Artist: Jack Fellows
Original: Height: 24" Width: 36"
Oil on Panel
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Torpedo-equipped Imperial Japanese Army Ki-76 "Peggy" bombers attack the USS Houston, CL-81 at sunset on 14 October, 1944 off the coast of Formosa. One aerial torpedo found its mark, seriously damaging the Houston, beginning an ordeal that included being hit by another aerial torpedo two days later as the heavily damaged ship was under tow by the Navy tug Pawnee, which was attempting to tow the Houston to the US Navy fleet anchorage at Ulithi Atoll. Fifty-five of the ship's complement were killed and many wounded during their epic struggle to save their ship. After making the Ulithi anchorage and undergoing temporary repairs, the Houston, winner of three Battle Stars, continued on to the New York Navy Yard for final repairs. CL-81 was the second US Navy cruiser to bear the name "Houston", the first was lost in a fierce naval battle off Guadalcanal in 1942.
Although considered to be a "heavy bomber" by the Japanese, the Hiryu (Flying Dragon) was very similar in size and performance to the USAAF B-26 Marauder medium bomber. Another similarity was the use of the Hiryu to deliver aerial torpedoes against naval targets, much as the USAAF had done with their Marauders at the battle Midway, when the Americans were then as desperate as the Japanese had become by October, 1944, when Allied naval task forces were steamrollering their way toward the Japanese Home Islands. Of the sixteen 98th Sentai Hiryus which left North Field, Okinawa to attack Admiral McCain's force off Formosa on the fourteenth, only two survived, due to the terrible attrition to Hellcats and anti-aircraft fire from the ships.
The painting is the book-cover art for "Bakudan To Ka" the Illustrated History of Japanese Heavy Bombardment Groups 1910-1945 by Dr. Yasuho Izawa.