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Submitted on
January 25, 2013
Image Size
4.3 MB


14,547 (6 today)
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Camera Data

Shutter Speed
10/5000 second
Focal Length
19 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Jun 11, 2002, 4:59:41 PM
Paint.NET v3.5.10
Heavy Flak over Leuna ~ 1944 by zulumike Heavy Flak over Leuna ~ 1944 by zulumike
The German oil supply was tight throughout the war, and was a controlling factor for German military operations. During 1944, the chief source of supply, and the only source for aviation gasoline, was 13 synthetic plants throughout Germany. Thus synthetic oil targets became the highest priority targets in 1944 during WW II. Even without much help from the Luftwaffe, these targets would become very deadly due to the “dreaded 88’s”.

Merseburg’s Leuna I.G.Farbenindustries was to be one of the most dangerous targets of the War. The 14th Flak Division responsible for protecting Leuna had 28,000 troops, 18,000 RAD personnel, 6,000 male and 3,050 female auxiliaries, 900 Hungarian and Italian 'volunteers', 3,600 Russian Hiwis, and 3,000 others, thus making up a total of 62,550 persons. As the most heavily defended industrial target in Europe, Leuna would become so dark from flak, German smoke pots, and exploding oil tanks that the pilots had difficulty in viewing their target as the rear bombers came into the target area.

Leuna bombing from May 12, 1944 to April 5, 1945 cost the Eighth Air Force 1,280 airmen. In three separate attacks by the Eighth, 119 planes were lost and not one bomb fell on the Leuna works

From the first attack to the end, production at Leuna averaged 9 percent of capacity. There were 22 attacks on Leuna, 20 by the Eighth Air Force and 2 by the RAF. Due to the urgency of keeping this plant out of production, many of these missions were dispatched in difficult bombing weather. Consequently, the order of bombing accuracy on Leuna was not high as compared with other targets. To win the battle with Leuna a total of 6,552 bomber sorties were flown against the plant, 18,328 tons of bombs were dropped and an entire year was required.

Credits: the B-17 model is from "Wings of Power". The sky BG is from
Artwork edited Painter 12, GIMP, and VUE. Thanks for Looking. Cheers, Mike
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WagmoreBarkless Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2014
This is truly amazing!  This communicates the airborne hell of flack better than any painting or still photo I have ever seen. 
Also, it seems to me that you put as much effort in research/history as you put into the actual artwork. 

You Sir, are a class act!
zulumike Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
History and art go together. Let us not forget the "Greatest Generation"

These airmen had a 50% chance of completing 25 missions. Their contribution and heavy sacrifice help shorten the war.

if you have ever talk to a WW2 vet they are so humble, "it's a job that had to be done"

Thank you you for the kind words appreciate the feedback. 
WagmoreBarkless Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2014
Your welcome.
I have been a student of WWII (especially the aviation and naval aspect of that period) history ever since my childhood in the mid 1950s, a good part of which was spent on Kodiak Naval Air station in Alaska. Our house overlooked the runway, and I soon developed a love for aircraft that has never left me.  

TonyGCampagna Featured By Owner May 26, 2014  Professional General Artist
Amazing...the mood, the atmosphere, the action and the horror...all there! :) Love it!
zulumike Featured By Owner May 27, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is my favorite aviation artwork and highest favorite among DA members. After reading about these dangerous missions, I had to create something dynamic to portray the hazards of war. 

This is an example of why the odds of bomber crews had only a 50/50 chance of completing their tour of 25 missions. thank you.
TonyGCampagna Featured By Owner May 28, 2014  Professional General Artist
I got that feel right from the start. After seeing the movie "Memphis Belle" years ago, I really got the interest for the period history. Wonderful artwork. :)
EduardoLeon Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
zulumike Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you, appreciate it, I was happy with the AA effects. 
MornofVivec Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2013
Brilliant work. Looking at this while listening to "Ride of the Valkyries" makes this image even more epic.
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