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.

The Annals of the Flying Tigers

Fallen Tigers is an odd and rather scattershot book. The blurbs are ecstatic and the reviews are favorable or fawning, but it really fails in its promise to detail "The Fate of America's Missing Airmen in China during World War II." And it's not really about the Flying Tigers! About the only time it touches upon the American Volunteer Group that joined the Chinese Air Force in the summer and fall of 1941 is when a few of them (George McMillan, Tex Hill) later turn up as part of the USAAF squadrons that went to China in 1942. Instead the focus is on anyone who happened to fly against the Japanese over the Chinese mainland, oddly including a chapter about the Doolittle Raiders who launched from an aircraft carrier and had nothing at all to do with the Tigers. (And then, weirdly, he says nothing about the fate of the eight Raiders whom the Japanese captured, shooting three of them and so mistreating the others that only one was fit to testify at the Shanghai war crimes tribunal in 1946.) Arnold Shamblin, meanwhile, isn't mentioned in the book, though he was one of the 109 men who did join the Chinese Air Force, in his case as a flight instructor. Yet he joined the AVG combat squadrons in 1942, was shot down over China in July, was captured by the Japanese, and like so many Anglo-Americans taken prisoner did not survive the war.

Prof Jackson jumps all over the place, and though he does great work with Chinese sources, he ignores the Japanese: all of the quotes that seem to be from Japanese records are actually from U.S. military histories. He apparently didn't even bother to read the English-language Japan Times and Advertiser, a daily published in Tokyo until the end of the war. (It was in that newspaper that I discovered Shamblin's fate.) That said, Fallen Tigers is well worth reading for the author's interviews with American and Chinese veterans of the war, especially the civilians who risked their lives to rescue American airmen. For a university press edition, the hardcover is quite reasonably priced, perhaps because it's a self-cover (no dust jacket), though one that's very well done and feels good in the hand. Similarly, the excellent photographs are printed on rather thin stock, like that of a self-published book. (It's acid-free paper, however, and will presumably last for a long time.) The ebook is available immediately, but really, you should wait for the hardcover, which should arrive on June 4 if you order now. Blue skies -- Daniel Ford.

Tales of the Flying Tigers


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:

Question? Comment? Newsletter? Send me an email. Blue skies! — Daniel Ford

Remains - A Story of the Flying Tigers

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