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|Signatures on this item|
|*The value given for each signature has been calculated by us based on the historical significance and rarity of the signature. Values of many pilot signatures have risen in recent years and will likely continue to rise as they become more and more rare.|
Oberleutnant Rolf Ebhardt
*Signature Value : £45
|Joined Luftwaffe in December 1941 and began flight training at Dresden in February 1942. Joined NJG 101 in December 1942 (night training unit) where he completed his specialist training. (In training flew Ju52, He111, Ju88, Do217 and Me109) As a newly promoted Leutnant he joined III/NJG 1 in Holland on 1st November 1943 and achieved his first night time victory on 26 April 1944. By the time of his eighth and last victory on 5 January 1945 he had flown 82 operations and been awarded the Iron Cross First and Second Class. All his ops were flown in Me110s.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Lancaster||The Avro Lancaster arose from the avro Manchester and the first prototype Lancaster was a converted Manchester with four engines. The Lancaster was first flown in January 1941, and started operations in March 1942. By March 1945 The Royal Air Force had 56 squadrons of Lancasters with the first squadron equipped being No.44 Squadron. During World War Two the Avro Lancaster flew 156,000 sorties and dropped 618,378 tonnes of bombs between 1942 and 1945. Lancaster Bomberss took part in the devastating round-the-clock raids on Hamburg during Air Marshall Harris' "Operation Gomorrah" in July 1943. Just 35 Lancasters completed more than 100 successful operations each, and 3,249 were lost in action. The most successful survivor completed 139 operations, and the Lancaster was scrapped after the war in 1947. A few Lancasters were converted into tankers and the two tanker aircraft were joined by another converted Lancaster and were used in the Berlin Airlift, achieving 757 tanker sorties. A famous Lancaster bombing raid was the 1943 mission, codenamed Operation Chastise, to destroy the dams of the Ruhr Valley. The operation was carried out by 617 Squadron in modified Mk IIIs carrying special drum shaped bouncing bombs designed by Barnes Wallis. Also famous was a series of Lancaster attacks using Tallboy bombs against the German battleship Tirpitz, which first disabled and later sank the ship. The Lancaster bomber was the basis of the new Avro Lincoln bomber, initially known as the Lancaster IV and Lancaster V. (Becoming Lincoln B1 and B2 respectively.) Their Lancastrian airliner was also based on the Lancaster but was not very successful. Other developments were the Avro York and the successful Shackleton which continued in airborne early warning service up to 1992.|
|Me110||The Bf-110 grew out of Herman Gorings specifications for a multipurpose aircraft capable of penetrating deep into enemy airspace to clear the sky of enemy fighters in advance of German bomber formations. The aircraft would also be utilized as a long range interceptor, and as a ground support and ground attack bomber. The Bf-110 prototype first flew in 1936. The prototype was under powered with its Daimier Benz DB 600A engines. Several months passed before a go ahead was given for large scale production which commenced in 1938. Utilizing improved DB 601 engines, the early production 110s were as fast as any single engine fighter at that time, and had superior fire power. Their biggest apparent weakness was in the areas of armor protection for the crew, and in terms of maneuverability when compared to single seat fighters. The 110 was produced in large numbers and in many different variants. The 110D was the long range model. An additional belly tank was fitted to that aircraft, with several later variants having the more traditional drop tanks. The first serious test for the Bf-110 came during the Battle of Britain. About 300 Bf-110s were involved. They became easy prey for Hurricane and Spitfire pilots, and Bf-109s were often required to assist the 110s in their own defense. On August 15, 1940, which became known as Black Tuesday, the Bf-110s were ravaged by the RAF, and for the month over 100 aircraft were lost. On the Eastern Front the Bf-110 performed admirably in the early stages of Operation Barbarossa. With the Soviet Air Force weakened in the first several weeks of the attack, 110s were effectively utilized in a ground attack role. Ultimately, the Luftwaffe re-equipped a significant number of its 110s as night fighters. The aircraft performed well in this role because it was a good gun platform with sufficient speed to overtake the RAF night bombers. Such night missions were typically carried out with no Allied fighter escort, so the 110 night fighters would not have to engage or elude Allied fighters in this role.|
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