June 3, 1942. F/Lt. F. Perina of 312 Squadron (Czechoslovak) RAF adds two victories to his score of FW190's over Cherbourg, France.
Serious collectors will immediately see that this is a UNIQUE release, due to the rarity of the prominent Czech signatures and several previously unseen Luftwaffe signatures.
These prints were signed with the artist in Prague, Czech Republic. Special thanks to Mike Coenen, Colonel Jan Moral (for accommodations at HOTEL DUO, signings at Hotel Duo, and many other arrangements), Milan Mikulecky (who kindly arranged TV interviews, Prague Castle celebrations and pilot list), and Fritz Wiener (German pilot list).
A special 'thank you' also to Jan Zdiarsky, who provided us with much valuable research material and arranged for additional Czech and German signees atKovarska Aviation Museum, Czech Republic.
Each edition* of COASTAL CONFLICT is accompanied by a matching number print of SPITFIRE WARRIOR.
* Except Crew Edition
Frantisek Perina was born in a small Moravian village in Czechoslovakia. By 1929 he had enrolled in a flying school in Prostejov, where he graduated in 1932. His distinguished career as a fighter pilot began in 1937. At this time he was considered the best pilot and marksman in the Czech Air Force.
After the German occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1939, he fled to Poland and then France. There, he flew the Curtiss Hawk 75A, shooting down 14 enemy aircraft in a spectacularly short interval. His most successful day was May 10, 1940, when he gunned down two Ju-88's and two others damaged, plus four Dornier 17's that were shared victories. As France came under German occupation, he fled to Great Britain in July of 1940.
By September he had founded 312 Czechoslovak Fighter Squadron, RAF. He participated in many fighter sweeps across the channel during the summer of 1941. While escorting Boston bombers against Cherbourg on June 3, 1942, he shot down two FW190's.
Until 1945 he had also been working as a member of the Air Defense Ministry in London. In August he returned to Czechoslovakia where he taught air gunnery before leaving when the Russians invaded. In 1989 he again returned and retired as Air Vice-Marshall. Decorations include: 4 Czechoslovak War Crosses 1939, 3 Medals for Bravery, 2 Silver Stars, French Croix de la Guerre with two Palms, and Knight of the Legion of Honor.
Wing Commander Frantisek Fajtl escaped to Great Britain after the defeat of France and flew Hawker Hurricanes in the Battle of Britain in 17 Squadron. Later in the 313 (Czechoslovak) Fighter Squadron he flew Spitfires, then took over 122 (Bombay) Fighter Squadron . He was shot down over France but again escaped back to England. He has 4 victories, including a Do17, Do215, and two Me109's. He has the DFC and other decorations.
Flying Officer Otto Spacek was born in Brzice. After Czechoslovakia was occupied by the Germans, he flew combat in France before escaping to England, where he flew the Hurricane and Spitfire in 313 Squadron. He has 3 victories. Decorations include 5 Czech Crosses, Bravery Medal and Croix de Guerre.
Flight Lieutenant Miroslav Standera was born in Prague. By 1940 he was a Sergeant in the RAF with 312 Squadron. Flight Lieutenant Miroslav Standera flew the Cherbourg action on June 3, 1942, with F/Lt. Perina. Types flown are Spitfire, Hurricane, Mosquito, Blenheim. He also flew the Beaufighter on night missions. After the war ended and the communists invaded Czechoslovakia, he escaped to Germany. Decorations include 3 Czech War Crosses.
Warrant Officer Jaroslav Hofrichter was born in Plzen, Czechoslovakia. With 311 Squadron, RAF, he flew B24 Liberators and Wellingtons has had 680 operational hours. Decorations include 3 War Crosses, Honor Medal and 5 British decorations.
Unteroffizier Heinz Zimmer was born in Chemnitz and flew the Me109 with JG26. He has 120 missions to his credit and 3 victories.
Feldwebel Heckhold Ewald flew the Me109 and Focke Wulf 190. During his more than 100 missions, he shot down two B17 Flying Fortresses and a P47 Thunderbolt. He was with JG1 (11) Jagdstaffel. He holds the Iron Cross 1st and 2nd Class.
Flight Sergeant Emil Bocek was born in Brno. As the Germans occupied Europe he had many adventures escaping through various countries, including Slovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Greece, Turkey and Syria. After the fall of France he was on the last boat to England, where he was with 312 and 310 Squadrons. He has 25 operational sorties over Germany flying Spitfires. Decorations include Czech Crosses and 39-45 Star.
Gefreiter Hans Klecha was born in Erzgebirge, Germany. He flew the Focke Wulf 190 with JG11/3 based in Holland, and has 5 victories on that type.
Unteroffizier Horst Schubert joined the Luftwaffe in 1941. He trained as a pilot at Stolp and Stargard, flying the Me109. He joined Jagdgeschwader 3 (Udet), where he successfully accomplished his first combat missions on the western front. He parachuted twice and was once shot down by a P-38 Lightning and severely wounded. After seven months in hospital he joined a combat unit on the eastern front, before being a POW.
Leutnant Theo Nau joined the Luftwaffe in 1943. His first missions were with home defense (JG11) and he then flew in the Ardennes Offensive and Operation Bodenplatte. Later, he was with JG77 in Czechoslovakia. He saw action in both the FW190 and the Me109.
Lieutenant Colonel Jiri Benda was with 312 Squadron RAF and served with distinction in England during the war, servicing the fighter aircraft.
Leutnant Klaus Vollgold was born in Zwickau and flew the Me109 with JG52, II Gruppe, 5 Staffel. He has 3 victories during his 30 operational missions.
Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Palecek was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia. He flew on B24 Liberators with 311 Squadron, Coastal Command, RAF.
Feldwebel Hans Bachmann flew with JG52, III Gruppe, 9 Staffel on the Me109 type. He has 5 victories from his 60 operational missions.
Unteroffizier Fritz Wiener joined the Luftwaffe in 1942 at the age of 17. He was briefly with Jagdgruppe 200 during the Normandy Invasion and was with JG11 during the Battle of the Bulge and participated in Operation Bodenplatte. By January of 1945 he was redeployed to Berlin/Straussberg to fight advancing Soviet forces.
Lieutenant Colonel Alois Dubec was born in Vlach Lhota and was originally a mechanic with 311 Squadron.
Warrant Officer Jaroslav Vyhnis was born in Plzert and after joining the RAF, flew the Hurricane, Spitfire and P51 Mustang. He flew 20 missions and has 5 victories.
In the annals of air combat history, stretching from WWI to WWII, no definitive sacrifice and hardship is clearer than that of the Polish and Czech airmen who served in air forces of other countries.
Displaced by the German juggernaut that rolled firstly through eastern and then western Europe at the out-break of the second world war, they rallied against the invaders by fighting with France. When France fell, they joined the last island of freedom by serving with the RAF in Britain. From 1940 until the Americans showed up in force to join in the fight in 1942, the outcome for liberty and national existence hung in the balance, defended only in the air by these few. It became a daily slug-fest, pitting themselves against a seasoned adversary.
Their history of heroism and fighting tenacity is legendary. Formed into squadrons, they served honorably and contributed to the final victory over an equally tenacious and battle-hardened Luftwaffe. The old adage of 'all gave some, some gave all,' befits their fighting spirit and supported the impressive final victory in Europe.
These valiant men would suffer personally and at great hardship for decades. After the war they were denied the rewards of participating in the liberation of millions, as their country fell under the regime of communist oppressive policies. Their association with the west during the war made them suspect, with many dying from performing menial tasks or from imprisonment after long years in mines or gulags.
This does not diminish their record of service, but rather enhances it that much more, fulfilling their duty and honor to their country in a time of need. Their perseverance serves as a shining example to their countrymen today.
In Robert Bailey's combat masterpiece, COASTAL CONFLICT, a Czech Spitfire unit of the RAF is seen locked in combat over Cherbourg, France, in June of 1942. Initially assigned to escort Boston bombers to a French target, they engage in a melee with attacking German FW190's over the coast. In addition to the German fighters, the Czech squadron has to worry about erupting defensive fire from ships and ground defenses.
Czechoslovak Airmen in World War II
by Jan Zdiarsky
When Hitler occupied Czechoslovakia in 1939, these were young men. They were students, army airmen, workers and technicians.
The patriotism and pride, together with a thirst for freedom, called for them to escape from occupied territory and give their knowledge and ability to the Allies. They fought from the first days of the war in Poland and later in France, where some of them gave great credit to their country. Shortly after France fell, these Czechoslovaks escaped to Great Britain, where they joined the RAF and continued to fight until 1945.
To Germans, they were citizens of the Third Reich. With the shoulder patch 'Czechoslovakia' on their RAF uniforms, they risked execution by the Gestapo if captured.
Czechoslovak airmen fought and died in all theaters of the war around the world. Over 550 of them were killed.
After hostilities ended and the surviving heroes returned home, they had a short time of glory. But then the communist regime in 1948 immediately jailed many and persecuted all of them. Czechoslovak airmen waited another forty years for the freedom they had fought so hard to achieve.