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Item #: STIGLERFIGHTERACEBF-109F
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German Fighter Ace "Franz Stigler" & Artist "Ernie Boyette" Signed & Numbered Print

Messerschmitt Bf-109F Fighter

 

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

and Co-Signed by Luftwaffe North African Fighter Pilot Ace "Franz Stigler"

 

Franz Stigler became a glider pilot in 1927 at the age of 12. He upgraded 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, first with multi-engine and then fighter aircraft. Franz was a very effective instructor, with many of his students becoming aces like Gerhard Barkhorn, who was credited with 301 confirmed aerial victories. Franz himself had been instructed by Ritter Von Greim, who later became Field Marshal Ritter Von Greim, replacing Herman Goering as the last Luftwaffe commander. Franz served as an instructor until February 1942 when he was assigned to Squadron 4/II, JG-27, flying the Bf 109 fighter in combat in North Africa.

 

For the next eighteen months, Franz served in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy, scoring 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 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 American bomber formations. The 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. In all, Stigler was shot down eleven times by American bomber gunners, leaving him with scars on his forehead and right leg. During his three years of combat with JG-27 Stigler served with Squadrons 4/II and 6/II and commanding Squadrons 8/III and 12/IV.

The Messerschmitt Bf 109F that Stigler flew in North Africa and the Mediterranean, is shown above in the “Tropical” paint scheme that the Luftwaffe used during this campaign. Stigler was credited with 28 aerial victories; including eleven four engine bombers, and over thirty probables. He was shot down seventeen times, including eleven times by American bombers. Franz bailed out six times and rode his aircraft down the other eleven.

During the last week of the war, while flying the Messerschmitt 262 Jet with JV-44, 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.

During his three 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.

 


 

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