Attack on a Convoy Seen from the Air

Richard Eurich1941

Imperial War Museums

Imperial War Museums

This is a coastal convoy travelling east along the English Channel, past the Isle of Wight, identifiable by the ‘Needles’ chalky rock formations at the tip. Eurich knew these waters well and had plenty of experience in escort destroyers used to guard the convoys in the Channel. His fascination with the patterns of waves and water is evident in this work which manages to combine very disparate elements into a coherent and dramatic image. Astonishingly, Eurich had never been up in an aircraft and constructed the picture purely from his experiences at sea-level.The importance of cloud cover is beautifully illustrated. The convoy’s vulnerability and visibility contrast with the aircraft which can ‘hide’ above the clouds, avoiding anti-aircraft fire. As usual in Eurich’s paintings, there is an extraordinary attention to distant detail which adds clarity and incident without detracting from the overall shape of the work.British shipping was at a disadvantage in 1941. Germany had control of the French Atlantic ports allowing raids far into the ocean, and Irish neutrality meant that three naval ports were closed to British vessels. In April alone almost 700,000 tons of shipping were sunk. The convoy system improved the chances of supply ships getting through, shepherded by protective destroyer escorts and supported by the RAF which provided aerial cover.

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  • Title: Attack on a Convoy Seen from the Air
  • Creator: Eurich, Richard Ernst (RA)
  • Date Created: 1941
  • Location: The Needles, Isle of Wight, UK
  • Physical Dimensions: w1014 x h760 mm (unframed)
  • Provenance: © IWM (Art.IWM ART LD 1326)
  • Type: painting
  • External Link: Imperial War Museum website
  • Medium: oil