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Angels & Aces - Georges Guynemer
The legendary Georges Guynemer was France's most beloved ace. Despite his frail physical appearance he took part in more than 600 aerial combats and was shot down seven times and survived.He provoked an overwhelming admiration in all who fought alongside or against him. An excellent marksman and highly skilled pilot,he was hailed as the French Ace of Aces. Guynemer won the hearts of France,receiving letters from women proposing marriage, requests from school children for his autograph and was followed through the streets In eight months in 1917, the fragile youth shot down 28 planes, including a quadruple victory on 25 May, for a total of 53 victories. In June, after some 20 minutes in inconclusive combat with an Albatros DV, Guynemer noticed that his adversary’s gun had jammed. He waved farewell and broke off the fight, leaving his opponent six-victory German ace Ernst Udet, so stunned and disturbed that he had to take an extended leave. Militarily speaking, Guynemer’s gesture proved costly. Udet later shot down 52 more Allied aircraft, and became Germany’s second-highest-scoring ace, and survived the war.
The legendary Georges Guynemer - Spad Xlll
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Guynemer expected to die in the service of France. When Guynemer’s father warned in the summer of 1917that there were limits to human powers, he replied, "Yes, limits that it is necessary to exceed. So long as onehas not given everything, one has given nothing.' In early September a tired and depressed Guynemer, visiting his wounded squadron mate Heurtaux in the hospital, predicted that he would be the next to die. Two days later, on 11 September, Guynemer disappeared over Poelcapelle, he should not have been flying, but he refused to stop. French schoolchildren were told that he had flown so high that he could not descend. On 19 October the National Assembly and Senate enshrined "Capt. Guynemer, symbol of the aspirations and enthusiasm of the army of the nation," in the Pantheon, "whose cupola alone has sufficient span to shelter such wings." The painting depicts George Guynemer in the Spad XIII in whch he was last seen. It is the first painting in a planned series of work under the heading of "Aces And Angels".