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Keith Ferris - LITTLE WILLIE COMING HOME -  LIMITED EDITION PRINT Published by the Greenwich Workshop

7:45 a.m. Monday, March 6, 1944 found 814 B-17's and B-24's, supported by 943 American fighters, enroute to Germany for the U.S. 8th Air Forces first full-scale daylight attack on Berlin. The 8th Air Force lost more aircraft on this mission than any other in World War II. Flight Officer Bernard M. "Bernie" Dopko, flying the 388th Bomb Group's B-17G (42-37839), "Little Willie," with her 10 man crew, made it to Berlin and bombed her target. Flack (AAA) damage forced Dopko to leave formation and turn for home. Luftwaffe fighters immediately attacked, inflicting further damage, wounding the tailgunner.

Feigning loss of control, the pilot descended recovering below 50 feet. The B-17 was flyable but unable to keep all four engines running. "Little Willie" struggled all the way across Germany unable to top 100 feet or 115 miles per hour. Evading and answering ground fire, she crossed the coast of Holland all alone in the late afternoon sun, landing at her base in Knettishall England at 5:45 p.m., the last bomber home from Berlin. "Little Willie" had been in the air for 9 1/2 hours.

In addition to the damaged aircraft and wounded, the 8th Air Force had lost 69 bombers with their 690 crew members and 11 fighters and pilots over Germany this day, while the Luftwaffe had lost 46 fighter pilots, killed or wounded.

LITTLE WILLIE COMING HOME
by Keith Ferris

See the Artist Biography
LIMITED EDITION PRINT
Image size: 34"w x 14 1/4"h.
Limited Edition of: 1000
Originally Published:
May 1983
$145.00

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Aviation/Space
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Keith Ferris
An artistís career can rest on the simplest of things. For Keith Ferris, it was an allergic condition which kept him from becoming a pilot for the Air Force. But he didnít let that stop him from making his love of aviation his life. Instead, he channeled his energy and enthusiasm into becoming an aviation lecturer, historian, model-builder, inventor and artist known for his scrupulous accuracy of aircraft and events. It also didnít keep him from flying all over the world in almost every type of jet aircraft possble. His knowledge of the industry and passion for sharing the thrill of flight was all in the family. He was the son of an Air Force officer and grew up on military bases in the U.S. and England. He majored in aeronautical engineering at Texas A&M University and enrolled in the Air Force ROTC. Since then he has painted for almost every major defense contractor in America and completed a variety of commissions for the U.S. Government, both practical and creative. He holds the patents for five air combat camouflage paint schemes and painted two twenty-five by seventy-five-foot murals for the Smithsonian Institutionís National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. He has been elected a life member of the Society of Illustrators and the Order of Daedalians, the national fraternity of military pilots. He is Honorary Air Force Art Chairman, past executive vice president of the Society of Illustrators and founder as well as past president of the American Society of Aviation Artists.


 

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