Second raid on Schweinfurt (also called Mission 115) took
place on October 14, 1943, when 291 B-17 Flying Fortresses
of the USAAF Eighth Air Force attacked ball bearing factories
in Schweinfurt, Germany. The factories had previously been
attacked on August 17, resulting in a disastrous loss of aircraft
. The second mission turned out no different, and has become
known as Black Thursday due to the heavy loss of men and aircraft.
United States had identified German aviation industries as
prime targets. The destruction of them would be key to defeating
the Luftwaffe as a prelude to liberating Europe. Some 42%
of Germany's ball bearings were produced at Schweinfurt and
were considered so important to the German war effort that
they were one of the highest priority targets after aircraft
factories and petroleum production. The American Air Forces
lacked a long range fighter, and had only the P-47 Thunderbolt
in service. The P-38 Lightning had the range, but had not
yet been reintroduced, after an absence of a year from the
European theatre. The three American bomber divisions were
to be escorted by a single P-47 Group each, on the outward
leg, and the return journey. No plans for a diversionary raids
weather hampered the Bomber formations rendezvous, and as
a result the wrong formations were in the wrong position.
Much of the American formations were spread out, offering
little protection for each other; an invitation for attacking
fighters. A small group of B-24s were diverted to targets
in the north sea, taking with it one of the escorting P-47
groups. The Germans had suspected a deep penetration raid
because of the substantial raid traffic. Jagddivision 3 was
positioned to meet the bombers as they crossed the coast.
The P-47s tried to protect the scattered bomber groups and
succeeded in downing 7 Bf 109s for a single loss, and the
only P-47 loss of the day. Over the Netherlands JG 1 and 26
made repeated attacks. The 305th Bomb Group lost 13 of its
16 B-17s in minutes. After dropping their bombs the American
bombers were almost immediately attacked by German fighters,
having landed, refueled and rearmed, struck again. JG 11 shot
down 18 B-17s during this period. Finally, the B-17s reached
the coastline of Europe and relative safety, some of them
so heavily damaged that though they brought their crews home,
they would never fly again. Gunners aboard the bombers claimed
to have shot down 138 German fighters; only 38 were lost.
the final tally, fifty-nine Flying Fortresses were shot down
over Germany, one ditched in the English Channel on the return
flight, five crashed in England, and twelve more were scrapped
due to battle damage or crash landings (more by AA-guns than
by fighter aircraft), a total loss of seventy seven B-17s.
122 bombers were damaged to some degree and needed repairs
before their next flight. Out of 2,900 men in the crews, about
650 men did not return, although 65 survived as POWs. Five
were killed and forty-three wounded in the damaged aircraft
that made it home, and 594 were listed as Missing in Action.
Only thirty-three bombers landed without damage. The 306th
Bomb Group was hard hit, losing 100 men, of which 35 died
on the mission, or of wounds, and 65 were captured. The 305th
Bomb Group lost 130 men, with 36 killed. The 87 percent loss
rate had left the group devastated.
relentless determination and courage of USAAF Eighth Air Force
on that “Black Thursday” will forever be etched
into aviation folk lore. We're proud to announce that each
veteran signer of "Almost Home" flew on, and fought,
the infamous "Black Thursday" second Schweinfurt
print in the edition is signed and numbered by the artist
Gil Cohen and countersigned by distinguished and heroic aircrew
from the "Black Thursday" second Schweinfurt mission.
note : Not all the signatories listed below have signed the
editions. For exact details on aircrew signatures we recommend
you contact us prior to purchasing the print.
"Black Thursday" Signatories
Baker, waist gunner, 384th Bomb Group
Louis Bridda, waist gunner, 305th Bomb Group
Jay Coberly, bombardier on “Bucket of Bolts,”
94th Bomb Group
Bill Eisenhart, pilot of “Wallaroo,” 303rd Bomb
Charles Huber, top turret gunner, 385th Bomb Group
Bud Klint, pilot of “Luscious Lady,” 303rd Bomb
James McClanahan, bombardier, 384th Bomb Group
Herman Molen, ball turret & bombardier on “Spirit
of the Nation,” 305th BG
Pete Mullinax, pilot of “Bucket of Bolts,” 94th
John Noack, pilot of “Bless ‘Em All,” 306th
George Roberts, radio operator on "Rose of York,"
306th Bomb Group
Foster Rodda, navigator on "Lady Lylian," 388th
print is accompanied with a matching numbered certificate
Print Size 32" x 24 3/8" (inches). Printed in lightfast
inks on acid free archival paper.
complement the purchase of your fine art print, we are
now able to offer a professional Picture Framing service.
For further details please click Here
and Numbered Print
UK £130.00 Edition Size - 440
UK £220.00 Edition Size - 240
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information regarding our Limited Edition Prints
edition of identical prints, numbered sequentially and individually
signed by the artist, having a stated limit to the quantity
in the edition. Following publication the printing plates
are destroyed. Almost all the aviation art and aircraft
prints featured on this website are authenticated with the
original signatures of distinguished military personnel.
old tradition of reserving a quantity of prints for the
artist's use, usually equal to about 10 % of the edition.
In the early days of printing, these prints were the only
remuneration the poor artist received. Proofs are signed
by the artist and numbered showing the quantity of Artist's
Proofs issued in the edition. Because of their highly restricted
number, Artist's Proofs are sold at a higher value than
the regular prints in the edition.
quantity of prints, not always announced or issued at the
time of publication, usually equal to no more than 10% of
the edition. These are reserved for the publisher's use,
mostly for donation to Museums, Service establishments,
Service Associations, and the like. Quantities of Publishers
Proofs, sometimes issued with a supplementary print, may
be made available to collectors either at the time of publication,
or at a later date, depending upon availability.
print issued with an original pencil drawing by the artist
in the margin, each numbered out of the quantity of individually
remarqued prints in the edition. The quantity of remarqued
prints in any one edition generally is between 25 and 50.
Each remarque drawing made by the artist is slightly different,
thus making each print totally unique. Remarqued prints
may be available at the time of publication, or announced
at a later date, depending upon the artist's work load at
the time .Please be aware that Remarque prints can take
up to six weeks for delivery. An artist remarqued print
is the ultimate collector item in terms of reproduced work.
additional print, usually issued with smaller dimensions,
published to compliment a limited edition, and usually issued
at the same time.
(or mounted) print:
print fitted into an acid-free or conservation matt (or
mount), ready for framing.
original work individually drawn by the artist, completed
in pencil, ink, or other medium, and personally signed by
the artist. Being an original work each drawing is unique
certificate issued by the publisher stating the total quantity
of prints issued in the edition, confirming authenticity
of the signatures, and in the case of a limited edition,
inscribed with the matching unique number inscribed on the
individual print. Collectors are advised to keep certificates
safely as a future means of provenance. All our aviation
art and aircraft prints are issued with a certificate of