The role of the Luftwaffe’s night-fighter force was one of the most difficult and dangerous jobs of them all. Although highly feared, they were eventually overwhelmed by the sheer numbers and tactics as RAF Bomber Command increased their night-time offensive against the industrial heartlands of Hitler’s Third Reich. During their long, defensive campaign the Luftwaffe gave its night-fighter crews no time to rest, let alone recuperate – they often flew non-stop until they were either killed in action, wounded, or physically exhausted, incapable of flying. Only the lucky survived.
One of those who didn’t was Major Prinz zu Sayn-Wittgenstein,Geschwaderkommodoreof NJG/2 who is skilfully depicted in Richard’s detailed drawing on the night of 21 January 1944, the fateful mission that would be his last.
Flying a Ju88 C-6 from Deelen airfield in the Netherlands to intercept a force of more than 700 RAF heavy bombers, he and his crew had managed to destroy five four-engine aircraft, including Lancaster DV263, KM-M from 44 Squadron portrayed in Richard’s drawing, before his Ju88 was itself hit and set ablaze. Although his crew baled out successfully, Sayn-Wittgenstein is thought to have struck his head when exiting his aircraft, and was killed. At the time he was the highest-scoring night-fighter pilot in the Luftwaffe with 83 victories to his credit, a tally that remained the third- highest by any night-fighter come the end of hostilities.
This highly-restricted edition remembers the exploits of the Luftwaffe’s night-fighter force in its long battle with RAF Bomber Command. All copies are hand-numbered and personally signed by artist Richard Taylor, before being mounted to full conservation standards to include the original autographs of both Luftwaffe and RAF veterans who duelled in the night skies over Europe during WWII.
The Collector’s Edition With TWO veteran signatures
Restricted to just 20 copies worldwide, each print is mounted to include the signatures of two highly-regarded pilots; one who flew Ju88s with the Luftwaffe, the other flew Lancasters in the RAF:
OberleutnantKARL-HORST MEYER zum FELDE GCiG Already a member of the Luftwaffe prior to the outbreak of war, he served as a Pilot on Junkers Ju88s and Heikel He111s with KG55.
Marshal of the RAFSir MICHAEL BEETHAM GCB CBE DFC AFC FRAeS As a Pilot on Lancasters with 50 Sqn he completed 30 operations over Germany at the height of the Battle of Berlin and survived baling out from a burning Lancaster.
The Veterans Edition With SIX veteran signatures
With all components of the Collector’s Edition, this highly prized Veterans Edition is limited to only TEN copies. Each print is matted to include the additional autographs of two more veterans who flew Lancasters with the RAF, plus a further two Luftwaffe veterans who flew Ju88s, including the exceedingly rare, wartime signature of the famous Ace depicted:
MajorHEINRICH PRINZ ZU SAYN-WITTGENSTEIN KC with Oak Leaves & Swords As a Pilot with KG1, KG51, NJG2, NJG3 and NJG5, he flew Junkers Ju88s, Heinkel He111s and Messerschmitt Bf110s and achieved 83 aerial victories. At the time of his death in January 1944 he was the highest-scoring night-fighter pilot and still the third-highest by the end of the war.
Unteroffizier FahnenjunkerWALTER BOGDAN As a Radio Operator with KG55 he flew both Heinkel He111s and Junkers Ju88s on night-fighter missions. He completed 110 combat sorties and on his final mission in July 1944 his aircraft was hit over 122 times, but he and his pilot still managed to return safely.
Warrant OfficerNORMAN JACKSON VC Serving as a Flight Engineer on Lancasters with 106 Squadron, he received the Victoria Cross for an action on his 30th mission following an attack by a Luftwaffe night-fighter and despite being injured he managed to extinguish the fire on board. For this action he received the Victoria Cross.
Air Chief MarshalSir AUGUSTUS WALKER GCB CBE DSO DFC AFC As Commanding Officer of 50 Squadron on Lancasters he lost his arm trying to extinguish a fire on a taxiing aircraft, but it didn’t stop him from returning to active service. He went on to be considered as one of the most eminent wartime leaders of RAF Bomber Command.
Image size: 12 ½” high x 7 ½” wide Collector’s Edition approx. matted size 14 ½” high x 18 ¼” high Veterans Edition approx. matted size 16 ¾” high x 18 ¼” high