Artist: Keith Ferris
The 6 March 1944 Eighth Air Force inaugural mission to Berlin put 702 bomber and 832 fighter sorties over enemy territory. This was to be the worst day of the war for the 100th Bomb Group which had 14 B-17s destroyed. 69 U.S. bombers and 11 fighters were lost on this mission. More than a hundred German fighters made a series of devastating head-on attacks on the 100th Bomb Group en route to Berlin.
This painting shows the action around the 351st Bomb Squadron as IIIJG 54 Messerschmitt 109 pilots, Feldwebel Friedrich Unger in ”6”, and Unteroffizier Erwin Muller in ”4”, pass close aboard Lt. Richard Hemlmick’s undamaged B-17, letter ”M”, and the mortally wounded B-17s of Lt. George Brannon, letter ”D”, and Lt. Merril Rish, letter ”R”. These two B-17s both went down. The two Messerschmitts were also hit and made forced landings below the action. The Germans had put up 528 fighter sorties against the bomber force and lost 68 aircraft destroyed and 16 damaged.
On loan from: the United States Air Force Art Collection