WITH A NUMBER OF PHOTOS OF BENJAMIN O. DAVIS JR. (MILITARY--TUSKEGEE AIRMEN.) 332nd Fighter Group. Col. B.O. Davis. Album of photographs from the Tuskegee Airmen based in Italy. 177 photographs, ranging from 3 x 5 to 8 x 10 taken from an old album and placed into a new album of similar type, in more or less original order. Some small tape marks on a few, some trimmed. should be seen. Ramitelli Airforce Base, Italy, circa 1944-1945
Estimate $2,000 - 3,000
an exceptional collection of photographs, including many of colonel benjamin o. davis, jr., taken by one of the tuskegee airmen.Most of these photographs were shot at Ramitelli Air Force base on Italy's Adriatic Coast, where the 332nd Fighter Group had been moved in order to escort Allied bombing raids. They operated with the Fifteenth Air Force from May of 1944 to April of 1945, engaged primarily in protecting the bombers that struck such objectives as oil refineries, factories, airfields and marshalling yards in Italy, France, Germany, Poland and points East. They also made successful strafing attacks on airdromes, railroads, highways, bridges, troop concentrations, radar facilities and power stations. The group received a Distinguished Unit Citation for a mission on 24 March, 1945, when they escorted B-17s during a raid on the Daimler-Benz tank factory at Berlin. There they fought the superior Messerschmidt Me 262 jet interceptors that attacked the formation, and strafed transportation facilities while returning to the base in Italy. During the action, the Tuskegee pilots were credited with destroying three of the Luftwaffe's Me 262s in air battles, while sustaining a loss of three P-51s during the mission. Colonel Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. appears in a number of these photographs: one with his plane "By Request," and in another with his father Benjamin Davis, Sr. who is seen pinning a medal on his son's lapel. There are numerous photographs of the Airmen and ground crews with their planes: "The Christian Maker," and "Pearlie" to name a couple. There are two images of planes with small "swastikas" painted on their fuselages to show Nazi kills. It is unfortunate that only a few of the photographs bear inscriptions, but those that do are all inscribed to "Down Beat," the obvious owner and assembler of the album. The album these photographs came from was literally falling apart. We have re-placed them in a similar album.