In March, 1945, Marine Squadron VMF-312 was relocated from Luganville Airfield on Espiritu Santo to Kadena Field, Okinawa. From that location they flew ground support and CAP missions.
Nicknamed “Day’s Knights” or the “Checkerboards”, the squadron got its first taste of aerial combat on April 12, 1945 when a flight of four F4U-1D Corsairs caught 15 Japanese “Zeke” suicide fighters headed for the U.S. Naval Fleet.
The Japanese planes were piloted by rookies with only rudimentary flight training and had little or no experience with navigation. Usually, one pilot with navigational skills would lead the group to the target area where they would separate and attempt to dive their airplanes into naval vessels.
The Japanese planes were loaded to capacity with fuel and each carried a 500 lb bomb with the intention of causing maximum damage to any target they hit.
The Japanese pilots were very young and nervous and, with many mixed emotions in their heads, they dutifully flew their aircraft in a loose formation towards their destiny.
The Zekes were no match for the well-trained American pilots and their superior Corsair fighters. The Zekes were heavily loaded and limited in their maneuverability. Little evasive action was taken by the Jap pilots and they made no attempt to counter attack, resulting in seven of them falling to the Corsairs that afternoon.
Each print has been signed by the artist.
THE CANVAS GICLÉE EDITION
This canvas edition measures 30 x 25 inches and has been signed by the artist.