Aircraft – Ju52, Me109
tri-motor Ju52 made its maiden flight in April 1932, and was quickly in
service with airlines in over 30 countries, Lufthansa operating two aircraft
between Berlin, London and Rome before the end of the year. Clandestine
work on a military version was also underway, the first bomber conversion
appearing in 1934. Armed with a pair of machine guns, the Ju52/3mg3e could
carry a bomb load slightly in excess of 1300lbs, but it was in the air
transport role that the Ju52 would excel.
After cutting its military teeth as a troop carrier in the Spanish Civil
War, the Ju52 came into its own during the invasions of Poland and Norway
by which time over 550 of the type were in service. But its relatively
low sped made it an easy target for anti-aircraft gunners, and in the
five days it took the Wehrmacht to crush the Netherlands and Belgium no
fewer than 167 were totally destroyed.
The Ju52 supported every Wehrmacht operation on every front during World
War II, carrying paratroopers, towing gliders, transporting munitions
and supplies, and evacuating casualties, but at a heavy price: In the
final evacuation of Tunisia over 400 Ju52s were lost in less than three
weeks. At the end of the war fewer than 50 of the 4800 Ju52s built were
still surviving. In a twist of irony, following refurbishment, ten of
these went into service with British European Airways in 1946!
Robert Taylor’s beautiful painting captures this classic aircraft
in another role for which it became famous: A Ju52 of Luftlotte 2,escorted
by Me109s of JG-53, transports important military personnel over the Dolomites
in the summer of 1942. With the setting sun illuminating the mountain
tops in a brilliant light, the panoramic vista is both chilling and spectacular.
As the aircraft lumbers across the impressive mountain scenery, members
of the High Command can be seen in conference in the cabin, while the
crew in the cockpit concentrate on their ‘Special Duties’
flight plan. Behind them, unprotected from the elements, a lone gunner
keeps a watchful eye.
in pencil by the artist Robert Taylor and five distinguished Ju52 pilots
and aircrew and two high scoring Luftwaffe Aces who flew the Me109 in
combat during World War II:
Leutnant Herbert Kaiser Knight’s Cross, Oberleutnant Günther
Seeger Knight’s Cross, Oberfeldwebel Alexander Uhlig Knight’s
Cross, Major Werner Roell Knight’s Cross, Oberfeldwebel Theo Gerling
German Cross in gold, Oberleutnant Helmut Schwartz Iron Cross Class I(later
to become a commander within Nato’s air defence sectors),
Hauptmann Claus Semmelhaack Iron Cross 2nd Class.
print size: 34 3/4 inches wide x 23 3/4 inches high
signed and numbered prints
25 Artist’s Proofs -
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