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Tokyo Bound by Nicolas Trudgian (B)
USS Hornet. Doolittles Raiders by Ivan Berryman.
|The Aircraft :|
|Mitchell||On April 18, 1942, Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle led a group of 16 B-25 bombers on a carrier-launched raid on industrial and military targets in Japan. The raid was one of the most daring missions of WW II. Planning for this secret mission began several months earlier, and Jimmy Doolittle, one of the most outstanding pilots and leaders in the United States Army Air Corps was chosen to plan, organize and lead the raid. The plan was to get within 300 or 400 miles of Japan, attack military and industrial targets in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kobe shortly after nightfall, and then fly on to a dawn landing at secret airfields on the coast of China. The twin engine B-25 Mitchell bomber was selected by Doolittle for the mission and practice indicated that it should be possible to launch these aircraft from a carrier deck with less than 500 feet of runway. On April 2, 1942 the USS Hornet and a number of escorts set sail from Alameda, California with the 16 B-25s strapped to its deck. This task force rendezvoused with another including the USS Enterprise, and proceeded for the Japanese mainland. An element of surprise was important for this mission to succeed. When the task force was spotted by a Japanese picket boat, Admiral Halsey made the decision to launch the attack earlier than was planned. This meant that the raiders would have to fly more than 600 miles to Japan, and would arrive over their targets in daylight. It also meant that it would be unlikely that each aircraft would have sufficient fuel to reach useable airfields in China. Doolittle had 50 gallons of additional fuel stowed on each aircraft as well as a dinghy and survival supplies for the likely ditchings at sea which would now take place. At approximately 8:00 AM the Hornets loudspeaker blared, Now hear this: Army pilots, man your planes! Doolittle and his co-pilot R.E. Cole piloted the first B-25 off the Hornets deck at about 8:20 AM. With full flaps, and full throttle the Mitchell roared towards the Hornets bow, just barely missing the ships island superstructure. The B-25 lifted off, Doolittle leveled out, and made a single low altitude pass down the painted center line on the Hornets deck to align his compass. The remaining aircraft lifted off at approximately five minute intervals. The mission was planned to include five three-plane sections directed at various targets. However, Doolittle had made it clear that each aircraft was on its own. He insisted, however, that civilian targets be avoided, and under no circumstances was the Imperial Palace in Tokyo to be bombed. About 30 minutes after taking off Doolittles B-25 was joined by another piloted by Lt. Travis Hoover. These two aircraft approached Tokyo from the north. They encountered a number of Japanese fighter or trainer aircraft, but they remained generally undetected at their low altitude. At 1:30 PM the Japanese homeland came under attack for the first time in the War. From low altitudes the raiders put their cargoes of four 500 pounders into a number of key targets. Despite antiaircraft fire, all the attacking aircraft were unscathed. The mission had been a surprise, but the most hazardous portion of the mission lay ahead. The Chinese were not prepared for the raiders arrival. Many of the aircraft were ditched along the coast, and the crews of other aircraft, including Doolittles were forced to bail out in darkness. There were a number of casualties, and several of the raiders were caught by Japanese troops in China, and some were eventually executed. This painting is dedicated to the memories of those airmen who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and the thousands of innocent Chinese citizens which were brutally slaughtered as a reprisal for their assistance in rescuing the downed crews.|
|Artist Details : Robert Taylor|
|Click here for a full list of all artwork by Robert Taylor|
The name Robert Taylor has been synonymous with aviation art over a quarter of a century. His paintings of aircraft, more than those of any other artist, have helped popularise a genre which at the start of this remarkable artist's career had little recognition in the world of fine art. When he burst upon the scene in the mid-1970s his vibrant, expansive approach to the subject was a revelation. His paintings immediately caught the imagination of enthusiasts and collectors alike . He became an instant success. As a boy, Robert seemed always to have a pencil in his hand. Aware of his natural gift from an early age, he never considered a career beyond art, and with unwavering focus, set out to achieve his goal. Leaving school at fifteen, he has never worked outside the world of art. After two years at the Bath School of Art he landed a job as an apprentice picture framer with an art gallery in Bath, the city where Robert has lived and worked all his life. Already competent with water-colours the young apprentice took every opportunity to study the works of other artists and, after trying his hand at oils, quickly determined he could paint to the same standard as much of the art it was his job to frame. Soon the gallery was selling his paintings, and the owner, recognising Roberts talent, promoted him to the busy picture-restoring department. Here, he repaired and restored all manner of paintings and drawings, the expertise he developed becoming the foundation of his career as a professional artist. Picture restoration is an exacting skill, requiring the ability to emulate the techniques of other painters so as to render the damaged area of the work undetectable. After a decade of diligent application, Robert became one of the most capable picture restorers outside London. Today he attributes his versatility to the years he spent painstakingly working on the paintings of others artists. After fifteen years at the gallery, by chance he was introduced to Pat Barnard, whose military publishing business happened also to be located in the city of Bath. When offered the chance to become a full-time painter, Robert leapt at the opportunity. Within a few months of becoming a professional artist, he saw his first works in print. Roberts early career was devoted to maritime paintings, and he achieved early success with his prints of naval subjects, one of his admirers being Lord Louis Mountbatten. He exhibited successfully at the Royal Society of Marine Artists in London and soon his popularity attracted the attention of the media. Following a major feature on his work in a leading national daily newspaper he was invited to appear in a BBC Television programme. This led to a string of commissions for the Fleet Air Arm Museum who, understandably, wanted aircraft in their maritime paintings. It was the start of Roberts career as an aviation artist. Fascinated since childhood by the big, powerful machines that man has invented, switching from one type of hardware to another has never troubled him. Being an artist of the old school, Robert tackled the subject of painting aircraft with the same gusto as with his large, action-packed maritime pictures - big compositions supported by powerful and dramatic skies, painted on large canvases. It was a formula new to the aviation art genre, at the time not used to such sweeping canvases, but one that came naturally to an artist whose approach appeared to have origins in an earlier classical period. Roberts aviation paintings are instantly recognisable. He somehow manages to convey all the technical detail of aviation in a traditional and painterly style, reminiscent of the Old Masters. With uncanny ability, he is able to recreate scenes from the past with a carefully rehearsed realism that few other artists ever manage to achieve. This is partly due to his prodigious research but also his attention to detail: Not for him shiny new factory-fresh aircraft looking like museum specimens. His trade mark, flying machines that are battle-scarred, worse for wear, with dings down the fuselage, chips and dents along the leading edges of wings, oil stains trailing from engine cowlings, paintwork faded with dust and grime; his planes are real! Roberts aviation works have drawn crowds in the international arena since the early 1980s. He has exhibited throughout the US and Canada, Australia, Japan and in Europe. His one-man exhibition at the Smithsonians National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC was hailed as the most popular art exhibition ever held there. His paintings hang in many of the worlds great aviation museums, adorn boardrooms, offices and homes, and his limited edition prints are avidly collected all around the world. A family man with strong Christian values, Robert devotes most of what little spare time he has to his home life. Married to Mary for thirty five years, they have five children, all now grown up. Neither fame nor fortune has turned his head. He is the same easy-going, gentle character he was when setting out on his painting career all those years ago, but now with a confidence that comes with the knowledge that he has mastered his profession.
More about Robert Taylor
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