Erich Rudorffer Tribute
by Nicolas Trudgian
|Erich Rudorffer, commander of JG54 'Green Hearts, downs a Yak over the Eastern Front while flying cover for the advancing panzers.|
|Overall size: 25½" x 34¼"||Available in the following editions|
|224||Victory edition||Signed by the artist and Erich Rudorffer - includes the companion print shown below||$180|
|Archive edition||As above - includes signed photograph and an original Luftwaffe combat confirmation report||$1450|
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Stormbirds Over Berlin
Erich Rudorffer, piloting an Me262 jet fighter, intercepts a formation of USAAF 'Flying Fortress' bombers over Berlin in the closing weeks of WWII.
Each copy of the Erich Rudorffer Tribute is issued with a matching numbered companion print "Stormbirds Over Berlin".
|click to enlarge||Overall size: 12½" x 16½" approx.|
|The Archive Edition|
|click to enlarge|
|Each Archive edition comprises the main print "Erich Rudorffer Tribute" signed by the artist and Erich Rudorffer, a matching numbered copy of "Stormbirds Over Berlin" also signed by both Trudgian and Rudorffer, a signed photograph of Rudorffer, plus one of Rudorffer's original Luftwaffe combat confirmations. Examples of the latter two are shown above.
The combat confirmation is a document sent to the pilot by the Reichsluftfahrtministerium, confirming official recognition of a victory that has been claimed. The one shown above confirms the downing of a Soviet Yak 4 bomber in August 1943. Each one is a unique historical document detailing a specific aerial victory of Rudorffer's.
|Considered by many to be the Luftwaffe’s greatest all-round fighter ace of World War Two, Erich Rudorffer served on every major front, flew all of the classic German fighters and was renowned for his ability to shoot down multiple aircraft in succession.
Beginning his campaign with JG2 during the Battle of France, Rudorffer then served in the Battle of Britain alongside top aces such as Helmut Wick and Gunther Seeger. Flying the Me109E, his aerial victories soon mounted, and he continued to joust with the RAF during the ’Non-stop’ offences of 1941.
By the time of the ill-fated Dieppe Raid in 1942, Rudorffer scored his 44th and 45th victories, both Spitfires. His Gruppe was then relocated to northern Africa where the war was going badly for the Axis forces. Now flying the heavily-armed Fw190, he began to demonstrate his skill at downing a number of aircraft on a single sortie. On the 9th February 1943 he claimed eight British aircraft and a short time later scored multiple victories over US-flown fighters.
By June of the same year, Erich had moved to the brutal Eastern Front, assuming command of II/JG54, the famous ‘Green Hearts’, and continued to display his remarkable ability. On the 6th November 1943, he tangled with a large force of Soviet aircraft and shot down no fewer than thirteen of them, a record for a single mission. By this time Rudorffer had already been awarded the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves and in January 1945 ‘Swords’ were awarded to this decoration after achieving his 212th victory.
Shortly after, he was given the command of I/JG7, flying the potent Me262 jet fighter in the defence of Germany. Despite the dreadful war situation, lack of fuel, marauding Allied fighters over the jet airfields and heavily outnumbered in the air, he managed to shoot down a further twelve aircraft with the Me262. By the war’s end, Erich Rudorffer had flown more than 1000 sorties, scored 224 victories and was the seventh-highest Ace in the history of aerial combat
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