Kondor Gallery

© Kondor Gallery 2003
All rights reserved

Wittmann's Tiger at Kursk


Early on the morning of 2 August 1944, a lone aircraft took off from Juvincourt airfield near Reims in France and headed westwards. The pilot had just released his twin rocket boosters and as they tumbled away and fell gently to earth by parachute, he continued his climb to 34,000ft where his airspeed would reach over 450mph.

The pilot was Oberleutnant Erich Sommer setting out on the world's first jet reconnaissance mission in his Arado Ar234, v7. It had been almost 2 months since the Allies had landed on the Normandy beaches. Conventional Luftwaffe reconnaissance aircraft had been unable to penetrate the heavy screens of Allied fighters leaving the Wehrmacht commanders in the unenviable position of almost complete ignorance of the enemy's disposition behind the front lines.

Sommer's mission would change all that, for within 30 minutes he was over the Cherbourg Peninsula where he would fly three straight and level runs parallel to the coast with each stepped 6 miles inland to photograph nearly the entire lodgement area held by the Allies in Normandy. Sommer had carried out the perfect reconnaissance mission, for it wasn't until three months later in November 1944, that the Allies even became aware of the existence of the Arado Ar234, when P-51s of the 8th Air Force sighted an unidentified twin jet bomber passing above them.

For the next 3 months Sommer would continue to fly unhindered reconnaissance missions over France, Holland and Belgium as well as over southern England as part of Kommando Sperling (Sparrow) under Oberleutnant Horst Goetz. Then in February 1945, he would head up his own Kommando Sommer equipped with the wheeled Ar-234B to cover the Italian Front.

Erich Sommer survived the war, was awarded the Iron Cross 1st and 2nd Class, Silver Honour Cup, German Cross in Gold, and the Golden Frontflugspange for Aufklaerer, and now lives in Australia.

Artist Barry Spicer, a good friend of Erich's conferred closely with him during the production of the painting. Erich was delighted with the accuracy that Barry has depicted his faithful Arado with the twin 20mm MG-151 Magirusbombe gunpack and the painting's masterful atmosphere that so vividly awakens those distant aerial memories.

Print Specifications

Main Print:

"Oberleutnant Erich Sommer's Arado AR-234B Blitz" Limited Edition
Limited to 300 Prints, Certificate of Authenticity provided
Full colour, 31" (width) x 23" (height)

Standard Edition

"Oberleutnant Erich Sommer's Arado AR-234B Blitz"
Limited Edition Print

signed by Artist and numbered

Limited to 300 Editions
Price: US$150.00 plus shipping

Artist's Proof

"Oberleutnant Erich Sommer's Arado AR-234B Blitz"
Limited Edition Print

signed by Artist and numbered

Limited to 30 Proofs
Price: US$220.00 plus shipping


"Oberleutnant Erich Sommer's Arado AR-234B Blitz"
Limited Edition Print

signed by Artist and numbered

Limited to 30 Remarques
Price: US$280.00 plus shipping





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