“Erich Rudorffer Tribute” by Nicolas Trudgian

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UNIQUE in the history of aviation art, this is an opportunity to acquire a GENUINE ERICH RUDORFFER COMBAT CONFIRMATION REPORT! This brilliantly evocative portrait of Rudorffer's Focke Wulf, golden in the fading sun over an ice-bound battlefield, recalls the glittering career of one of the world's greatest fighter pilots, when, as commanding officer of II/JG54, he battled in his FW190 over the war-torn, bitterly cold landscape of the Caucasus in late 1943.

Before he passed away in 2016, Erich Rudorffer kindly supplied a LIMITED NUMBER of his genuine combat confirmation reports from his personal collection. We are delighted to be able to present these highly valuable documents to discerning collectors. It was Erich’s instruction that they should only be made available after his death, and only then with the explicit approval of Irmgard, his widow. Irmgard has said how pleased she is that collectors will be able to acquire these unique reports from her husband’s personal archive and thereby share in her admiration for her husband and his historic achievements. The combat reports are presented with the Rudorffer Archive Edition. We are also proud to offer Nicolas Trudgian's world-renowned Remarque and Canvas Giclee editions of this superb picture.

Each limited edition print, except the Canvas Giclee, is accompanied by a companion pencil print 'STORMBIRD OVER BERLIN' portraying Erich Rudorffer, piloting an Me262 jet fighter, as he intercepts a formation of USAAF 'Flying Fortress' bombers over Berlin in the closing weeks of the Second World War. Overall companion print size 15½" x 11½"

Considered by many to be the Luftwaffe’s finest all-round fighter ace of World War Two, Erich Rudorffer served on every major front, flew all of the classic German fighters and was renowned for his ability to shoot down multiple aircraft in succession.

Beginning with JG2 during the Battle of France, Rudorffer then served in the Battle of Britain alongside top aces such as Helmut Wick and Gunther Seeger. Flying the Me109E, his aerial victories soon mounted up and he continued to joust with the RAF during the ’Non-stop’ offences of 1941.
By the time of the ill-fated Dieppe Raid in 1942, Rudorffer scored his 44th and 45th victories, both Spitfires. His Gruppe was then relocated to northern Africa where the war was going badly for the Axis forces. Now flying the heavily-armed Fw190, he began to demonstrate his skill at downing a number of aircraft on a single sortie. On the 9th February 1943 he claimed eight British aircraft and a short time later scored multiple victories over US-flown fighters.

By June of the same year, Rudorffer had moved to the brutal Eastern Front, assuming command of II/JG54, the famous ‘Green Hearts’, and continued to display his remarkable ability. On the 6th November 1943, he tangled with a large force of Soviet aircraft and shot down no fewer than thirteen of them, a record for a single mission. By this time he had already been awarded the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves and in January 1945 ‘Swords’ were awarded to this decoration after achieving his 212th victory.

Shortly after, Rudorffer was given the command of I/JG7, flying the potent Me262 jet fighter in the desperate, last-ditch defence of Germany. Despite lack of fuel, marauding Allied fighters over the jet airfields and being heavily outnumbered in the air, he managed to shoot down a further twelve aircraft with the Me262. By the war’s end, Erich Rudorffer had flown more than 1000 sorties, scored 224 victories and was the seventh-highest Ace in the history of aerial combat.

Published in 2017.