The Arcs Of Fire Gallery
TO HELL AND BACK
OPERATION TIDAL WAVE
by Anthony Saunders
The Ploesti Raid on Sunday 1 August 1943 was one of the costliest operations carried out by the USAAF during World War II. It was also the day that the airmen of the United States proved their unswerving determination in the face of the gravest danger. The risks were enormous, the odds of success minimal, but should they succeed, the rewards were great, Hitler's Germany drew nearly a third of its required oil supplies from the oil fields and refineries at Ploesti, destroy them and the German armies might never recover from such a blow. " We expect our losses to be 50% " said the Commanding Officer of the Ninth Air Force, " but even though we should lose everything we've sent, but hit the target, it will be worth it ". Small comfort to the crews of the 178 B-24s detailed to fly the mission.
From the start of the operation things began to go wrong, as the heavily loaded B-24s lumbered into the air from their Libyan airstrips, the lead aircraft its engines clogged by sand, plunged into the sea. En-route things became worse as thick cloud over Albania split up the bomber formations, with some taking a wrong course. German radar picked up the incoming threat, and with the schedule falling apart, any element of surprise was lost and the enemy would be ready and waiting for their arrival over the target area.
Depicting the full drama Anthony Saunder's dramatic new painting To Hell and Back, fully captures the murderous flak encountered by the crews of the B-24s as they make their run-in to the target, some of the worst encountered during World War II. Flying at low level over the Astra Romana oil refinery, Lt James Merrick of the 98th Bomb Group powers his B-24 'Lil De-icer' through the pall of burning debris as time delayed bombs, dropped in error by a previous Group, explode beneath them. With any hope of surprise now lost, and taking heavy losses in the process, the crews of the 98th bravely hold their bombers on course.
THE LIMITED EDITIONS
To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the raid, each print is personally signed by THREE veterans who flew on the Ploesti Mission.
With THREE signatures
Captain Charles D. Cavit 98th Bomb Group Co-pilot of 'Jersey Jackass'
CHARLES D. CAVIT
ANDREW W. OPSATA
Captain Andrew W. Opsata 98th Bomb Group Pilot of 'The Stinger'
Technical sergeant Richard E. Tuttle Radio Operator 44th Bomb Group 'The Flying Eightballs'
RICHARD E. TUTTLE
350 Limited Edition UK£ 95 / US$ 145
25 Artists Proofs UK£ 140 / US$ 210
25 Remarques UK£ 265 / US$ 395
10 Double Remarques UK£ 425 / US$ 635
The Remarque Editions by Anthony Saunders
Overall Print Size : 30½" wide x 23" high
Image Size : 24" wide x 16" high