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|Signatures on this item|
|*The value given for each signature has been calculated by us based on the historical significance and rarity of the signature. Values of many pilot signatures have risen in recent years and will likely continue to rise as they become more and more rare.|
Leutnant Wilhelm Noller (deceased)
*Signature Value : £50
|Wilhelm Noller joined the Luftwaffe in 1939 and trained as a bomber pilot. In May 1942 he was posted to join 2./StG 2 fighting on the Eastern Front. He took part in the battles of Kursk and Stalingrad, and became one of the most successful pilots of StG 2. By early 1943 his combat mission total passed the 500 mark, rising to over 800 by the end of the year. He was awarded the Knights Cross in April 1944, a few weeks after passing the 1000 mission mark. After a period instructing, he returned to combat in February 1945, flying the Fw190 with 7./SG 10 in Czechoslovakia. Wounded in April 1945, and hospitalised in Prague, he was taken prisoner by the Soviets when they took over the city in May. Transported east by rail towards Russia, he jumped from the moving train and escaped back to Germany. During the war he had flown 1058 missions, destroyed 86 tanks, 2 armoured trains, plus many vehicles, boats and bridges. He also gained 2 victories in aerial combat. Wilhelm Noller passed away on 26th December 2011.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Ju87||By 1935 the German Luftwaffe was developing its first monoplane divebomber which entered production in 1936 as the Ju87 Stuka. The Stuka was to evolve into arguably the most successful single engine Axis divebomber of WW II. Utilizing a nearly vertical dive position the Stuka was stunningly accurate in the days when horizontal bombing was a relatively inaccurate science. The Ju87 was built for functionality and ruggedness. A fixed landing gear and exceptionally strong wing design were incorporated and no attempt was made to minimize protrusions. The Stuka was not designed for speed; it was an aerodynamic nightmare. The Stuka also incorporated a siren which when activated during a dive was designed to inflict psychological damage on the enemy below. The Ju87 was used with tremendous success in the Blitzkrieg attacks on Norway, Poland, Belgium, France, Holland, Yugoslavia, and Greece. Virtually unchallenged in the air during these Blitzkriegs the Stukas took a devastating toll on Allied ground and mechanized forces. Shipping was also vulnerable to the pinpoint attacks of the Stuka, and the Ju87 destroyed more Allied shipping than all other German aircraft put together during WW II. During Hitlers air attacks on Britain the Stukas reputation for invulnerability was shattered. Facing British Hurricanes and Spitfires the slower and less maneuverable Ju87s were destroyed in large numbers, eventually forcing their withdrawal from that conflict. Germanys attempt to develop an improved twin engine divebomber resulted in the introduction of the Messerschmitt 210 which was an unmitigated disaster. As a result, the Stuka remained in production longer than expected and the aircraft played a major role in Germanys surprise attack on Russia. In the first day of combat alone Stukas were credited with the destruction of over 700 Russian aircraft with minimal losses. One of Germanys top aces of WW II was Hans-Ulrich Rudel. Rudel flew over 2,500 combat missions in Ju87s, and was shot down on twelve occasions. Rudel was credited with destroying 519 tanks, 800 vehicles, 150 artillery pieces, one Russian battleship, one cruiser and one destroyer. Rudel was also credited with shooting down nine Russian aircraft in air-to-air combat.|
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