In Europe the endgame was fast approaching as the final remnants of Hitler’s Third Reich disintegrated within the shattered ruins of Berlin. But in the Pacific the war against the Japanese was far from over – if anything the savagery was intensifying.
Following their victory at Midway, American forces had fought a long, bloody and bitter campaign to retake the Japanese held islands in the Pacific. By the end of March 1945, however, they had finally captured Iwo Jima and looked towards Okinawa, a province of Japan itself. Less than 400 miles south of its mainland, it was the place from which the Allied invasion of Japan must be launched. Supported by a huge Naval presence, including one of the largest British fleets ever assembled, the assault began on 1 April 1945 with the largest amphibious landing of the Pacific war.
The Japanese response was ferocious seeing the peak of the kamikaze scourge and while the British ships with their steel decks fared much better, the relentless attacks took their toll on the US Fleet, highlighting a conflict worse than anything seen before. The 82 day battle was one of the most severe and bloody campaigns of WWII, accounting for over 14000 Allied deaths and five times that number of Japanese soldiers.
In one of the most powerful paintings of his long and distinguished career, Robert Taylor depicts USMC Ace Dean Caswell and F4U Corsairs from VMF-221, based on the carrier USS Bunker Hill, climbing away from the target area after delivering a blistering rocket attack on enemy positions on Okinawa.
The prints in this outstanding edition are personally signed by legendary Pilots and Aces who flew Corsairs during the assault of Okinawa, including Dean Caswell, creating a unique collectors piece. Parts of the edition are also autographed by Army and Navy veterans who fought at Okinawa, giving enthusiasts the rare opportunity to acquire a remarkable historic account of one of the greatest battles of WWII, and an important piece to be cherished by future generations.
THE FRAMED COLLECTOR’S EDITION
This Collector’s edition print has been signed by ten pilots who flew the F4U Corsair in combat during the Battle of Okinawa:
Colonel DEAN CASWELL – 7 victories
Colonel JOE MCPHAIL
Colonel JIM SWETT Medal of Honor – 15 ½ victories
Colonel BRUCEPORTER – 5 victories
Lieutenant Colonel LYLE BRADLEY
Captain PHILLIP DE GROOT
First Lieutenant CLINT FLADLAND
Lieutenant Colonel WILLIAM LUCAS
Lieutenant Commander TOM MCBRIDE
Lieutenant Colonel DARRELL SMITH
THE FRAMED VETERAN’S EDITION (Pictured)
This print has been signed by a further five veterans that fought in the Battle of Okinawa, making a total of fifteen autographs:
Commander WILLIS E. HARDY
Commander DEAN LAIRD
Sergeant HARRY MOMI
Commander DONALD SCHMAHL
Seaman 1st Class MIKE WONDERLICH
Additionally, both editions of the print have been conservation matted and framed to include museum quality replica wings and the signatures of:
Colonel JEFFERSON J. DE BLANC Medal of Honor – 9 victories
Lieutenant KENNETH A. WALSH Medal of Honor – 21 victories
Colonel ARCHIE G. DONAHUE – 14 victories