By January 1944 elements from JG53 Pik As (Ace of Spades) had fought in virtually every theatre of the war in Europe. The Geschwader had fought in the Battle of France, the Battle of Britain, and had taken part in the invasion of Russia. They’d fought in Italy, the Mediterranean and in North Africa but in late 1943, with Allied heavy bombers penetrating almost every corner of Germany, II./JG53 were moved to Austria to help defend the southern borders, employed in the ‘Defence of the Reich’.
Pictured here, the battle - weary pilots of 6./JG53 are seen racing through the snow-covered Alps in January 1944. Having departed their base at Seyring near Vienna, the largest and most important Luftwaffe airfield in the area, Staffelkapitän Alfred Hammer leads his pilots through a beguiling backdrop of majestic mountains, ice-clad lakes and picturesque villages, their serene tranquillity in sharp contrast to the violent intercepts to which they might be vectored at any moment.
Overall size: 21" x 33"
Available in the following editions
Image size: 15" x 28½"
Signed by two Luftwaffe Aces who flew the Bf109.
Heinz Marquardt KC
Marquardt was born on 29 December 1922 in Braunsberg, East Prussia. On 15 September 1941,
he was posted to the Jagdfliegerschule 5 airfield in France serving as a fighter pilot instructor and
flew a number of operational sorties on the Channel Front with the operational squadron of JFS 5.
On 1 August 1943, Marquard was transferred to Jagdgeschwader 51 "Mölders" operating on the Eastern Front, where he scored his first aerial victory on 2 October, shooting down an Ilyushin Il-2 ground attack aircraft. He went on to score many more, and on 14 April 1945, Marquardt was credited with his 100th aerial victory. He was the 102nd Luftwaffe pilot to achieve the century mark.
On 1 May 1945 Marquardt became Jagdgeschwader 51's last casualty of the war when he was shot down by Royal Air Force Spitfires north of Berlin. He ended the war with 121 aerial victories.
Norbert Hannig began operations with JG54 on the Eastern Front near Leningrad in early 1943,
flying first the Bf109G, later converting to the Fw190. He became a Staffelkapitan with JG54, notching up an impressive 42 victories. Towards the end of the war, in early 1945, he converted to fly the new Me262 jet fighter, and flew in combat with III./JG7 from their base at Brandenberg-Briest.
Note:The paper on which these prints are reproduced was signed by the pilots many years ago, both sadly have since passed away.
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