Original German Combat Ace Oberst Erich “Bubi” Hartmann Signed Photograph From 1970 - 9 ¼” x 6 ⅞”

Item Description

Original Signed Photograph: One-Of-A-Kind. This is a fantastic signed picture from the famed WWII German Ace, Erich Hartmann. The photo is a copy of an original WWII example and was personalized to a James T. Montgomery but not the one you may be thinking of, this gentleman remains unidentified. Hartmann expresses his gratitude to Montgomery for helping him out in a recent endeavor.

The photograph measures approximately 9 ¼” X 6 ⅞” and is dated July 22, 1970.

Comes more than ready to be framed and displayed.

Erich Alfred Hartmann was a German fighter pilot during World War II and the most successful fighter ace in the history of aerial warfare. He flew 1,404 combat missions and participated in aerial combat on 825 separate occasions. He was credited with shooting down a total of 352 Allied aircraft: 345 Soviet and seven American while serving with the Luftwaffe. During the course of his career, Hartmann was forced to crash-land his fighter 16 times due either to mechanical failure or damage received from parts of enemy aircraft he had shot down; he was never shot down by direct enemy action.

Hartmann, a pre-war glider pilot, joined the Luftwaffe in 1940 and completed his fighter pilot training in 1942. He was posted to the veteran Jagdgeschwader 52 (JG 52) on the Eastern Front and placed under the supervision of some of the Luftwaffe's most experienced fighter pilots. Under their guidance, Hartmann steadily developed his tactics.

On 29 October 1943, Hartmann was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross for 148 enemy aircraft destroyed and the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross for 202 enemy aircraft on 2 March 1944. Exactly four months later, he received the Swords to the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves for 268 enemy aircraft shot down. Ultimately, Hartmann earned the coveted Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds on 25 August 1944 for 301 aerial victories. At the time of its presentation to Hartmann, this was Germany's highest military decoration.

Hartmann achieved his 352nd and last aerial victory at midday on 8 May 1945, hours before the German surrender. Along with the remainder of JG 52, he surrendered to United States Army forces and was turned over to the Red Army. In an attempt to pressure him into service with the Soviet-friendly East German National People's Army, he was tried on war crimes, charged and convicted. He was initially sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment, later increased to 25 years, and spent 10 years in Soviet prison camps and gulags until he was released in 1955. In 1997, the Russian Federation (posthumously) relieved him of all charges.

In 1956, Hartmann joined the newly established West German Air Force in the Bundeswehr, and became the first Geschwaderkommodore of Jagdgeschwader 71 "Richthofen". He retired in 1970, due to his opposition to the procurement of the F-104 Starfighter. In his later years, after his military career had ended, he became a civilian flight instructor. Hartmann died on 20 September 1993 at age 71.

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