Attack on the Hiei by Robert Taylor

Attack on the Hiei by Robert Taylor



Aircraft –F4F Wildcat

Island of Guadalcanal Friday, November 13th, 1942. Marine pilot, Captain Joe Foss was to assess the damage to US navel ships following the previous night’s bitter naval engagement. As the morning sun streaked across the sound between Savo and Guadalcanal, Foss viewed the wreckage of one of the most ferocious close combat navel actions of the war. But what caught the young pilot’s eye was a badly damaged Japanese battleship. Protected by three destroyers, the ‘Hiei’ offered the Cactus flyers a prize they could not allow to escape.
The Cactus Air Force quickly scrambled their fighters to join TFB and SBD torpedo and dive- bombers to sink the enemy battleship.
Foss climbed his eight F4F Wildcats to 12,000 ft. to make a diversionary attack while the torpedo bombers made their perilous run at the heavily defended battleship. From high above Foss brought his F4F’s screaming vertically down, levelling out as they hurled toward the Hiei through a massive barrage of defensive flak, spraying .50 calibre lead into the mighty warship.
Eventually the 30000 ton battleship was to add her bulk to those already lying on the bed of ‘Ironbottom Bay’.
Robert Taylor’s masterpiece depicts Joe Foss’s F4F Wildcats braving the fearsome hail of defensive fire as they distract enemy fire away from the vital torpedo attacks, their explosions throwing huge plumes of water skywards presenting an additional hazard to the F4F pilots.

Overall print size: 33¼ inches wide x 23½ inches high.


Numbered and signed in pencil by Robert Taylor and by Medal of Honor recipient Joe Foss and three of his U.S. Marine Corps pilots who flew on the Hiei mission.

Brig. Gen. Joseph J. Foss, USMC
Arriving at Guadalcanal on 9 October 1942 with VMF-121, Joe Foss quickly demonstrated great skills flying the F4F in combat. By the midle of his first month in action, his victories were coming at the rate of one a day. On the 23rd of the month, he accounted for four Zeros, the last of which he caught performing a victory roll after downing an F4F. He became the first American to break Eddie Rickenbacker's World War I record of 25 enemy aircraft destroyed. Joe Foss is the top-scoring living U.S. Marine Corps Ace, with 26 victories. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his outstanding feats in the South Pacific. Folowing the war, he became Governor of South Dakota and President of the American Football League.

Lt. Colonel Roger Haberman, USMC
Roger Haberman served with VMF-121 and later VMF-211. He flew at Guadalcanal from 9 October, 1942 to January 1943. Later he flew the F4U Corsair, becoming an Ace with 7 victories.

Lt. Colonel William B. Freedman, USMC
Serving with VMF-121 and later wirh VMF-115, William Freedman flew over 200 combat missions in the Pacific theater from 1942 to 1945. A highly skilled pilot, he became an Ace with 5 victories.

Colonel T.W. "Boot" Furlow, USMC
Flying the F4F on his first combat mission with VMF-121 in October, 1942, "Boot" Furlow soon downed his first Zero on the Hiei mission. He served in all the major Southwest Pacific theaters and later flew the F4U Corsair.