Hermes' Wings

History, Writing and Personal Musings

The Battle of the Bulge

Masthead - Battle of the Bulge

Mapping the Ardennes offensive proved much arduous than my earlier work on Normandy and D-Day.

Admittedly, I knew little about the Ardennes, cloaked as it was, under a tangle of oak, willow, conifers, poplar and beech. What I did know about this great campaign came from scattered readings and for having seen the great 1965 turkey The Battle of Bulge, the significantly better Battleground (1949), and the two-odd episodes of Band of Brothers which portrayed US airborne at the besieged market town of Bastogne.

Part of the challenges is that the landscape of the Ardennes is a difficult place to wrap the mind around, populated as it is with places with impossible names like Houffalize, Foy, Soy, Wiltz, Champs, Saint-Vith, La Gleize, the vaguely wookie-sounding Neiderwampach, Sibret, Butgenbach and a rather pleasant-sounding village named Bra.

The battles here were monstrous; the brainchild of a despot grasping at straws for a last victory which he believed would reverse the course of the war. However, the finer details of the battle contain an almost supernatural quality: of phantom, snowsuit-clad Germans passing in an out of US lines, of American paratroopers holding frozen ground against titanic German tanks appearing of the mist, of foxlike English-speaking Germans sowing discord behind the lines, of diehard SS commandos wielding captured US Army equipment and uniforms to punch through Allied lines and a fog which hung like a pall for the first nine days of the battle.

Yet, the alien, hard edges of the Battle of the Bulge are softened somewhat by the pop-culture icons who found themselves in the midst of this struggle — men like the late, affable actor Charles Durning, who possibly survived an SS war crime outside the town of Malmedy, and the author, Kurt Vonnegut of Indianapolis, who, as a member of the green US 106th Infantry Division, fell into the German bag after his regiment was overrun by swarms of Teutonic armor and infantry.

This, I suspect comes to down to our human need to identify something familiar out of the monochromatic visions which emerge from literature and photography. Arguably, cartography is one way to cut through this hermetic barrier. Words may have the ability to evoke powerful scenes, but maps have the power to crystallize text onto a landscape we can visualize in our mind’s eye.

However, there is also the possibility that my mind may just be wired differently.

—————

The initial set of three maps took over 30 days to create, with my working nights after my day job. Several contemporary books were consulted to figure out how events transpired, including Antony Beevor’s Ardennes 1944, which proved to be singularly useless. In the end, I went back to the sources: US Army historical documents, manuscripts, dispatches and books including Hugh Cole’s excellent The Ardennes: Battle of the Bulge (US Army, 1965).

On a side-note, I usually run music while I work on art. But in this case, season 4 of Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle happened to be up, and the series ran in the background as I worked. A fantastical contrast developed as I mapped the real-life, historical events of the “Bulge” amid the show’s narrative depicting an alternate future dominated by the Nazis and Imperial Japan.

For the show to be plausible, American troops had to have lost the battle of the Bulge; there would no airborne triumph at Bastogne, no pincers by columns of Sherman tanks and grizzled infantry punching into the heart of the Reich in the aftermath.

One question was constant: Could an alternate reality (let’s assume there such a thing) ever exist in which the allies lost the war? On the face of things: unlikely. Not because of a general unwillingness to accept that our world could be any different, but because of how forlorn the Axis were in the 1940s.

The Third Reich might have been a military superpower, but at its core, it was a banana republic in which the bribery and nepotism ran the wheels of commerce. Then, there was Imperial Japan with its lack of industrial might and lack of innovation, coupled with absurdly wasteful military tactics. But then I remember the premise of writer Philip K Dick’s original story behind the series — of Roosevelt’s hypothetical assassination in 1933, giving the Republican Party the opportunity to nullify the New Deal, miring the United States longer in the Great Depression, and granting the Axis enough time to achieve a strategic global advantage.

Could fascists have taken over the world? Considering the can of worms that the world is currently embroiled in, nothing is implausible.

The Front Explodes

The Battle of the Bulge - 16-19 Dec 44

Brodie - WinterAllied optimism that the war would be over by the Christmas of 1945 was nearly quashed as Christmas approached and the war in Europe looked as though it had no immediate end in sight. The US First Army settled to rest and regroup in the Ardennes Forest in Belgium, an area considered as being a relatively quiet sector of the front. Many of its units were in strung-out shape after enduring relentless combat since the Normandy campaign. But in what was probably the greatest intelligence lapse by the Allies in the war, the Germans were able to assemble, in secret, three entire armies (or over 275,000 men) along the 60-mile long Ardennes front.

Color - Ardennes(Top Left) A group of US soldiers huddle in a frigid wind in this wartime drawing by Sergeant Howard Brodie, an artist for “Yank” magazine. (Above) A US patrol in the Ardennes. Going by the clear skies, this image was likely taken after December 26, 1944.

The Life and Death of Kampfgruppe Peiper

The Battle of the Bulge - Kampfgruppe Peiper

Events of the 1965 film The Battle of the Bulge largely depicted the movement west of the 1st SS Panzer Division, which had orders to reach to the Meuse River. In real life, the SS was badly delayed by the inability of other units to clear the way – a problem compounded by poor roads which were in no state to support an armored advance. On several occasions, commanders reported mud coming up the decking of tanks.

As the pressure mounted, the SS began to act on an order supposedly handed down from high command, instructing units not to take prisoners, lest they slow down the momentum of the advance. A series of atrocities by SS troops ensued, particularly by Kampfgruppe Peiper, led by an ambitious young veteran of the Russian front, 29-year-old Joachim Peiper.

82d Airborne Trooper - Bra (AP)Captured SS Trooper (Bra, belgium)

Among the evocative photographs to come out of the Battle of the Bulge were these two images. Here, two paratroopers of the US 82nd Airborne Division bring a young SS captive in at the point of a Tommy gun. These pictures were taken at Bra, Belgium on December 24, 1944. (Both photographs taken by the Associated Press)

Brodie - Malmedy MassacreSgt. Howard Brodie’s depiction of how the “Malmedy Massacre” went down.

The Bastion

The Battle of the Bulge - Bastogne

As the Germans swept deeper into the Ardennes, the Belgian town of Bastogne, occupying a key position on the rail and network in the region, came under threat. Bastogne was nearly undefended until the 48th hour of the German offensive. In desperation, the Americans rushed a tank unit (Combat Command R from the 9th Armored Division) to stall the incoming Germans until reinforcements could be pushed into Bastogne. The only other units available were paratrooper divisions recovering from an abortive campaign in Holland that September. The US 101st Airborne Division was alerted to advance into the sector, but being a parachute division, it had no attached armor and a grave shortage of bazookas.

A second tank force (this time from the 10th Armored Division) also raced to defend Bastogne. By dusk on the 19th, the area around Bastogne was embroiled in combat. By December 22, American troops within the Bastogne perimeter realized that they were surrounded. Meantime, the Germans, torn between their desire to stay on course towards the Meuse River and their inclination to nullify Bastogne, mounted a series of penny packet attacks against the perimeter which achieved little and wasted valuable time.

Bastigne Chow (Corbis WW20077)A group of paratroopers from the 101st Airborne Division get some hot chow near the frontline. The discovery of a large Red Cross warehouse within the Bastogne perimeter early in the siege, allowed the besieged paratroopers the luxury of hot pancakes on most mornings. (Corbis)

Read more of this post

A Day at the Beach: Normandy 1944

Masthead-Normandy

In the blank, unexplored spaces of the ancient world, map makers set down warnings that “here be dragons.” In the modern world, dragons might not exist but ambiguity does.running

When an associate recently suggested a quartet of books revisiting the battle for Normandy for the upcoming 75th anniversary of D-Day in June, I realized that I had no desire to add to the existing span of literature on Normandy. To do so felt trite, conventional and despite the overwhelming heroic mythos of the campaign, boring, because it meant retreading ground already explored at length but hundreds of writers since 1944.

While I may be incapable of adding words, I have no compunction about adding art pertaining to the battle, and especially maps, because here is a medium capable of heightening clarity and through which a modicum of originality can be achieved even though the places have all been mapped a thousand times before since early humans began to wonder about the world around them, recording the lines, culverts and rises made by people and nature alike on parchment in order to quash our fear of the unknown. Swords and arrows, it turns out, are not the only ways to kill dragons. Structure and knowledge are equally potent.

For me, map-making, like music, is another form of communication, using a language made up of lines, hues and symbols to tell a story. Maps are meant to be things of precision and when they work, they invite the viewer to explore the world set in pixel or ink before them, allowing us traverse a landscape in our imagination and wonder what happened here or there.

Below follow my attempts to map the most important events in the three-month slog which constitutes the battle for Normandy. I have given myself until January 31st February 10 to complete the series in order to start an unrelated photography project on living spaces on the Indian subcontinent, partly inspired by the work of the living British artist, Doreen Fletcher, who paints the neighborhoods of London’s East End, even as gentrification threatens to expunge the character of the place. (Check out her work; it’s interesting)

In any case, here are the maps, with a handful of pertinent photographs and my thoughts. If you have comments or criticisms to make, I’m open to hearing them.

The below map, titled “Closing the Gap,” while posted out of chronological order in the following series, is possibly my favorite, with my dispensing of the usual NATO-style military symbols which are a staple of battle maps in favor of a self-devised system of icons and glyphs intended to compact unit designations. I think the end result is more attractive and effective in the way it conveys information.

Normandy - Falaise - Closing the Gap

Building on the work of Major C.C.J. Bond, late of the Canadian Army, whose work was published in the official “The Victory Campaign,” Part III, this map includes research from several sources, including Terry Copp’s Fields of Fire (2003). I was particularly interested in analyzing the travails of the Free Polish Division around the town of Falaise (depicted using blue arrows) whose contributions have been largely ignored by postwar historians. The included figures of German motorized transport and tanks claimed as destroyed by the Allied air forces can be misleading in that claims by pilots often did not mirror reality. In fact, the Germans lost 133 tanks (most of which were abandoned), 701 “soft-skinned” vehicles and 51 guns in the so-called “Falaise Pocket,” in contrast to claims by pilots that they had blown up 6,251 vehicles within the pocket.

An Overall look at Operation “Overlord”

Normandy D-Day Map

The prospect of returning militarily to France sent the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill into paroxysms of fear and dread, haunted as he was by the specter of another “Dunkirk.” For years, he had put off a cross-channel invasion of western France by cajoling and manipulating the Americans into participating in military expeditions in the Mediterranean intended to take the Allies into Germany through the soft, underbelly of Italy. By 1943, however, the Americans were of the firm belief that Nazi Germany could only be defeated through a direct assault on Hitler’s “Atlantic wall” a metaphysical entity threading from Spain to Norway. The American planners of the 1940s knew well enough that walls, no matter how thick or tall, offered no impediment to determination and a plan began to coalesce, involving pitching twelve Allied divisions (roughly 156,000 men) into German-occupied Normandy, to hew an iron beachhead from which Allied troops could range deeper into Nazi-occupied Europe.

In retrospect, Churchill’s fears seem unfounded. He spent much of June 5 and 6 in a state of unbridled inner terror, fearing that the invasion, codenamed Operation “Overlord,” would fail, dealing the western alliance with a critical setback, and forcing them to marshal manpower for another invasion in late 1945 or 1946 — by which time Hitler could have used his western reserves to smash the Soviets on the eastern front. Yet, the bulk of Germany’s forces along the Norman coast were tired, rear-echelon units with substandard equipment. The best division in the area was the 12,734-strong German 352nd Infantry Division, which had almost no combat experience (50% of its officers were green while the rank and file was largely made up of teenagers from the Hannover area). Only the presence of a hardened cadre of veterans from the Eastern Front peaked the division’s fighting prowess to acceptable levels. The other divisions were worse, with the exception of the 709th Infantry under the experienced Lt-General Karl-Wilhelm von Schlieben, also a veteran of the Russian front.

Von Schlieben’s command, however, was less than stellar, being largely composed of men regarded as unsuitable for frontline service. The average age of a soldier in the 709th was 36 and their training had been minimal. Russian defectors padded out the infantry even though their combat effectiveness was questionable. The unit’s left flank, however, was bolstered by the 91st Airlanding Division, which although green, was better motivated and tough.

The Allied armada, which left England on June 5, would take 17 hours to cross the English Channel while Allied paratroopers flew out after dusk to secure the flanks of the invasion zone – west of the Norman capital Caen and on the Cotentin peninsula, in order to stem the flow of German reinforcements into the planned beachhead assault zone. At midnight, 13,348 Allied paratroopers began to descend onto Normandy, throwing the Germans into chaos. Then, just after dawn, at 6 am, the Allied invasion fleet hove into view off the Norman coast.

Sword Beach

Normandy - Sword Beach V2

A critically important sector, troops hitting “Sword” Beach were meant to roll up into the Norman capital, Caen (population 54,000), whose great road hub would have facilitated an easy advance deep into Nazi-occupied France and open the way to Paris, just 149 miles away.

The unit handed the task was the British 3rd Infantry Division, the oldest command unit in the British Army with exploits ranging back to the Battle of Waterloo in the 19th century. Bolstered by 4,000 commandos, a brigade of (212) Sherman tanks, and the paratroopers of the 6th Airborne Division on their right flank, the Third pushed ahead towards Caen on the morning of June 6, sweeping aside German resistance until the sole German armored division in the area, the 21st Panzer, placed itself between them and Caen at midday.

The 21st Panzer, once a fabled stalwart of the North African war was now a toothless tiger, replete with misfits and recruits — although 2,000 original members, having been hospitalized for wounds in North Africa two years ago, had returned to swell its ranks. Evidence of its diminished standing was borne out by the fact that it had until recently, been equipped with old French tanks captured in 1940, although by D-Day, it had been outfitted with Panzer IVs, a medium tank which was an even match for the Allied Sherman. Even its commander, Major-General Edgar Feuchtinger, behaved as though the running of this division was something of a chore, if not punishment. Accordingly, Feuchtinger spent more time lavishing attention on his mistress in Paris, than on working to get his division to full operational status. In fact, Feuchtinger was once again philandering in Paris when the invasion materialized, enraging his superior, Lt-General Hans Speidel, the Chief of Staff of Army Group B. As a chastened Feuchtinger raced back to Normandy on the afternoon of the 6th, the division activated itself and sent out patrols.

Troops from the British 3rd Infantry Division press on towards Caen on D-Day. (IWM)

British tanks and Infantry streaming towards Caen began to take heavy fire as they reached the Periers Ridge, a stretch of high ground before the villages of Periers-sur-le-Dan and Bieville. Instead of smashing through, the British infantry of the 1st South Lancashire Regiment and the tanks of the 13/18th Royal Hussars dug in. Aside from a smattering of German infantry and strung-out screens of antitank guns, there was virtually nothing between them and the city. They could have well been in Caen by mid-afternoon. But their leader, Brigadier Edward Cass, preferring to wait for reinforcements. It would prove a fateful decision.

Meantime, senior German officers were scrambling to deploy their armored reserves scattered around central and southern France. At 9 am, nearly two hours after the beach landings, Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt of OberKommando West, had attempted to rush the 12th SS (Hitler Jugend) Panzer Division and the elite Panzer Lehr Division into the invasion zone, only to be stalled by Field Marshal Alfred Jodl, the German Chief of Operations Staff in Berlin, who argued that only Hitler had the authority to move these units. But Hitler, a habitual late riser, was still asleep and would not awake before noon. When he did, he flew into a rage at the news of the Allied invasion. By when the armored units finally began to move, it was 4 PM.

By this time, British thrusts towards Caen and Lion sur-Mer had stalled, prompting them to give up on their plan to link up with Canadian troops fighting in the neighboring “Juno” sector. Rushing through this gap, tanks and infantry of the 21st Panzer reached the coast intact. “The future of Germany may very well rest on your shoulders,” a senior officer had told their commander, Colonel von Oppeln-Bronikowski. “If you don’t push the British back, we’ve lost the war.” Instead, the Germans were horrified to see a swarm of Allied transport aircraft tugging gliders headed in their direction at 6 pm. Afraid that they would be cut-off by gliders landing all around them, Oppeln-Bronikowski called the retreat. Caen, however, would remain in German hands for the next five weeks, becoming a thorn in the Allied side and costing the lives of thousands of troops before it eventually fell.

This map was arduous to make, in that it took nearly 10 hours to complete, because instead of separating the various component actions of June 6 into three entities — the airborne landings, the main beach assault and the push inland and the German counterattack — I sought to encompass every aspect of the eastern British sector into a single map. However, in comparison to my map of “Utah” Beach which can be found below, this map was also frustrating to make because of a paucity of information.

For example, I did not have the luxury of detailed information about the drop patterns of British airborne units from official British sources — unlike the US military which liberally proffers information about the activities of the 82d and 101st Airborne Divisions on Normandy’s Cotentin Peninsula. Movements of land forces were established through careful research and by consulting several books on Normandy, specifically Georges Bernage’s Gold Juno Sword (2007). The resulting map, I hope, offers a clear picture of events in the “Sword” sector, although, given its complexity, I feel myself searching for Waldo.

Read more of this post

Tumult over Fortress Europa

Airwar Mast3-01

Unable to mount a cross-channel invasion of France early in the Second World War, the Anglo-American alliance believed that their bombers could open a veritable “second front” against the Third Reich which the Soviet Union had been clamoring for since 1942. The British believed that their bombers could win the war single-handedly. American enthusiasm was more tempered in that they believed that their daylight strikes would shorten the war. Both sides had bitter lessons to learn.

Divider-11A

Once touted as a technology masterwork capable of bringing wars to an end with a minimal cost in lives, the heavy bombers of the Second World War occupied a hallowed position in wartime societies which saw them as an essential tool.

The great quest of the human race in the years of austerity from the 1920s to the 1940s was not to cure poverty, hunger or disease, but how to push aloft multi-engined behemoths with a bomb-load and how to dump that deadly cargo onto an enemy state with the utmost of accuracy and a minimal of effort. Such an achievement, it was thought, would save lives — through the obviation of another static, land slog such as World War I.

The Americans favored the use of rugged, heavily armed day bombers equipped with the top-secret Norden bombsight to carry out pinpoint accuracy of bombing against Germany’s most vital military targets, while the British, who having tried daylight bombing only to be badly bloodied, preferred to bomb German cities at night in an effort to break Axis morale. The American view was that indiscriminate night bombing (indiscriminate because accuracy in night bombing was impossible despite advances in technology), was not only wasteful but that the bombing of civilian areas would do little to cripple the German war industry. The British, in turn, warned the Americans that daylight operations were impracticable because of the vulnerability of four-engined heavy bombers to enemy fighters. Yet, the British had no leg to stand on when on a single night in 1944, they lost 96 bombers in combat.[1]

Lancaster Poster

This horrific casualty figure was a direct result of the unwavering confidence of Allied bomber barons that the relentless bombardment of Nazi Germany would force Adolf Hitler out of power and bring about the economic collapse of the Third Reich. In reality, just as American drone strikes in Afghanistan and western Pakistan have served to increase suicide and terror attacks on American and western forces in the modern era, German resistance congealed into an overwhelming hatred of the Allies, driven by the need to kill as many of “them” before Germany herself collapsed. To this end, the Germans developed fantastic tactics involving heavily armored fighter aircraft to ram bombers, a bat-shaped, rocket-powered craft designed to bolt into the midst of a heavy bomber formation and engage them using a large-bore cannon, a jet fighter made partly out of wood intended to be flown by teenagers of the Hitler Youth and a range of technical breakthroughs which not only made the business of finding the enemy easier, but blowing him out of the sky as well.

Yet, a sense of vulgarity permeates discussions about bombs, bombers and aerial bombardment, with their inseparable echoes of the secret human lust for corruption. It is a thing of uncouthness, unsophisticated, like conversations about pornography. The late writer, David Foster Wallace, once described how a pornographic actress looked as she excitedly told a fellow writer (Evan Wright, the author of Generation Kill) about her rescue and adoption of a stray dog. She looked for “a moment” like a 14-year-old, Wallace wrote, only to have the impression last for only a “heartbreaking” second or two.[2] Aerial bombardment, with its metaphorical  manifestation of debasement is no less of a loss of innocence of the species. Where the unsavoriness arguably ends, however, is at the legions of ordinary airmen of all sides whose wartime experiences constitute some of the most extraordinary tales of duty, loss and heroism in the annals of military history. From a sociological point of view, it is nothing if not remarkable that an entire generation of humans, hewn out of the hardships of the depression-era and thus being largely unused to technology, were able to adapt to the role of “modern” aviators.

B-17 aircrews 1B-17 doomedB-17 Memphis Belle

But why talk about events which are now over 70 years old? Because then as now, bombing continues to be touted as a solution to external problems and because then as now, we are witness to pronouncements by those promising panacea through technology. If the last one hundred years of human history and culture have told us anything it is that while technology has the means to perhaps improve our lives, it is incapable of solving our more fundamental problems because human nature, in general, is intractable.

By 1944, at the apex of the Second World War, it had begun to sink in to the Allies that the war would not be won by the bombers despite their formidable technology. As hundreds of airmen continued to die on a daily basis for futile war aims, the military boffins and the inventors continued their dogged progress into uncharted scientific territory, developing one wondrous gadget after the next, until, in the end it became not so much as winning the war in the air, but giving the fighting men the means to stay alive in the face of escalating odds until the juggernaut of the land armies could roll into Germany to crush the last vestiges of the Reich. Perhaps the air campaign against the Nazis is less an indictment against the effectiveness of bombing than a statement of fact that bombing is perhaps not the ideal solution to the world’s problems.

47,268 members of the Royal Air Forces (including 9,887 Canadians, plus thousands of other “colonials”) and 26,000 American airmen of the US 8th Air Force lost their lives over Europe during the war in order for strategists to learn that indiscriminate or wholesale bombing is ineffective. How well that lesson has been absorbed by successive generations is debatable.

Section Intro-01

Night and Day - Lancaster + B-17

Day-01

8th AF Aura of Death

Print

S-Further-Thoughts-on-NoseArt-01

While nose art was classified by American psychiatrists as a projection of the violent male ego, aircrews likely saw them as a means to soften and feminize the brutal nature of warfare. By assigning a motif to aircraft, the airmen hoped to turn their machine into a living thing capable of graciousness and mercy. Aircraft became a “she,” a female entity which shared in their life and death struggles. Air Force headquarters, however, was appalled by the pornographic nature of these artworks.  Yet, their fears for the inner souls of their airmen and potential of their wholesale transformation into ribald, roughened warriors so far gone into the realm of immorality that they would be incapable of returning to the fold in civilian life, was in many ways, as ludicrous as sending them out to drop bombs on populations in the first place. As actor Marlon Brando’s character, “Colonel Walter E. Kurtz,” succinctly points out in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now Redux (1979): “We train young men to drop fire on people but their commanders won’t allow them to write “Fuck” on their airplanes because it’s obscene!”

Perhaps, in demanding that aircrews tone down the explicit nature of their artwork, 8th Air Force headquarters was also trying to protect the innocence of the English youth, who were bombarded daily with images of nude women soaring over their rural villages and homes on canvases of airborne aluminum.

Divider-11ABomber Crew Casualties

S--Therapy-of-the-Furry-Kind-01

The high stresses of air combat prompted men to adopt a variety of animals for emotional support. Every combat group had an animal mascot, and nearly every hut in every squadron had at least one pet, usually a dog, although there were exceptions as the following photographs show:

Read more of this post

The Island that Refused to Die

Malta-Masthead

Book in progress (September 2016-present)

Status (January 2019): Manuscript quasi-complete at 544 pages | Further editing required | Above mast painting by Rowland Hilder, 1942

Divider-9

A British Imperial island during the Second World War, Malta occupied a strategic place in the narrows of the Mediterranean Sea. It was a rocky aircraft carrier from where the British could launch attacks on Sicily, and its natural harbor gave the Royal Navy an excellent base. In short, Malta was a thorn in the enemy’s side.

The Italian dictator, Benito Mussolini, was determined to take it for his own, and in June 1940, he had the men and the machines to do it. But although Mussolini and the Germans tried their best to blast Malta off the map and starve it into submission, they had badly underestimated the fighting spirit of islanders and the British. Although outmanned and outgunned, Royal Air Force planes flown by Commonwealth pilots and American volunteers harried enemy attackers and Allied warships based there wreaked havoc upon German and Italian shipping.

Kept alive through a tenuous and erratic supply line — vulnerable convoys sailing from Gibraltar and Alexandria, Malta hung on, defying the odds, wielding massive influence on the battles raging in North Africa and sparking fierce naval clashes which gutted the Axis merchant fleets and scarred the Italian Regia Marina, that other Royal Navy. The phrase “naval battles of World War II” may conjure imagery of the Pacific, but more surface engagements were fought in the Mediterranean than in any other place during the war — 50, compared to 36 in the Pacific and 49 in the Atlantic.

The siege of the island lasted for nearly two-and-a-half years, eclipsing all the great sieges of modern history (barring Leningrad) as the defenders fought a lonely, heroic campaign, a private little war against the might of two Axis militaries, paving the way for the Allied liberation of the Mediterranean.

Below follows some of the assorted art and graphics connected with this work. They’ll probably never be published in the way I intend anyway.

Divider-9

Divider-9

Spitfire-249Squadron-EP706

Divider-9

malta-map-1942

malta-aerial-photos

Read more of this post

Experiments and Art

Experiments&Art

Frame-Flamenca1 Frame-Flamenca2

FLAMENCA DANCERS
Watercolors, July 2016

Divider-9

Frame-NZ-TreeNEW ZEALAND
Watercolors, July 2016

Divider-9

Frame-Brazil

RIVER TOWN, BRAZIL
Watercolors, July 2016

Divider-9

Frame-Beaufighter Frame-BighiElevator

BRISTOL BEAUFIGHTER, MEDITERRANEAN, 1942 (Left)
Ballpoint pen & pastels, 2015

BIGHI NAVAL HOSPITAL ELEVATOR, MALTA, 2010 (Right)
Ballpoint pen & pastels, 2015

Divider-9

MOTHER & DAUGHTER: TWO GENERATIONS OF THE PEREZ FAMILY,
NORTH TEXAS

Ballpoint pen over photo matte paper, 2011

Divider-9