Flying Tigers
revised and updated


Revetments at Ewa Field The revetments that protected Brewster Buffalos bound for the Battle of Midway still exist at Ewa Field on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. Seven miles from Pearl Harbor, Ewa was the US Marine Corps air station that supplied aircraft to both Midway and Wake Island, and was itself attacked on December 7, 1941. Though its aircraft inventory was mostly destroyed that morning, Ewa soon recovered to become the crossroads of Marine aviation in the Pacific. (Failing to destroy Hawaii's military infrastructure was one of Japan's great miscalculations of the Pacific War.) Since 2007, historian John Bond and others have tried to preserve what remains of Ewa Field, including the concrete revetments hastily constructed early in 1942 and most recently used in the filming of Tora, Tora, Tora. For more, see the Annals of the Brewster Buffalo.

One of the great things about the internet is how it connects us between countries and across time. Greg Otterson in Bangkog pointed me to a great yarn about Tex Hill of the American Volunteer Group and Roy Hudson of 17th Indian Division, who crossed paths under unhappy circumstances in February 1942. Read it on the Annals of the Flying Tigers.

And yes, I'm a month late in marking the start of 2018. Blame it on this book: Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941, a 1,184-page account of twelve years in the life of history's greatest mass murderer. During the Terror of 1937-1938, Stalin signed off on the execution of one thousand people a day, mostly his own generals, commissars, intellectuals, secret police, and dutiful members of the Communist party. I needed the better part of two months to read it, and every hour was well rewarded. Stephen Kotkin makes even Stalin's greatest blunder — his calamitous failure to have the Red Army positioned to trounce the Germans in June 1941 — understandable. Indeed, it was inevitable, given the Soviet doctrine of "forward defense" (which is to say, counterattack!) that would serve the Russians so well in later years.

Also noted this month: Robert Harris's latest historical thriller, Munich, which is much touted but left me rather cold; and a New Hampshire Humanities Council course for veterans to read Homer's Odyssey and explore their own experience of homecoming. Read about them on the Warbird's Book Club.

Maxwell Air Force Base library
Behold a shelf at the Maxwell Air Force Base library! Those are the HarperCollins paperbacks of Flying Tigers, which sold 2,000 copies in the week after the Air Force chief of staff put it on his Christmas list: Maxwell, evidently, is where at least five of them wound up. It sold so many copies, indeed, that Amazon too often features that edition on its website. So if you go looking for a copy, please start with the updated third edition from Warbird Books. Thank you! — Dan Ford

Welcome to the forum!

Here are a thousand or so files on airplanes, pilots, and the wars of the past hundred years, grouped under these headings:

Annals of the Flying Tigers
Annals of the Brewster Buffalo
Annals of Poland: war and exile, 1939-1948
Japan at War, 1931-1945
Annals of the Chinese Air Force
Glen Edwards and the Flying Wing
Remembering Bluie West One
The Spadguys Speak (carrying a nuke to Sevastopol)
Annals of Vietnam
War in the Modern World

Plus these excellent places to look for more: