1. "Pearl Harbor 0755 - While the Giant Slept" - Heralded by many as the most accurate depiction of the Pearl Harbor attack, this painting by Dru Blair shows the Val dive bomber of Lt. Cmdr. Takahashi as it delivers the first attack on Pearl Harbor. The island is the Navy base of Ford Island, with Battleship Row just off it's upper right corner.
2. "Battleship Row" - Well into the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, a Japanese Kate torpedo bomber releases it's torpedo towards the U.S. battleship moored in front of it. Painting by Stan Stokes.
3. "It began at Wake Island" by Shigeo Koike. During the Japanese attack on Wake Island at the end of 1941, the American defenders were hopelessly outnumbered and outgunned. Despite this, the small U.S. garrison cost the Japanese 1 submarine and 4 ships sunk, 8 damaged, 22 aircraft shot down, 11 damaged and 1153 men killed or wounded. This scene shows Capt. Herbert C. Frueler, flying one of the last two remaining F4Fs, destroying a "Kate" bomber piloted by PO Noburo Kani, who had been credited with the attack and sinking of the USS Arizona 15 days earlier.
4. "1st Chutai Meets Butch O'Hare" by Hugh Polder. USN pilot O'Hare intercepts a group of Japanese Betty bombers headed to attack his aircraft carrier (USS Lexington) on February 20, 1942. O'Hare shot down five Bettys in less than 5 minutes, becoming the Navy's first ace, earning a Medal of Honor, and possibly saving his carrier.
5. "Scratch One Flattop" by Stan Stokes. The first Japanese carrier to be sunk during WWII was the Shoho in the Battle of the Coral Sea. This was the highlight of the war for the TBD Devastator, which weeks later would be decimated during the Battle of Midway. This painting shows a TBD pulling up from it's torpedo run on the Shoho. The painting's title comes from the excited message radioed back to the U.S. fleet announcing the destruction of an enemy carrier.
6. "The Battle of the Coral Sea" by Robert Taylor (I
think). I really like this painting, which seems to give the viewer an excellent idea of
what it would be like to see Dauntless dive bombers attacking a Japanese carrier in the
world's first carrier vs. carrier battle.
7. "T-3 Returns to Yorktown" by Alex Durr. A damaged TBD Devastator torpedo bomber flys over the first Yorktown prior to landing.
8. "Only One Survived" by Craig Kodera. Avengers from the
island of Midway are attacked by Japanese Zeros while heading for the Japanese fleet. Only
one of the six Avengers managed to return home.
9. Painting (unknown artist) - Penetrating heavy defensive fire, a Devastator flown by Ensign George "Tex" Gay delivers its torpedo in the assault on the Japanese carrier Kaga during the Battle of Midway. Gay then ditched his crippled plane and as its sole survivor he floated helplessly amid the Japanese fleet until he was rescued by a seaplane after the battle.
(Source:"The Carrier War" by Clark G. Reynolds & Time-Life)
10. "Against the Odds" by Marc Stewart. Another view of Ensign Gay's attack, he has now under fire from a Zero after having dropped his torpedo.
11. "Best on Deck" by James Dietz. During the Battle of Midway an SBD Dauntless piloted by Richard H. "Dick" Best of Bombing Six prepares to leave the deck of the U.S.S. Enterprise, surrounded by the many deckcrewmen who each had their own role in the choreography of the launching aircraft.
12. "First Hit at Midway" by Paul Rendel. June 4th, 10 a.m.-
Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bombers begin peeling off for their dives toward the Japanese
carriers during the Battle of Midway.
13. "Midway - Strike on the Akagi" - With it's dive flaps open, an SBD Dauntless dives toward the Japanese carrier Akagi, which is already burning from other hits during the Battle of Midway. Painting by Robert Taylor.
14. "Midway: The Turning Point" by Stan Stokes. Viewed from overhead, an SBD Dauntless dive bomber attacks the Japanese carrier Soryu, while another SBD pulls out of it's dive after scoring a hit with its bomb. (I need a better copy of this pic.)
15. "Zero Encounter" by Robert Taylor. A Marine F-4F and a Japanese Zero tangle over Henderson Field, Guadalcanal (in the Solomon Islands) during 1942.
16. "First Marine Ace" by Roy Grinnell. Marine Capt. Marion Carl leads his men against Japanese bombers on August 24th, 1942. His four victories in this battle (plus his one at Midway) made him the first ace in Marine Corps history.
17. "When You See Zeros, Fight 'Em!" - Seeing a fellow Wildcat pilot being attacked by a Zero, Marine Capt. Joseph Foss brought his F4F up close behind the Japanese plane and opened fire. The Zero burst into flames and the pilot bailed out, clearing Foss' plane by inches. Painting by Bill Phillips.
18. "Cactus Scramble" - Loaded with 3 bombs each, a pair of Dauntlesses rise up from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal for yet another strike mission. Painting by David Poole.
19. "Number 20 For Joe" by Roy Grinnell. Marine Capt. Joe Foss leads his flight of 8 Wildcats down in an attack on 30 Japanese Betty Bombers, and scores his 20th victory. Later in this same battle he got another Betty and a Zero.
20. "Fighter In the Sky" by artist Tom Lea of pilot A.C. Emerson flying his Wildcat in defense of the carrier Hornet during the naval battle of Santa Cruz (Solomons campaign) on October 26, 1942.
21. Painting by Tom Lea - Gunners on board the Hornet
fill the sky with antiaircraft fire during the Battle of Santa Cruz. Struck by bombs,
torpedoes and two disabled enemy aircraft that were used as suicide weapons (one is seen
impacting here), the Hornet went to the bottom.
(Source:"The Carrier War" by Clark G. Reynolds & Time-Life)
22. "Avengers at the Battle of Santa Cruz" by artist Jim Laurier. During the Battle of Santa Cruz a group of Navy Avenger torpedo bombers is under attack by Japanese Zeros while enroute to their target. One Zero flys through the formation in flames, while a second makes a firing pass.
23. "Tough As Nails" by Stan Stokes. Joe Foss and his F4F Wildcat is shown tangling with a Japanese "Pete" floatplane. Foss downed two Petes on one mission.
24. "Warm Reception" by James Dietz - January 25, 1943, Joe Foss returns to Guadalcanal after a mission in which he led eight Wildcats and four P-38s in a series of manuevers around an inbound Japanese aerial attack force of 100 aircraft, faking them into believing that they were outnumbered, so that they abandoned their attack. Having saved the island once again, Foss returned to a deservedly warm welcome. (If you want to see a larger and clearer version of this painting, visit my Cactus Air Force website.)
25."Unlucky Eight" - by Stan Stokes. Marine pilot James E. Swett flew his very first combat mission with VMF-221 from Guadalcanal on April 7, 1943. Swett hurled his four plane division of Wildcats into a large attacking force of Japanese bombers. Despite being hit by anti-aircraft fire he downed eight "Vals" before running out of ammo, and then had to ditch his shot-up plane into the water. He received the Medal of Honor for this mission.
26. "Zero Fighter Sweep" by Roy Grinnell. Flying from Guadalcanal on May 13, 1943, First Lieutenant Kenneth Walsh led his four-plane division of Corsairs into an air battle near Savo Island. After making the head-on kill of this Zeke, he scored twice more to become the squadron's first ace and the first ace in the Corsair. (Ken Walsh's autograph is visible)
27. "Ace in a Day" by Stan Stokes. U.S. Navy ace Vernon Graham was the only land-based USN Wildcat pilot to achieve 5 victories during one mission. This painting (one of my favorites) shows Graham destroying a Japanese fighter that was busy attacking an F4U Corsair.
28. "Mission to Buin Harbor" by Stan Stokes. While escorting a force of SBDs and TBFs on a mission to Bouganville (June 5, 1943), Marine pilot Ken Walsh downs a Japanese "Pete" floatplane fighter that was attacking the U.S. Air Group Commander's Avenger. Walsh ended the war with 20 confirmed aerial victories, and numerous medals (including the Medal of Honor).
29. Eye to eye fly-by - A F4U-1A Corsair of VMF-121 passes near
a burning Japanese G4M1 Betty bomber on 30 June 1943, and gives it the once-over. Two
Corsair pilots, Captain James Poindexter and Captain George Wilcox, teamed up to score the
(Source: Marine Fighting Squadron One-Twenty-One (VMF-121) by Thomas Doll)
30. "Halsey's Surprise" by Craig Kodera. SBD-5 Dauntlesses from VF-12 fly near the U.S.S. Saratoga at the beginning of Operation Cherry Blossom in November 1943. There's a beautiful sunset and cloud formation in the background. Note the open canopies, which was common when not in combat.
31. "F-4U Corsair" - In this non-combat painting by John Young, a "bent-wing bird" is seen flying towards the viewer.
Continue on to page 2 of the Paintings Gallery