On 23 December 1942, just days after their infamous attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese captured Wake Island, a small, but strategic coral atoll in the western Pacific.
The small garrison of mainly US Marines had already repulsed one landing but, on 23 December, the Japanese succeeded. Wake fell, as had Guam before it and now, across the breadth of the south-west Pacific, islands large and small tumbled like dominos. By March Australia stood on the brink of invasion and the might of Imperial Japan seemingly reigned supreme.
But Pearl Harbor was a hollow victory, the Japanese had failed to destroy the American carriers; a legacy that would soon return to haunt them. After stalemate at the Battle of the Coral Sea, there was no doubt of the outcome at the Battle of Midway in June 1942 where the American carriers inflicted a catastrophic defeat on the Japanese.
Midway marked the turning of the tide; Over the next two years the US Navy would build the largest naval force the Pacific had ever seen and the Allies would slowly advance in some of the bloodiest and most costly campaigns of WWII. The Japanese now faced only the specter of humiliation and defeat.
This stunning painting graphically recalls a moment during the Allied fight-back. On 5 October 1943, ten months after the island had fallen to the Japanese, American naval aircraft raided Wake, one of many such operations carried out by the US Navy and Marines. At the forefront of the attack is Lt. Cmdr. Edward “Butch” O’Hare, the US Navy’s first Ace and first Naval recipient of the Medal of Honor. Throwing his F6F Hellcat into a furious dogfight, he engages Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zeroes based on the island and in the process adds two more victories to his tally. Under O’Hare’s experienced guidance his young wingman, Lt. Alex Vraciu, claimed his first kill, and would later become one of the foremost Aces in the US Navy with 19 victories.
Anthony’s original work isn’t often available so this is a perfect opportunity for serious collectors to acquire an important original painting.
THE LIMITED EDITION
This piece is also available as a limited edition print, hand signed by a highly-distinguished Fighter Pilot who flew in combat in the Pacific theatre during WWII – CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION