In today's blog post, we're looking at three fantastic pieces of artwork from three of our February 2022 titles. Let us know what you think in the comments section and, if you would like to see any artwork from any of our March titles, be sure to mention that too!
Artwork by Graham Turner
The first image, requested by Paul W, shows the crossing of the Litani River. The Australians were in a tight spot as they attempted to fight their way to the north side of the Litani River. Pinned down by heavy fire, the men of A Company, 2/16th Battalion sheltered as best they could in amongst the trees on the south side; 9 Platoon took shelter in a nearby graveyard and began to return fire. They could see that the river was running too strongly for it to be able to be safely paddled across in their canvas boats, so British-born Captain John Hearman, second-in-command of the company, decided to create an improvised pulley system made from painters (ropes) from the boats and cut telephone lines with which to pull the men across. Corporal Alan Haddy, a maltster from Perth who declared himself the best swimmer, then tied the ropes around himself and dived in. As he emerged mid-stream, he was struck and wounded by a mortar shell. He pressed on but began to visibly weaken, so Lance-Corporal Harry Dusting, a labourer from Woodanilling, jumped in to his aid. The two men got across the swollen river and tied the wire to a tree to allow their comrades to cross in their canvas boats in relative safety.
The first boat across contained nine men from Kalgoorlie: Corporal Brian Walsh and privates Leonard O’Brien, Alphonsus Ryan, Alan ‘Pud’ Graffin, Robert ‘Bobby’ Wilson, Brian ‘Blue’ Maloney, Albert ‘Chummy’ Gray, Edmund ‘Chook’ Fowler and Frank Moretti. Each laden with all their gear and 300 rounds of ammunition, they crossed the river as mortar shells burst around them, then spread out to begin to form a bridgehead. As more men crossed the river an intense firefight ensued with heavy casualties on both sides. At one point the Allied positions came under fire from two French destroyers, Guépard and Valmy, until guns of the 2/4th Field Regiment returned fire and drew the Vichy French ships away. The daring crossing was forced on the Australians by the destruction of the Litani Bridge, but their acts allowed the Allies to continue the northward advance against strong and well-prepared defences.
FOR: The Moscow Kremlin: Russia's Fortified Heart by Mark Galeotti
Artwork by Donato Spedaliere
Ivan Dolgoruky’s 12th-century Kremlin was as much township as fortress, with the oak-beamed walls of the gorod enclosing both his own citadel as well as churches, orchards and the estates of the prince’s followers and more substantial Muscovites. Atop a cleared space in the deep Russian forest, the town is only just beginning its ascent to power as a trading as well as political hub, although a mark of its rise is the fire to the north-east, as a clearing is burned out of the forest to allow more farming in the new year. Although the Moskva and Neglinnaya Rivers are frozen in the deep winter, sleighs can still use them to move goods and pass on information.
ACM 25: Desert Storm 1991: The most shattering air campaign in history by Richard P. Hallion
Artwork by Adam Tooby
The final piece of artwork in our reveal, requested by Adam C, shows the “Secret Squirrel Seven’s” Senior Surprise. On January 16, 1991, at 0636 local time, mission commander Lt Col John “Jay” Beard, aircraft commander Capt Michael G. Wilson, co-pilot 1Lt Kent R. Beck, and Crew S-91 lifted their massive eight-engine Boeing B-52G Stratofortress SN 58-0177 Petie 3rd, call-sign Doom 31, off the runway at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. Climbing smokily into rainy skies, six more thundering Buffs of the USAF Strategic Air Command’s 596th Bomb Squadron, 2nd Bomb Wing, 8th Air Force followed them aloft. Thus began Operation Senior Surprise, a highly classified mission its aircrew dubbed “Secret Squirrel,” after a cartoon crime-fighter. The bombers were off to destroy portions of Iraq’s electrical grid and communications infrastructure by attacking eight key targets with 39 long-range precision cruise missiles.
Beneath each airplane’s inner wings were pylons mounting streamlined gray shapes looking like slab-sided fuel tanks. They were, instead, Boeing AGM-86C Conventional Air-Launched Cruise Missiles. The CALCM was a top-secret special access codeword-shielded weapon. Boeing had developed a short-range subsonic cruise missile, the AGM86A, in the late 1970s, and then had stretched it, producing the long-range nuclear-armed AGM-86B. In turn, it spawned a non-nuclear derivative, the AGM-86C CALCM, with a 1,000lb special-purpose warhead. Powered by a Williams F107-WR-10 turbofan producing 600lb (2.67kN) of thrust, the CALCM had an effective range up to 1,000 miles, flying at low altitude, relying on both terrain-masking and its small visible and radar signatures to shield it from enemy fire. Unlike terrain-matching cruise missiles, it found its way using an onboard Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite navigation system. Aboard the bombers were 57 aircrew. Six of the B-52Gs carried eight, the regular six-person pilot, co-pilot, radar navigator, navigator, electronic warfare officer, and tail gunner being augmented by another pilot and another navigator. The seventh B-52G, with a second augmentee pilot, had nine crew aboard.
After takeoff, the B-52Gs crossed the southern US, passed over the Atlantic, southern Europe, the Mediterranean, then down to the Red Sea and into western Saudi Arabia. They refueled multiple times, supported by 38 KC-135 tanker sorties out of Lajes Air Base, Azores, and 19 KC-10 tanker sorties from Morón Air Base, Spain. Early on January 17, the Buffs arrived over two launch areas 60 miles south of the Iraqi border between Al Jouf and Ar’ar. Pre-launch checks failed four missiles, but the other 35 were healthy, and so each aircraft launched its load. Last to strike was B-52G SN 58-0185 El Lobo II, Doom 37, flown by Capt Stephen D. Sicking and Crew S-93.
And that concludes our artwork reveal for our February titles! We'll be back next month with a sneak peak of some of the artwork from March's releases, and don't forget to check our social media for the other artwork we'll be sharing throughout the month.