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|Signatures on this item|
|*The value given for each signature has been calculated by us based on the historical significance and rarity of the signature. Values of many pilot signatures have risen in recent years and will likely continue to rise as they become more and more rare.|
Fahnrich Klaus Vollgold
*Signature Value : £55
|Born on 16th October 1925 in Zwickau, Klaus was called up to join the Luftwaffe in the summer of 1943, where he underwent training to qualify as a fighter pilot. Posted to join JG52 in the east flying Me109s, Klaus took part in 30 combat flights, and scored 3 confirmed victories before the war came to an end.|
Fahnrich Manfred Leisebein
*Signature Value : £45
|Joining the Luftwaffe in the summer of 1943, aged 18, Manfred Leisebein was posted, after completing his fighter pilots trianing, to 3./JG52 in Russia. Flying Me109s throughout his 37 combat flights, Manfred scored a total of 5 aerial victories with JG52, and was awarded the Iron Cross II|
Feldwebel Johannes Bachmann
*Signature Value : £35
|Born in Aue near Dresden in 1921, Johannes Bachmann joined the Luftwaffe in the spring of 1943. After training as a pilot, he was posted to join 9./JG52 in Russia where in over 40 combat missions on Me109s, he scored 5 confirmed air victories before the war ended.|
Oberst Erich Hartmann (deceased)
*Signature Value : £95
|Erich Hartmann started his career as Paule Rossmans wingman, and it was obvious that here was a very special pilot. Promoted Staffelkapitan of 7/JG52 in July 1943, he was shot down and taken prisoner for four hours before escaping. In September he took over 9/JG52. In March 1944 he reached the 200 victory mark. He later le 4/JG52, then briefly I/JG52, and lastly Gruppenkommandeur of I/JG52. Hartmann scored a total of 352 victories, more than any other pilot in history, and was awarded the Knights Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds. Erich Hartmann is the top-scoring fighter pilot in history. During WWII he shot down the equivalent of almost 15 Allied squadrons in aerial combat. In some 850 aerial combats he shot down 352 Allied planes and was shot down himself 16 times. He was never wounded. Hartmanns mother taught him to fly at age 14 and in 1942 at age 20 he was flying Me109s on the Eastern front. His first combat mission was disastrous. He spoiled his leaders attack by going for the kill himself, then mistook his leaders Me109 for a Russian fighter and fled in panic. Were it not for super ace Walter Krupinski believing in Hartmanns abilities he might well have had his flying career ended. Krupinskis tutoring coupled with the fact that Hartmann was a crack shot, turned him around. He scored his first victory on November 5th 1942 and by September 1943 he had completed 300 missions with 95 victories to his credit. In August 1944 Hartmann was awarded the Diamonds to his Knights Cross - Germanys highest decoration and one that was awarded to only 27 German militar ypersonnel. Hitler made the award personally. Before the award ceremony he was demanded to hand over his sidearm before meeting with Hitler. Hartmann told the generals that if Hitler could not trust his front line officers, he could stuff his Diamonds. After a brief confusion he was allowed to carry his pistol. Hartmanns success resulted from the lessons he learned from Krupinski - do not fire until your enemys plane fills your windscreen. That resulted in a sure kill with a minimum amount of ammunition expended. Almost every kill Hartmann made was a near collision. After the war Hartmann surrendered to the Americans, who turned him over to the Russians. He was singled out for especially brutal treatment and was illegally held by the Russians until 1955 when Chansellor Adenaur personally visited Moscow and arranged for his release. The Russians had used every persuasive device known to convert Hartmann to Communism and get him to join the DDR airforce. Upon his return to Germany, his friend and fellow ace, Walter Krupinski, urged him to join the new German Air Force with other old friends such as Barkhorn and Hrabak. Since he felt he was too old to begin a new career, he did. He was given refresher training in the United States and was selected to command the Richthofen Wing in the new German Air Force, the first fighter wing to be rebuilt since the war. He filled that and other jobs in the new Luftwaffe with great distinction until his retirement. He died 20th September 1993.|
Unteroffizier Otfried Sahl
*Signature Value : £45
|Born in Eigenrode on 17th August 1925, Ottfried was called up for service in 1943, joining the Luftwaffe in July of that year. Trained as a fighter pilot he was posted to the Eastern Front to join 5./JG52, where he undertook 35 combat operations on Me109s before the end of the war.|
|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.
More about Gerald Coulson
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