Overall Print Size: 24 x 17 inches - overall inc. matte border 28.5 x 25 inches Edition: 50 Subject: P-51 Mustangs and Bf109s in combat.
Each of these Tribute Proofs is conservation matted to include the original pencil signatures of top P-51 Aces along with some of the most highly decorated and high scoring Luftwaffe Bf109 pilots that flew in WWII. The 24 signatories on this piece amassed a staggering total of more than 1050 victories between them.
It had begun; the end game was inexorably in play. The final defeat of Germany and the end of Nazi tyranny was almost within sight but in the skies over Germany the defiant remnants of the Luftwaffe fought on with savage determination. Ever since the long-range American P-51 escort fighters had first appeared, the skies over the Reich had witnessed grim encounters with the Mustangs taking on the Luftwaffe as they tried to stop the heavy bombers of the USAAF reaching their targets. By early 1945 it was a losing battle, but still the Luftwaffe fought on and, in the resulting maelstrom of combat, the Mustang pilots still had their work cut out against these battle hardened, expert pilots
Robert Taylor’s superb drawing, part of his much-acclaimed Graphite Series, dramatically reconstructs one such clash in early 1945 as P-51 Mustangs of the 357th Fighter Group have spotted a group of Bf109s heading their way. Without hesitation they dive head-on in an attempt to break-up the enemy formation and for the pilots on both sides the explosive encounter of close combat is suddenly upon them.
Each print in Robert Taylor's Limited Edition, The Eagles Divide (Tribute |Proof Edition), is signed by the following combat veterans:
Colonel CLARENCE ‘BUD’ ANDERSON - 357th Fighter Group Ace with 161/4 victories Captain WILLIAM ‘BILL’ OVERSTREET - 357th Fighter Group Ace with 5 victories Leutnant HUGO BROCH - Knight’s Cross with 81 victories Oberleutnant WALTER WOLFRUM - Knight’s Cross with 137 victories Leutnant JORG CZPIONKA - Iron Cross with 2 victories Captain JIM BROOKS - Ace with 13 victories Lieutenant Colonel CLYDE B. EAST - P-51 Ace with 141/2 victories Colonel ART FIEDLER - Ace with 8 victories Colonel JOE PETERSBURS - Shot down the Me262 jet flown by legendary Ace Walter Schuck. Oberleutnant KURT SCHULTZ - Iron Cross with 3 victories. First Lieutenant CLINT WHITE - 31st Fighter Group P-51 pilot Generalleutnant GUNTHER RALL - Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves & Swords with 275 victories Hauptmann GUNTHER NORDENHOLZ - Me109 Pilot with 1 victory Oberfeldwebel ERICH AXTHAMMER - Knight’s Cross with 4 air victories plus numerous tanks and ground targets destroyed Unteroffizier GUSTAV DREES - JG54,with 4 victories Unteroffizier JOHANNES OESTERHELT - JG52 Me109 Pilot with 2 victories Generalleutnant ADOLF GALLAND - Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds with 104 victories, all in the West General JOHANNES STEINHOFF - Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords with 178 victories Major GERHARD SCHOPFEL - Knight’s Cross with 40 victories, all in the West Generalmajor DIETER HRABAK - Knight’s Cross with 125 victories Captain WILLIAM ‘OBEE’ O’BRIEN - 357th Fighter Group Ace with 51/2 victories Lieutenant Colonel BOB GOEBEL - Mustang Ace with 11 victories Major RICHARD ‘BUD’ PETERSON - 357th Fighter Group Ace with 151/2 victories Lieutenant General GEORGE G. LOVING Jr - 31st Fighter Group Ace with 5 victories.