This is a rework of the previous version. I was never happy with the sky and smoke before, as it seemed I just couldn't break from the "ugly phase" of the painting. It's always good to leave a work alone for a while and let the subconscious do some work. That's what I believe anyway, and today for some reason my subconscious told me to open up this painting with Painter (now version 12 - hooray) and give it another shot. Smoke and clouds, just like the real thing, are fickle, fleeting, and very complex but simple at the same time. So I let the subconscious do its work with it, and I am now satisfied. My wife convinced me of the obvious: that the distant plane on the right side was unnecessary and detracted from the closer subject. She was right as usual, as it didn't do anything for the composition.
I read some on this battle before starting this painting, all done with Painter 11, and my first real, serious Painter painting. I did use references of three renders of the B-26 model I made as I would a photographic reference, but everything is painted by hand the old fashion way. Lloyd, part of the crew of the Sessanta Nova? gave me a first hand account of the battle: it went on for days. The bombers would fly back from their runs, get maintenance and repairs, load the bomb bays, and fly back to plaster the mountain top monastery, which they believed was being used as a Nazi HQ and observation post, near Rome and the sea front.