messerschmidt.jpg
Artist: Keith Ferris
Medium: Oil on canvas
Date: 1994

During World War II, the youth of both sides met in the air over Germany, each experiencing the devastating effectiveness of their Opponent’s weapons. Lt. Klaus Bretschneider, Staffelkapitan of the 5th Staffel of II Group of Jagdgeschwader 300, a specialized bomber destroying unit, leads his staffel past the American B-17s of the 384th Bomb Group based at Grafton Underwood, England. Flying his Focke Wulf Fw 190A-8R8, Red 1, ”Rauhbautz VII” (Street Fighter), Bretschneider, with his 17 year old wingman Unteroffizier Mattaus Erhard to his right, positions his staffel to attack another targeted American unit up ahead. While the Americans faced the German 20mm and 30mm cannon of II.JG300, these airmen faced the combined fire of thirteen 50 caliber machine guns and 9,000 rounds of ammunition in each B-17 in the large American formations. Each side recognized the other as ”Real Trouble”! Bretschneider had lost six FW-190s to American defensive fire prior to flying Rauhbautz VII. He was to parachute from this aircraft after colliding with his third B-17 victim on October 7, 1944.

On loan from: the collection of the artist.