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Imperial Sacrifice

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IMPERIAL SACRIFICE
by Robert Bailey

Overall Print Size: 32½" x 23;"

Edition Size: 500

Secondary Market

In the closing months of the pacific war, Japan was becoming more desperate in the defence of her homeland. The armed forces of Japan had developed more fanatical strategies to thwart the approaching USA war machine. The Imperial Japanese Navy was not immune from this, even though the diminished fleet was but a remnant of its former self. Thus, in April of 1945, the fate of the Yamato task group was sealed in a sacrificial plan to reinforce the defenders of Okinawa. With only enough fuel to make the voyage from the Inner Sea of Japan to the island, under assault from the combined American and Allied Forces, the world’s largest battleship, together with the light cruiser Yahagi and eight escort destroyers, sailed into the South China Sea. They were tracked by USA submarines through the Bungo Straits, their positions being relayed to USA Task Force 58. There would be no air cover for the Japanese Navy.

At approximately half past noon on April 7, 1945, more than 380 USA planes from Task Group 58 attacked the Yamato Task Group in three separate air waves. In the ensuing battle that lasted a little more than three hours, the Imperial Japanese Navy ceased to exist. Sunk was the battleship Yamato, the light cruiser Yahagi, and four of the eight escort destroyers. The remaining destroyers limped home to Kure Harbor with what survivors they could find from the sunken ships. The sacrifice for the Japanese was staggering. In addition to the Japanese Navy’s loss of pride, 4250 officers and sailors perished. The loss to American forces were 10 planes and 12 aircrew. Admiral Isoroku Yamamato, the architect who had planned the attack on Pearl Harbor, had predicted this outcome at the beginning of hostilities more than three and a half years prior to this tragic battle. The giant did indeed awaken and returned with a terrible resolve. It would culminate four months later not far from where the keel for the Yamato was laid: Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

"IMPERIAL SACRIFICE" depicts the Imperial Japanese battleship Yamato, on a one-way suicide mission to reinforce the embattled garrison on Okinawa, being attacked by Corsairs from the USS Intrepid. After successfully delivering their bombs on target, Lieutenant Hal Jackson and a fellow pilot, both of VBF-¬10, attempt to evade the deadly anti-aircraft fire from the sinking ship.

In addition to the artist this print is individually signed in pencil by:

  • Lieutenant Hal Jackson (Jackson was with VBF-10 aboard the Intrepid and was credited with shooting down one Japanese Betty bomber and three Zekes, besides dropping a bomb on the battleship Yamato.)

Comes with a Certificate of Authenticity.