Day of the Strafers

On the 16th of April 1945, the Eighth Air Force's escort fighters were to emphatically rubber stamp their complete dominance over the once mighty Luftwaffe.

 

Unshackled from their escort duties, the various American fighter groups would descend on what was left of the Reich's airfields across Europe.

 

Hundreds of aircraft, starved of fuel and pilots, proved to be easy prey for marauding Mustangs. In fact, a staggering total of 752 airplanes were claimed destroyed on the ground by the pilots of VIII Fighter Command.

 

Amongst the most successful groups that day was Duxford's 78th, led by its wily veteran and ace Lt Col John Landers, the group would claim a day's leading total of 135 destroyed aircraft. Landers himself would account for nine Heinkel 177 bombers at the Prague\Kakowice aerodrome in Czechoslovakia.

 

'Day of the Strafers' depicts Landers in his well-known P-51d ,'Big Beautiful Doll', as he and the rest of the 78th FG devastate the Luftwaffe's helpless fleet in it's daring low level raid of the Czech airfield.

 

Oil on canvas, 120cm x 60cm.

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