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Flying Tigers

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  • This picture was taken at Oshkosh Wisconsin in 2011.

    http://www.sync-blog.com/wp-content/...ow-2011/24.jpg

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    • One factor that I think is oft over looked when it came to recruiting personnel for the AVG, was the cultural 'meme' present in USA by 1941 regards China, and the "suffering" it was enduring under the "invaders"/Japan.

      Movies like "The Good Earth"
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Good_Earth_%28film%29
      had engendered public sympathy for the plight of "the common people" of China; combined with episodes of reality like the Rape of Nanking, another 1937 event.

      You also had, going back to about 1934, a very popular daily and Sunday comic strip known as "Terry and the Pirates";
      http://www.amazon.com/The-Complete-T.../dp/1600101003
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terry_a...comic_strip%29
      Which had introduced an element of exotic and romantic adventure in the "Far East" of Asia, China and there-abouts, to many young Americans - such as those whom came of age and had budding aviation careers in the USA military a few years later when Chennault and Co. came a recruiting.

      I'm suggesting that by about seven years later "Terry and the Pirates" had planted a subconscious seed of affinity in the minds of many, especially young Americans, where 'the other side of the world ~ China and East Asia' seemed an exotic and adventures land, filled with mystery and romantic potential, such that when offered a chance to go there, and get paid anywhere from twice to five times what they were making in USA military service, that the chance for their own adventures in mold of that like "Terry" became icing on the cake.

      Remember that when adjusting for inflation of current wages, the $600 to $700 a month pay offered back then to pilots would be in the range of about $150,000 yearly today, that huge jump in pay, a chance to "get into the war early"~ get some valuable combat experience, and maybe some romantic adventure in an exotic locale ... how could a young, red-blooded lad resist.

      The wonder might be how the AVG didn't get more volunteers rather than the few it did. Or so one might think.

      Some images from "Terry and the Pirates", note how 'Terry' eventually joins the USAAF and returns to China as poart of the CBI and 14th Air Force;
      http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=...ates&FORM=IGRE
      Whiskey for my men, and beer for my horses.
      TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
      Bock's First Law of History: The Past shapes the Present, which forms the Future. *

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      • The AVG was initially a part of the Nationalist Chinese Air Force. Helps to consider the nature and mix of the CAF at time the AVG appeared. The AVG's P-40B's being the most modern fighter available at the times.

        The following link, bare in mind that the listing isn't chronological, but the varied mix of aircraft types in use by CAF in 1941 gives some clue what a boost the AVG was;
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Develop...2%80%931945%29
        Whiskey for my men, and beer for my horses.
        TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
        Bock's First Law of History: The Past shapes the Present, which forms the Future. *

        Comment


        • The Italians were very popular with the Chinese. All the pilot candidates that trained with the Italians passed the course! Of course the ones that flew against the Japanese paid the price.

          Pruitt
          Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

          Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

          by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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          • Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
            The Italians were very popular with the Chinese. All the pilot candidates that trained with the Italians passed the course! Of course the ones that flew against the Japanese paid the price.

            Pruitt
            You got that one. The Italians seemed to be there more to make money than an air force, passing everyone "saved face" all around, but did little in assuring any elementary flying skill was present. For everyone that got airborne enough to encounter the Japanese, there was at least another fallen upon his own doing in operational mishaps.

            Byrd in "Chennault - Giving Wings to the Tiger" comments to this effect on page 71. Probably a factor in the Russians taking over from the Italians beginning about the fall of 1937.
            Whiskey for my men, and beer for my horses.
            TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
            Bock's First Law of History: The Past shapes the Present, which forms the Future. *

            Comment


            • 1st AVG becomes 23rd Fighter Group

              It was at this time in 1942, after nearly seven months of combat operations, that the First American Volunteer Group (1st AVG) ~ the "Flying Tigers", was officially disbanded. On the end of July 4, beginning July 5, 1942 they became the 23rd Fighter Group of the USAAF, no longer a nominal portion of the Chinese Air Force.

              While now under command of the 10th Air Force, USAAF, the 'Air Force' of the CBI, units in China were sub-organized as the China Air Task Force (CATF) and Chennault remained in charge. Only a handful of former 'Tigers' remained with the ol' man, and an equally small number of ground personnel as well. Prior to the turn-over, USAAF pilots and P-40E Kittyhawks and been making their way, in small numbers, to China. The CATF would start out as short handed as the Tiger's were when their time came to an end.

              In time the 23rd FG, and the 11th Bombardment Squadron (B-25s) would increase in types and numbers of aircraft and personnel and about nine months after the turn-over, USAAF units in China would become their own Air Force, the 14th.

              Though few original Tigers remained (or would survive the war), the units of the 14th AF would strive to carry on the legacy of the Flying Tigers and that motif would become an emblem of identity for those whom continued the Allied(USA) air war in China for the rest of WWII.
              Whiskey for my men, and beer for my horses.
              TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
              Bock's First Law of History: The Past shapes the Present, which forms the Future. *

              Comment


              • The 14th continued on for another 3 years, fighting hard and well for them most part. They even took on an increasing percentage of Chinese pilots, and had P-51s by the end.
                They even kept the name Flying Tigers, why should be know less about those 3 years than we do about the first 7 months?
                "Why is the Rum gone?"

                -Captain Jack

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                • Culper Spy Ring (We still exist)

                  He that spies kills ~ Irish Proverb

                  There are more leaks here than in the menís room at Anheuser-Busch. ~ Barry Goldwater

                  "...Ye shall know the truth and it shall set you free." ~ John 8:32

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                  • 2nd AVG, the bombardment group, stalled by 12/7/'41 events;

                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Volunteer_Group
                    http://www.warbirdforum.com/2ndavg.htm
                    http://warbirdsforum.yuku.com/topic/413
                    Whiskey for my men, and beer for my horses.
                    TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
                    Bock's First Law of History: The Past shapes the Present, which forms the Future. *

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by 98ZJUSMC View Post
                      The CBI. Undoubtedly, the most misunderstood theater of the war.
                      Certainly it was. It was also as vital for to the war in the Central Pacific as the MTO was to Northern Europe. For example if you look at the proximity of New Guinea and Port Moresby (both of critical importance to keeping the supply lines to Australia open) to Burma proper then you see how inter-related they were. Equally just as operations in the Mediterranean had an adverse impact on the tempo of operations in mainland Europe, so it can be seen that the CBI was 'starved' in relation to the POA.

                      Even with Britain's Imperial possessions and America's seemingly bottomless resources there are only so many theatres you can work with. Hence the CBI taking second place to the Pacific Operational Area, and the MTO taking second place once Overlord had been finalised.


                      Also worth remembering that in the CBI the allies also had to supply the bloated Chinese army as well as their own forces, something that was never an issue in the other three theatres.

                      IMHO as always

                      Andy

                      Comment


                      • Well, you might consider the Belgians and Dutch as our "Chinese". They got a huge amount of our aid very little military help. Don't get me wrong, I don't regret keeping them from starving, but the SS sure was able to get help from both.

                        Pruitt
                        Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                        Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                        by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

                        Comment


                        • The sucessor; 23rd Fighter Group-

                          (from wiki)

                          The group inherited the mission of the 1st American Volunteer Group "Flying Tigers". Five of Chennaultís staff officers, five pilots[2] and 19 ground crewmen entered the AAF and became members of the 23d Fighter Group. Approximately 25 AVG pilots, still in civilian status, volunteered to extend their contracts for two weeks to train the new group following the disbanding of their organization. The original aircraft of the group were a mixture of P-40s from a batch of 50 sent to China for the AVG between January and June 1942, and a follow-up shipment of 68 P-40Es sent to India and then flown over the Hump by the squadrons to be assigned to the 23d.
                          Others from the ranks of the original Flying Tigers left China when their contracts expired,[2] although some returned to duty later with the Army Air Forces in the China-Burma-India Theater. In addition to inheriting operational responsibilities from the AVG, the 23d Fighter Group also benefited from the knowledge and experience of the AVG pilots, and took on the nickname of the disbanded unit.
                          Col. Robert L. Scott Jr., already in India as a commander of the Hump operation, became the first commander of the 23d Fighter Group.[2] He would later author the military classic, "God Is My Co-Pilot." On the very first day of its activation, the 23d Fighter Group engaged three successive waves of enemy aircraft and promptly recorded the destruction of five enemy aircraft with no losses to itself.
                          The next three years saw the 23d Fighter Group involved in much of the action over southeast and southwest Asia. It provided air defense for the Chinese terminus of the Hump route,[1] but its operations extended beyond China to Burma, French Indochina and as far as Taiwan.[1] The unit helped pioneer a number of innovative fighter and fighter-bomber tactics. The Group used its so-called "B-40" (P-40's carrying 1,000-pound bombs) to destroy Japanese bridges and kill bridge repair crews, sometimes demolishing their target with a single bomb.[3] The unit gained another increase in capability with its conversion to the North American P-51 "Mustang" aircraft in November 1943.

                          General Claire Chennault with a P-51 Mustang and pilots of the 23d FG


                          Representative of the encounters undertaken by this small and often ill-equipped group was the defense against a major Japanese push down the Hsiang Valley in Hunan Province 17Ė25 June 1944.[1] Ignoring inhibiting weather conditions and heavy ground fire, the 23d Fighter Group provided air support for Chinese land forces and repeatedly struck at enemy troops and transportation. Its efforts in this instance earned it the Distinguished Unit Citation[1] for "outstanding performance of duty in action against the enemy." In 1945 it help turn the Japanese spring offensive and harassed the retreating Japanese by strafing and bombing their columns.[1]
                          Before the 23d Fighter Group returned to the United States in December 1945, it was credited with destroying 621 enemy planes in air combat, plus 320 more on the ground; with sinking more than 131,000 tons of enemy shipping and damaging another 250,000 tons; and with causing an estimated enemy troop loss of more than 20,000.[2] These statistics were compiled through a total of more than 24,000 combat sorties, requiring more than 53,000 flying hours, and at a cost of 110 aircraft lost in aerial combat, 90 shot down by surface defenses, and 28 bombed while on the ground.[2] Thirty-two pilots of the group achieved ace status by shooting down five or more enemy aircraft.[2]
                          "Why is the Rum gone?"

                          -Captain Jack

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                          • Originally posted by The Exorcist View Post
                            The 14th continued on for another 3 years, fighting hard and well for them most part. They even took on an increasing percentage of Chinese pilots, and had P-51s by the end.
                            They even kept the name Flying Tigers, why should be know less about those 3 years than we do about the first 7 months?
                            Here's some starting points;
                            Wiki page;
                            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourteenth_Air_Force
                            Vandenberg AFB fact sheet;
                            http://www.vandenberg.af.mil/library...et.asp?id=4685
                            14th AF Units - CBI;
                            http://www.cbi-history.com/part_ib.html
                            A Tribute to the Flying Tigers of the 14th Air Force

                            http://www.angelfire.com/ma/MONGELL/
                            Encyclopedia Britannica;
                            http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/...14th-Air-Force
                            Whiskey for my men, and beer for my horses.
                            TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
                            Bock's First Law of History: The Past shapes the Present, which forms the Future. *

                            Comment


                            • A bump for reference sake.
                              Whiskey for my men, and beer for my horses.
                              TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
                              Bock's First Law of History: The Past shapes the Present, which forms the Future. *

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                              • What model?
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