Lt. Dick Winters and the Band of Brothers after Brecourt Manor
Screen colors may vary from print colors
Print Size: 31" x 19"
All prints are sold unframed

Day of Days
June 6, 1944 - Le Grand Chemin
a fine art print by James Dietz

Fresh from their baptism of fire, the “Screaming Eagles” of Easy, Dog, and Fox companies, 506th PIR, regroup and rearm, having silenced the guns of Brécourt Manor.

Now, their reinforcements arrive. From Utah Beach, come the M4 Sherman tanks of the 70th Tank Battalion. From scattered drop zones across Normandy, come other paratroopers of the 82nd and 101st.

Together, they’ll return to Brécourt to clear the last resistance, and this time, the tankers will take the lead. They made it off the beach, safe from Brécourt’s guns, and are eager to repay the favor. It’s just the start of a long, costly crusade, but today, on the day of days, it begins with victory.

ENLARGE FRAME

Only 190 numbered prints, each signed by artist
James Dietz and 12 Normandy veterans including:


- Three heroes of Brecourt Manor: Buck Compton,
"Wild Bill" Guarnere, and Don Malarkey


- "Fury" consultants and "Hell on Wheels" tankers
George Smilanich and Ray Stewart


- E-Co. D-Day paratrooper Brad Freeman

- 82nd Airborne Pathfinder Paul Demciak

- Plus five more distinguished signers!

PACKAGE INCLUDES:
- Repro jump wings to matte with your print
- Repro historical photos to matte with your print
-
Color COA with "History Behind the Art" trivia

Medic Al Mampre

All prints are sold unframed

INTERNATIONAL:
$375+ $65 SH

USA: $375 + $25 SH
CO residents add 4% tax
Only 290 numbered prints, signed by
James Dietz & 4 Normandy veterans:

- Easy Company D-Day paratroopers
Phil Perugini & Brad Freeman
!

- First wave Omaha Beach tanker Bill Gast!


- "Spearhead" tank gunner Clarence Smoyer,
the Panther Killer!

INCLUDES:
Color COA with "History Behind the Art" story

ENLARGE FRAME
C-47 Market Garden

All prints are sold unframed

INTERNATIONAL:
$175 + $60 SH
USA: $175 + $20 SH
CO residents add 4% tax

SOLD OUT!

Only 180 numbered prints, each signed by artist
James Dietz and 20 Normandy veterans including:

- Three veterans of Brecourt Manor: Buck Compton,
"Wild Bill" Guarnere, and Don Malarkey!


- "Fury" consultants and "Hell on Wheels" tankers
George Smilanich and Ray Stewart!

- E-Company heroes Ed Mauser,
Earl McClung, Clancy Lyall, and more!

- 82nd Airborne Pathfinder Paul Demciak
& paratrooper Don Jakeway!

- First wave Omaha Beach tanker Bill Gast
and nine more Normandy veterans!

PACKAGE INCLUDES:
- A piece of a WWII parachute recovered in Normandy
- 82nd & 2nd Armored pins to matte with your print
- Reproduction historical photos to matte with your print
-
Color COA with "History Behind the Art" trivia

Don Malarkey

All prints are sold unframed

SOLD OUT!

Only 8 prints worldwide, each is numbered and is signed by artist James Dietz and twenty Normandy veterans!

Package includes:
- A matted, 8 x 10 color photo, hand-signed in black or silver Sharpie marker for Valor Studios by Dick Winters!
Matted with each photo are original WWII jump wings!



- A piece of a WWII parachute recovered in Normandy
- Mini medals matching those awarded to Dick Winters
- 82nd & 2nd Armored pins to matte with your print
- Reproduction historical photos to matte with your print
-
Color COA with "History Behind the Art" trivia

CONGRATULATIONS TO
OUR AUCTION WINNERS!

(listed by state, west to east)

C-47 Market Garden

All prints are sold unframed

As provenance, you'll receive these photos of Major Winters signing the portraits.
Lynn J., HI
Gene R., CO
Larry M., OK
Jim F., IN

Craig K., IN
Brent R., OH
Cindy B., FL
Steven A., NY

A canvas giclee edition may be made available by Valor Studios in the future. A Signer Proof edition of 100 prints exists for print signers.
An Artist Proof edition of 150 prints bearing only the artist's signature and a Gallery edition of 100 prints bearing only the artist's signature are available via the artist and his publisher.
   
Bradford
Freeman

Easy Company
506th P.I.R.
Bill Gast
743rd Tank Bn.
Omaha Beach
(bio below)
"Wild Bill" Guarnere
Easy Company
506th P.I.R.

Buck Compton
Easy Company
506th P.I.R.

NEW SIGNER!
Joe Caserta
3rd Armored
(bio below)
NEW SIGNER!
Paul Demciak
508th Pathfinder
(bio below)
Don Jakeway
H-Company
508th P.I.R.
Ed Mauser
Easy Company
E-Co., 506th

Jim
"Pee Wee"
Martin
George Co.
506th P.I.R.

Dan McBride
Fox Company
502nd P.I.R.
Clancy Lyall
Easy Company
506th P.I.R.
Don Malarkey
Easy Company
506th P.I.R.
Earl McClung
Easy Company
506th P.I.R.
Bob Noody
Fox Company
506th P.I.R.
Phil Perugini
Easy Company
506th P.I.R.

(Main Edition Only)
NEW SIGNER!
George Smilanich
2nd Armored
Fury Consultant!

(bio below)
Clarence Smoyer
3rd Armored
Panther Killer
(bio below)
NEW SIGNER!
Ray Stewart
2nd Armored
Fury Consultant!

(bio below)
Rod Strohl
Easy Company
506th P.I.R.
Ed Tipper
Easy Company
E-Co., 506th
Fred Trenck
C-47 pilot
441st TCG
FURY Consultant & Sherman Driver
GEORGE SMILANICH

WWII vet: 'Who the hell is Brad Pitt?' by Boyd Huppert, KARE

"Minn. – When asked to name the last movie he saw, George Smilanich jokingly says, "The Glenn Miller Story."

Which may explain his reaction when Brad Pitt came calling. "I said, 'Who the hell is Brad Pitt?'"

Smilanich isn't asking that question any more, after the WWII tank driver from Hibbing was flown to Hollywood last summer to consult on Brad Pitt's new movie "Fury."

"Fury" tells the story of a tank unit commanded by Pitt's character in the waning days of WWII.

Smilanich, 92, spent three years as a tank driver, taking him from the battles in Africa to the invasion at Normandy – from the Battle of the Bulge to the liberation of Holland and Belgium.

It's never been easy to talk about the slaughter he witnessed. "Kind of tough, there," he says, grasping for the right words. "I can't tell you, how it was."

Yet talk he did, for hours, with Brad Pitt and the film's other actors.

"They asked what life was like on a tank, what we did for excitement, what we were eating," said Smilanich, who was joined by three other WWII veterans in Hollywood.

Smilanich told the actors how he earned the Bronze Star for pulling his trapped commander from a burning tank – and about temperatures so cold his feet were blackened and nearly amputated from frostbite.

"I wouldn't give up my experiences if I had for a million dollars, but I wouldn't take five cents to go through it again," said Smilanich, Monday night" . . . watch George tell this story here.

FURY Consultant & Sherman Driver
RAY STEWART

WWII veteran from Gastonia shares war stories with ‘Fury’ star Brad Pitt by Joe DePriest

". . . actors present included Pitt and co-star Shia LaBeouf. Stewart was favorably impressed.

“Brad Pitt’s a nice guy – all of them were all right,” he said.

The veterans were asked to speak candidly about World War II.

“We got to talking and we started remembering things,” Stewart said. “We fought the war over again right in front of those movie guys. We looked around and saw them sitting there with their mouths open. They seemed sort of flabbergasted.”

Stewart shared some of his story, which began with getting drafted into the Army in 1942 at age 19. Assigned to the famed 2nd Armored “Hell on Wheels” Division, he landed at Omaha Beach in Normandy on June 9, 1944.

From there, he embarked on a 1,000-mile journey that ended in Berlin. Between those two locations, Stewart took part in many battles.

Two of his tanks were destroyed by bazooka fire, mortars or the much-feared 88 mm anti-aircraft, anti-tank guns.

“When you got hit you’d better get your butt out,” Stewart said. “Another round would be coming in three to five seconds.”

At the Battle of the Bulge Stewart’s division fought the German 2nd Panzer Division and captured many soldiers and vehicles.

In trying to capture the Adolf Hitler Bridge across the Rhine River, Stewart’s outfit ran into 33 anti-aircraft guns that knocked out 15 of the unit’s 17 Shermans.

Stewart remembers looking out across a “field of burning tanks”" . . . read the rest of Ray's story here.

82nd Airborne Pathfinder
PAUL DEMCIAK

WWII paratrooper’s D-Day mission aborted when Germans captured him and comrades
by Josh McAuliffe, The Times-Tribune

"Paul Demciak spent roughly four months on the European continent in 1944 — plenty of time to produce a lifetime’s worth of harrowing experiences.

In the waning hours of June 5, 1944, Mr. Demciak and his fellow pathfinders with the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division landed behind enemy lines to do their part in the Allied invasion of Normandy.

The Gouldsboro resident was among the first pathfinders, specially trained units of paratroopers charged with setting up the lights and navigational devices needed to guide the rest of the parachute soldiers to their drop zones.

Mr. Demciak and his compatriots’ plans were upended, and, as the first wave of troops stormed the Normandy beaches on D-Day, they were taken prisoner by German forces. Thus began a brutal ordeal that would last over the summer months" . . . read the rest of Paul's story here.

Sherman Tank Driver on Omaha Beach!
WILLIAM GAST

D-Day: the view from a tank on Omaha Beach by Mathieu Rabechault

"Washington (AFP) – From inside his tank, the young soldier could see “practically nothing” on Omaha Beach.

Seventy years later, William Gast still wonders whether he rolled over his comrades sheltering from German gunfire that day. Gast was 19 years old the morning of June 6, 1944. “We came in at H-10, that was 10 minutes before the designated hour.”

He cannot recall why he and his fellow soldiers arrived early, but he has other memories that have never left him.

As part of Company A, 743rd Tank Battalion, 1st Army, Gast remembers the training beforehand in Britain, when he rehearsed driving the Sherman tank onto the landing craft. And then floating in the English Channel.

“Another night we went out and we didn’t come back. That was it.”

Gast got to know the captain of the landing craft that would ferry his tank to the beaches of Normandy. The skipper promised he would get them close enough that they would not be submerged in water, like so many tanks were that day.

He kept his word.

Another tank unit at Omaha Beach was less fortunate, with 27 of 32 tanks launched at sea five kilometers (three miles) from the coast sinking before they could reach land, despite being outfitted with a flotation screens.

“The order was given to go, we started our engines up, they lowered the ramp,” said Gast. Amid German shrapnel and sea spray, he “could feel the tracks spinning"" . . . read the rest of Bill's story here.

Tank Gunner & Panther Killer
CLARENCE SMOYER

Clarence joined the Army at 18 and was assigned to E-Company, 32nd Armored Regiment, 3rd Armored Division.

Clarence started out as a loader on a Sherman crew and landed with the division at Omaha Beach, two weeks after D-Day.

He vividly remembers the fierce fighting in the hedgerows, when his arms were often seared by the propellant exhaust after firing.

Clarence then became a gunner and fought throughout France and Belgium, where at the Battle of Mons, he knocked out a Mark IV tank and became an acting tank commander.

After punching through the Siegfried Line, for which his regiment earned a distinguished unit citation, Clarence fought in the Battle of the Bulge and in February 1945 was gunner on a crew that received one of twenty top secret T26 Pershing tanks.

Taking the Pershing into combat during the Battle of Cologne, Clarence knocked out another Mark IV and then, at the steps of the Cologne cathedral, a German Panther tank.

That tank duel was filmed and shown in every theater in America at the time and still remains the most seen tank duel in history.

After Cologne, the 3rd AD drove deep into Germany, encircling the Ruhr Pocket. During that drive, Clarence knocked out a self propelled gun and soon after, at Paderborn, he destroyed a Panther tank and saved the lives of his fellow tankers who had taken shelter in a nearby barn.

Clarence ended the war at the Elbe river in May 1945.

Sherman Tank Commander
JOE CASERTA
Born and raised in PA, Joe worked at a shipyard until he joined the Army at age 19. Assigned to E-Company (along with signer Clarence Smoyer), 32nd Armored Regiment, 3rd Armored Division, Joe started out as a Sherman tank driver and landed with the division at Omaha Beach two weeks after D-Day.

He fought with the division through Normandy, through Belgium and the Battle of Mons, through the Siegfried Line for which his regiment earned a distinguished unit citation, and onto the Battle of the Bulge.

During the Bulge, Joe was wounded and knocked unconscious by artillery for which he was awarded the Purple Heart. After the Bulge, Joe was promoted to commanding his own Sherman tank just in time for Easy Company's assault on the city of Cologne.

While fighting through the Cologne streets, the gear on the rear deck of Joe's Sherman was set aflame by enemy fire and threatening to engulf the tank. Joe climbed out and pushed the flaming gear off, saving the tank, and earning him a Bronze Star.

Joe fought until the war's end and to this day, considers himself "lucky to be here," especially given that the 3rd Armored Division lost more tanks than any other unit in American history.

After the war, Joe began an auto repair business and worked that until retiring in 1987. Today, he enjoys spending time with his family and sailing their classic wood 1969 Lyman boat.

One cool July morning in 2008, we found ourselves touring the small village of Le Grand Chemin, adjacent to Brecourt Manor, with legendary paratrooper Don Malarkey.

Sixty-four years earlier, Don had fought in this area and he told us how the Brecourt Manor attack was planned from that village and what happened there after the famous attack, stories that would serve as the inspiration for the new painting: “Day of Days.”

“Day of Days” is set soon after Lt. Dick Winters, Lt. Ron Speirs, and paratroopers of Easy, Dog, and Fox companies had silenced four 105mm cannons that were firing onto Utah Beach, three miles away. Here we see the victors of Brecourt Manor, “congratulating one another, talking about what they had accomplished, trying to piece together the sequence of events…” as Stephen Ambrose chronicled.

to move off the beaches and reach the airborne troops at Le Grand Chemin.

In front of the lead Sherman, we see Lt. Ron Speirs of Dog Company, who’ll later take command of Easy during the Battle of the Bulge. Speirs recounts how Dog Company took the fourth cannon.

On the far right, we see the battalion intelligence officer, Lt. Lewis Nixon, his gun drawn for security, as he interrogates a German officer from the 90th Artillery Regiment, stationed at Brecourt and the immediate area. It was Nixon who had led the Shermans here from Utah Beach.

On the left side we see French civilians, eager to greet their liberators. Pvt. Don Malarkey is seated, examining a German MP40 submachine gun, a far cry from

 
the Luger he pursued. Behind him, Lt. Buck Compton works the bolt on his M1 Thompson to ascertain why it wouldn’t fire during the earlier assault.

Around these figures we see some of the fifty or more Easy Company men who gathered in Le Grand Chemin. Soon, Winters will re-organize them into two platoons and with the tanks leading, they’ll assault Brecourt Manor. Lt. Harry Welsh would remember the tanks’ firepower: “They just cut those hedgerows to pieces . . . you thought they would never stop shooting.” By midafternoon, Brecourt Manor would be secured and in friendly hands, once and for all.

Winters, then acting commander of Easy Company, stands atop an M4 Sherman tank. He’d just consumed the first sip of alcohol in his life, a swig of hard cider, to quench his thirst after the assault and now he identifies the locations of several German machine gun positions around the manor. “Clean out anything that’s left,” he tells the Sherman tank commander.

These Sherman tankers are men of the 70th Tank Battalion, the most experienced separate tank battalion in the Army, one that had landed on enemy shores in North Africa, Sicily, and now, Normandy, where they were the first
James Dietz
JAMES DIETZ

Jim Dietz has gained international recognition in aviation, military and automotive art circles for his unique approach to these genres. "The people, settings and costumes are what make early 20th Century history exciting and romantic to me."

It is this feeling that makes Jim Dietz and his artwork so different from his contemporaries. Rather than simply illustrate hardware, Jim prefers to portray human involvement, to show in his paintings the interaction between man and machine-after all, he says, "it is the people who make machines great-by design, by operation and by dedication."

A native of San Francisco, Jim graduated from Art Center College of Design in 1969 and began a successful illustration career. In 1978, Jim and his wife to move to Seattle where he began to fulfill his dream of specializing in historical aviation, automotive and military art. His clients have included everyone from Boeing to the Army's Delta Force.

Jim still lives in Seattle, with his wife, Patti, son, lan and his Australian Shepherd, Tazzy, who is seen often in Jim's paintings. His studio resembles a World War I aviator's bar, filled with flying and automotive memorabilia, wooden props and model airplanes.

Valor Studios wishes to thank the following for their assistance with this project:
D-Day Historian Paul Woodadge, Rich Riley, and the distinguished veterans who made this print possible.