Files and images about the American Volunteer Group commanded by Claire Chennault. The AVG Flying Tigers defended Burma and China with their shark-faced P-40 Tomahawks in the opening months of the Pacific War, December 1941 - July 1942.

Tales of the Flying Tigers


Captain Mark of the Flying Tigers

Capt. Mark of the Flying Tigers When I was working on the second edition of my history of the AVG in 2007, I hired a multilingual Chinese graduate student to translate some new Japanese-language material. She became interested in the Flying Tigers and on her own account searched Chinese websites and came up with an astonishing number of articles about Chennault, the AVG, the 14th Air Force, and of course the Chinese air squadrons associated with them. It was clear even then that the government was appropriating the Tigers to burnish the history of the Red Army in the Second World War, never mind the fact that the Americans were actually associated with the rival Nationalist government.

About the same time, Tom Shanahan of Brisbane, Australia, was hired to play American roles in films and videos, including five gigs as a Flying Tiger. Most recently he appears in "Blossom of the Battlefield," a television drama in which his job is to hang from a parachute caught in a tree, and to be rescued from Japanese soldiers by gallant Chinese. "I am Captain Mark of the Flying Tigers," he tells them in his Australian accent. "Thank you for saving my life."

Of course the point isn't the accent but his western features. Tom has also portrayed Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. (A tip of the virtual hat to ABC News / Australia, which doesn't specify what language is spoken by Mr Shanahan-Putin.) Blue skies! — Dan Ford

A 'Special Air Unit' for China:

Flying Tigers
revised and updated

The Tigers forge a legend:

The P-40 files:

The Bill Pawley files:

The Lady and the Tigers

Books, movies, comics:

A good myth never dies: