All about the Chinese Air Force of the Guomindang (Nationalist) government that resisted Japanese aggression from 1931 to 1945

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ANNALS OF THE CHINESE AIR FORCE

P-43 Lancers

In 1941, as Claire Chennault and the White House economist Lauchlin Currie were scrambling to find aircraft for China, the US Army took the chance to offload 125 P-43 Lancers. They resembled the later and fabled Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, but the Lancers were a fire-prone intermediate, developed from the Seversky P-35. The Army had ordered them primarily to keep the Seversky-Republic assembly line working until the P-47 could be put into production. What to do with them? Why, send them to China! 125 Lancers were accordingly Lend-Leased to China for the 3rd American Volunteer Group. After the Pearl Harbor attack, of course, there would be no more AVGs, so the Lancers were instead turned over to the Chinese Air Force. With the port of Rangoon closed in February 1942, they were diverted to Karachi, where they were assembled by US Army mechanics and delivered to China by AVG, CAF, and USAAF pilots. This photo, from a Kodak Brownie camera, was auctioned recently on eBay. On the back, there's a note that it was taken at Karachi in June 1942. (A tip of the virtual hat to Edward Rogers. The watermark is that of the eBay seller.) Blue skies! -- Dan Ford

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