BY GERALD COULSON
Having lead I./JG 3 through the Battles of France and Britain, by the summer of 1941 Lutzow was Kommodore of JG 3 contesting the great air battles on the Western Front. He then took his wing to Russia where, after two long hard fought years, and with his personal tally standing at 107 victories, he was promoted to take command of all day and night fighter operations in north western Germany.
Called to Georings meeting of high ranking fighter staff to air their grievances, the fearless Gunther Lutzow didn’t hesitate to lay these on the line. Adolf Galland had been dismissed as General of the Fighter arm for his outspoken criticism of the Luftwaffe High Command and Lutzow opened with a valient attempt to have him reinstated, at the same time forcefully raising the matter of Goering’s abuse and mistrust of his fighter pilots. Goering exploded , claimed mutiny and stormed out of the meeting threatening to have everyone attending either shot or court-marshalled. The gallant Gunther Lutzow was saved by his record and reputation, but relieved from his command and banished to Italy.
When hearing Galland was forming a new wing to fly the Me262 jet fighter, Gunther Lutzow was itching to get back into the combat arena. Lutzow pulled every string he knew to get himself transferred. After recording two victories flying the Me262, Gunther Lutzow went missing on 24 April while attempting to intercept one of the huge formations of USSAF bombers roaming over Germany on that day.
Gerald Coulson’s atmospheric new painting shows Gunther Lutzow, with his aircraft still carrying the markings of a short stint with JG51, and Me109s taking off from a snow covered airfield at Schatalowka in December 1941, and with prints signed by no less than four veteran Me109 pilots who fought on the cruel Eastern Front, this is sure to be a valuable addition to any aviation art collection.
Overall Print Size: 39” wide x 231/2” high
Feldwebel JOHANNES BACHMANN
350 Signed and Numbered FOUR signatures -
THE HARTMANN TRIBUTE EDITION PROOFS
with FIVE signatures including matted companion print and the original pencil signature of Erich Hartmann.
Every print in this special edition is issued with a matching numbered full colour companion print ‘HARTMANN’. Each is double matted to full conservation standards to include the original pencil signature of the highest scoring fighter ace in history - Oberst Erich Hartmann.
‘HARTMANN’ Companion Print Matted Size: 16 3/4” wide x 15 1/2” high
Erich Hartmann’s Bf109K-4 with 9./JG52 at Deutsch Brod, Czechoslovakia in the final days of the war, May 1944.
100 Tribute Proofs -
Feldwebel Johannes Bachmann
Born in Aue near Dresden in 1921, Joannes Bachmann joined the Luftwaffe in the spring of 1943. After training as a pilot, he was posted to join 9./ JG52 in Russia where in over 40 combat missions on Me109s, he scored 5 confirmed air victories before the war ended.
Fahnrich Manfred Leisebein
Joining the Luftwaffe in the summer of 1943, aged 18, Manfred Leisebein was posted, after completing his fighter pilot’s training, to 3./JG52 in Russia. Flying Me109s throughout his 37 combat flights, Manfred scored a total of 5 aerial victories with JG52, and was awarded the Iron Cross II.
Unteroffizier Otfried Sahl
Born in Eigenrode on 17 August 1925, Otfried was called up for service in 1943, joining the Luftwaffe in July of that year. Trained as a fighter pilot he was posted to the Eastern Front to join 5./JG52, where he undertook 35 combat operations on Me109s before the end of the war.
Born on 16 October 1925 in Zwickau, Klaus was called up to join the Luftwaffe in the summer of 1943, where he underwent training to qualify as a fighter pilot. Posted to join JG52 in the East flying Me109s, Klaus took part in 30 combat flights, and scored 3 confirmed victories before the war came to an end.
ERICH HARTMANN 1922 – 1993
During an astonishing 1400 combat mission career, operating on the Eastern Front between 1942 – 1945, Erich Hartmann was credited with 352 Aerial Victories, to become the highest scoring fighter Ace in history. It is a record likely to stand for all time.
Learning to fly gliders in his teens the young Erich showed an unusual talent in the air and, by the age of 16, was a qualified glider instructor. Joining the Luftwaffe when old enough he started training in October, 1940, and celebrated his 20th birthday by checking out on the Me109.
In August, 1942, he was posted to Russia, joining JG-52 under its highly respected Kommodore, Dieter Hrabak. In common with other novice pilots joining his Wing, Hrabak assigned Hartmann to fly as wingman to one of his senior pilots, Paule Rossman.
Operating west of Mostock on the northern side of the Caucasus Mountains, Erich Hartmann scored his first victory on November 5, 1942, but it was not until spring of 1943 that Kommodore Hrabak realised that in Erich Hartmann he had more than just an ordinary fighter pilot. By April his new protege had claimed 11 victories, no mean score for a pilot with less than 6 months combat experience. By summer of that year he was flying upwards of 4 missions a day, rarely coming home without a victory. On July 7, he scored 7 kills in one day, and it was not long before the young Hartmann was catching up with the scores of some of the Wing’s more illustrious Aces, Walter Krupinski, Gerhard Barkhorn and Gunther Rall.
Hartmann spurned the more traditional techniques of deflection shooting favoured by most fighter pilots, always claiming he was no marksman. His approach was to bide his time until the moment of attack was right, then bore in at high speed, getting as close as possible to his quarry before firing. He claimed that this technique, which took great courage and inordinate piloting skills to avoid mid-air collision, made each attack more effective, and conserved ammunition. It was not however without its hazards - of the 16 times Hartmann was forced down, 8 were as a result of flying into the debris of Russian aircraft he had exploded at point-blank range.
As his aerial victories multiplied, so did his status within JG-52, and by the war end, with the rank of Major, Erich Hartmann was Group Commander of I./JG-52.
During an astonishing 1400 combat missions his personal score had mounted to an incredible 352 air-to-air victories, and he had been decorated with the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds – Germany’s highest military award.
Of all this great fighter pilot’s accomplishments, the one of which he was most proud was that in all his long combat career he never lost a wingmen. That meant as much to him as any one of his 352 victories, and speaks volumes for the character of the man we remember as the greatest Ace of them all – ‘The Blond Knight’ – Colonel Erich Hartmann.
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