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 Steve Pisanos, flying P-47 QP-D, is depicted pulling away swiftly after a victory over an FW-190 in late December 1944 over northern Germany. This was Steve's fourth victory, one victory short on an ace, which would come later in the P-51.

Greek Victory by Brian Bateman. (P)
- £300.00
 Known as the Silent Service, the men of the United States Submarine Force were the unsung heroes of the US Navy.  In World War Two, Submarine Force alone was responsible for sinking over fifty percent of Japanese Shipping - but the success came at a high price - one in five submarines did not survive the war.  Here USS Wahoo, arguably the most famous US Submarine of the war, is seen surveying a kill during her fifth war patrol in 1943.  USS Wahoo (SS-238)  would also fall victim, sunk by Japanese aircraft and Japanese submarine chasers 15 and 43 in Soya Strait, Japan on the 11th of October 1943.

Night of the Hunter, USS Wahoo by Anthony Saunders. (P)
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 Portland, England, 30th September 1940.  Already an accomplished Spitfire ace with at least 10 confirmed kills, Bob Doe had just transferred from 234 squadron to 238 Hurricane squadron when he intercepted and brought down a  Heinkel He111P-2 from I/KG55 <i>Griffin</i> Geschwader.

Doe's Griffin by David Pentland. (P)
- £355.00
 The image shows Lancaster AJ-A attacking the Mohne dam, successfully causing a small breach.  Alongside is the portrait of AJ-A pilot Sqn Ldr H M Young.  This aircraft was shot down over the Dutch coast on the return journey, with the loss of all crew. <br><br><b>Crew of <i>A for Apple</i> :</b><br><br>Pilot : Sqn Ldr H M Young<br>Flight Engineer : Sgt D T Horsfall<br>Navigator : Flt Sgt D W Roberts<br>Wireless Operator : Sgt L W Nichols<br>Bomb Aimer : Flg Off V S MacCausland<br>Front Gunner : Sgt G A Yeo<br>Rear Gunner : Sgt W Ibbotson.

Tribute to the 617 Sqn Dambusters Crew of Lancaster AJ-A by David Pentland. (P)
- £360.00
  HMS Norfolk and HMS Belfast of Force I are shown engaging the Scharnhorst which has already been hit and disabled by both HMS Duke of York and the cruiser HMS Jamaica.  Scharnhorst was never to escape the clutches of the British and Norwegian forces for, having been slowed to just a few knots by numerous hits, fell victim to repeated torpedo attacks by the allied cruisers and destroyers that had trapped the German marauder.

HMS Norfolk at the Battle of the North Cape by Ivan Berryman (P)
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 Steve Pisanos, flying P-47 QP-D in Red Section, shoots down a German Me-109 near Sittard, Gemany.  Here we see the 109 trailing smoke and banking down as Steve has hits near the engine and cockpit of the enemy combatant. Claim one Me-109.

Victory for Red Section by Brian Bateman. (P)
- £300.00
 Whilst on a strafing sortie over German occupied St Trond airfield on 25th February 1944, Spitfires of 331 Sqn launched an attack on the Heinkel He.177 bombers that were stationed there.  Among those taking part was Norwegian ace Lieutenant Frederick Arild Sverdrup Fearnley, flying Spitfire Mk IX MJ354 (FN-W).  Fearnley shared in the destruction of a Heinkel He.177 as it tried to take off, but his Spitfire was immediately hit by ground fire, the young Norwegian losing his life in the ensuing crash.  Fearnley was credited with a possible 7 victories in his short career.

Mayhem at St Trond by Ivan Berryman. (P)
- £2200.00
 Walter Schuck and fellow pilot of JG5 Eismeer in front of a Me109F covered in tarpaulins as some protection against the weather in this most isolated and inhospitable theatre of the war.  Schuck served with this unit from December 1942 to April 1945, and in that time claimed 198 victories.

The Frozen North, Petsamo, Finland, January 1943 by David Pentland. (P)
- £320.00
 A Bristol Beaufort Mk I of No 22 Squadron attacks a railway marshalling yard during raids on the French coast in the Autumn of 1940.

Bristol Beaufort by Ivan Berryman. (P)
- £900.00
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Welcome to world-wartwo.co.uk , military website dedicated to the history and artwork of world war two. As you navigate through our superb galleries of military, naval and aviation art by the world's leading artists you will see over 900 military paintings published or distributed by Cranston Fine Arts, the military print company

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LATEST WW2 AVIATION ART RELEASES

 Austrian-born Walter Nowotny was one of Germany's highest scoring aces of WWII with 258 victories to his credit, three of them flying the Messerschmitt Me.262. He is depicted here flying White 8 of Kommando Nowotny based at Achmer, Germany in 1944. He was killed in action later that year following a fraught combat with US fighters during the Defence of the Reich.

White 8 - Walter Nowotny by Ivan Berryman.
 The highest scoring fighter pilot of all time with a confirmed tally of 352 victories, Erich Hartmann is depicted getting airborne from a snowy airstrip in Czechoslovakia, late in 1944 in a Bf109G-6 of 6./JG 52.

Erich Hartmann - The Ace of Aces by Ivan Berryman.
 The daylight raid on Tokyo, led by Lt Col James H. Doolittle on Sunday 18 April 1942, has rightfully entered the history books as one of the most daring and courageous operations of the Second World War. On that day, in mid ocean, Doolittle had launched his B-25 Mitchell bomber from the heaving, spray-soaked flight deck of an aircraft carrier, a deck too short to land on, and flown on to bomb Tokyo. He knew there would be no return to the USS Hornet, either for him or the 15 heavily laden B-25s behind him, for this was a feat never before attempted, and for every crew member the mission was a one-way ticket. Yet, under the leadership of Jimmy Doolittle, they all dared to survive. The mission for the 16 bombers was to bomb industrial targets in Tokyo and surrounding areas, to slow production of strategic war material, then fly on to land in the part of south-west China that was still in the hands of friendly Nationalist forces. All being well, the mission would be so unexpected it would plant the first seeds of doubt into enemy minds. It worked – the Japanese were forced to quickly divert hundreds of aircraft, men and equipment away from offensive operations to the defence of their homeland. There was, however, another reason behind the Doolittle's raid – to lift the morale of an American public devastated by the attack on Pearl Harbor four months earlier. And the success of the mission provided the boost that was needed. If any had doubted America's resolve in the face of uncertainty, the courage, determination and heroism displayed by Lt Col Doolittle and his band of aviators restored their determination. Although it might take years, and the price would be high, America and her allies understood that the fight could, and would, be won. Commissioned to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Doolittle Tokyo Raid the painting portrays the dramatic moment that Lt Col Jimmy Doolittle lifts his B-25 off the pitching deck of the USS Hornet. Having timed his launch to perfection he climbs steeply away, ready to adjust his compass bearing for a direct line to Tokyo. On the sodden deck behind him the crews of the remaining 15 aircraft, whose engines are warmed, ready and turning, will quickly follow their commanding officer into the murky sky.

Destination Tokyo by Anthony Saunders.
  Seen here in company with other 485 Sqn machines, Spitfire Mk.IXc ML407 is depicted over the Normandy beaches shortly after D-Day.  Flown by New Zealander Fl Lt Johnnie Houlton, this aircraft claimed a Ju.88 on 6th June and shared in the destruction of another on the same day.  Coded 'V' in honour of his wife, Vickie, ML407 is still flying today, now converted to a two-seater and regularly displayed by Carolyn Grace.

Guardians of the Beaches by Ivan Berryman. (PC)

 Despite crippling damage to their Lancaster ED925 (G), the crew of AJ-M continued to press home their attack on the Mohne Dam on the night of 16th/17th May 1943. With both port engines ablaze, Flt Lt J V Hopgood forced his blazing aircraft on, releasing the Upkeep bomb just precious seconds too late to strike the dam, the mine instead bouncing over the wall and onto the power station below with devastating results. ED925 attempted to recover from the maelstrom, but the fuel fire was too intense and the aircraft was tragically lost, just two of her crew managing to escape the impact to spend the rest of the war as PoWs.

No Way Back by Ivan Berryman. (PC)
  Following the successful attack on the Mohne dam on the night of 16th/17th May 1943, three Lancasters of 617 Sqn turned their attention to the Eder, some twelve minutes flying time away, accompanied by Wing Commander Guy Gibson to oversee the next attack. After several aborted attempts to obtain the correct height and direction for their bomb run by Flight Lieutenant Shannon (AJ-L) and  Squadron Leader H E Maudslay (AJ-Z), Gibson called in Maudslay to try again. During his second approach, he released his Upkeep bomb too late. It struck the top of the dam wall and bounced back into the air where it exploded right behind Maudslay's aircraft, lighting up the entire valley and causing considerable damage to the aircraft that had dropped it. Despite what must have been crippling damage, AJ-Z did manage to limp away from the scene and begin the return journey, but Maudslay and all his crew were sadly lost when their aircraft was shot down by flak at Emmerich-Klein-Netterdn. The Eder was finally successfully breached by Pilot Officer Les Knight's aircraft, ED912(G), AJ-N, which returned safely.

Tragedy at the Eder by Ivan Berryman. (PC)
 Flying low across the North Sea en route to the Sorpe Dam on the night of 16th/17th May 1943 as part of Operation Chastise, Flying Officer Geoff Rice's Lancaster ED936(G) clipped a large wave, ripping the Upkeep bomb from its mountings and pitching the aircraft into the sea. Somehow, in just a split second, Rice managed to haul AJ-H back into the air, but the aircraft had ingested a huge amount of water and, as Rice put his Lancaster into a climb to head back to Scampton, rear gunner Sgt S Burns and his turret were almost swept away as the water rushed to the back of the aircraft. AJ-H returned to Scampton otherwise unscathed and took no further part in the Dams Raids.

A Lucky Escape by Ivan Berryman. (PC)
 En route to the Ruhr Dams on the night of 16/17 May 1943, P/O W C Townsend, demonstrating great skill, flew his aircraft, ED886(G) 'O'- Orange below tree-top height through a forest firetrap on his way to the Ennepe Dam, a feat carried out by moonlight alone.  AJ-O made it successfully to its target where the Upkeep bomb was observed to hit the dam, but with no effect, before returning safely to base the following morning.

Undetected by Ivan Berryman. (PC)

LATEST WW2 MILITARY ART RELEASES

 Troops of the 5th Ranger Battalion forge ahead through a hail of plummeting shells and crossfire as their British landing craft from <i>HMS Prince Baudouin</i> make their perilous way to Omaha Beach on D-Day, 6th June 1944.

Through Hell to Omaha by Ivan Berryman. (PC)
  On 6th June 1944, D-Day, the Canadian steamship HMCS Prince David  (F89), seen here in the background, released her compliment of landing craft embarking elements of Le Regiment de la Chaudiere, plus some Royal Marines, bound for Mike and Nan beaches.  Their mission was to clear mines and provide cover for the assault craft that were to follow.  By the close of the day, all of her landing craft had been lost to enemy action except one that was accidentally forced onto a semi-submerged obstacle by a friendly tank carrier.

The Drive to Juno by Ivan Berryman. (PC)
 LCT (Landing Craft Tank) 312 is shown unloading a Sherman tank directly onto the beach during the Normandy landings of June 1944. Over 1,000 of these versatile craft were built in the United States, with a small number being constructed in the UK and Canada.

LCT 312 by Ivan Berryman. (PC)
 Lt JG Arend Vyn Jr USCGR guides LCI 91 through a hail of fire toward Omaha Beach on 6th June 1944 carrying 201 men from Headquarters 116th Infantry, 147th Engineers Battalion, 121st Engineers Battalion and 7th Beach Battalion. After a troubled approach to Dog White Beach, a successful disembarkation was accomplished, but US91 was damaged by a mined stake and was eventually lost to enemy artillery as she began her withdrawal, the vessel being abandoned on the sands of Omaha Beach. The command ship  USS Ancon (AGC-4) can be seen in the background.

The Brave 91 by Ivan Berryman. (PC)

 Ardennes, Belgium 10th May 1940. Belgian infantry manning a Hochkiss machine gun await the advancing German army. The Hochkiss M1914 although outdated by 1940 was still a heavy and rock-steady combination of gun and tripod, the world's first efficient air-cooled machine gun, known for its reliability and accuracy.

Defending the Homeland by David Pentland.
 France, 23rd May 1940. The advance guard of Pz38t tanks, 1st Panzer Division enter the little village of Hames-Boucres, on the road to Calais.

The Road to Calais by David Pentland.
 Northern France, 1st June 1940. Beleaguered troops of the BEF, fight a delaying action against the German encirclement of the doomed town.

Rearguard at Dunkirk by David Pentland.
 Northern France, 22nd May 1940. Sdkfz 222 light armoured cars of the SS Leibstandarte Regiment drive along French lanes on a reconnaissance patrol for the forces of General Heinz Guderian on their advance towards the French coast.

Wittmann on Patrol by David Pentland.
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LATEST WW2 NAVAL ART RELEASES

 The experienced crew of a WW2 German  U-boat hunt their next target.

Hunter's Lair by Jason Askew. (P)
 The mainstay of the Royal Navy's Coastal Forces fleet from 1941, the 72-foot Vosper MTBs were among the fastest and most successful ever built. With their three Packard 1400hp engines and bigger fuel tanks, these boats could reach speeds of up to 39 knots with a maximum range of 400 miles. Armament varied from boat to boat, but those depicted are fitted with the standard 21-inch torpedo tubes and a twin .5 inch MkV Vickers machine gun mounting. Crew was typically two officers and eleven ratings.

On the Step by Ivan Berryman.
 In January 1941, the young Mario Arillo was appointed the rank of Lieutenant Commander, placed in charge of the Regia Marina's submarine <i>Ambra</i> and was dispatched to the Mediterranean to help disrupt supplies to the Allied forces.  In May of that same year, Arillo attacked the British Dido Class Cruiser <i>HMS Bonaventure</i>, and Destroyers <i>HMS Hereward</i> and <i>HMS Stuart</i>, south of Crete, en route from Alexandria, the cruiser <i>Bonaventure</i> being sunk with great loss of life.  The <i>Ambra</i> is depicted here in a calmer moment, two of her crew scanning the horizon for 'business'.

Hunter's Dusk by Ivan Berryman. (PC)
 Under the command of Gianfranco Gazzana-Priaroggia, the Regia Marina submarine Leonardo da Vinci was to become the most successful non-German submarine of World War Two.  On 21st April 1943, she encountered the liberty ship SS John Drayton which was returning, unladen, to Capetown from Bahrain and put two torpedoes into her before surfacing to finish her off with shells.  The deadly reign of terror wrought by the combination of Gazzana-Priaroggia and his submarine came to an end just one month later when the Leonardo da Vinci was sunk by HMS Active and HMS Ness off Cape Finistere.

Scourge of the Deep - Leonardo da Vinci by Ivan Berryman. (PC)

 Sitting menacingly at a depth of 15 metres below the surface, just 2 km outside the heavily defended harbour of Alexandria, the Italian submarine Scire is shown releasing her three manned torpedoes, or <i>Maiali</i>, at the outset of their daring raid in which the British battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Valiant and a tanker, were severely damaged on 3rd December 1941.  All six crew members of the three <i>Maiali</i> survived the mission, but all were captured and taken prisoner.  Luigi Durand de la Penne and Emilio Bianchi can be seen moving away aboard 221, whilst Vincenzo Martellotta and Mario Marino (222) carry out systems checks.  Antonio Marceglia and Spartaco Schergat, on 223, are heading away at the top of the picture.

Assault from the Deep by Ivan Berryman. (PC)
 A Type VIIC U-Boat slips quietly toward the open sea from her pen at Lorient, France in 1942.

Dawn Departure by Ivan Berryman. (PC)
  Erich Topps notorious Red Devil Boat, U-552, slips quietly away from the scene of another victory in the North Atlantic in 1941.

U-552 by Ivan Berryman. (PC)
 Famed for his night time surface attacks on convoys, Otto Kretschmer, commanding U-99 is shown having claimed another victim beneath a full moon during the Summer of 1940.

U-99 by Ivan Berryman. (PC)

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 It required more than a little nerve to fly a fighter into the barrage of fire sprayed out by the gunners of a box of B17 bombers; it took even greater courage to do so in the rocket propelled Me163 Komet.  With rocket science still in its infancy, these small aircraft were still in the experimental stage, and piloting what amounted to a flying bomb was in itself a perilous business, let alone flying them into combat.  But these were desperate times.  The day and night bombing assault on Germany was bringing the mighty war machine to its knees, and aything that might help stem the tide was thrown into battle.  Powered by a mixture of two highly volatile chemicals, the slightest leak, or heavy landing could cause a huge explosion, and the mix was so corrosive that in the event of even a minor accident, the pilot could literally be dissolved.  Sitting in a cramped cockpit, surrounded by dangerous chemicals and ammunition, the intrepid aviator would be launched into the sky on what was, at best, a four minute mission.  After, hopefully, engaing the enemy, he would glide powerlessly back to the nearest airfield to be refuelled so as to attempt the hazardous operation all over again.  Though limited to a handful of victories, the Komet did make the Allied crews wonder what else the Luftwaffe had hidden up its sleeve, and had the distinction of being the forerunner of aircraft technology that eventually took aircraft into space.  Capable of nearly 600mph and climbing to 30,000ft in less than two minutes, this tiny rocket propelled Me163 Komet was typical of Germanys ingenuity in its desperate attempts to stem the havoc being wreaked by the USAAFs daylight bombers.

Rocket Attack by Nicolas Trudgian. (Y)
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A Short Sunderland Mk111 of 422 Squadron alights on to a moderate sea at Castle Archdale in 1944.

Touchdown by Ivan Berryman. (GS)
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 Abandoned Me 109G-10, 3rd Staffel JG4.

The Last Eagle, Innsbruck, Austria, May 1945 by David Pentland. (GS)
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 The highest scoring US pilot of the Second World War, Richard Bong, is depicted in his personal P.38J <i>Marge</i>, claiming just one of his 40 confirmed victories. Insisting that he was not the greatest of marksmen, it was Bongs habit to manoeuvre to impossibly close distances before opening fire on his opponents. His eventual total may well have been greater than 40, as a further 8 probables could be attributed to him, together with 7 damaged. He was killed whilst testing a P.80 jet for the USAF in August 1945.

Richard Bong by Ivan Berryman. (GS)
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The mighty Bismarck returns fire to the fast-approaching HMS Hood at the start of a battle that would see both adversaries tragically sunk.  The Bismarck would later be attacked by Swordfish aircraft from HMS Ark Royal, damaging her stearing and allowing her to be caught by the British battleships Rodney and King George V.  The once proud German battleship would be ruthlessly pounded into a twisted and burning wreck and finally finished by HMS Dorsetshire with torpedoes at around 10:30 hours on the morning of May 27th 1941.  HMS Dorsetshire and HMS Maori combed the area of the sinking for survivors, between them picking up a total of 110 out of an original complement of 2,300.

Bismarck Replies to HMS Hood by Ivan Berryman (GS)
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The mighty Kriegsmarine battleship Tirpitz passes under the iconic Levensau High Bridge over the Kiel Canal.

Tirpitz Passing Through Kiel Canal by Ivan Berryman (GS)
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 The Italian Air Force's involvement in the Battle of Britain is one of the less documented facets of the conflict of 1940, but raids by aircraft of the Corpo Aereo Italiano (CAI) on mainland Britain were a reality in the closing stages, usually with little effect and almost always with high losses on the Italian side, due largely to obsolete aircraft and lack of pilot training.  Based at Ursel in Belgium, Fiat BR.20 bombers flew over 100 sorties, usually escorted by Fiat CR.42s, as illustrated here, the nearest aircraft being that of 18° <i>Gruppo's</i> Commanding Officer Maggiore Ferruccio Vosilla, wearing the white fuselage band and command pennant on the fuselage side.

Italian Raiders by Ivan Berryman. (GS)
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 German infantry take cover in a shell hole during the blitzkrieg through Southern Russia towards Stalingrad.

Cross of Iron, Russia, Summer 1942 by David Pentland. (GS)
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Squadron Leader Bob Neale (deceased)

Bob Neale was the top scoring ace of the American Volunteer Group, with 15.5 air victories - a remarkable record in such a short period of combat. An ex navy pilot, Neale had volunteered for action in April 1941, and by the time he took command of the 1st Squadron (Adam and Eves) he had built a reputation as a fierce competitor in the air. After the fall of Rangoon, Bob Neale became Chennault's right hand man, directing most of the AVG's field operations. Following disbandment he joined American Export Airlines and flew between New York and Ireland.

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 Although in the process of regrouping after their escape from the Cherkassy Pocket, Panthers and Panzer Grenadiers of the crack 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking are part of the relief force hastily assembled and thrown in to free the strategically important city of Kowel in the Pripet Marshes. By April 10th the Soviet encirclement of the city was broken and Wiking were pulled out of the line to continue refitting.

Fight for Kowel, Poland, March/April 1944 by David Pentland. (AP)
- £130.00
Heavily damaged by flak and with one engine out, a Lancaster slowly makes its way home far behind the main force

Alone at Dawn by Gerald Coulson (B)
- £560.00
The anti Tank guns of the Left Flank Company 2nd battalion Scots Guards, during the battle of Medenine, The scene depicts the moment when Lt F A L Waldrons Platoon knocked out three German tanks as they came over the crest of the ridge.

The Battle of Medenine, 6th march 1943, by Terence Cuneo.
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 The battle for Prokhorovka marked the high water mark of the German southern drive for Kursk. At the apex of the thrust were the 14 tiger tanks of the 13 Heavy Tank Company, 1st SS Panzer Division Liebstandarte, led by Michael Wittman. Their advance was eventually thwarted, however, by the epic charge of the Soviet 29th Guards Tank Corps, as part of 5th Guards Tank Armys furious counter attack against the SS Tank Corps.

Clash of Steel, Prokhorovka, Kursk, 12th July 1943 by David Pentland. (AP)
- £140.00
 Troops of the 1st Hampshires assaulting Gold Beach during the Normandy Landings. Gold beach was one of the British beaches on D-Day. Gold beach was the western most beach of the British beaches, on D-Day. Gold beach was between two twenty metre high cliffs where German fortifications had been built. The beach had been protected by concrete casemates which took some time to break through. This happened with support form British tanks in the afternoon of D-day 6th June. The British tanks and reinforcements moved off the beaches towards Saint-Come-de-Fresene and Arromanches which were both liberated by 9pm.

D-Day Gold Beach, 6th June 1944 by Simon Smith. (P)
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 Kursk, July 1943.  Sdkfz234 and 222 Armoured cars of 2nd SS Das Reich division track enemy movements on the flanks of the advancing Panzer divisions.

Armoured Reconnaissance by David Pentland. (AP)
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Having played a vital part in the battle for the Mediterranean for over two years, HMS Ark Royal finally succumbed to a U-Boats torpedo in November 1941. She is shown here with a pair of Swordfish Mk1s of 821 Sqn ranged on the deck, passing the cruiser HMS Sheffield off the Mole, Gibraltar, earlier that same year.

HMS Ark Royal and HMS Sheffield off the Mole, Gibraltar by Ivan Berryman (B)
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 As the war in the Pacific continued to intensify in 1943 and 1944, the naval air forces of Japan began to suffer from both quantitative and qualitative shortcomings in both aircraft and pilots that contributed to American domination of the air. The once dominant Japanese naval air arm was decimated in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, the defense of the Philippines, and other lesser battles. With American bombing forces now capable of reaching the Japanese islands with B-29 Superfortresses, the Japanese lacked any effective fighter defenses. In an effort to improve the situation and provide some semblance of air superiority, Captain Minoru Genda, the architect of the air operations for the attack on Pearl Harbor, formed a new elite fighter air group, the 343rd Kokutai, at Matsuyama in December of 1944. This group contained the best of Japans remaining fighter pilots which were personally selected for participation. Consisting of three squadrons, the 301st, 407th, and 701st hikotai, this fighter unit was Japans most proficient during the latter months of the war. The effectiveness of this unit was not solely attributable to the skill of its pilots, but also resulted from the aircraft which it flew. All three squadrons were equipped with the Kawanishi N1K2-J Shiden-kai (violet lightning) model 21 fighter. These were fast, highly maneuverable, and heavily armed fighters. Unlike most earlier Japanese designs, these aircraft also provided better armor protection for the pilot. Nicknamed the George by the Allies, the N1K2-J was derived from an earlier float plane the N1K1 Kyofu. Entering service in late 1944 the George was capable of 365-MPH armed with its four 20-mm wing mounted cannon. In the hands of experienced combat pilots, the N1K2-J was the equal to the American-made Hellcats and Corsairs it faced, and was vastly superior to the aging Mitsubishi A6M5 Zero. About 400 N1K2-Js would be produced before the end of the war. The efficacy of Gendas idea was demonstrated on March 19, 1945 when fifty-four aircraft from the 343rd attacked an unsuspecting and overconfident carrier strike group of F6Fs, F4Us, and SB2-Cs in the Kure area. In a matter of minutes the American force was shredded by Gendas elite group. The Japanese claimed the destruction of forty-eight U.S. fighters and four dive bombers vs. the loss of only sixteen of its own aircraft. On June 2, 1945 a force of twenty-one N1K2-Js attacked a similarly-sized force of Corsairs. In this battle the Japanese claimed 18 victories. It was estimated that during the six month period in which the 343rd operated that a total of 170 American aircraft were downed compared to the loss of 74 Japanese pilots. Pictured in Stan Stokes painting, entitled Lance of the Samurai, is the Shiden-kai flown by Chief Petty Officer Shoichi Sugita of the 301st hikotai. During the March 19th combat Sugita claimed four F6Fs and three probables. He was later killed in action on April 15, 1945.

Lance of the Samurai by Stan Stokes.
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 While other Tigers of his command struck northwest and decimated the tanks and half tracks of the Sharpshooters and Rifle Brigade parked along the road towards point 213 and Caen, Haupsturmfuhrer Michel Wittmann attacked on his own to the south east.  Driving his panzer into the village of Villers Bocage. he proceeded to destroy the Stuart and Cromwell tanks of Viscount Arthur Cranleys 4th County of London Yeomanry the Sharpshooters RHQ.  Although subsequently immobilized in the village center, the battle between the British 7th Armoured Division Desert Rats and Wittmanns 101st Heavy Tank Battalion continued for a full day, and blunted the British threat to the German line.

Wittmann at Villers Bocage, Normandy, 0900hrs, June 13th 1944 by David Pentland. (AP)
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