JG 26 THE ABBEVILLE KIDS – Artist’s Proofs
The AP denotes Artist’s Proof, from the private collection of the artist. These are the first 50 – 100 prints off the press once the artist has approved the color. As a result, these are highly collectible editions and cost a bit more than the limited edition signed and numbered editions.
Image size 19 1/2″ X 27″ with margins, 22 3/4″ X 30″ overall
Limited edition of 950 signed and numbered prints with 50 Artist’s Proofs.
In addition to the Artist’s Signature, each print is co-autographed by Gerhard Schoepfel, Kommodore JG 26; one of the most successful Battle of Britain pilots Adolf “Addi” Glunz, Oberleutnant; Rolf Hermichen, Major, prominent home defense pilot; Otto Stammberger Hauptmann.
The painting: One of the most famous aggregations of fighter pilots of all time was the legendary Jagdgeschwader 26 led by great names of the Luftwaffe such as Adolf Galland, Gerhard Schoepfel and “Pips’ Priller. JG 26 gained a reputation first with the RAF then with American airmen as a special elite “aces” unit where the pilots were hand picked by Herman Goring, so the rumor went. We now know that was not quite the case. “Schlageter” was the official title given JG 26 named after the political martyr Albert Schlageter; however, to the allies JG 26 was known as the “Abbeville Boys”, “Abbeville Kids”, “The Yellow Nose Bastards”, etc. Besides JG 26, JG 2 Richthofen and machines of JG 53 Pik As were based near Abbeville, France and had engine cowlings and rudders painted yellow for ID purposes.
During the summer of 1941, II./JG 26 received the first allotments of the Fw l90 As. As with any new machine, they suffered teething problems, namely with engines overheating and fumes leaking into the cockpit. Gradually these problems were solved with the installation of vents, then louvers on the sides of the cowling. Then finally the BMW 801 engine was moved forward about 5 inches on the A-5 and later series Fw 190.
In this tribute to the Abbevllle kids, Kommodore Gerhard Schoepfel leads a Staffel of Fw 190s over the French coast line.