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Pappy Boyington's Claims

[The following article, written by Bernard Baeza, appeared in the French magazine Le Fana de l'Aviation, March-June 1992. It was posted to rec.aviation.military by Emmanuel Gustin. I've cut the material relating to Boyington's U.S. Marine Corps service. Material in brackets is mine. -- Dan Ford]

"Pappy" Boyington, Legende et Realite

Boyington's claims in Burma as a member of the AVG. This is a rather complicated affair. He claimed 6 kills; the AVG documents credit him with 4.5. The Chinese government payed him for 3.5 kills.... In addition, the paperwork made at the time seems to be rather sloppy, with contradictions between RAF documents, AVG documents, and diaries of AVG members. There was a war going on, after all...


Unit & Type No. Aircraft Kills Claimed Losses
AVG P-40 12 12 1
RAF Hurricane 6 2 0
77 Sentai Ki.27 20 6 4
The Japanese documents admit four losses, the aircraft of Kojima, Yoshida, Kanda, and Nagishima. The wreck of Nagashima's aircraft proved that it had been hit by RAF ammunition. [The AVG used RAF ammo in some planes, depending on where the guns had been acquired.] Boyington's claim that he shot down 2 aircraft was not confirmed by the AVG.


Unit & Type No. Aircraft Kills Claimed Losses
AVG P-40 6 9 0
RAF Hurricane 6 3 0
50 & 77 Sentai Ki.27 25 5 (+6) 1
Of the 3 claimed AVG kills, two were attributed to Boyington.


On this day, or the next day (his diary is unclear) Boyington claimed to have shot down a lonely Ki.27. However, records of the AVG mention no combat on this day. They did fly, however, and it is possible that Boyington encountered a Japanese aircraft on an air patrol.


There were two fights on this day. Boyington claimed three kills, but according to AVG records he did not encounter the enemy during the first fight. Obviously, the Japanese set a new standard for overclaiming at this occasion, claiming to have shot down more allied aircraft than were actually present.
Unit & Type No. Aircraft Kills Claimed Losses
AVG P-40 6 4 0
RAF Hurricane 6 1 0
50 & 77 Sentai Ki.27 44 14 (+7) 0
47 Chutai Ki.44 3 2 0
AVG P-40 10 or 12 19 or 22 (+1) 1 or 2
RAF Hurricane 12 or 10 6 or 2 (+1) 0 or 1
50 & 77 Sentai Ki.27 ? 1 (+2) 2
47 Chutai Ki.44 3 0 0
8 Sentai Ki.48 12 0 0
The records regarding the second fight don't agree. There are three allied reports, which tend to differ about the number of aircraft involved and the number of kills claimed. No source attributes any kills to Boyington this day, but one of them credits two unknown pilots each with a kill. It is also possible that Boyington claimed to have shot down one or more of the Ki.44s, which were attacked on this day, but not mentioned at all by the AVG and RAF documents...


There was no air combat on this day, but the P-40s of the AVG strafed Japanese bases in Thailand. It was estimated that 15 aircraft had been destroyed on the ground in Chian-Mai. The six pilots involved were each credited with 2.5 kills. (To count in air-to-ground destruction of aircraft is in itself not unusual. The USAAF did the same in Europe. Strafing attacks are highly dangerous.) The Chinese governement payed Boyington for 1.5 kills, however. The Japanese actually lost 3 aircraft, and 10 were damaged.

[Boyington was actually credited with 1.5 vics at Chiang Mai because it was decided that four pilots who strafed the wrong town should also share in the bonus money, as was often done in the case where a pilot was lost. Jack Newkirk was killed in that unfortunate diversion — Dan Ford]

Other files about Boyington:


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