BREACHING THE DAMS – THE MEN WHO MADE IT POSSIBLE
by Richard Taylor
Just NINETEEN copies of this memorable edition are available worldwide representing the nineteen Lancaster crews who took part in the Dambuster Raids.
Operation Chastise, the famous Dambusters raid of 16/17 May 1943, could never have happened without Upkeep, the legendary mine or ‘bouncing bomb’ created by aeronautical genius Barnes Wallis. And Upkeep could never have been delivered without the introduction of the Lancaster four-engine heavy bomber, brainchild of Avro’s chief designer Roy Chadwick, who was also responsible for the special adaptations made in preparation for the raids. It is also unlikely the Lancaster could have achieved success that night were it not for the skill, heroics and brave determination of the hand-picked pilots and aircrew of 617 Squadron who were some of the finest airmen in the world.
Upkeep was unique in conception; containing 6,600 lbs of ‘Torpex’ high explosive, equivalent to 3.7 tons of TNT, Wallis had designed this formidable weapon to skip across the water avoiding any anti-torpedo netting, hit the dam wall, sink to a prescribed depth at which it would cause the most damage, and detonate. But there was a problem; Upkeep weighed 9,250 lbs, and for it to work it must be released at an altitude of just 60ft, at a precise airspeed of 210mph, some 400 – 450 yards from the target. There was only one aircraft in the world capable of carrying such a load, and over such a distance – the Lancaster. But to deliver Upkeep on target was anything but easy; the crews must avoid radar detection by navigating the entire journey at tree-top height at night and, avoiding the surrounding hills surrounding the targets, run in at the prescribed height, speed and distance. Only a highly skilled pilot could achieve such a task, especially at the controls of a heavy bomber. It was a dangerous, risky yet audacious plan. And it worked. Despite the tragic loss of nearly half their number both the Möhne and Eder dams, amongst the largest in Europe, were breached, and the Sorpe damaged. In a single raid, on a single night, the continuing legend of the Dambusters was born.
As part of the commemorations to remember the 80th Anniversary of the raids, artist Richard Taylor has created this moving triptych. Alongside the masterful portraits of both Barnes Wallis and Roy Chadwick, chosen by the artist to represent all 133 airmen who took part in Operation Chastise is a magnificent portrayal of Lancaster AJ-A ‘Apple’ with pilot Dinghy Young at the controls as his Lancaster clears the parapet of the Möhne dam seconds before his Upkeep detonates bang on target to fatally weaken the mighty stone wall. Shortly after, David Maltby in Lancaster AJ-J ‘Johnny’ will finish the job and the destruction of the Eder dam would follow.
The Tribute Edition
Limited to only NINETEEN copies to represent the nineteen Lancaster crews who took part in the Dambuster raid, all three drawings have been faithfully reproduced as high quality giclée fine art prints, personally signed by the artist and hand numbered. To create a historic collector’s piece and adding great authenticity, all three are mounted in a single composition to include the ORIGINAL autographs of the two famous engineers PLUS a further two original signatures of veterans who piloted Lancasters on that fateful night:
- Sir BARNES WALLIS CBE FRS RDI FRAeS
- Chief Designer Roy Chadwick CBE FRSA FRAeS
- Air Marshal Sir Harold 'Mick' Martin KCB CB DSO* DFC* AFC
- Squadron Leader Les Munro CNZM DSO QSO DFC
- 29 x 15.25 inches
- Release Date:
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