Military Art and Firearms

Robert Taylor

America Strikes Back

As the assault mounted on the Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, simultaneously the air base at Wheeler Field came under heavy attack, most of the P-40s and P-36s neatly lined up making easy targets for the marauding Japanese aircraft. Almost all were hit.

Bleary-eyed from an all-night party, two young USAAF pilots, Kenneth Taylor and George Welch, quickly assessed the situation: Not waiting for instructions Taylor called Haleiwa Field in the north of the island, and ordered their 47th Pursuit Squadron P-40 Tomahawk fighters to readiness. Running through a hail of gunfire and shrapnel, they leapt into Taylor's car and raced northwards, bullets chewing up the road as they went.

Surviving the strafing, within minutes of arrival at Haleiwa the two pilots got their P-40 Tomahawks airborne. Only then did they realize what they were up against: "There were between 200 and 300 Japanese aircraft," said Taylor "There were just two of us!" Winging southwards towards Ewa Field they ripped into a dozen or more enemy planes attacking the marine field. Diving into the formation they each downed "Val" fighter-bombers.

Low on fuel and ammunition they landed at Wheeler, where ground crews got them back in the air replenished in minutes. As he followed Welch into the air, Taylor's aircraft was hit and the young pilot was wounded in shoulder and leg. Welch jumped on his attacker immediately scoring his third kill. Ignoring his injuries Taylor continued into the fray. Wheeling and turning in the humid air above the lush green terrain of Oahu, Taylor and Welch continued their solitary combat against the hordes of Japanese, bringing their total to at least six victories before the Japanese, having done their worst, headed out to sea. For their quick thinking, and courageous action both Taylor and Welch were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. They were the first American pilots to strike back at an enemy that would take four long years to defeat.

Robert Taylor's carefully researched painting shows Ken Taylor in his P-40 Tomahawk bringing down his second enemy aircraft on December 7, 1941, an Aichi D-3A1 "Val" dive-bomber. George Welch is in close company as a group of Japanese planes head for the sea over Barbers Point. In the background palls of smoke rise from Hangar 6 housing the naval float planes, and the up-turned battleship Oklahoma. Joining the artist and Brigadier General Ken Taylor in signing this important collector print are four highly distinguished American veteran pilots from World War II.

Brigadier General Kenneth M. Taylor
Ken Taylor was one of the Army's heroes on December 7, twice engaging the retiring Japanese planes in his P-40 Tomahawk. Together, he and George Welch managed to get airborne - some of the very few who managed to do so. Ken was wounded but together they managed to down six Japanese aircraft that day. For his presence of mind and coolness under fire against overwhelming odds, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

Colonel William C. Dickman
William Dickman was a Marine pilot wounded in the attack of December 7. The Marine air station was located at Ewa Mooring Mast Field, near Barbers Point, turning point for the Japanese torpedo bombers as they began their runs into Pearl. William Dickman went on to fly over 60 combat missions in the Pacific Theater, including Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima.

Colonel Earl Williams
Flying a stripped down B-17 with the 38th Reconnaissance Squadron en-route from Hamilton Field to Clark Field in the Philippines, Earl's aircraft and eleven others were landing to refuel at Oahu when they ran straight into the Japanese attack. With their aircraft hit they managed to land. Williams went on to complete 55 combat missions in the South Pacific, including the Battle of the Coral Sea.

Lt. General Joe Moore
Joining the service in 1937, Joe Moore flew P-40 Tomahawks with the 323rd Tactical Fighter Wing out of Clark Field in the Philippines and accumulated over 100 combat missions in the Pacific, including two victories over Japanese Zeroes. He later transferred to fly P-47s in Europe, taking part in the Normandy Invasion.

Colonel David 'Tex' Hill
After serving aboard the USS Ranger as a navy pilot, 'Tex' Hill volunteered for the AVG 'Flying Tigers' in China, becoming Squadron Leader in the 2nd Squadron (Panda Bears), and notching up 12 ¼ air victories. 'Tex' Hill remained in China to activate the 75th Fighter Squadron. He later commanded the 23rd Fighter Group, again in China, increasing his total score to 18 ¼ victories.



Overall print size: 30 1/2" wide x 23 1/4" high.

Image size: 24" wide x 16" high.

America Strikes Back by Robert Taylor
25 Artist's Proofs w/FIVE signatures.