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P-43 in CAF service

Republic P-43 Lancer in Chinese service

Thanks to Richard Dunn, we have a long article (or short book!) on the Republic P-43 Lancer, 108 of which were Lend-Leased to China as part of the "Special Air Unit" that Roosevelt authorized in the winter of 1940-1941. Originally intended to equip the 3rd American Volunteer Group, the planes were instead transferred directly to the Chinese Air Force. (The 1st AVG bcame famous as the Flying Tigers. The 2nd AVG, a bomber group, was ready to go when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. The 3rd AVG was to have been a fighter group, recruited early in 1942.)

As Rick Dunn explains, many of the P-43s were lost en route, many as a result of ferry accidents by inexperienced Chinese pilots. At least one was preempted by Col. Robert Scott, who wanted it to escort Ferry Command transports. And some may have been cannibalized to provide replacement engines for those same transports, flying supplies over the Hump from India to China.

Evidently China received 41 P-43 Lancers in 1942, along with some Vultee P-66 Vangards, also originally intended for the AVG. Some of these planes wound up in the China Air Task Force, General Channault's branch of the 10th Air Force, and the embryo of the 14th Air Force. In his article, Richard traces the mostly-untold history of the P-43, a plane that grew out of the Seversky P-35 and that was the daddy or at least the elder brother of the redoubtable Republic P-47.

General reference map of China

Map of China