Military Aviation Art
On August 18, 1944, Eighth Air Force Command planned a
bombing mission against the German Aerodrome at Nancy/Essey, France.
There were about 70 aircraft on this airfield, mostly He-111s and Ju-88s,
as well as a small number of fighters. Early in the afternoon a
moderately sized formation of B-24 Liberators attacked the field with good
results on many hangars and buildings, although a large
number of German aircraft scattered around the field escaped damage..
Immediately following the bombing attack the new C.O. of the 479th Fighter
Group, Hubert Zemke of the 56th Fighter Group, led fifty P-38 Lightnings
of the 479th in a strafing attack on the remaining German aircraft.
The Group's 435th Squadron escorted the bombers home, while the 434th and
436th Squadrons strafed the airfield for about twenty five minutes. Wave
after wave of P-38s swept over the field at approximately 100 feet above
the ground until there was too much smoke and dust to maneuver
safely. Robin Olds was leading the 434th Squadron in his
new P-38J "SCAT III", as depicted in the painting. All of Old's
aircraft were named "SCAT", including several P-38's, P-51
Mustangs, and F-4 Phantoms in Vietnam. Robin made a number of passes at
the German bombers, setting many ablaze, and also observed some good hits
on an Fw-190 parked in front of a hangar. Post mission
evaluation concluded that 32 P-38s from the two Squadrons had destroyed 43
aircraft and damaged 23, for a loss of one P-38. In combination with the
bomber strike, it was a very costly day for the Luftwaffe. On August
25th, Robin shot down three more enemy aircraft and became an ace.