Days of Thunder by Richard Taylor features P-47D Thunderbolts of the 78th Fighter Group departing Duxford.
Duxford became home to the 78th Fighter Group when they arrived in England with their P-47B Thunderbolts in 1943. The objective of the American fighter units was to gain air superiority over the Luftwaffe in support of their daylight bombing campaign. By 1944 they achieved their objective. RAF Duxford's history goes back to the First World War, when its buildings were constructed by German POWs! First occupants were the RAF's No 8 Squadron in 1919, and in 1940 Duxford became famous as an important Battle of Britain fighter station, housing Douglas Bader's Hurricane Wing.
The arrival of the USAAF's 78th Fighter Group in April 1943, with their big P-47 Razorback Thunderbolt fighters, brought a new dimension to the Cambridgeshire base, the Americans quickly becoming part of the local community. But they were on a deadly mission: given the task of escorting Eighth Air Force B-17 Fortress and B-24 Liberator heavy bombers on the awesome daylight raids, the USAAF fighter units were thrown into battle from the day they arrived. Beginning with high altitude fighter sweeps over France and Holland, followed by long range escort missions providing much needed defence for the bombers against roaming Luftwaffe fighters - auxiliary fuel tanks taking them ever deeper into Germany.
With the approach of D-Day, the robust P-47s, now supplemented with the sleeker, bubble canopy D models, became engaged in low-level ground attacks in preparation for the coming invasion. The USAAF fighter escorts made an impact from day one, drastically reducing bomber losses and racking up impressive kill ratios against the Luftwaffe, and by the spring of 1944, the Allies had gained vital air superiority over the Luftwaffe in the fearsome air war raging over occupied Europe. The 78th Fighter Group from Duxford played their part.
Richard Taylor commemorates the valiant contribution of the 78th Fighter Group with a fine new rendition showing P-47D Thunderbolts departing Duxford en route for the north coast of France, and a low-level strafing mission. It is the spring of 1944, and with the Normandy invasion just days away, the Thunderbolts are already painted with invasion markings.
Each print in Richard Taylor's Limited Edition, Days of Thunder (Fighter Aces Edition), is signed by Colonel Robert J ‘Shorty’ Rankin, one of the most respected P-47 fighter Aces who flew combat over Europe during World War II. Plus three other P-47 Aces who flew in Europe:
Colonel WALKER ‘BUD’ MAHURIN
Colonel STEVE ‘THE GREEK’ PISANOS
Brigadier General LES C. SMITH.
31 x 22 inches overall including borders.
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