Aviation Art…


Flight Lieutenant Donald J. M. Blakeslee of 133 Eagle Squadron exits his Spitfire MkVb at the Lympne airfield after his fourth mission of 19th of August 1942. On this date, during Operation Jubilee – the joint British-Canadian amphibious assault against German forces on the French coast at Dieppe, RAF Fighter Command flew hundreds of sorties in support of the landings.

Among the RAF units active during the day were the three all American volunteer Eagle squadrons, who between them accounted for 10 enemy aircraft destroyed, 5 probable and 12 damaged, Blakeslee himself being credited with two destroyed and two probables.


Aviation Art… — 13 Comments

  1. From Wiki:
    While the Allied fighters were moderately successful in protecting the ground and sea forces from aerial bombing, they were hampered by operating far from their home bases. The Spitfires in particular were at the edge of their ranges, with some only being able to spend five minutes over the combat area.

    That would account for the number of sorties.

  2. Hey Old NFO;

    I remembered reading that Don Blakeslee and others were happy when the Mustang got into theater and they traded their Jugs (P47) for a plane that reminded them of their beloved spitfires. AV art is very cool:)

  3. The limit for the USAF (in peacetime at least) was 3 sorties. Coming off that third air to air sortie, I’d be rung out. And nobody was actually shooting anybody or getting shot at. 4 actual combat sorties in one day and multiple sorties on most days would take some supreme stamina. One more example of why the “greatest generation” is just that.

    Great post and art, please keep it up.

  4. Re. Juvat’s comment:
    By regulation, when you reached 120 hours flight time in RVN you were grounded until cleared to fly again by the flight surgeon.
    I can remember months on end when we’d return from the mission and the flight surgeon would meet us, look us in the eye, ask a question or two, and clear us to fly the next day.
    And back then we weren’t being given “GO” pills to help us do the job.
    Not taking anything at all from “The Greatest Generation”…
    They WERE extraordinary. But DO NOT take anything away from our warriors all along the line. If not all, MOST still think that oath means what it says.

    • My apologies, it was NOT my intent to denigrate anyone, merely to point out how difficult flying a fighter is and how much harder it is in combat.
      I did not know about that rule in Vietnam. That’s quite a bit of flying time in a very short time. Thanks.

  5. Anyone that gets a chance should stop at the USAF Museum in Dayton Ohio. There are a ton of beautiful paintings, many of them focused on the Vietnam conflict.

    OldNFO, I love it when you post pictures like this!

  6. Ed/Bob- Yep, that was taken care of by the introduction of Mustangs, Jugs, and Lightnings with drop tanks!

    Juvat- True!

    GB- Yeah, right… 🙂 If you could fog a mirror, your ass was back in the air. My high time month (as a crewman) was around 230 hours. Even up through the late 80’s we, in certain mission segments, were still seeing 170-180 hour months.

    LCB- True, I haven’t been there in years! I really need to go back!

  7. …a point which will probably draw some flack…

    I sometimes get a little miffed about references to the so-called “greatest generation”. While not meaning to denigrate the accomplishments of the generation that fought WWII, which in my opinion was indeed a “great” generation; were they really the “greatest” just because Tom Brokaw said so? Does this mean they’ve had no equal before or since?

    What about the generation that suffered through the winter at Valley Forge yet stuck with General Washington through those very tough times to see the revolution to it’s end? How about the men that stood behind the stone wall at Gettysburg, (…or for that matter, charged out of the woods with General Pickett opposite that stone wall). Were they not at least equals of the men that stormed the beaches of Normandy? How about the defenders of Khe Sanh? Were they not the equals of the defenders of Bastogne?

  8. “…wish we had leaders like these men!”

    We did.

    John F. Kennedy
    Lyndon Johnson
    Robert McNamara
    Gen. Clayton Abrams
    Gerald Ford
    George H. W. Bush

  9. Got one of Taylor’s(?) prints of the Dam Buster raid over the Mohne Dam. Bought it for the wife and it came with a copy of a page of Doug Bader’s flight log as well as copies of photos of his aircraft and him climbing into it. Two artificial legs and he was still flying; he must have clanked when he walk around.