Dawn Patrol by Stan Stokes. (B)
The fledgling air forces of WW I had no problem finding volunteers for a life promising adventure, romance, and a chance for immortality. The glamorized version of life as a WW I aviator, while not far off the mark for national heroes like Max Immelmann, Oswold Boelcke, Charles Nungesser, Manfred von Richtofen, Rene Fonck and Billy Bishop, was only a pipe dream for most pilots. Honors accrued only to those with large victory totals, and impressive wins, and as the War dragged on, the chivalrous adventure became more and more unglamorous. In fact the Allied command discouraged the use of parachutes - believing it the pilots duty to stay with his aircraft. Many pilots did not return home. The average expected lifespan of a new combat pilot during WW I was about 5 weeks. The French suffered a 77 percent loss ratio during the War, and the loss ratios for many British squadrons exceeded 90% early in the War. The Great War had started only about ten years after the Wright Brothers first flight and the aircraft flown at the beginning of the War were very fragile and not yet truly suitable for combat. Flying accidents and malfunctions took an enormous toll on both equipment and pilots. Despite the frailties of the aircraft and the relative inexperience of the military as to their use in combat roles, an Italian staff officer named Giulio Douhet, way back in 1909 had laid down the fundamental strategies of future air combat. In order to conquer the air, it is necessary to deprive the enemy of all means of flying, by striking them in the air, at his bases of operation, or at his production centers. There were many lesser known heroes of WW I, and one of the little known American aces of WW I was 1st Lt. William P. Erwin of the 1st Aero Squadron USAS. Erwin flew the Salmson 2A2 depicted in Stan Stokes painting. Erwin would attain eight aerial victories in this type of aircraft, making him the leading ace in this type of aircraft. Erwin was born in Amarillo, Texas, but grew up in Chicago. He volunteered for pilot training at the beginning of Americas entry into the War. He was accepted and ultimately was sent to France Flying with Lt. D.H. Dahringer, the first in a succession of observers, he downed his first German aircraft in September 1917. He shot down a Rumpler two-seater a couple of weeks later, and in early October during a dawn patrol he claimed his third victory. He bagged two German 2-seaters on a late afternoon mission to become an ace. On October 15 he bagged an unspecified German aircraft and three days later he downed a Fokker D VII. He completed his tally with the downing of another 2-seater on October 22. Erwin earned the Distinguished Service Cross and the French Croix de Guerre. He continued to be involved with aviation following the War. He entered the Dole Air Race from Oakland to Hawaii, but his aircraft was lost over the Pacific.
|Item Code : STK0019B||Dawn Patrol by Stan Stokes. (B) - This Edition|
|PRINT|| Limited edition of 100 giclee art prints. |
Only two prints now available in this edition.
| Size 21 inches x 14 inches (53cm x 36cm)||none||£15 Off!||Now : £130.00|
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