Act Of Valor
A TRIBUTE TO A GREAT AMERICAN HERO
Snow was falling and it was bitterly cold as First Lieutenant James ‘Maggie’ Megellas brought his weary platoon to an abrupt halt. Quietly he ordered his men down – something was wrong.
It was Sunday 28th January 1945 and, in the aftermath of the Battle of the Bulge, he and his small unit had been advancing all day along heavily wooded, snow-clad tracks towards their objective - the small town of Herresbach. Almost immediately he spotted movement. Advancing out of the town through the tree line ahead, and oblivious to the American’s presence, was a large force of German infantry.
Megellas realized they were heavily out- numbered and that surprise was their best weapon. Seizing the moment, the American paratroopers charged the unsuspecting enemy, firing from the hip. Caught off- guard the dazed Germans were routed and within minutes over a hundred enemy lay dead, the survivors threw down their weapons and surrendered. Incredibly not a single American had been killed or injured.
But the day’s action wasn’t over: the unmistakable sound of heavy armor now carried across the snow-covered battleground as a German MkV Panther tank lumbered ominously towards them. With total disregard for his own safety, Megellas single-handedly charged the steel monster, placing a grenade into one of its tracks he disabled the tank, before throwing another grenade inside, eliminating the crew.
For this selfless and heroic act Megellas was immediately nominated for the Medal of Honor. The regimental account of his action, however, was somehow omitted from the official battle report and instead he was awarded the Silver Star.
Act of Valor, picks up the story as, with the Panther rendered harmless, Megellas readies his men for their final advance into Herresbach.
Joining artist Simon Smith every print has been personally signed by one of the great heroes of World War II:
Lieutenant Colonel JAMES ‘MAGGIE’ MEGELLAS
Officially recognized as ‘the most-decorated officer in the history of the US 82nd Airborne Division’, James ‘Maggie’ Megellas commanded a platoon in ‘H’ Company, 3rd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division.
Serving with ‘H’ Company for the duration of his war he first saw combat fighting in the mountains surrounding the city of Naples in southern Italy in 1943, where he was wounded and hospitalized. In January 1944 he took part in the amphibious assault at Anzio with the rest of the 504th where he was once again wounded during the savage fighting. The 504th PIR then re-grouped in England and in September 1944 Megellas jumped into Holland near Nijmegen on Operation Market Garden.
Taking part in the Waal River Crossing in flimsy assault boats under heavy fire, Megellas single-handedly attacked and destroyed a powerful German machine-gun and Observation post, an action for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross – America’s second-highest decoration.
From December 1944 his unit was heavily involved in the bitter fighting during the Battle of the Bulge and while advancing through the Belgian forests just outside the village of Herresbach on 28 January 1945, they surprised a large force of German infantry. During a ferocious frontal attack Megellas and his men, though hugely outnumbered, overwhelmed the enemy within minutes, killing more than 100 and taking a large number of prisoners - without the loss of a single American.
As they prepared to assault the town his unit became pinned down by a German Panther tank and in one of the most gallant acts of the war, Megellas single-handedly charged the tank, disabling it and killing the crew with two grenades, eliminating the threat to his men. For this he was nominated for the Congressional Medal of Honor, however he was instead awarded the Silver Star.
After the war James Megellas served with USAID for 32 years, including two years spent in South Vietnam.
His many awards include:
THE GICLÉE STUDIO PROOF ON CANVAS
Each Giclée is printed directly on to fine canvas using the most sophisticated digital technology and is supplied pre-stretched ready to simply drop into a frame of your choice.
Overall stretched canvas size: 36” wide x 20” high
THE LIMITED EDITION
THE ARTIST PROOFS
THE GICLÉE STUDIO PROOFS
Overall Print Size: 31” wide x 21½
Advance From Utah
It had been a rough ride for the men of 101st Airborne’s Easy Company. With heavy flak tearing into the C-47s carrying the paratroopers inland, the original drop plans had gone horribly awry and the men found themselves scattered, many lost without weapons or supplies. They knew that the largest amphibious force in history would be landing on Utah Beach in only a few hours, and was counting on them to secure the area behind the beach. As the Allied landing approached, First Lieutenant Dick Winters and the small force of the dozen men he’d managed to gather were ordered to take a battery of four German 105mm Howitzers at Brécourt Manor, which were zeroed in on Utah Beach. In a remarkable feat of tactics that would be studied and emulated for decades to come, Dick Winters and his tiny force destroyed not only the battery, but also the deadly machine-gun positions nearby.
Simon's outstanding composition captures both the triumph and foreboding of the moment following this brilliant move: With the German positions smoldering behind them, Winters and his men gaze thoughtfully into the horizon and their next objective, realizing that for them the war is only beginning.
Cleverly blending both traditional painting and digital methods, Simon's brilliant technique results in an unmistakable visual style which is a proud testament to his skill.
Artist Signed Print
The Liberation Of Bayeux
On the morning of 7 June 1944 British armoured units enter the centre of Bayeux, the first city in France to be liberated by the Allies following the D-Day Landings.
Overall Prints Size: 22 3/8 x 19 5/8 inches
The Road From Utah
Paratroopers of the 101st Airborne lead American armored units through the recently liberated village of Saint Marie Du Mont during the advance from Utah Beach, shortly after D-Day.
Overall Print Size: 25 1/4 x 19 5/8 inches
The Spoils Of War
By the time they were called upon to jump into Holland during Operation Market Garden, the men of the US 101st Airborne Division had become one of the toughest and most formidable units of the entire US Army.
In Simon's commanding piece the men of Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th PIR take a brief moment to reflect on their recent action during which they overpowered two entire companies of battle-hardened German Waffen-SS troops entrenched, with artillery support, along a Dutch dike, 5th October 1944.
To add authenticity to this poignant release, the edition is personally signed by veterans who fought in Holland with the 101st Airborne, giving collectors the opportunity to acquire a historic and exclusive edition.
Private 1st Class BILL WINGETT
Sergeant BILL TRUE
Private 1st Class SALVADOR PEREZ
Private 1st Class ART PETERSEN
THE COLLECTOR'S EDITION, ARTIST PROOFS & REMARQUES
Corporal HERB SUERTH
Captain EMMETT ‘ROSY’ NOLAN
Sergeant BILL GALBRAITH
THE GICLÉE EDITION
Overall stretched canvas size: 36” wide x 22” high
THE LIMITED EDITION
THE COLLECTORS EDITION
THE COLLECTORS ARTIST PROOFS
THE GICLÉE STUDIO PROOFS
THE DOUBLE REMARQUES (subject to availability)
Overall print size: 30 ¾” x 22 ¼”