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|The Aircraft :|
|Me109||Willy Messerschmitt designed the BF109 during the early 1930s. The Bf109 was one of the first all metal monocoque construction fighters with a closed canopy and retractable undercarriage. The engine of the Me109 was a V12 aero engine which was liquid-cooled. The Bf109 first saw operational service during the Spanish Civil War and flew to the end of World War II, during which time it was the backbone of the Luftwaffe fighter squadrons. During the Battle of Britian the Bf109 was used in the role of an escort fighter, a role for which it was not designed for, and it was also used as a fighter bomber. During the last days of May 1940 Robert Stanford-Tuck, the RAF ace, got the chance to fly an Me109 which they had rebuilt after it had crash landed. Stanford-Tuck found out that the Me109 was a wonderful little plane, it was slightly faster than the Spitfire, but lacked the Spitfire manoeuvrability. By testing the Me109, Tuck could put himself inside the Me109 when fighting them, knowing its weak and strong points. With the introduction of the improved Bf109F in the spring of 1941, the type again proved to be an effective fighter during the invasion of Yugoslavia and during the Battle of Crete and the invasion of Russia and it was used during the Siege of the Mediteranean island of Malta. The Bf109 was the main fighter for the Luftwaffe until 1942 when the Fw190 entered service and shared this position, and was partially replaced in Western Europe, but the Me109 continued to serve on the Eastern Front and during the defence of the Reich against the allied bombers. It was also used to good effect in the Mediterranean and North Africa in support of The Africa Korps. The Me109 was also supplied to several German allies, including Finland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Slovakia. The Bf109 scored more kills than any other fighter of any country during the war and was built in greater numbers with a total of over 31,000 aircraft being built. The Bf109 was flown by the three top German aces of the war war. Erich Hartmann with 352 victories, Gerhard Barkhorn with 301 victories and Gunther Rall with 275 kills. Bf109 pilots were credited with the destruction of 100 or more enemy aircraft. Thirteen Luftwaffe Aces scored more than 200 kills. Altogether this group of pilots were credited with a total of nearly 15,000 kills, of which the Messerschmitt Bf109 was credited with over 10,000 of these victories. The Bf109 was the most produced warplane during World War II, with 30,573 examples built during the war, and the most produced fighter aircraft in history, with a total of 33,984 units produced up to April 1945. Bf109s remained in foreign service for many years after World War II. The Swiss used their Bf109Gs well into the 1950s. The Finnish Air Force did not retire their Bf109Gs until March 1954. Romania used its Bf109s until 1955. The Spanish Hispanos flew even longer. Some were still in service in the late 1960s.|
|Artist Details : Gerald Coulson|
|Click here for a full list of all artwork by Gerald Coulson|
Gerald Coulson has been painting professionally for over 30 years and has a reputation that is second to none. Entirely self taught, he developed his technique to such a high standard that his work was published as fine art prints, enabling him to begin a full time painting career in 1969. Since that time his work, covering many different subjects, has been published and marketed worldwide as both open and limited edition prints. Gerald has had many one-man shows both in the UK and the USA and his work has been extensively exhibited throughout the world. A recent one man show of his in the UK attracted more than 3000 people in two days. The Fine Art Trade Guild have placed him in the top ten best selling artists no less than fifteen times - three times at number one. Coulson's passion for aircraft stems from childhood. This passion led to an apprenticeship as an aircraft engineer after which he served in the RAF as a technician and with British Airways as an engineer at Heathrow. His knowledge of aircraft engineering, combined with his drawing ability, led to him becoming a Technical Illustrator of service manuals for Civil and Military aircraft. These experiences and technical background have allowed him an insight and intimate knowledge of the aircraft he paints. Along with a unique ability to capture these aircraft on canvas this naturally led to a painting career which he has developed to successfully cover a wide variety of subjects. Following a trip to the 1991 British Grand Prix his interest in Motor racing was fuelled. His ability to capture the technical detail and a talent for painting subjects at speed meant that this was a perfect natural progression alongside his aviation work and he is now also firmly established as one of the worlds leading motor racing artists. A Vice President and founder member of the Guild of Aviation Artists he is a four times winner of the Flight International Trophy for outstanding aviation painting. He qualified for his pilots licence in 1960 and is still actively flying today - mostly vintage aircraft, and can often be seen buzzing over the Fens of Cambridgeshire in a Tiger Moth. Whatever the subject he paints, whether aviation, landscape or portrait, his unique ability to capture the realism and 'mood'of the scene is unsurpassed, making him one of the most widely collected and highly regarded artists in the world today.
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