Red Tail Pass
March 31-April 1, 1945. A momentous two-day period in which the Tuskegee pilots of the 332nd Fighter Group sweep southern Germany, destroying 25 enemy aircraft while incurring only one loss.
~1st Lieutenant Spann Watson
~ 1st Lieutenant John H. Leahr
~ Flight Officer Charles A. Lane Jr.
~1st Lieutenant John F. Briggs
~Staff Sergeant James A. Sheppard
~1st Lieutenant Richard D. Macon
~1st Lieutenant Robert L. Martin
~Captain Howard L. Baugh
~1st Lieutenant William H. Holloman III
~1st Lieutenant George A. Taylor
~Staff Sergeant Levi H. Thornhill
~1st Lieutenant William B. Ellis
~Lieutenant James H. Harvey
~2nd Lieutenant George E. Hardy
~1st Lieutenant Theodore G. Lumpkin
by Mike Coenen
By March of 1945, Germany was surrounded and fighting a purely defensive war. To the east, the Russian juggernaut, both army and air force, rushed headlong toward Berlin, crushing any resistance in its path. In the west, the Allies had crossed the Rhine River into Germany and were pushing the battered German army further east. To the south the Allies advanced north past Rome and into the Po Valley of Italy, ever closer to her homeland beyond the Italian and Austrian Alps.
The Allied air forces were relentless in their bombing and destruction of any effort put up by the beleaguered Luftwaffe in these final days. Among the fighter squadrons that were involved in the missions were the Tuskegee pilots of the 332nd Fighter Group. Flying out of Ramitelli, Italy, they continued their escort duties, providing the necessary protection for the bombers to hit their targets in central Germany. Many of these missions still met enemy resistance, and some of the air battles were fierce.
On some occasions they battled with the new Luftwaffe wonder weapons of jet and rocket design which, though technologically advanced, were too few in number and introduced too late to change the course of the war. Starved of fuel, the German war machine staggered on when it should have ended sooner. But Hitler insisted on battling on to ultimate self-destruction, both for himself and the German population.
In Robert Bailey’s air combat painting, RED TAIL PASS, Tuskegee Mustangs are seen streaking over southern Germany on April 1, 1945. On this day and the preceding day, they destroyed 25 enemy aircraft with only 1 lost. It was a historic two-day period for the Tuskegee, of which they will always be proud.
Up front are ‘Duchess Arlene’ (1st Lt. Robert W. Williams) of 100 Fighter Squadron, and ‘Creamer’s Dream’ (1st Lt. Charles White), 301 Fighter Squadron.
Available in the Following Editions:
- 200 Tuskegee Editions with 13 co-signatures
- 20 Remarqued Edition Prints with 90 co-signatures; individually remarqued
- 18 Printer’s Proofs with 12 co-signatures
- 150 Studio Editions signed by the artist only
- 5 Images on Canvas