Battle of the Bulge P-47 art print
Battle of the Bulge P-47 art print
Battle of the Bulge P-47 art print
Battle of the Bulge P-47 art print
Lt. Edwin Cottrell in his P-47
The P-47 Our Mary of the 48th Fighter Group
JG 3 Bf 109 pilot in his cockpit
P-47 pilot Ed Cottrell and Luftwaffe pilot Karl-Heinz Bosse
P-47 pilot Ed Cottrell meets Karl-Heinz Bosse
Ed and Karl-Heinz in Germany
P-47 pilot Edwin Cottrell autographing prints
Bf 109 pilot Karl-Heinz Bosse
World War II pilot signers

Waiting for the Bullets by Gareth Hector

  • DESCRIPTION
  • EDITIONS
  • SIGNERS

  • December 17, 1944, over the Ardennes: Lt. Ed Cottrell is in a situation he never dreamed possible. Earlier that morning, Ed and his group were bombing German armor when they were jumped by twenty Me-109s. Ed’s engine took hits. Oil sprayed. Eight cylinders were gone, but the motor kept running. Ed was limping home when two Me-109s caught up to him. “I was waiting for the bullets to come,” Ed recalled.

    Then the German pilot flashed a signal—it was okay. They must have seen he was helpless, flying blind. When they reached the front lines, the Germans turned back, and Ed kissed the ground upon landing. His group had lost four pilots that day, but thanks to “those two Messerschmitts and the Pratt & Whitney engine,” he wasn’t the fifth.  

    Special thanks to Paul Oechsner for arranging the participation of Karl-Heinz Bosse. 

    Want to know "who" signed which print edition? Click the EDITIONS tab above.

    Shipping added in checkout // print size: 31" x 19" // ships rolled in a tube

  • OPEN EDITION
    Non-limited, un-numbered. Includes an Ed Cottrell signature card, Ed's squadron & group patches, and a Certificate of Authenticity signed by Gareth Hector.

    ARTIST PROOFS - LESS THAN HALF REMAIN!

    Only 100 limited-edition prints, each includes the autographs of 4 pilots & air crew from both sides of WWII, who signed as former enemies turned friends. On signature cards are: Karl-Heinz Bosse, Me 109 pilot who fought Ed Cottrell that day, and Jake Cooper, P-47 pilot in Ed’s squadron. Signing on the print are: Ed Cottrell, shown in the scene, P-47 pilot of “Our Mary” and Floyd Blair, P-47 pilot in the 404th FG, whose unit shot down Karl-Heinz that day. Includes pilot wings, JG 3 & 48th FG patches (both units depicted), and a Certificate of Authenticity signed by artist Gareth Hector.

    PUBLISHER PROOF - Sold Out
    100 limited-edition prints

    EAGLE PROOF - Sold Out 
    15 limited-edition prints

    OTHER EDITIONS
    A Giclee Edition may be released at a later date. A Signer Proof edition exists for print signers and project helpers.

  • "Waiting for the Bullets" is hand-signed by a collection of WWII aviators from both sides, who signed the prints as former enemies turned friends. Signers vary print by print. Please click "editions" to see which veterans signed which prints.

    CAPTAIN FLOYD BLAIR
    A graduate of Georgia Tech, Floyd Blair’s ROTC path led him to the cockpit of a P-47 in the 404th Fighter Group’s 507th Fighter Squadron. On D-Day, Floyd and the group flew top cover over the beaches. In the days to follow, they repositioned to A-5 airfield at Chippelle, in Normandy, so they could better support the Allied breakout at St. Lo and beyond. During the Battle of the Bulge, the 404th was based at St. Trond, where they flew close air support missions throughout the Ardennes. In fact, it was a P-47 from Floyd's group that shot down signer Karl-Heinz Bosse on December 17th! Following the Bulge, Floyd flew ground attack missions to relieve pressure on the bridgehead at Remagen, and later covered additional Rhine crossings. He flew his last combat mission, number 100, in April 1945, and would be awarded the Air Medal with 15 Oak Leaf Clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross, and a Distinguished Unit Citation.

    CORPORAL KARL-HEINZ BOSSE (SIGNATURE CARD)
    Karl-Heinz flew gliders at the age of 15 and was a Luftwaffe fighter pilot at 18, flying Me 109 G14s in 12 Squadron, JG 3 “Udet”. He flew several missions against US bombers prior to December 17, 1944, the most memorable day of his combat career. On that day, he was part of a formation of Me 109s that intercepted the 48th Fighter Group, not far from Bonn, Germany. In the ensuing air battle, Ed Cottrell was shot up, his wingman Jim Watson was shot down, and so was Ed’s roommate Art Summers. Karl-Heinz himself was soon downed by a P-47 and while floating to earth in his parachute, the P-47 circled back and its pilot waved at him as it flew by. Upon landing, Karl-Heinz was “captured” by local German villagers, with one Nazi party official trying to shoot him only to find out he was a German pilot. Due to injuries received while bailing out, that was Karl-Heinz’s last mission of the war. In December 2023, he reunited with Ed Cottrell, and together, as new friends, they visited the crash site of Ed’s lost wingman, Jim Watson.

    COLONEL JACOB COOPER (SIGNATURE CARD) 
    Jake Cooper volunteered for the Air Corps and found himself in the pilot’s seat of a P-47 in the 493rd FS, 48th FG. Stationed in England, Jake flew missions in support of the upcoming D-Day invasion. After D-Day, his squadron moved to Normandy where they operated out of an airfield built amongst apple orchards. On December 17th, it was Jake’s good friend & squadron-mate, Jim Watson, who was flying on signer Ed Cottrell’s wing when they were jumped by Me 109s. Sadly, Watson was killed in the air battle and Ed barely got away, a moment shown in Waiting for the Bullets. Jake would continue to fly missions, earning the DFC on Jan. 25th with his citation proclaiming: “while leading a squadron in close support of the ground forces, Lt. Cooper attacked an enemy truck and tank column with telling effect. Heedless of intense anti-aircraft fire and demonstrating superior airmanship and aggressiveness, Lt. Cooper returned alone to make numerous strafing passes until his ammunition was exhausted…” He completed the last of his 98 missions in April 1945.

    LT. COLONEL EDWIN COTTRELL
    Ed Cottrell volunteered for the Air Corps as he was already a private pilot. He was assigned to the 48th FG's 493rd FS, operating P-47s out of Cambria airfield in France during the summer 1944. There he went to work flying low-level strafing and dive-bombing attacks. His most memorable mission took place on December 17th, the second day of the Bulge, when Ed’s flight was jumped by 20 Me 109s (one flown by signer Karl-Heinz Bosse) that quickly shot down several of the P-47s. Ed’s plane was hit and oil flowed over his canopy. Limping home, he was shocked to be intercepted by two 109s that inspected him, but didn’t shoot. They departed and he made it back to his airfield at St. Trond, only to learn that his good luck was not shared - his wingman, Jim Watson (KIA), along with his roommate, Art Summers (KIA), had both been shot down. Ed continued to fly close air support missions with his last, number 65, taking place in May. Following VE-Day, Ed returned home and was discharged. In the post-war years, he rejoined the Air Force and retired after 28 years of service.

    LIEUTENANT JORG CZYPIONKA

    Jorg joined the Luftwaffe in 1939 to pursue his dream of flying. He became an instructor and later a fighter pilot in JG 300/NJG 11, flying the Bf 109, and then the Me 262, at night against RAF bombers. As the war neared its end, Jorg flew off the autobahns near the Danish border until his squadron turned their aircraft over to the British instead of destroying them. In the years after the war, he first worked as a typewriter repairman and eventually attended university, became a textile engineer, and started a new life in America. In 2011, Jorg was a technical adviser on the book “A Higher Call.”

    MASTER SERGEANT KARL EVERS
    Born in Kiel, Germany, Karl became a skilled machinist making U-Boat parts after his middle school was destroyed by allied bombing. Having flown gliders since the age of nine, Karl then joined the Luftwaffe to become a pilot and was trained with JG 103 in both the Bf 109 and Fw 190. When the Soviet army neared his training base at Stolp-Reitz in 1945, he and his fellow aviators were transferred into the infantry and Karl became a mortar man. In 1951, Karl immigrated to America and joined the US Army, serving during the Korean War with the 94th Engineer Battalion and retiring as a Master Sergeant.

    LIEUTENANT RICHARD GIBBS
    As the son of a Coast Guard officer who was escorting convoys across the Atlantic, 18-year-old Dick Gibbs was eager to do his part so as soon as he turned old enough he signed up for the Air Corps. At age 19, Dick found himself in the 343rd SQD, 55th FG in Wormingford, England, flying the hottest fighter around - the P-51D. As a Mustang pilot with the callsign "Tudor 43," Dick would fly 40+ missions, with all but two being spent escorting 8th AF bombers. Dick's most memorable day took place on his third mission, Feb. 3, 1945, when he came across a ultra-rare "Mistel" composite aircraft - an unmanned JU-88 bomber loaded with explosives with a piloted Fw 190 fighter hooked on top - heading for the port of Antwerp. Dick targeted the Ju 88, setting its engine on fire, before the Fw 190 released it and tried to evade him. Dick pursued the Fw 190 and shot that down as well, earning two victories during his first ever encounter with enemy aircraft. "I thought that was a pretty hot deal!" he proudly recalls. Dick would go on to down two more Fw 190s to bring his final tally to four aircraft destroyed by the war's end.

    JR. SERGEANT GERNOT HEINRICHSDORFF
    The son of Europe's first female landscape architect, Gernot grew up in a household that hid three Jewish children during the war. In 1943, Gernot was drafted and enrolled in the Air Force academy near Dresden, the same school that Franz Stigler had instructed at. At age 18, Gernot took flight training near Vienna, where he piloted the Bf 109, before becoming an infantryman due to lack of fuel for flying. He then fought the Soviets near Vienna until wounded. In 1958, Gernot came to America, with the help of the Jewish children his mother had saved, and became a successful landscape designer.

    CAPTAIN ROLAND MARTIN
    Joining the Air Corps in 1942, Roland became a B-17 pilot at the young age of 19 and when he was assigned to the 525th SQD., 379th BG at Kimbolton, he was the youngest B-17 pilot in the entire 8th Air Force! He and his crew completed nine missions aboard their B-17F, named "The Iron Maiden," which featured nose art of a nude woman on the side, a work-in-progress by a local Kimbolton artist that the crew had hired. The nose-art would never be finished as Roland's tenth mission was "Black Thursday." Hit by flak over Germany, "The Iron Maiden" lost both engines on the starboard side and fell out of formation. Streaming gasoline and being attacked by JU 88s, Roland decided to force land "The Iron Maiden," the best chance to save his crew. He safely put the plane down in a German farm field where he attempted to destroy the aircraft before escaping capture. He and his flight engineer spent two weeks on the run, heading for Switzerland, until they were captured. Roland was placed in Stalag Luft I where he spent the rest of the war.

    SERGEANT ELMER "LUCKY" MCGINTY

    Enlisting in the Air Corps at the young age of 17, Lucky McGinty found himself assigned to the 336th SQD of the 95th BG. There, he served as a waist gunner aboard B-17s. Lucky would fly 29 combat missions on a variety of B-17s such as "Heavenly Days," "Berlin Bessie," and "I Dood It," to targets spanning Kiel to Augsburg. It was on the March 6, 1944, mission to Berlin that he blasted the tail off a Me 109 that was attacking a wounded B-17 nearby, for which he was given official credit. He flew the last of his missions, again to Berlin, and would return home where he would reunite with his brother Hugh, who also survived his combat tour as a B-17 gunner in the 379th BG.

    JR. SERGEANT HANS MEYER
    Born in 1927 and having grown up in Brandenburg, Hans had a deep passion for aviation so he joined the Flieger-HJ where he was taught to fly gliders. By 1943 he had earned his glider proficiency badge "C" level and joined the Luftwaffe shortly afterward. Trained to fly the Bf 109 at Jagdfliegerschule Werneuchen, Hans graduated and joined JG 54 on the Eastern Front where he flew with the unit in combat against Soviet Forces until shot down near Königsberg and hospitalized. He would later immigrate to America.

    MASTER SERGEANT E. E. "MITCH" MISCHLER
    Enlisting in the Air Corps at age 18, Mitch was assigned to the 333rd SQD, 94th BG at Bury St. Edmunds in England where he served as a left-waist gunner aboard the B-17 "Pride of the Yanks." He flew his first of 25 missions in October 1943 and would participate in "Big Week" and several missions on heavily defended Berlin. Mitch's most memorable raid was on an aircraft parts factory at Brunswick, January 11, 1944. On that mission, the weather deteriorated and an 8th Air Force recall was issued. Mitch's group and two others continued on to target anyway, fighting off fierce Luftwaffe attacks in and out of the target area, braving heavy flak, and making two bomb runs to guarantee they hit the factory in the bad weather. The 94th lost eight B-17s that day, some 80 men, and Mitch considers himself lucky to have survived the mission, which earned the group a Distinguished Unit Citation. He flew his last mission on March 8, 1944 to Berlin, a fitting end to his bomber tour. When Mitch returned home, he was elated to discover that he can be seen in the celebrated wartime newsreel, "Target for Today."

    COLONEL BILL ROCHE
    Following his brother, Bill joined the Air Corps in hopes of becoming a pilot. The Army had other plans and needed to replace gunners, since when a bomber went down so did five gunners. In Nov. 1944, Bill headed to England and joined the 741st SQD, 452nd BG as a B-17 waist gunner. Bill flew nine missions and was shot down twice, the first time in the B-17 "Lucky Lady III," on Feb. 9, 1945, when they lost an engine and their electrical system to flak and had to conduct a forced landing in France. The second time, Feb. 26, 1945, Bill's B-17, "Flatbush Floogie," was hit over Berlin. Putting down the gear, his pilot brought the plane down in Soviet occupied Poland where they hoped the Soviets would repair the aircraft and let them fly home. Instead, they seized the plane and locked up Bill and the crew and held them captive until April when they were freed in Odessa, Ukraine. After the war, Bill earned an ROTC commission and had a 30+ year career in the Air Force, including teaching Russian at the Air Force Academy and Air Attache deployments in Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union. Leaving the Air Force, Colonel Bill Roche then served for over a decade in the CIA, where much of his work remains classified to this day.

    LIEUTENANT FRANZ STIGLER (EAGLE PROOFS - SIGNATURE CARD)
    Franz began flying gliders at age 12 and later became a Lufthansa pilot, before joining the Luftwaffe as a flight instructor. Requesting a combat assignment after the death of his brother, Franz flew combat as a Bf 109 fighter pilot in North Africa, Sicily and in defense of Germany, including during the "Black Thursday" raid. He served as a squadron commander, and even acting group commander, before he was hand-picked as the technical officer of Gen. Galland’s elite JV 44, “Squadron of Experts,” flying the Me-262 jet fighter. Franz was credited with 28 victories during more than 487 combat missions. He was made an honorary member of the 379th BG Association, in honor of his sparing of the B-17 “Ye Olde Pub,” a story told in the bestselling book A Higher Call, written by Valor Studios co-founder Adam Makos.

    CAPTAIN FRED WIESE
    Leaving his studies at the University of Nebraska, Fred enlisted in the Army in 1941 where he was assigned to the medical corps. When the war heated up he volunteered for the Air Corps and became a B-17 pilot assigned to the 508th SQD, 351st BG at Polebrook, England. There Fred flew his first mission to strike the railyards of Cologne on October 17, 1944 and 35 others, to heavily defended targets like Berlin, Hamburg and Frankfurt. He survived everything the enemy could throw at him from flak that took out two engines to Me 262 attacks. Despite these close calls, Fred got his crew back home on every mission, aboard B-17s like "The Little One," "Merrie Christie," "Lucky Jewell," and "Annie Marie," and all without anyone being wounded. With the completion of his combat tour in March 1945, he returned to the states where he ferried B-17s and B-29s and even served a stint flying B-29s into storms to gather scientific data. He was called back to duty for the Korean War where he served as a transport pilot until 1953.

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