Beginning of the Flying Tigers

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Posted by Bill Cosson on July 06, 2000 at 15:43:44:

In Reply to: Must have updated his patches mid-War by correspondence.. posted by The Captain on July 05, 2000 at 18:57:53:

Let me quote directly from "The Ragged, Rugged Warriors" by Martin Caidin, about the Flying Tigers. Here goes:

There are few combat organizations that fought a war with such devastating one-sided effect as the American Volunteer Group - the Flying Tigers - and about which there are so many misconceptions. The author has yet to meet one person, be he average citizen or a man who has worn the Air Force blue and has been a fighter pilot for some 20 years or more, who knew when the Flying Tigers embarked on their spectacular combat career.

With rare exception, the belief is held that the Flying Tigers were locked in mortal combat with the Japanese for a long time (usually estimated at 'several years') prior to the attack against Pearl Harbor and our entry into the war. People are convinced that the AVG long constituted the only bulwark of the United States against the Japanese, showing the American flag during a time when our country was doing its best to stay out of war.

The truth is that the Flying Tigers fought their first battle - a smashing victory - against a Japanese force attacking Kunming, China, on December 20, 1941, (13 days after the strike against Oahu). Three days later the AVG's P-40B Tomahawks flying out of Mingagadon, Burma, with the Royal Air Force dove into a formation of Japanese bombers raiding Rangoon, the burmese capital. With those two battles, each over a different nation but against the same enemy, the American Volunteer Group was launched on its brief but spectacular career.

We've discussed on the Monkey pages before about the Tigers not being in existence in 1938, therefore Jake's blood chit on his jacket being premature as well, but we chalk it up to 'artistic license' and cut the producers and writers a lot of slack. There were foreign mercenary pilots (including some Americans) in China during the late '30s; a more historically correct version of TOTGM would have had Jake and Corky flying with them, but not calling themselves Flying Tigers.

Au revoir, mes amis.


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