"High Tailed Lady" Christmas Eve 1944

When I begin an art piece, I start researching for pinnacle moments in time to set the stage for the viewer. As I begin to uncover the layers of history through crew member log books, family stories, or the printed record, I find myself wondering what these soldiers and airmen must have gone through. 

"High-Tailed Lady" started this same way, until I discovered a story set on Christmas Eve 1944. Crack elements of the Luftwaffe's IV. (Sturm)/JG 3 from Baubenhausen, Germany, FW 190 pilots were to intercept the inbound 'heavies' just before Christmas Day. Having difficulty intercepting the bombers due to weather, after about an hour aloft, the FW 190s spotted them near Liege, Belgium.  Interestingly, this fighter unit rarely flew outside of German borders to intercept the enemy at this stage in the air war. The B-17 "High Tailed Lady" (43-38028) of the 487th BG, 838th BS was among the bombers this fateful Christmas Eve to engage the Luftwaffe. With a clash at over 25,000 feet in the air, this would prove to be JG3 final, large-scale success against the U.S. 8th Air Force. 

10 B-17s were shot down on this mission - That's 100 airmen whose bunks were empty that following Christmas morning.

This Christmas Eve in 1944 would prove to be a dramatic turning point in the air war over Europe.

Click Here to see the Relic Canvas Print of "High Tailed Lady"