On Sunday, December 7th 1941, around breakfast -
time, Japanese forces attacked the United States' naval base at
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and in two waves virtually destroyed the strength
of the US Pacific Fleet. Among the many ships at anchor that day
were four American submarines, USS Cachalot, USS Dolphin, USS Narwhal
and USS Tautog.
Just a few minutes after America's unexpected
and violent entry World War II, this painting depicts the scene at
the submarine base with Dolphin (to the left) and Narwhal acquitting
themselves to the best of their abilities, and honorably, during the
first wave of the attack.
In the background, a pall of smoke rises from the
disaster that has befallen "Battleship Row" and the Navy Yard,
and Japanese "Kate" torpedo bombers race in from the
south to add to the mayhem.
A lone "Kate", its torpedo already
spent, circles - perhaps to take photographs. As it crosses
astern of the moored submarines, their hastily prepared anti-aircraft
fire scores a hit and it sustains fatal damage. Credit for the
'kill' is shared by Narwhal, Tautog and a destroyer (- although in
detailed battle reports, the skipper of Dolphin claims the victory...).
Later, during the second wave of the attack, the
USS Tautog (not shown in this painting) is credited with
being the first US submarine to single-handedly bring down a Japanese
aircraft in WWII.
They acquitted themselves well.
This painting is No.1 of John Meek's "Pacific
War" series ...
Curiously, the Japanese failed to attack the
submarines, and of course, totally failed to address the aircraft
carriers - all of which were at sea at the time. As Admiral
Yamamoto so exquisitely put it "...I fear that all we have done is
awaken a sleeping giant...! "
It was to be almost exactly sixty years before the
United States was to experience, again, such an unexpected attack upon
its territory. With this in mind, the artist, with respect, would
like to dedicate this humble piece of work to the people of New York
City who experienced such a traumatic shock, and many of whom lost
their lives, on September 11th, 2001.