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.
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ANNALS OF THE FLYING TIGERS
In recent months I've been posting stuff about the airfield at Loiwing, on the China-Burma border, where Bill Pawley assembled warplanes and Claire Chennault based his Flying Tigers after they were run out of Burma. Here's the most recent treasure, spotted by Lieuwe Montsma, a Netherlander who lives in Yunnan province. He zeroed in on the Google Earth images we've been discussing lately, and he found the revetments from 70 years ago, still visible in the farmers' fields. I'd love to hear from anyone who has a theory of why they're still extant. Were they made of concrete? Did the farmers find them useful to protect a field from the wind? (The inset shows the same revetments in 1944, from a USAAF reconnaissance photo of what was then a Japanese field.)
Meanwhile, Min Wang in Canada sends along this translation of an item in the Yunnan Museum archives:
"In July1939, Loiwing Central Aviation Manufacture Company started production, test fly track of Loiwing CAMCO completed at the same time. In May 1939,the Government Aviation Committee also ordered to build another airport near Loiwing, it was called Nanshan Airport. Loiwing and Nanshan straightline distance was only few kilometers away. (Nanshan Airport was also called Field of Ruili flying.) Nanshan Airport was completed in October 1941. The main runway was 1900 meters long, 300 meters wide; [the secondary] runway was 1200 meters long and 100 meters wide. Had 38 aircraft shelters ... open on three sides. Good drainage, underground oil [tanks], warehouse, etc... In the war against Japanese aggression, it was the second largest airport in Yunnan."
A nice bit of multi-national research by Min Wang, Lieuwe Montsma, Hak Hakanson (Thailand), Matt Poole (Maryland, I think it is), and others. You can follow the developments on the Warbirds message board.
A 'Special Air Unit' for China:
The Tigers forge a legend:
The P-40 files:
The Bill Pawley files:
A good myth never dies:
Question? Comment? Newsletter? Send me an email. Blue skies! -- Dan Ford
Posted February 2015. Websites ©1997-2015 Daniel Ford; all rights reserved.