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By early 1945, the air war over Germany had turned in favor of the allies. Though months of tough fighting remained, long range fighters like the P-51 Mustang and the continued pounding by American Bombers were ushering in the end game for the Germans.
In this painting, 78th Fighter Group P-51’s are escorting home B-17 Flying Fortresses. The primary Mustang, WZ-S was named, “Sherman Was Right” by her pilot 1Lt. Frank E. Oiler. The name was inspired by a famous speech given by Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman where he spoke of “war being hell.” The second mustang in the scene WZ-H was named Mischievous Nell and flown by Capt. James Farmer. Unfortunately WZ-S was lost on March 4th 1945. The ship was flown that day by 2Lt. Louis Hereford on an escort mission to Augsberg.
The B-17s in Rick’s painting are from the 303rd Bomb Group based at Molesworth, England. As the formation nears the coast of England at the end of the day. the Mustangs will peel off and head for their home at Duxford, England. Though everyone has to remain vigilant, the crews are mindful that it is “almost quittin’ time” for the day………and hopefully soon for the air war.
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