Tactical Support by Richard Taylor features P-38 Lightnings shortly after D-Day.
With bright yellow spinners and distinctive twin-booms glinting in the June sunshine, two P-38 Lockheed Lightnings of the USAAF's 79th Fighter Squadron, 20th Fighter Group hurtle low over Pegasus Bridge as they race across the Normandy landscape shortly after the D-Day landings, June 1944. Flying from their base at Kings Cliffe in Cambridgeshire they have today been tasked to support the advancing allied forces; they will strafe and bomb the enemy lines, destroying enemy communications, armour and ground targets, causing as much chaos and disruption as they can. Dangerous work, these low-level missions, but tasks that the tough P-38 pilots relish.
A few days before, the bridge below had witnessed a very different scene: The first action on D-Day happened here when, moments after midnight on the night of 5/6th June, three gliders swooped silently from the sky to land within yards of their target - this vital road bridge across the Caen canal. Major John Howard and men of the 6th British Airborne Division were to seize and hold this strategic point. After a brief but furious fire-fight the stunned German defenders were overwhelmed and the bridge captured. The Invasion of France had begun, and for the Germans it was the beginning of the end. Hitler's much vaunted armies had begun their slow bitter retreat to the end that was the burning hell of Berlin.
Richard Taylor's evocative painting recreates the scene over Pegasus Bridge shortly after D-Day as a pair of P-38 Lightnings thunder inland in support of the advancing allied armies. Below, signs of the recent action are still plainly visible as trucks and their exhausted drivers hasten back to the beach-head to collect reinforcements.
Each print in Richard Taylor's Limited Edition, Tactical Support, is signed by P-38 pilots:
Captain JAMES KUNKLE
Lieutenant Colonel WILLIAM WILLIS.
33 x 24 inches overall including borders.
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