In 1941, as Chennault and the Roosevelt White House were scrambling to find aircraft for China, the US Army seized the chance to get rid of 125 P-43 Lancers. The Army had ordered them primarily to keep the Seversky-Republic assembly line working while the fabled P-47 Thunderbolt was made ready for production. With the port of Rangoon closed in February 1942, the Lancers were sent to what is now Pakistan, to be assembled by US Army mechanics and flown to China by AVG, CAF, and USAAF pilots. This photo, from a Kodak Brownie camera, was auctioned recently on eBay. On the back, there's a note that it was taken at Karachi in June 1942. For more, see the Annals of the Chinese Air Force.
How Chiang would have hated that, and Claire Chennault as well! Chiang battled the Communists as fiercely as he did the Japanese, and Chennault stuck with Chiang's Nationalist government until it fled to Taiwan in 1949. And of course there are no AVG pilots still with us. Nevertheless, the Chinese recruited at least one USAAF cargo pilot, along with a Chennault granddaughter, to bolster its pretense that the Flying Tigers were part of Mao Zedong's long fight to make China great again.
Also reviewed this month: The Battle of Arnhem: The Deadliest Airborne Operation of World War II, a brilliant, detailed, and unsparing history of a bungled operation (which apparently was never called "a bridge too far"!). And Lords of the Desert: The Battle Between the United States and Great Britain for Supremacy in the Modern Middle East. For more about these books, see the Warbird's Book Club.
Oh, and Poland celebrated 100 years of independence last month, though half of it was spent under a German or a Russian boot. Blue skies! — Daniel Ford
Here are a thousand or so files on airplanes, pilots, and the wars of the past hundred years, grouped under these headings:
Question? Comment? Newsletter? Send me an email. Blue skies! -- Dan Ford
Posted December 2018. Websites © 1997-2018 Daniel Ford; all rights reserved.