Luftwaffe bomber ace, Diether Lukesch, Autographed aircraft panelDiether Lukesch was already a famous Luftwaffe JU-88 bomber pilot (an ace with six aerial victories and recipient of the Knight’s Cross) when his squadron learned they would be transitioning to a new aircraft so unique it had no propellers! In May of 1944 Lukesch found they would be piloting the experimental twin engine jet bomber, the Arado 234.Lukesch added the Oak Leaves to his Knight’s Cross but post-D-Day the German’s found themselves lacking much offensive progress. On December 24, 1944, Lukesch led nine Arados of his KG 400 in history’s first jet bombing mission. Supporting a pivotal German offensive out of the Ardennes, they hit a factory at Liege, Belgium.Diether Luckesh has autographed with silver metallic ink this panel #8/8 which depicts the Arado 234 insignia of KG 400.Artwork was researched and meticulously hand-painted by noted aviation artist, Ron Kaplan, on actual scrap aircraft aluminum. Mounted to black plexi in a ready-to-hang, black lacquer 15” by 16” shadow-box frame with an ID plaque centered beneath.This is from one of Kaplan’s early panel series – a short edition and thus extremely rare. It comes authenticated with a color photograph taken of Lukesch at the signing session - a great piece for any collector of Luftwffe ace, bomber or early jet history.
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