Wednesday, February 9, 2011

War Picture Library 56 The Crowded Sky

Wow! There a lot of words in the Crowded Sky it almost should have been called the Crowded Page. I'm not saying that's a bad thing either. In a few short pages there is no doubt why Weymann (a German with a conscious) is so keen to fight the Nazis.

Just before the war begins he is approached by one of his countrymen who wants to escape Germany with his family. Weymann is affronted and considers the man to be a criminal. However he is brow beaten by an Englishman (Stowell) who offers to help the man. Weymann believes he is only naturally defending his country and cannot understand how Stowell can protect someone who is clearly a criminal. However Weymann's fast track to redemption begins when his own family is murdered by the Gestapo.

The story then sees Weymann escaping Gemany and joining the RAF. However it's not all plain sailling - you can take the boy out of Nazi Germany but you can't always take the Nazi Germany out of the boy. In other words he's not very good at being one of the chaps and this raises some tension and suspicion with the rest of the crew. However his Teutonic sense of duty, obligation and leadership sees him coming through for his crew.

Everything is going swimmingly until the navigators brother - the Englishman who saw Weymann when he was being patriotic - turns up one day. So in a nice moral twist Weymann is now the very same type of criminal that he would have once denounced and Stowell would have defended.

But of course there's always that one more mission to fly.

So in the end Weymann's sense of obligation is so great that he saves his crew from their crippled Blenheim and then he attempts to bring the aircraft back to base. The outcome has already been provided by the prophetic words of the CO concerning Spartans and their shields earlier in the story.

In the air there is a feast of early model Blenheims, tri-motor Junkers, trainers, Spitfires, Messerschmidts, Whirlwinds and even a gratuitous Lysander. The line work on the aircraft is well done as well as the composition and layout of the panels.

Not only is this a well written sophisticated story with excellent artwork  - it's also a planefest and you've got to love that!

...and do you know why you'll lose the war Jerry? Because we British know how to stand with our hands on our hips better than you can.

Weymann walked away because he knew he had been defeated by the better man.

Templehof airport looks more like Rick's Bar.

A civilian aircraft! You don't see many of those around these parts.

Crashed, upside down, dark, petrol, burnt oil, soar arm and German. Not a good day at the office.

That's right just like the Spartans. Except we're the pipe smoking, scarf wearing, dashing tash type. If you chaps want to be like Spartans you need to look like me!

Nice picture of a Blenheim.

An even nicer panel! However I can't help feeling the pilot of that 109 isn't the brightest crayon in the box.

Excellent gratuitous Lysander.

When things start reeking you know you're in trouble, big trouble.

How good is this pilot and his Whirlwind!

Whirlwind again!Damn right! Don't tell me what to do!

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