by Robert Taylor
Ask any B-17 or B-24 crewman which was the greatest American fighter
of the war, and he'll tell you it was the P-38. For it was the P-38 Lockheed Lightning
that was the first fighter to provide air cover all the way to the target and it was the
presence of P-38 escorts that deterred the Luftwaffe fighters from attacking the bombers
as they flew deep into German territory.
When the P-38's arrived in England in 1943, the bombers of the 8th Air Force were taking a
pounding. The endurance of the P-47 Thunderbolts allowed them to escort the bombers only
as far as the German border; after that they were on their own and the Luftwaffe knew it.
The German fighter pilots waited until the P-47s turned back to refuel then pounced,
bomber losses were high. Though no match in a dogfight with the numble Me109s and Fw190s,
the P-38 pilots bravely took on the enemy whenever they attacked, and more than held their
own by displaying courage and fighting skills of the highest order.
In Robert Taylor's HOSTILE SKY, we see a typical scene recreated by the world's most
collected aviation artist; a B-24 has been hit and is losing touch with the main
formation; the Luftwaffe pilots are concentrating their attentions of the unfortunate
aircraft. Two Fw190s, having made a diving pass through the formation, are zooming back up
for the damaged B-24. Seeing
the desperate situation, a P-38 escort pilot has made a head-on attack, splitting the pair
of determined Fw190s, thwarting their
attempt to finish off the B-24. Another P-38, aware of the predicament, is turning into
the path of the Fw190s, and Robert
makes it clear that the action has some way to go before any conclusion will be reached.
With pure artistry this gifted artist gives us a wonderful view of a battle hardened P-38
and the two Fw190s, as they pass within feet of each other.
Joining Robert in signing this limited edition of 1250 prints are two P-38 Aces, Colonel
Gerald Brown and Colonel John Lowell, and two top scoring Fw190 fighter pilots, Captain
Alfred Grislawski and Captain Gunther Schack.