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.

100 Hawks for China



Claire Chennault and the American Volunteer Group

P-40 mockups in China
Bob Bergin is in China again, and he keeps finding traces of the American Volunteer Group in the most amazing places. Here's a shot of an airfield "hidden among Yunnan's hills and deep valleys." It's an old movie set with rather realistic mock-ups of the P-40 Tomahawk fighters of the American Volunteer Group, though no one seems to remember anything about the movie it was supposed to support. There's also a Douglas C-47 transport and a paratroop training tower. Even more fascinating, it evidently first served the KMT (Nationalist) government of China before the forces of Chiang Kai-shek fled to the offshore island of Taiwan. Bob's email and photos are here.

John Armstrong was the first member of the AVG Flying Tigers to die in line of duty, in the crash of his P-40 in September 1941, after he collided with Gil Bright's aircraft during a mock dogfight. He was buried with some ceremony at St Luke's Church in Toungoo, where two other pilots soon joined him. Last year we learned that four bodies were moved to India after the war, and then repatriated to the Punchbowl Cemetery in Hawaii, where they remained unknown to anyone for more than half a century. Now Armstrong's relatives have made a formal request for one of the bodies to exhumed and given a DNA test in hopes of positively identifying his remains. Blue skies! -- Dan Ford

Flying Tigers

A 'Special Air Unit' for China:

The Tigers forge a legend:

Flying Tigers

The P-40 files:

The Bill Pawley files:

Books etc.:

A good myth never dies: