to run. Despite the fact that Hitler had cancelled his plans to invade Britain, and Goering switched his attentions to the Blitz of London by night, Spitfires and Hurricanes of Fighter Command continued to clash fiercely by day with Luftwaffe fighters over the Channel and south-east England throughout 1940, and on into 1941. Now that the great defensive battle was won there was no time to pause, and II Group's AOC, Leigh-Mallory, immediately deployed his big fighter wings on offensive operations across the Channel into enemy occupied territory, teasing the weakened Luftwaffe to come up and fight. Short-range bomber escort missions known as Ramrods, were combined with Rhubarbs - small-scale freelance fighter strikes against ground targets of opportunity, often flown is awful weather; low-level attacks on enemy shipping - Roadsteads; and fighter sweeps over the Channel ­ Jim Crows in pilots parlance. Those squadrons not taken up with defending the night skies over England flew dawn to dusk missions each day, weather permitting, throughout the winter of 1940-41. In the first six months of the new year, Fighter Command's pilots completed almost 3000 combat sorties. Nick Trudgian's evocative painting portrays a scene so familiar to those living all along the south coast of Britain during the long hard winter of '41. Mk Vb Spitfires, having taken off as the first streaks of dawn spread across the morning sky, return to a snow-covered airfield after a dawn patrol over the Channel. Inhabitants of the sleepy English village begin to stir with the familiar sound of Merlin engines, counting each and every one of their fighter boys home. Each print is signed by the artist along with four highly distinguished fighter pilots who flew the Spitfire in combat during World War II: Squadron Leader Neville Duke DSO OBE DFC* AFC CzMZ Flight Lieutenant Raymond Baxter Lieutenant Colonel Ervin Miller Warrant Officer Norman Samuels. Edition Size: 400 Overall Size: 28 x 27 inches

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