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.

The High Country


Fearless Fred and the Hell's Angel For seventy years we've believed that the AVG 3rd Squadron had only a stick figure for the "Hell's Angel" who graced their Tomahawks. But here, thanks to headquarters clerk John Sommers and his daughter-in-law Cullette, is photographic proof that she started out in life as a much more graphic lady. The artwork is almost certainly by Bert Christman, but I wonder who censored it? Certainly not the pilots! Perhaps Claire Chennault?

Let's call her Ms Kyedaw Airdrome of 1941. The handsome man posing with her is identified in Mr Sommers's scrapbook as "Fearless Fred" Hodges, whom I had earlier seen only in a photo taken at the hotel swimming pool in Delhi, with Fred wearing a 1940s swimming costume that did not flatter him. Here he's much more imposing. Seventy years on, and we still keep learning new things about the AVG!

Forgive me for a bit of vanity: here is my history of the Flying Tigers in its Chinese translation. It was published last month for 60 yuan, which comes out to $9.02 at today's exchange rate, for a hardcover book! With dust jacket! And a red ribbon for a bookmark! (We haven't seen that in the US since the 19th century.) It has three reviews already, and one of them says that the translation reads very well, which is a huge relief. (Nobody ever asked me what a word or idiom meant, is very unusual for translators. Indeed, several years ago another translation was in the works, and I got a question or two almost every week for a while. Then, alas, the translator gave up.)

Three stars for Eugenie Buchan's meticulous research in the British archives for A Few Planes for China. I wish I'd had some of that material when I was writing my own history of the American Volunteer Group. But I'm afraid that her central thesis -- that it was Winston Churchill, not Claire Chennault, who created the AVG -- is nothing short of absurd. It just didn't happen that way! Still, Flying Tiger buffs should get the book. It's eminently worth reading, especially about the development of CAMCO, which served as the AVG's housekeeping unit and repair facility, after a fashion. (A relative of the author helped build Bill Pawley's factory on the China-Burma border, and she inherited material from him that is available nowhere else.) I will prize my copy, and for that reason I agreed to blurb it on the back cover. I wish Eugenie well, for a lot of material on this website came from her. But I do wish she'd paid more attention to the facts. I doubt that anyone reading this book will agree that Winston Churchill was the real Old Man of the Flying Tigers! Blue skies! — Daniel Ford

Flying Tigers
3rd edition

A 'Special Air Unit' for China:

The Tigers forge a legend:

Half price and postpaid! I still have some copies of the iUniverse edition of Remains: A Story of the Flying Tigers. (The cover was different and the price was higher.) While they last, you can get one for $7.98 postpaid, sent by Media Mail to your U.S. postal address. PayPal rolls your credit card; I sign the book and put it in the mailbox, usually the same day.

The P-40 files:

The Bill Pawley files:

Books etc.:

A good myth never dies: