Richard Taylor Catalogue

DAYS OF THUNDER

by Richard Taylor

Richard Taylor Aviation Art DAYS OF THUNDER, P-47D Thunderbolts


Duxford became home to the 78th Fighter Group when they arrived in England with their P-47B Thunderbolts in 1943.
The objective of the American fighter units was to gain air superiority over the Luftwaffe in support
of their daylight bombing campaign. By 1944 they achieved their objective.


RAF Duxford’s history goes back to the First World War, when its buildings were constructed by German POWs! First occupants were the RAF’s No 8 Squadron in 1919. and in 1940 Duxford became famous as an important Baffle of Britain fighter station, housing Douglas Bader’s Hurricane Wing.


The arrival of the USAAF’s 78th Fighter Group in April 1943, with their big P-47 Razorback Thunderbolt fighters, brought a new dimension to the Cambridgeshire base, the Americans quickly becoming part of the local community. But they were on a deadly mission: Given the task of escorting Eighth Air Force B-17 Fortress and B-24 Liberator heavy bombers on the awesome daylight raids, the USAAF fighter units were thrown into battle from the day they arrived. Beginning with high altitude fighter sweeps over France and Holland, followed by long range escort missions providing much needed defence for the bombers against roaming Luftwaffe fighters — auxiliary fuel tanks taking them ever deeper into Germany. With the approach of D-Day, the robust P-47s, now supplemented with the sleeker, bubble canopy D models, became engaged in low-level ground attacks in preparation for the coming invasion.
The USAAF fighter escorts made an impact from day one, drastically reducing bomber losses, and racking up impressive kill ratios against the Luftwaffe, and by the spring of 1944, the Allies had gained vital air superiority over the Luftwaffe in the fearsome air war raging over occupied Europe. The 78th Fighter Group from Duxford played their part.

Richard Taylor commemorates the valiant contribution of the 78th Fighter Group with a fine new rendition showing P-47D Thunderbolts departing Duxford en route for the north coast of France, and a low-level strafing mission. It is the spring of 1944, and with the Normandy invasion just days away, the Thunderbolts are already painted with invasion markings. A striking and emotive painting from a rare emerging talent.


Overall print size: 30¾" x 22’ high


The LIMITED EDITION
Joining artist Richard Tailor in signing this outstanding tribute to the P47 Thunderbolt, each print in the entire edition is signed by Colonel 'Shorty' Rankin, one of the most respected P47 Fighter Aces who flew combat over Europe during World War II

Colonel ROBERT J. ‘SHORTY’ RANKIN


250 Signed & Numbered prints

The FIGHTER ACES Edition
Every print in this exclusive Fighter Aces edition has been signed by three additional P47 top fighter Aces, all of whom flew combat in Europe during WWII There are a total of FOUR signatures in this edition.

Colonel ROBERT J. ‘SHORTY’ RANKIN

Colonel WALKER BUD’MAHURIN

Colonel STEVE ‘THE GREEK’ PISANOS

Brigadier General LES C. SMITH


150 Special Edition
25 Artist Proofs
25 Remarques
10 Double Remarques

Orders from outside the European Union are free of vat

THE SIGNATURES

Colonel ROBERT J. ‘SHORTY’ RANKIN
‘Shorty’ Rankin joined the Army Reserves as a Private in 1941. He served as an Aviation Cadet, and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant, and rated a pilot in April 1943. Posted to England, in August he joined the 61st FS, 56th Fighter Group, flying P47Ds, and
scored his first victory, an Me 109, over Paris in early 1944. His tally of victories continued to rise quickly, and on 12 May he achieved Ace status when, during the same combat, he downed a total of five enemy MelO9s over Germany in the space of thirty minutes. ‘Shorty’ got the last of his 10 air victories, ‘another Me109, on 7 June.

Colonel WALKER BUD’MAHURIN
One of World War II’s highest scoring Aces, ‘Bud, Mahurin also gained a reputation as one of the USAAFs most colourful characters. Arriving in England in early 1943 to join the 56th Fighter Group flying P47s, ‘Bud’ indulged in seventeen months of heavy aerial fighting during which he suffered one crash and was forced to bail out three times, finally landing behind enemy lines. Undaunted he made contact with the French Resistance, and made his way back to England. By this time he had shot down 21 German aircraft. He then transferred to the South West Pacific where he added a Japanese aircraft to his score. During the Korean War ‘Bud’ commanded the 4th Fighter Interceptor Group where he added 3’/z MIG15s to his tally before being shot down, to spend a gruelling sixteen months as a POW

Colonel STEVE ‘THE GREEK’ PISANOS
Steve Pisanos volunteered to fly with the RAF in 1941, joining other Americans in 71 Eagle Squadron RAF flying Spitfires. In October 1942 he transferred with the other Americans into the USAAF, joining the 4th Fighter Group on P47s. On 5 March he became an Ace when he got his fifth victory on an escort mission over France, but was forced down following an engine failure. Skillfully evading capture by the pursuing Germans, he joined up with the French Resistance and served behind the lines with both the American 0SS and the British SOE. He eventually made it back to England in September 1944 following the Allied liberation of Paris.

Brigadier General LES C. SMITH
Joining Hub Zemke’s famous ‘Wolfpack’ - the 56th Fighter Group, Les Smith went to England with the Group, sailing on the Queen Elizabeth and arriving at their first base at Kings Cliffe in January 1943. Flying P47s, the Group flew their first combat mission on
13 April 1943 and Les was soon into the thick of the action when he damaged an Fw19O several weeks later. Already an Ace by the time he completed his first tour in May 1944, he returned to the US, but was soon back in England for a second tour, this time as CO of the 62nd FS. Promoted Deputy Group CO, and finally Air Inspector of the 65th Fighter Wing, by the end of the war his air victory tally stood at 7 plus another 4½ ground victories.

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