DOOLITTLE RAIDERS - SM
Artist: Robert Taylor | Copies: 600
The mission assignment was to make a strike at the heart of Imperial Japan, panic the high command into diverting men and machines from offensive to defensive duties, and to give an America still reeling from pearl harbor, a massive boost in morale. They achieved all of these, and in doing so effected what became one of the most remarkable air raids of World War II.
The sixteen-ship mission's orders were precise: At low-level, fly some 800 miles over water into hostile territory, without escort fend off attacks from air and ground fire over the target then, with insufficient fuel to make the return journey, fly the B-25s on towards China until the gas ran out. Then bail out, ditch, or crash-land, avoid capture, and somehow find a way home.
Every man was a volunteer. Each knew the dangers. Some paid with their lives.
In Robert Taylor's fine painting we look into the tense faces of the crew of a B-25 as it leaves the target area, its pilot bringing the ship right down onto the landscape, next stop China! Smoke plumes high in the air as following aircraft dodge the flak. Below, peasants and river folk, oblivious to what is happening, wave to the crews as they thunder overhead. With possibly the worst to come, the Doolittle Raiders head out into the unknown.
Soon, with tanks empty, and in gathering darkness, eleven crews will bail out, three will ditch in coastal waters, and two will crash-land. Two crews will be taken prisoner; seven will never return.
This valuable commemorative edition is perhaps a last opportunity for aviation art collectors to acquire prints by Robert Taylor, each individually signed by so many legendary Doolittle Raiders.