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Item #: STIGLERFIGHTERACEME262
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German Fighter Ace "Franz Stigler" & Artist "Ernie Boyette" Signed & Numbered Print

Messerschmitt Me-262 Jet Fighter

 

Limited Edition 12" X 18" Print Signed and Numbered by the Artist

and Co-signed by Luftwaffe Fighter Ace, Franz Stigler

 

Franz Stigler became a glider pilot in 1927 at the age of 12, upgrading to powered aircraft in 1933. He joined Lufthansa and flew an extensive number of single and multi-engine aircraft between 1933 and 1939. Franz officially joined the Luftwaffe in 1939 and became an instructor pilot, teaching multi-engine and fighter aircraft. While flying combat missions for eighteen months in North Africa and the Mediterranean, Franz scored fifteen aerial victories. All of his victories were against allied fighters, mainly the American P-40, the English Hawker Hurricane and the elite Spitfire.

Franz and his Squadron were transferred from Africa to Sicily, then to Italy, as the Allies advanced in the Mediterranean. After serving briefly in Germany, and then in Bulgaria, Franz was again pulled back to Austria to defend against the huge American bomber formations. The American heavy bombers were targeting German industrial and transportation centers. On one raid to Schweinfurt, sixty bombers were shot down with Franz claiming two, and while attacking a third bomber he was shot down by the tail gunner.

Franz formed EJG-1, the first Pre-Jet Training Squadron/Wing. Here Stigler trained elite Luftwaffe pilots in the characteristics of the new jet fighter. Twice he briefly served as a wing commander and finished the war as Technical Officer of General Adolph Galland’s famed JV-44 "Squadron of Experts", flying the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter against the American bombers.

At the end of the war while serving with JV-44, their squadron was moved constantly from one makeshift airfield to another. The Allied fighters were locating and strafing every German airfield they found. The American fighters would also circle the German jet airfields and dive on the jets as they were taking off or landing. This is the way most all victories were scored against the German jets.

During the last week of the war, while flying the Messerschmitt 262 Jet, Franz shot down two more American bombers. At this time however, the Luftwaffe was scattered and disorganized, so Franz did not receive credit for these aircraft. Franz flew the Me 262 for his last sixteen combat missions of the war. Stigler was credited with 28 aerial victories; including eleven four-engine bommbers, and over thirty probables. He was shot down seventeen times, eleven times by American bombers. Franz bailed out six times and rode his aircraft down the other eleven.

During his six plus years of combat flying with the Luftwaffe, Franz flew 487 missions. His decorations include the Iron Cross 2nd Class, the Iron Cross 1st Class, and the German Cross in Gold. Franz was nominated for the "Knight’s Cross", but the war ended before he received it.

Stigler shot down two B-24’s in this jet fighter.

 


 

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