The Flying Tigers by John TolandDuring World War II, a group of American fighter pilots roamed the skies over China and Burma, menacing the Japanese war effort without letup. Flamboyant, daring, and courageous, they were called the Flying Tigers.
The Tigers, who had been recruited from the Army, Navy, and Marines, first saw action as a volunteer group fighting on the side of the Chiang Kia-sheks China against Japan. Trained in the unconventional air-combat tactics of their maverick leader Claire Lee Chennault, they racked up some of the most impresive air victory records of World War II.
This is the story of Chennault and his magnificent Tigers — and how they performed the impossible.
Yet there were also some Chinese pilots who joined the Flying Tigers and fought alongside the Americans, and who are too often left out of the spotlight. Liu is a Chinese journalist who has interviewed and photographed more than 30 Chinese veterans of World War II over the past 13 years. Liu said one of the veterans he photographed, Chen Bingjing, was one of the first 12 Chinese pilots to join the Flying Tigers. On Oct 13, , Chen's bomber engaged with more than 30 Japanese Zero fighters while returning from a mission. His plane was hit, badly damaged, and he had to jump.
Their PB aircraft, marked with Chinese colors, flew under American control. The group consisted of three fighter squadrons of around 30 aircraft each that trained in Burma before the American entry into World War II to defend China against Japanese forces. While it accepted some civilian volunteers for its headquarters and ground crew, the AVG recruited most of its staff from the U. The group first saw combat on 20 December , 12 days after Pearl Harbor local time. It demonstrated innovative tactical victories when the news in the U. AVG pilots earned official credit and received combat bonuses for destroying enemy aircraft, while losing only 14 pilots in combat.
Chennault , a retired U. Facing chronic shortages of fuel, parts, and pilots, this small company of air fighters nevertheless scored victory after victory over the far larger and better-equipped Japanese air force. They flew supplies, provided air cover for the Burma Road , succeeded in protecting the Chinese capital of Chungking, and fought the Japanese over southwestern and other parts of China. Surprise, mobility, precision flying, and unorthodox tactics enabled the Tigers to outwit the Japanese and inflict considerable damage on their air and ground forces. On July 4, , members of the unit who wished were absorbed into the U.
2. They were actually bounty hunters
This December, the city of Kunming, a metropolis of 4. - Atlanta, Georgia CNN Frank Losonsky was just another year-old soldier from Detroit, Michigan, but his life took a historic turn when a recruiter offered him the adventure of a lifetime. Chat with us in Facebook Messenger.
The press continued to apply the Flying Tigers name to later units, but pilots of those organizations are not included. In most air forces, a victory is defined as the destruction of an enemy aircraft in air-to-air combat, and those shown below are the "confirmed" claims as recorded in AVG records, unearthed by aviation historian Frank Olynyk. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Aces while Flying Tigers are in bold. Gilpin Bright. Killed in a crash when the "propeller governor failed on his P".