Original U.S. Signed Artwork: “Midway - Strike Against The Akagi” Signed by Lt. Cmdr. Dick Best, Cmdr. Bill Esders, Maj. Gen. Marion Carl, Capt. Scott McCuskey, Capt. Robert Elder and Capt. Jack Reid - Framed 38 ½” x 30 ½”

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is one of the most attractive portrayals of the Douglas SBD Dauntless Dive Bomber ever produced! The Douglas SBD Dauntless is a World War II American naval scout plane and dive bomber that was manufactured by Douglas Aircraft from 1940 through 1944. The SBD ("Scout Bomber Douglas") was the United States Navy's main carrier-based scout/dive bomber from mid-1940 through mid-1944. The SBD was also flown by the United States Marine Corps, both from land air bases and aircraft carriers. The SBD is best remembered as the bomber that delivered the fatal blows to the Japanese carriers at the Battle of Midway in June 1942. The type earned its nickname "Slow But Deadly" (from its SBD initials) during this period.

This certified, limited edition print, was reproduced from an original painting by Robert Taylor. This is the only painting that bears the number 1120/1250. Each print was signed personally by the artist, and numbered, with the original signatures of Six Distinguished Midway Pilots.

This edition has been printed using only the highest quality fade-resistant inks on the finest grade archival paper imported specially from France. All means of reproduction, including the printing plates, have been destroyed. This is a single edition. The sole copyright of the original painting is retained by the artist, giving a firm guarantee against unauthorized reproduction.

The Signatures of the Pilots Present:
- Lieutenant Commander Dick Best: Dick Best was one of the most experienced dive-bomber pilots at the Battle of Midway, having already previously led attacks on Wake Island and Marcos Island, and as Commanding Officer of VB-6 he flew escort flights for the Doolittle raid on Tokyo. Commanding VB-6 on 4th June, Dick Best led his squadron of SBD dive bombers against Japanese carriers Akagi and Hirya, his part for which he was awarded the Navy Cross.

- Major General Marion Carl: Marion Carl spent the first seven months of WWII based on the Midway Atoll with VMF-221 flying the Brewster F24 and later the Grumman F4F Wildcat. On 4th June, he was one of the few 221 pilots to survive the awesome combats fought during the Battle of Midway, scoring his first air victory when shooting down a Japanese Zero. Shortly after arriving at Guadalcanal he became the first Marine fighter ace, ending his combat career with 18 ½ air victories.

- Captain Rober Elder: Bob Elder took part in all the great WWII naval air carrier engagements in the Pacific, twice being awarded the Navy Cross and DFC for actions during the Coral Sea, Midway and Guadalcanal Campaigns. Following his attack on the morning of 4th June, Bob Elder’s SBD Dauntless, low on fuel, was making its final approach returning to the USS Yorktown when a Japanese bomb exploded on the flight deck in front of him. He just made it to the USS Enterprise.

- Commander Bill Esders: The only survivor of Torpedo Squadron Three (VT-3) and one of only two survivors of all the carrier borne Torpedo squadrons at Midway, Bill Esders was one of the few pilots able to launch his torpedo at the Japanese fleet. With his gunner fatally injured and his fuel tanks holes he was forced to ditch his TBD-1 within sight of the battle, later being picked up by a friendly destroyer.

- Captain Scott McCuskey: Initially flying dive bombers and later F4F Wildcats from the deck of USS Yorktown, Scott McCuskey took part in the Battles of the Coral Sea and Midway. After the loss of the Yorktown and a period instructing and developing fighter tactics, he returned to the Pacific Theatre flying F6F Hellcats. By the war-end he had achieved 14 air victories. During the Battle of Midway on 4th June, 1942, after a scramble launch from the USS Yorktown, he intercepted and destroyed 3 Japanese Val dive bombers.

- Captain Jack Reid: Patrolling the vast wastes of the Pacific Ocean to the west of Midway Island in search of the Japanese fleet, the crew of PBY-5 Catalina piloted by Jack Reid was on the point of turning for home. Just as he flicked out of autopilot to turn eastwards, the eagle-eyes of the eight man crew saw tiny specks on the horizon. It was the first sighting of the Japanese fleet, and Jack Reid’s radio message signaled the start of the Battle of Midway.

This is a wonderful framed piece of history, ready for display.

Battle of Midway
The Battle of Midway was a major naval battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II that took place on 4–7 June 1942, six months after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor and one month after the Battle of the Coral Sea. The U.S. Navy under Admirals Chester W. Nimitz, Frank J. Fletcher, and Raymond A. Spruance defeated an attacking fleet of the Imperial Japanese Navy under Admirals Isoroku Yamamoto, Chūichi Nagumo, and Nobutake Kondō north of Midway Atoll, inflicting devastating damage on the Japanese fleet. Military historian John Keegan called it "the most stunning and decisive blow in the history of naval warfare", while naval historian Craig Symonds called it "one of the most consequential naval engagements in world history, ranking alongside Salamis, Trafalgar, and Tsushima Strait, as both tactically decisive and strategically influential".

Hoping to lure the American aircraft carriers into a trap and occupying Midway was part of an overall "barrier" strategy to extend Japan's defensive perimeter, in response to the Doolittle air raid on Tokyo. This operation was also considered preparatory for further attacks against Fiji, Samoa, and Hawaii itself. The plan was undermined by faulty Japanese assumptions of the American reaction and poor initial dispositions. Most significantly, American cryptographers were able to determine the date and location of the planned attack, enabling the forewarned U.S. Navy to prepare its own ambush.

Four Japanese and three American aircraft carriers participated in the battle. The four Japanese fleet carriers—Akagi, Kaga, Sōryū, and Hiryū, part of the six-carrier force that had attacked Pearl Harbor six months earlier—were sunk, as was the heavy cruiser Mikuma. The U.S. lost the carrier Yorktown and the destroyer Hammann, while the carriers USS Enterprise and USS Hornet survived the battle fully intact.

After Midway and the exhausting attrition of the Solomon Islands campaign, Japan's capacity to replace its losses in materiel (particularly aircraft carriers) and men (especially well-trained pilots and maintenance crewmen) rapidly became insufficient to cope with mounting casualties, while the United States' massive industrial and training capabilities made losses far easier to replace. The Battle of Midway, along with the Guadalcanal campaign, is widely considered a turning point in the Pacific War.
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