Gunther Rall vs. Zemke's Wolfpack

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Jank, Aug 24, 2007.

  1. Jank

    Jank Member

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    According to the description of the below artwork by John Shaw and from what I have read elsewhere, in 1944, Gunther Rall encountered the 56th FG and was almost shot down.

    Does anyone know anything about this encounter? Is it true? What actually happened? Gunther Rall himself has signed a limited edition run of the artwork so I would assume that there is at least a grain of truth to the scene depicted.

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  2. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    Jank sure the concept is pretty correct. Ralls a/c nose probably is not right - the spinner should be the normal spiralschnauze of white on black prop colour. Yellow band is correct for JG 11, the II. gruppe he commanded until this incident where he lost a thumb. He was flying a Bf 109G-5 supped up on the May 12, 44 date. air combat over Nassau. 3 other Kameraden from his II. gruppe stab were also hit hard in their G-5's as well, all with P-47's. After Rall went off to recuperate, the Count took over and had a field day against US fighters.

    Rall had previously shot down a P-47 at ? hours before this final incident. It was his 275th kill of the war.

    I interviewed Rall by letter while he was in the Bayern which is rare and he gave me his acct. where it is buried is beyond me at the moment........as I was more interested as to what he did in JG 300 as Kommodore which in a nutshell was plain nothing, except to move it from field to field
     
  3. Udet

    Udet Banned

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    I can not believe Rall accepted such painting to become the cover of the book dealing with his life as fighter pilot.

    Had i been the Luftwaffe veteran, such a thing would have been simply unacceptable.

    If a picture or painting of me in combat was to be on the cover, then put me scoring a kill, and not getting shot down.
     
  4. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    he probably thought the painting atmospheric Udet nothing else as there are at least 2-3 other paintings depicting this scene or similiar
     
  5. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    Most pilots that I have met including both aces and experten would say "yep I got lucky there" and smile if he survived that should say enough about his skills
     
  6. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    I am lucky enough to have a print of Duel of Eagles signed by Bader and Galland. In an interview with Robert Taylor he did say that both pilots had a lot of fun coming up with a composition where both pilots could say, Thats right, he couldn't get me from that position and smiled.
     
  7. Mangrove

    Mangrove Member

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    Virtualpilots - Günther Rall Interview

    "Here, I want to tell you one last big, big fight was 12th May 1944. In the morning, I got call from the division commander 15 minutes alert we expect a big bomb raid. Then it was 15 minutes, 10 minutes, 5 minutes, cockpit alert. He said when the forward escort fighters are in this and this area, we start. This was in North Germany. Underneath are two Focke Wulf 190's. I am top cover with about 3000 meters on top with my fighter group against fighters. We went down, we saw the contrails, they came. Near north of Frankfurt we got in contact with a P-47 group. I went down right into the leader. They covered the area always with 4, 4, 4, 4. This was so called Hub Zemke's wolf pack. Hub Zemke was a leader of this American fighter group and he developed this tactics to cover a wide air space with wolf pack.

    I came in and got to the leader of the wolf pack and got his left wing. Flames you know. With this tremendous amount of fuel you get a flame. Then I cut to the right and I was hunted. Then they chased me. I should tell you the numbers. It was 800 4-engine bombers, B-17, B-24. This is a parade of 2 hours. They had cover of 1200 fighters from the Hartz mountains down to Stutgard. Always in 4, 4 or other formations. So it without chance. Anyway, I was chased by P-47. I knew exactly that in a dive P-47 is much faster than 109. And the P-47 has a much higher structural strength. They can go up to 1400 kilometers per hour. The 109, if you go to 1000, pull it up, you risk that the wings come off. So I went down from that, bang, bang, bang. I was chased by what we call line abreast, 4 p-47s. And all that shooting here and all of a sudden bang. The left hand was on the throttle and came off and the thumb was off. Finally, I managed. This was a very traumatic thing, certainly. I pull up, when I was down, to the stalling point. The couldn't follow me because these P-47 wanted to fly back to England. And I want to get rid of my airplane. I don't care for the airplane, I want to get out of this. I managed that. This was very difficult because I was hanging outside. I couldn't operate with this hand, nothing. Finally it worked and I pulled the parachute way down and I came down safely and was hanging on a tree."
     
  8. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Rall shot down Jack Green from 62FS and Powers and Vitale were in the flight that chased Rall and shared the credit.
     
  9. Udet

    Udet Banned

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    It would still be utterly and totally inadmissible.

    I know Rall´s book is kind of recent, and surely after so many decades after the war, the mind and not just the body might observe transformations.

    Whatever was it Rall considered or assessed to agree to have such painting as the cover, it is most likely it was the consequence of what i do call the psychology of the defeated.

    In this case, the defeated side deserves real special treatment, for the simple reason the Germany of world war two is not your average type of defeated side when in view of the processing, manipulations and propaganda bombardment the world has been subjected to since May 9th, 1945...the propaganda system of the Reich, chaired by Herr Doctor Goebbels ceased functioning some 62 years ago, while the mass media of the victors has been functioning ever since.
     
  10. Jank

    Jank Member

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    Is it just me or do others find Udet to be an idiot as well?
     
  11. Udet

    Udet Banned

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    Why don´t you make a poll? It could help you find out.
     
  12. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Udet - maybe another way to look at it is that a.) he was shot down so few times that it was far more memorable than his 275 kills, and b.) it effectively put him out of the war until nearly the end..

    I have met and talked to him - typical fighter pilot with GREAT sense of humor, cocky and just a great guy to talk to.

    here are some of the pics I took of him some 20 years ago in Phoenix

    http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/aviation/fighter-aces-german-visitors-1984-a-9215.html



    Regards,

    Bill
     
  13. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    cocky that is a fact when we corresponded years ago, but what fighter jock from any country isn't .... the painting does comment on his last real flight in combat so why not have it on the cover, anyone not familiar with the incident would ask what happened and maybe that is why Rall desired the cover art. maybe the guy is getting old like all of us and just wanted to finish up his bio and get on with life.
    there is no doubt after viewing the painting-artwork it is nothing but intense and exciting just as any airman of WW 2 will testify who was part of it firsthand.
     
  14. Udet

    Udet Banned

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    Doctor, hello.

    I can understand your arguments, not sure where my understanding lies...whether on the intellectual or emotional scope, not sure.

    I have not had the luck to meet any of the TOP Luftwaffe experten, i know Rall´s war career quite well though.

    As you might have noticed, my objections are not against the quality of the painting; very good piece of artwork indeed. My arguments, well, you already read them here.

    Ok, so if i were the veteran, and had to operate under the directives of the psychology of the defeated, at least it would have been my request that i´m painted destroying the P-47 i killed during such engagement.

    Very nice set of photos by the way -you and all those veterans-.
     
  15. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    I dont see a problem with the painting and frankly I dont think it has anything to do with "Allied" propaganda.

    It is a very good piece of artwork and based off of drgondog and Erichs post I have too agree that it might very well be the perfect piece for a cover.
     
  16. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    Udet I really do not think that Günthers hand was forced in any way shape or form for the cover art. he probably thought it most fitting and if anything the scene really jogged his memory " hey I could of been toast".
    The man even in today's aviation circles is a very important persona and he can easily pulls strings to get what he desires

    v/r E ~
     
  17. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    I was on a business trip early in my career in the 70's and met my father and Jim Brooks at Paris Airshow where they, as American Fighter Aces Association, had scheduled a meeting with many of the German Aces to 'welcome' them into the 'international community.

    It was there that I first met Rall and Galland plus Steinhoff . I did not get the chance to meet Hartmann as he had left the day before. All very impressive men.
     
  18. John Shaw

    John Shaw New Member

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    Very interesting commentary on my painting!
    It was indeed a privilege to work firsthand with Gunther Rall and members of the 56th FG to create this scene "The Warrior the Wolfpack". After extensive interviews and time spent with Rall a few years ago to accurately conceptualize this scene, he actually drew for me a diagram of the position of his 109 in relation to the four P-47s, as seen in the painting. As to the markings on his a/c (I am very much a stickler as to these types of details), try as we might, we were unable to establish the exact paint motif applied to the spinner of his plane...We were able to nail down a number on the rudder of his plane that day, and in a vintage photo which depicted numerous parked 109s, one of which bore a number on the rudder with an almost identical number (the last digit was different), we noticed a variety of spinner paint schemes; some with 1 white band, some w/two (as in painting), some with none at all. Rall asserted that at that time, that many of the a/c his unit were using had been "pieced together" in the interest of time and necessity, and that it would be virtually impossible to establish a 100% positive marking. When he saw the concept sketch (very similar to finished painting), he heartily approved, and the only thing which he noted varied from exactly how he remembered this encounter which was all-too-vividly etched in his mind, was that the closest P-47 should have been back farther (about the same distance as the other 3), but agreed that this piece of 'artistic license' would be permissable, in that at different times at higher altitudes in the encounter, they did indeed get that close. When he recounts this story, he adds emphasis by displaying his maimed hand (he still owns the glove, with the hole which once held his thumb!) One other memory I have while asking him about details regarding the geography, weather conditions, etc., was his reply, "I remember it was a clear day...as to how many trees, hills, other things on the ground, I don't remember...I was a little busy at the moment!"
    To this day, no one is 100% certain which specific 56th pilot actually shot Rall down, although after reading combat reports of the Wolfpack pilots who scored kills in the Koblenz and Frankfurt area that day (there were quite a few--Bob 'Shorty' Rankin got five!), the general concensus is that it was likely the guns of the late Joe Powers which brought him down. One of my most treasured memories is that of having a quiet dinner with Rall, Rankin, and a mutual friend, following a busy day of the two of them signing this print, and Gunther reading aloud the final chapters of the manuscript of his biography with the author, Jill Amadio, for final editing. At this dinner, the two veteran pilots (now dear friends for a number of yrs) brought up the May 12 encounter to compare notes, after which Bob Rankin seemed positive that he could not have been the one who shot Rall down. As these two wonderful men wearily got up from the table, they slowly walked toward the restaurant exit, each with an arm around the other's shoulder, still lost in the past. I remember Rall saying to Rankin something to the effect, "I'm certainly glad you were not shot down that day...I love you, my friend". This comment which I'll never forget truly sums up the personality of this remarkable former Luftwaffe Ace. One of the posts on this forum I read states skeptically that a German pilot of Rall's standing would likely never submit to being depicted in a situation in which he was shot down...far from true! Gunther Rall, one of the world's greatest all-time aces, is not only respected for his prowess as a pilot, but is also loved for his authenticity, humility and desire to see past hostilities reconciled. This trait seems to pervade this great generation of pilots; men like Gunther Rall, Tex Hill, Gabby Gabreski, Bob Rankin, John Bolt, the list goes on...I've considered it a true honor to try to preserve the legacy of their time in history through my paintings, and from each have found other wonderful stories and memories worth being told. I wish I had more details to share here as far as the specifics of this particular painting of Rall the 56th, but I hope these few comments have been helpful to those who are interested. We're currently constructing a new site (now showing paintings only), which will soon recount more details I've been privileged to glean from meetings with some of these great people during the research for my paintings. It's libertystudios.us , and we hope it will also become a great place to learn more about this remarkable subject. Thanks for a great forum and I'm glad I was able to find it! --John D. Shaw
     
  19. Maximowitz

    Maximowitz Active Member

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    Thank you for that reply John, I think it's a fantastic piece of artwork that really captures the moment. :D
     
  20. lesofprimus

    lesofprimus Active Member

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    Great piece of art John, thanks for chiming in and making some things clear.....
     
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