Ambush in Bashi Channel

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This image will be featured on the cover of Saga of the Sun Setters Volume II. Prices range from $200 for a standard giclee print to $295 for a canvas print, not including shipping. They are printed and shipped directly from the artist himself. Visit our website for more information or to buy one of these outstanding pieces of art.

ambush in bashi channel print

Hoping to repeat an earlier rescue of the remaining Japanese Army soldiers from Guadalcanal in February 1943, the Japanese planned a similar operation for about 700 airmen trapped on the northern coast of Luzon, near Aparri, codenamed Operation Badorio. Scheduled to begin January 31, 1945, the operation called for a swift dash from Formosa across the Bashi Channel by three IJN destroyers: Ume, Kaede, and Shiokaze, with a scheduled arrival at Aparri in the middle of the night. Unlike the Guadalcanal rescue attempt, this one was well known to Allied intelligence. They put two squadrons of the Sun Setters, the 405th and the 822nd up to strike the three rescue destroyers. Fourteen P-47s from the 39th and 41st Fighter Squadrons of the 35th Fighter Group engaged Zeroes flying top cover duty over the destroyers.

In the picture, 2/Lt. Donald H. Martin’s B-25J passes over Shiokaze, which remarkably remained nearly unscathed in the attack. Ume, seen in the background,was not so lucky. A direct hit from 1/Lt. James P. Wilhem, another 822nd pilot, penetrated to the engine room of the Ume, devastating the ship. The Kaede (not seen here) also received major damage. The two seaworthy destroyers were forced to turn back for Formosa for repairs, dooming the rescue attempt. Although the 405th Squadron lost one of its crews in the battle, the mission was a great success as it had prevented the rescue of critically important Japanese aviation personnel, preventing their further threat to Allied air operations in that theater.

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