When Japanese planes laid waste to Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7, 1941, the United States had exactly one air combat unit on the continent of Asia. That was the 1st American Volunteer Group - sponsored by the White House, equipped and paid by a U.S. loan, but officially part of the Chinese Air Force. On December 20, this band of mercenaries won immortality over the city of Kunming. An expanded version, with new photographs, of the cover story for America in WWII magazine, December 2010.
The first of five articles and books included in the collection, Tales of the Flying Tigers.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I have always had a huge interest in the catastrophe of WWII (primarily Asia), our role in it, and how it brought a relatively backward U.S.A. out of the depths of the Great Depression into the powerhouse it remains today. Those interested in this period in our history know that it was Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor that totally reversed the isolationist mentality within the United States and brought us into war with the Axis Powers. Up to this point, our citizens had read in the newspapers, or heard on the nightly radio broadcasts, of the seemingly unstoppable march of the Nazi hordes seizing/absorbing nations in Europe (with the exception of Great Britain). They also were informed of the Japanese attacking in both Manchuria and, after the "Incident at the Marco Polo Bridge," China itself. Still, the overwhelming feeling was that this was all taking place outside of "Fortress America," and that is was "not our fight." FDR knew that we would inevitably be...
The AVG's first encounter with the Japanese Air Force over Kunming, China, on 20 December 1941 is often written about. The version Dan Ford presents here is probably the most complete picture extant. Ford shows the action from the perspective of the AVG pilots involved, but he also includes the recollections of one of the Japanese bomber pilots who survived the day. He looks to other sources, including Chennault's Chinese warning net, which confirmed ten Japanese bombers entering China that day, and seven leaving. In addition to details of the 20 December action, Ford includes a section of background useful to readers not familiar with the AVG Flying Tigers - and that may also have an interesting point or two for those who are.
While it does not detract from Ford's depiction of the 20 December action, he touches on two points that have become contentious. He calls the AVG mercenaries. But as Ford himself notes, the AVG was sponsored by the White House and paid for...
This is an interesting historical account. I learned that Russian squadrons had supported China prior to Pearl Harbor without success and departed. Only with the AVG were the Japanese first rebuffed that December.
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