Top Cover

Gerald Coulson





Top Cover Gerald Coulson

Big Brothers and Little Friends - the enduring bond between the bomber crews and fighter pilots of the USAAF Eighth Air Force in their prolonged and hotly contested air war against Hitler’s Nazi Germany, 1942-1945 Every day when weather permitted, the bomber crews of the USAAF Eighth Air Force flew missions deep into Germany and other destinations under the rule of Nazi Germany. And every day they knew the enemy fighters were waiting for them. Hardly an American aircraft left home without running the gauntlet of fighter interception, flak or the criss-cross machine gun fire of running air battles. Few escaped unscathed, surviving aircraft often having to be nursed home riddled with bullet and flak damage, with parts of wings and tails shot away, or engines out. Only the fighter escort stood between the bombers and potential decimation. It was little wonder such an enduring bond was formed between the bomber crews and their fighter escorts - Big Brothers and Little Friends.

Quick to make a name for themselves were the P-51 Mustangs of the 357th Fighter Group. Based first at Raydon, then Leiston, England, the 357th was tasked to provide escort duties from the start. Its job - to provide penetration and withdrawal support for the bomber raids on strategic targets in occupied Europe. Having taken part in ‘Big Week’ in February 1944, the Group’s fighters provided escort during the Eighth Air Force’s first attack on Berlin on 6 March. The 357th Fighter Group went on to take part in almost every significant air battle fought by the Eighth from then until the end of hostilities.

Renowned aviation artist Gerald Coulson has reconstructed on canvas a fine interpretation showing B-17 Fortresses under attack during one of the heavy raids during ‘Big Week’, 20 - 25 February 1944. With their distinctive contrails pointing the way to the target, the B-17s have come under heavy attack by Messerschmitt Me109s of JG11. The 357th FG’s top cover P-51 Mustang pilots have seen them coming and, with closing speeds approaching 800mph,dived headlong into the determined enemy fighters in an effort to break up the attack. Another deadly war game is being played out in the thin, icy stratosphere high above a hostile territory.



The entire edition is signed by THREE highly regarded P51 fighter Aces, together with the artist Gerald Coulson.

Every print in the Aces Edition is signed by two additional top P-51 fighter Aces, making a total of FIVE signatures in this edition.

Matching numbered certificate of authenticity included.

Overall Print Size 29 1/2"x 24 1/4" (inches) Printed in lightfast inks on acid free archival paper.


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Signed and Numbered Edition
UK £180.00 Edition Size - 400


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Helpful information regarding our Limited Edition Prints

Limited edition print:

An 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.

Artists Proof:

An 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.

Publishers Proof:

A 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.

Remarqued print:

A 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.

Companion print:

An additional print, usually issued with smaller dimensions, published to compliment a limited edition, and usually issued at the same time.

Matted (or mounted) print:

A print fitted into an acid-free or conservation matt (or mount), ready for framing.

Original drawing:

An 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 and different.

Certificate of Authenticity:

A 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 authenticity.



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