"Attack on the Hiei" by Robert Taylor
As dawn broke on the morning of Friday, November 13, 1942,
a lone F4F Wildcat climbed out of Henderson Field on the island of Guadalcanal. The Marine
pilot, Captain Joe Foss was to assess damage to US naval ships following the previous
night's bitter naval engagement. As the morning sun streaked across the sound between Savo
and Guadalcanal, Foss viewed the wreckage of one of the most furious close combat naval
actions of the war. But what caught the young pilot's particular attention was a badly
damaged Japanese battleship. Protected by three destroyers, the Hiei, offered the Cactus
flyers a prize they would not allow to escape.
The Cactus Air Force quickly scrambled their fighters to join TBF and SBD torpedo and dive-bombers, their collective mission to sink the enemy battleship. Foss, having refueled, climbed his eight F4F Wildcats to 12,000 feet to make a diversionary attack while the torpedo bombers made their perilous fun at the heavily defended warship. From high above Foss brought his F4F's screaming vertically down, leveling out as they hurtled towards the Hiei through a massive barrage of defensive flak, spraying .50 caliber lead into the mighty warship. The print depicts the action fought in Savo sound, against the backdrop of the spectacular mountains of Guadalcanal. Joe Foss's F4F Wildcats are viewed braving the fearsome hail of defensive fire as they distract enemy gunfire away from the vital torpedo attacks, their explosions throwing huge plumes of water skywards presenting an additional hazard to the F4F pilots.
This print is still available at many of the fine aviation art galleries (on-line and otherwise). I encourage everyone to buy Robert Taylor prints, not only because he is a great artist, but because his art has proven to be a good investment as the years go by. If you have trouble finding a gallery, email me.
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