Flying Tigers
revised and updated


New & improved for August

Helicopter carrier

Shades of the Sino-Japanese War! The cruiser Izumo was stationed at Shanghai in the 1930s as Japan's flagship in that "treaty port." On August 14, 1937, she was the intended target of the first bombing mission of the Chinese Air Force on August 14, 1937, supposedly under Claire Chennault's direction. Later, as Japanese moved inland, the aircraft carrier Kaga joined Izumo with a complement of A5M "Claude" fighters to escort bombers against Nanjing and Hankou. Kaga also took part in the Pearl Harbor attack and in the calamitous mission against Midway, where she was one of five aircraft carriers sunk in 1942. Izumo followed her to the bottom in 1945, just before the war ended. Now both names are afloat again, as helicopter carriers for Japan's maritime Self-Defense Force. For more, see Japan at War.

Colonel Short Not only is she better looking than Claire Chennault, but Colonel Jennifer Short may have more combat behind her -- 430 hours flying the A-10 Warthog in air-to-mud missions. However that may be, she's the new commander of the U.S. Army's 23rd Fighter Wing, whose pilots call themselves Flying Tigers and trace their lineage to the 23rd Fighter Group that replaced the American Volunteer Group in China, seventy-five years ago. For more, see the Annals of the Flying Tigers.

Terry Alleg and friends have digitized the archives of Republic Aviation and put them online at Long Island Republic Airport Historical Society. At least four Flying Tigers -- Parker Dupouy, Ken Jernstedt, John Croft, and David Harris -- flew as test pilots for Republic after they returned from China. I was enchanted to see that, as early as July 1945, Republic was already touting its Seabee amphibian for the postwar market. I remember seeing one of these lovely planes taking off from the harbor at Charlotte Amalie, over dinner on the patio at Villa Olga with my wife and daughter, one evening in 1988. It was like slipping into an episode of Tales of the Gold Monkey.

Flying Tigers, China My AVG history will be published in China later this year. I don't know when, and I haven't seen the book, but it seems to be a hardcover edition. The deal was brokered by HarperCollins, and the content is therefore based on the 2007 second edition rather than the most recent version. And no, they didn't ask much advice on the cover, but I trust the publishers know their market. Certainly the earlier publishers did: the book has sold close to 100,000 copies in hardcover and paperback from Smithsonian Books, Military Book Club, HarperCollins, and Warbird Books.

On the Piper Cub Forum, see a video of the Brodie System in action, launching liaison planes from a cable strung alongside an LST during the Second World War.

I've always been fascinated (and a bit mystified) by the Ottoman Empire, but every time I set out to learn more about it, my eyes glaze over and I fall asleep. A Peace To End All Peace was the cure for that, at least until I got to the treaty in 1919. (It's very bad of me, I know, but I find peace less interesting than war.) My Irish father always claimed that, whenever you looked around the world and saw a pile of bloody feathers, an English fox was certain to be at the bottom of it, and this is certainly true of the mess we call the Middle East. Among the other astonishments in this excellent book is the information that Major Thomas Edward Lawrence, aka "Lawrence of Arabia," didn't play much of a role in the downfall of the Ottomans. Postwar, of course, Britain betrayed most of its allies, from the Arabs to the French, and thus determined the geography and the hostilities that plague the region today, from Cairo to Kabul.

My other favorites of July were a BBC docco, The First World War (which actually had a program devoted to the Ottomans), and the latest Bernie Gunther thriller, Prussian Blue. For more about them, see the The Warbird's Book Club.

Finally, in the Annals of Vietnam, read the story of an 18-year-old Marine who returned from the dead after five years in a North Vietnamese prison camp. And a Ken Burns docco about that long ago and altogeter inglorious war. Blue skies! — Dan Ford

Welcome to the forum!

Here are a thousand or so files on airplanes, pilots, and the wars of the past hundred years, grouped under these headings:

Annals of the Flying Tigers
Annals of the Brewster Buffalo
Annals of Poland: war and exile, 1939-1948
Japan at War, 1931-1945
Annals of the Chinese Air Force
Glen Edwards and the Flying Wing
Remembering Bluie West One
The Spadguys Speak (carrying a nuke to Sevastopol)
Annals of Vietnam
War in the Modern World

Plus these excellent places to look for more: