Sino-Japanese Air War 1937 – 1945


1940 was the last year during which Soviet volunteers participated in combat in China. At the end of 1939 and beginning of 1940, relations between the USSR and Chiang Kai-Shek began a new period of cooling. The official reason was that the Kuomintang had terminated military and material supply to the Communist 8th and New 4th Armies. There even occurred several military clashes opening a large breach in the united front anti-Japanese struggle. These did not exclude the use of aviation in the battles against the communist forces.
When the Soviet volunteers left China they left behind all their equipment, including aircraft.
Supply of aircraft, however, continued.

January 1940

The ground war

Chinese Air Force

During the whole course of 1940 the 7th PS was maintained at strength with overhauled I-15bis and I-16s.

The railway line between the two southern provinces of China was subjected to a massive air attack by the Japanese, and therefore on 7 January the remaining part of the 18th PS was dispatched for the defence of Kunming and Mengzi (Yunnan Province).
The unit was charged with this duty until May.

On 13 January the 27th and 29th Squadrons returned to Chengdu.

In January the 32nd PS was ordered to Chengdu for retraining on the I-15bis and I-16.

On 1 January the 34th PS was de-activated.



During 1940 the Soryu participated in fleet training exercises off Japan but loaned aircraft to the forces in China. The carrier’s own complement was a mere nine aircraft.


1 January 1940
14 aircraft of the 14th Kokutai and twelve of the 12th Kokutai, under the command of Lieutenant Chikamasa Igarashi, attacked Kweilin.
The returning Japanese pilots claimed 16 aircraft shot down. Two of these were claimed by Lieutenant Motonari Suho of the 14th Kokutai. An additional nine aircraft were claimed destroyed by bombing on the ground.

Six I-15bis of the 5th PG intercepted Japanese reconnaissance aircraft and Ma Kuo-Lien, Chen Meng-Kun and Chang Tsu-Chien claimed to have shot down one.

2 January 1940
Three SBs flown by Soviet volunteers attempted to bomb Japanese positions but had to return due to heavy fog.

3 January 1940
Three I-15bis flown by Soviet aviators intercepted a Japanese reconnaissance aircraft, which managed to escape.

4 January 1940
The 12th Kokutai attacked Kweilin during the day.

Four SBs attempted to bomb the Nanning airfield but didn’t hit the target.

At the Mengtze airfield, large Japanese formations were sighted and ten I-15bis were scrambled. They made several passes at the 27 Japanese bombers without much success. The airfield was hit by over 160 bombs, which however only managed to hit and destroy a Douglas (no. 0329) under repair.
However, the I-15bis no. 2104 flown by Li Kan came in too low, hit a tree and the pilot was killed while the aircraft was destroyed. Another I-15bis flown by Tan Han-Nan was forced to land at a satellite field and the aircraft was slightly damaged.

7 January 1940
Five SBs flown by the Soviet aviators and four SBs of the 19th BS bombed Nanning.

8 January 1940
Six SBs raided the northern part of Nanning, though three were not able to identify targets and returned with their bombs.

10 January 1940
26 fighters from 14th Kokutai escorted 27 navy bombers in an attack on Kweilin. The returning Japanese claimed 16 shot down, two of these being claimed by Yoshina-o Kodaira of the 14th Kokutai. 9 more were claimed destroyed on the ground. No Japanese aircraft was lost.
14 I-15bis and seven I-16s flown by the Soviet pilots intercepted a reported 27 Japanese fighters. Two pilots were wounded and five planes lost in the dogfights but it seems that Konstantin Konstantionovich Kokkinaki claimed one victory (his 7th against the Japanese) before his aircraft was hit and he managed to pull out of a steep spiral with great difficulty only on account of his experience as a test pilot. This is the last known victory by a Soviet Volunteer over China.
According to recollections, in this combat the Soviet volunteer I. K. Rozinka was killed.

Six SBs flown by the Soviet aviators and three SBs of the 19th BS bombed Nanning airfield, claiming to have destroyed three Japanese planes on the ground.

February 1940

The ground war

Chinese Air Force

From February 1940 the 10th BS began to fly operational sorties with the DB-3s.


In February intelligence reports were received stating that enemy aircraft planned to attack Nanching and Shanghai in an effort to disrupt the establishment of the new Japanese-sponsored central government. In order to confirm this, the IJAAF reconnoitred the Chinese advanced airfields in Chihkiang, Hengyang, Chian and Kanhsien. Simultaneously, the air defence of Nanching and Shanghai was strengthened.

Also in February, during the operation south of the Chientang Chiang, the IJAAF attacked Chinhua, Yushan and Chuhsien in order to counter enemy attacks.


In the middle of February the Akagi returned to homeland waters.


1 February 1940
Three Hawks of the 18th PS took off from Kunming to intercept 27 Japanese planes headed towards Mengtze, intercepting them at 15:05. There was no loss on either side despite dogfights lasting for more than an hour. One of the Hawks (no. 5024, which was shot up in the dogfight) was damaged on landing and the pilot Yang Tzu-Fan injured.

2 February 1940
Chou Geng-Hsu, Squadron Commander of the 8th PS crashed-landed and was badly wounded.

3 February 1940
Two Hawks of the 18th PS and three I-15bis of the 22nd PS from Kunming intercepted 25 Japanese aircraft, which were trying to knock out the bridge near Siulungtam. After a confused dogfight, the Japanese formation was disrupted sufficiently that the bridge was not hit.

8 February 1940
Three Hawk 75Ms from 18th PS intercepted 27 Japanese planes on an air raid to Mengtze at 15:05. In the ensuing dogfights which lasted for more than an hour, Hawk 75M No. 5024 was shot up and damaged on landing, and its pilot Yang Tzu-Fan was injured.

13 February 1940
Three Hawks of the 18th PS intercepted 27 bombers, which were making another attempt to destroy the bridge near Siulungtam. One of the bombers was hit, and three more I-15bis, which arrived slightly later concentrated on the damaged bomber. After making many passes at the bomber and killing the upper gunner, the Chinese claimed to have finally shot down the hapless plane. Several of the Chinese planes were slightly damaged and one pilot Tseng Pei-Fu injured.

March 1940

The ground war

The Chinese counter-offensive in Kwangsi ended. During the offensive Nannking had been recovered.

Chinese Air Force

During the Kwangsi offensive (December 1939 – March 1940) the CAF flew 12 attacks on enemy communications and airfields, six ground support missions and intercepting Japanese aircraft on 18 occasions. During this period the CAF claimed 11 aircraft destroyed and 15 destroyed on the ground.

In March 1940 the 29th PS received 11 I-15bis from Soviet volunteers at Baishiyi aerodrome.


In March the 3rd Hikoshidan transferred its headquarters to Nanching and assumed responsibility for the direction of all phases of air operations over north and central China.
The 3rd Hikoshidan was at this time commanded by Lieutenant General Kinoshita. At Nanching airfield at this time were the 1st chutai of the 11th Sentai, the 15th Air Intelligence Unit and the 15th Field Signal Unit. Attached to the Hikoshidan were the 1st and 3rd Hikodans.
The 1st Hikodan had its headquarters in Peiping and was commanded by Major General Nakazono. Subordinated to the Hikodan were the 10th I F Chutai, the 90th Sentai and one direct cooperation unit at Yangchu airfield and 83rd I F Chutai at Licheng airfield.
The 3rd Hikodan had its headquarters in Hankou and was commanded by Major General Kuwana. Subordinated to the Hikodan were the 17th I F Chutai, the 44th Sentai (one reconnaissance and two direct cooperation units) and the 59th Sentai at Hankou airfield and the 11th Sentai (less one chutai) and the 75th Sentai at Wuchang airfield.
The mission of the 3rd Hikoshidan at that time was to suppress the enemy air force and to cooperate with land operations. The Hikoshidan’s commander directed the 1st Hikodan to cooperate with the land operations of the North China Area Army and the 3rd Hikodan with the land operations of the 11th and 13th Armies. At the same time, the 60th Sentai, which was in training at Nanyuan for coming air offensives, was attached directly to the Hikoshidan commander.

During the month there were indications that the Chinese Air Force would again become active and, in order to prevent this, between 30 March and 12 April the IJAAF attacked Chinn, Yushan, Shangjao and Yingtanchen.



3 March 1940
On 3 March Liu Kai of the 22nd PS defending Kunming and Lieutenant Mei Erdang from the fighter group of the local flying school collided during a training flight in the I-15bis and both were killed.

8 March 1940
On 8 March PO1c Hiroo Natori (Otsu 2) of the 12th Kokutai was killed in an accident at Hankou.

9 March 1940
On 9 March two pilots of the 22nd PS at Lianshan collided during a training flight in the I-15bis’ and the aircraft were destroyed.

April 1940

The ground war

Chinese Air Force




3 April 1940
Six DB-3s from the 8th BG and nine DB-3s piloted by the Soviet volunteers made a combined raid on shipping, railway yards and various targets near Yoyang. Several had to return due to mechanical failures.
No Japanese fighters were encountered and the raid was completed without loss.

Seven DB-3s from the Wenchiang airfield each carrying 400kg bomb-loads raided the Yuncheng airfield after refuelling at Hanchung. They were met by intense anti-aircraft fire and nine Japanese fighters, but were able to escape safely due to their higher speed.

12 April 1940
At 07:56, five DB-3s of the 8th BG and ten DB-3s piloted by Soviet volunteers raided Yoyang again, hitting shipping and the railway stations without loss to the bombers.

22 April 1940
After a night intercept mission on 22 April the pilot flying I-15bis no. P-7106 lost his orientation and crashed while making a forced landing in a river.
Due to equipment failure another fighter (no. P-7117) made a forced landing in a dike.

25 April 1940
At 06:32, two I-16s of the 24th PS piloted by Li Wen-Hsiang and Chen Shao-Cheng encountered a Japanese reconnaissance flying in the opposite direction at a distance of 1km. After two futile attacks, the Japanese plane escaped.

Two I-15bis from the 24th PS piloted by Han Tsan and Wu Kuo-Pei were scrambled to intercept a Japanese reconnaissance plane near Changshou. One of the planes was probably damaged but the I-15bis had to break off the attack due to fuel shortage.

All four pilots were officially reprimanded for their failure to bring down the lone Japanese intruders.

29 April 1940
Sixteen DB-3s including seven from the 8th BG and seven from the Soviet volunteers attempted to bomb Nanking and ended up dumping their bombs on Hsinyang on the way back due to poor visibility en route.

30 April 1940
Several attempts were made to intercept Japanese night raids directed against Chinese airfields. These were not particularly successful, and at least two I-15bis (no. 7315 and no. 7226) were damaged and the pilot of the former injured after forced landing in the dark.

At 05:27, an I-15bis (no. 7506) piloted by Yang Yuan-Chen encountered Japanese bombers over Liangshan airfield and dove in to attack. His plane was hit hard by return fire with oil splashed all over the windscreen, but Yang continued to make two more passes without success. Finally, he had to return when his machine-guns jammed.

May 1940

The ground war

Chinese Air Force

Sharp air battles often occurred in the skies of Chengdu and Chungking. During the second half of May the airmen of the 26th and 27th squadrons flew many sorties over Chungking.

At the end of May the 18th PS returned to Chonqing. Since they did not have enough Hawk 75Ms, they received 9 old Hawk III biplanes from the 22nd PS.
The 22nd PS had exchanged their I-15bis for nine Hawk IIIs from the Air Force Academy at Kunming earlier in 1940. During the Japanese Operation 101 attacks on Chungking in 1940, the Hawk IIIs of the 22nd PS had plenty of opportunities to engage in combat.

In May 1940 the Soviet volunteers handed over the last eleven DB-3s to the 6th BS and it seems that the last Soviet voluntary bomber crews returned from China during this month.
The 6th BS didn’t use the DB-3s very intensively and by the end of the year the unit had only flown 30 combat sorties.


The IJAAF was busy preparing to attack the plains of Szechwan Province from North China in cooperation with the IJNAF’s attack from Central China (see below). This was known as Operation 100


In May the bomber daitai of the 14th Kokutai was temporarily transferred to Hankou for use in the attacks on Szechwan Province. Half a unit of A5Ms, under the command of Lieutenant Motonari Suho, accompanied the unit and both served in the defence of the base.

In May the IJNAF attacked Chungking eight times, Chengdu twice and Liangshan twice as part of the Operation 100.


2 May 1940
Five DB-3s piloted by Soviet volunteers bombed the Chunghsiang airfield but were attacked by several Japanese fighters. However, all planes returned safely to the Wenchiang airfield.

Eight SBs piloted by Soviet aviators attempted to bomb the Yuncheng airfield but dumped their bombs at the train station and warehouses near Yuhsiang instead due to bad weather.

19 May 1940
Three DB-3s from the 8th BG and nine SBs from the 1st BG attacked Japanese transportation near Suihsien.

20 May 1940
24 Japanese bombers headed for Chungking were intercepted by eight I-16s of the 24th PS. In the ensuing combat, the Chinese claimed to have shot down three bombers and a reconnaissance plane. The remnants of plane no. 258 claimed by Chen Shao-Cheng was found with its three dead crew members, while the wreckage of another heavy bomber (no. 4528) was found with six dead crew members.
I-16 (no. 7518) force-landed due to a defective engine and was damaged and the pilot, Li Wen-Hsiang, was slightly injured. I-16 (no.7530) also crash-landed due to lack of fuel and the pilot Han Tsan was wounded. Other planes were hit but not significantly damaged.

22 May 1940
The Japanese raided Baishi-Yi Airfield when at 06:39 and 07:25, two groups of Japanese raiders each numbering 27 planes were sighted. The two groups of planes, which kept a distance of about 10km apart, moved around Chungking without carrying out any attack in order to confuse the 21 Chinese fighters that were scrambled and to deplete their fuel. Meanwhile a reconnaissance plane stayed well above the fray, undiscovered, to coordinate all attackers.
At 09:00, six I-16s had to land at the airfield to refuel while the I-15bis without extra fuel tanks had to force-land at other locations. At 09:15, some of the I-15bis also landed against orders. At 09:26, three I-16s had finished refuelling and took off. At this point, the Japanese bombers arrived and broke through the defence of the remaining patrol fighters to inflict heavy losses to the aircraft on the ground. The airfield was hit by over 400 bombs and effectively put out of service, with more than 40 casualties among the ground crew. One I-16 (no. 7560) and four I-15bis of the 29th PS (nos. 7150, 7118, 7101 and 7135) were destroyed. In addition, two I-16s (nos. 7502 and 7505) as well as five I-15bis (nos. 7182, 7178, 7127, 7187 and 7201) were damaged. The pilots were severely reprimanded for landing without permission. One I-16 (no. 7504) piloted by Chang Kuang-Yun and one I-15bis (no. 7205) piloted by Yu Ping-Yu were damaged when they tried to attack the bombers and had to land at satellite fields.

26 May 1940
On 26 May the Chinese warning network reported three separate raids inbound for Chungking; one group of 27 bombers passed Chang Yang at 10:09, another group of 36 bombers passing the same place at 10:44 and finally a third group of 36 passing Wu Feng at 11:20. Three reconnaissance planes were also reported supporting the bombers.
As a result of the experience from 22 May the Chinese had changed tactics. At 11:40 they scrambled two I-16s from the 24th PS, four I-15bis and four Hawk IIIs from Kwangyang-Ba Airfield. The I-16s were to look for the reconnaissance planes and the biplanes to look for the bombers while holding another group of fighters in readiness. Sure enough, the Japanese bombers circled out for range until 13:45. By then, the shorter legged Russian-made fighters had run low on fuel, but instead of landing at their home base, they diverted to other airfields to refuel. In their place, the group of fighters held in readiness was scrambled. However, the Chinese didn't quite get their timing right and the second group of fighters did not get high enough in time to intercept the Japanese. The only ones that managed to make contact were two of the four Hawk IIIs led by Captain Yuan Chin-Han, vice-commander of the 22nd PS and two I-15bis from the 21st PS led by Captain Chen Sheng-Hsing.
Patrolling at 5,000m between Baishi-Yi and Kwangyang-Ba airfields, Yuan’s group was getting low on fuel and two of the Hawk IIIs had broken off to refuel at Hsu-Ning when he spotted a group of 36 Japanese bombers dropping bombs on the Hua-Lung Bridge. Leading his wingman Lieutenant Wang Lung-Kwang on an intercept course to the south-west, Yuan caught up with the Japanese over Tachung-Ba. Attacks on the Japanese formation were made first from the right, then from the left and finally from directly below. Wang's 50-caliber (12.7mm) machinegun jammed on his third pass and he was left with to make a couple of more passes with his 7.92mm machinegun before breaking off to land at Yi-Bin Airfield. The more experienced Yuan carried on alone and soon, his shooting brought some results. One bomber was seen to fall back from the No.3 shotai with its left engine on fire. Yuan concentrated on this straggler, boring in to within 100m on his firing passes as the Japanese bomber lost speed and descended lower and lower. Breaking away in a dive after one pass, Yuan found himself so low that he almost crashed into the mountains. Frantically pulling up, Yuan repositioned himself for another pass. In the next three attacks, Yuan concentrated on the bomber's right engine and broke away only after he had also run out of 50 caliber ammunition. By this time, both engines of the Japanese bomber were smoking heavily.
During this period, Captain Chen Sheng-Hsing and future ace Lieutenant Kao You-Hsin arrived in two I-15bis from the 21st PS. Both had been descending towards Baishi-Yi to refuel at 13:45 when they spotted 27 Japanese bombers heading from the south-west to bomb the airfield. Climbing for altitude once again, Chen spotted two other formations of Japanese bombers. One (the 36 bombers attacked by Yuan and Wang) was coming much closer. What's more, there was a straggler that had fallen behind. Initially, the other Japanese bombers had slowed down to box in and support the damaged bomber. On his first pass from the front, Kao had to fly through the fire of the other bombers to get at the damaged bomber. Chen bore in from behind and managed to draw off some of the fire concentrated on Kao. Soon, the damaged Japanese bomber had slowed down so much and descended so far that the rest of the Japanese formation had to leave it behind. After Yuan broke off, Kao followed the Japanese bomber until it crashed into the mountains while Chen covered him from above.
Credit for the kill was awarded to Yuan, Kao and Chen.

27 May 1940
Three waves of Japanese bombers hit various targets near Chungking. Chinese interceptors mostly failed to make contact, except for an unsuccessful attack on the third flight of 36 planes. One of the I-15s (no. 7226) was damaged during emergency landing as it ran out of fuel.

28 May 1940
Six DB-3s from the 8th BG raided the crossroads near Anlu. One of the planes (no. 1927) developed engine failure and its crew bailed out safely but the plane was lost.

Several waves of Japanese bombers hit Chungking again but Chinese fighters were unable to make much impression on the attackers. Five Chinese fighters (mainly I-15bis) were slightly damaged by Japanese return fire, and one pilot Hu Tso-Lung wounded, though no plane was lost.

29 May 1940
Once again Chinese fighters attacked several waves of Japanese intruders without much success. An I-16 (no. 5325) developed mechanical problems and had to crash land, destroying the plane and injuring the pilot. Two other Chinese fighters were slightly damaged in combat

30 May 1940
On 30 May while returning from battle to Guangyangba airfield, a pilot of the 23rd PS on landing flew into a pit where munitions were stored and was killed.

June 1940

The ground war

Chinese Air Force

By the summer of 1940 all Soviet aviators were recalled from China. The pilot had been recalled from combat duties in the beginning of 1940. A number of advisors, instructors in flight schools and a unit of technical personnel remained in China into 1942-1943.
According to an incomplete tally from the beginning of 1938 to May 1940, Soviet pilots participated in more than 50 major air battles, shooting down (together with the Chinese) 81 aircraft, damaged 114 aircraft and damaged 14 large warships. During the period of the Sino-Japanese war more than 200 Soviet aviators were killed (more than 100 were passengers in aviation accidents), 14 became Heroes of the Soviet Union, and more than 400 were awarded orders and medals.

At the end of June the Aviation Committee again reorganised the fighter units. The 4th PG was assigned one squadron with the I-16 and three with the I-15bis (with nine fighters in each). Since there were insufficient fighters, they were taken from the 3rd and 5th PG. The 4th PG also received the last nine Hawk IIIs of 18th PS.


During June Japanese Army Bombers attacked Chungking seven times and Liangshan twice.


Opposing the Chinese on the airfields of Hankou there were about 130 bombers of IJNAF, which according to Japanese information from the middle of May to the beginning of September 1940 completed 168 day- and 14 night-attacks (3717 sorties). On eight missions IJAAF bombers were attached to them (22 sorties).

During the summer of 1940 there were heavy attacks by Japanese bombers. The Japanese write that “these were the heaviest attacks of the entire war in China”, and admit that they also “suffered heavy losses”. Nine bombers failed to return to their aerodromes, and 297 aircraft were damaged; the main cause of losses seemed to be not anti-aircraft fire but fighters. On several missions, losses exceeded the acceptable (for them) level of 10%. They understood that they could straighten the situation only by establishing air supremacy over the target.
In June the Navy Air Force attacked Chungking eleven times and Suining once.


6 June 1940
On 6 June Japanese Army aircraft attacked the Baishi Yi airfield in the Chungking area. Squadron vice-commander Liu Chi-Sheng of the 21st PS (I-15bis) claimed one Ki-21 bomber and was awarded the "Six Star Medal".

10 June 1940
At 13:00 on 10 June the Japanese again attacked Chungking with 129 aircraft. The Chinese fighters claimed 5 aircraft in the vicinity of Bishan. During this combat Squadron vice-commander Liu Chi-Sheng of the 21st PS (I-15bis) claimed one G3M and was awarded the "Seven Star Medal".

12 June 1940
At 12:00 on 12 June 154 Japanese aircraft attacked Chungking. The intercepting Chinese claimed seven aircraft and one of these was claimed by Squadron vice-commander Liu Chi-Sheng of the 21st PS (I-15bis). One aircraft crashed north of Nanchong and two crashed in the town of Ruxi, Two more crashed in Ruichi and one crashed burning near Nantian. The seventh crashed north-west of the city of Peiling.
Yang Ku-Fan and Liu Chi-Sheng received flesh wounds in this battle.
Liu Chi-Sheng was awarded with the "Eight Star Medal" after this combat.

16 June 1940
On 16 June four groups totalling 114 Japanese aircraft conducted a massive night attack on Chungking. Wang Benhua of the 24th PS led four I-16s intercepting the bombers. During the combat I-16 no. 2414 was shot down, but the remaining three I-16s after refuelling together shot down a Japanese bomber near Fuling.

28 June 1940
On 28 June four I-16s of the 26th PS and three aircraft from the 24th PS scrambled to intercept an attack by Japanese bombers. During the combat was I-16 no. 2405 damaged and made a forced landing at Changzhou.

July 1940

The ground war

18 July 1940 the British government closed the Burma Road, thus isolating China from foreign materiel.

Chinese Air Force

In July the 25th PS was sent to Lanzhou for overhauled I-15bis. They remained there for defence of the city and air base against air attacks.

By the summer of 1940 the Chinese drew up the main strength of their fighter aviation for the defence of Chengdu and Chungking, concentrating their units at Guangyangba (18th PS), Lianshan (22nd and 23rd PS), Baishiyi (23rd PS from 2 July) and Shuangliu (5th PG).


In July Japanese Army bombers attacked Chungking, Chengdu, Nanchwan, Tungliang and Pishan one time each.


On 21 July an advance unit of six Mitsubishi A6Ms commanded by Lieutenant Tamotsu Yokoyama was transferred from the Yokosuka Kokutai, where they were undergoing actual testing, to the city of Wuhan.
Soon thereafter nine more of the new fighters were transported locally by air.

In July the Navy Air Force attacked Chungking four times and other cities four times..


4 July 1940
On the night of 4 July, a pilot of the 32nd PS scrambled from Chungking in an I-16, but due to uninterrupted Japanese attacks on the city, he was unable to return to base. After exhausting his fuel, he was killed while making a landing short of the airfield.

Three waves of Japanese bombers attacked Chungking continuously during the day. One intercepting I-15bis (no. 2803) flown by Lei Yen-Pei developed engine failure and he had to bale out, injuring himself slightly and destroying the plane. Another I-15bis (no. 3205) flown by Li Chung-Yen crash-landed at Tahsien [Daxian], killing the pilot with the plane a total loss.

5 July 1940
15 I-15bis and I-16s and eight Hawk IIIs rose to meet three waves of Japanese bombers, but once again had nothing to show for the effort. However, all planes returned safely to base.

8 July 1940
16 I-15bis and I-16s and eight Hawk IIIs rose to meet three waves of Japanese bombers (36, 27 and 27 respectively in each wave), claiming to have dispersed them and disrupting the bombing but failing to shoot down any of them. One I-15bis (no. 2325) had to crash-land, injuring the pilot and damaging the plane.

16 July 1940
54 Japanese bombers from Wuhan attacked Chungking in two waves. The Chinese sent up an assortment of 31 I-15bis, Hawk IIIs and I-16s, claiming to damage several bombers while Squadron vice-commander Liu Chi-Sheng of the 21st PS (I-15bis no. 2117) claimed one bomber in the Chungking area. This was Liu’s last victory and he was awarded the “Nine Star Medal”.
One of intercepting I-15bis (no. 2112) from the 21st PS flown by Deng Shou-Kang, was lost when it was shot down. Deng baled out, but later died of loss of blood from his wounds.

22 July 1940
More than 90 bombers from Wuhan were met by 32 Chinese fighters, without any Japanese or Chinese planes shot down.

24 July 1940
33 Japanese bombers approached Chengdu and were met by an assortment of 29 I-15bis, I-16s, Hawk IIIs and Gladiators from Taipingsi. One Japanese heavy bomber crashed while six Chinese fighters were damaged.

28 July 1940
More than 100 aircraft attacked Chungking in five waves. 16 fighters from the 4th PG and 5th PG rose to intercept, claiming one Japanese bomber shot down.
I-15bis (no. 2904) of the 29th PS flown by Kao Chun-Tao was hit hard and crash-landed, killing the pilot. Three other planes (nos. 2306, 1702 and 2702) also had to force-land, damaging the aircraft and injuring the pilots. Two other fighters (nos. 2101 and 2901) were also damaged in the battle.

31 July 1940
36 Japanese army bombers from Yuncheng and three flights of navy bombers totalling 81 aircraft from Wuhan raided Chungking around noon time.
38 I-15bis, I-16s and Hawk IIIs attempted to intercept the bombers. The vice-commander of the 24th PS led a group of seven I-16s on the interception. Because the aircraft did not have identical flight performance, only the commander and one other aircraft were able to reach altitude. Both aircraft (nos. 2402 and 2418) were shot down and the pilots Chen Shao-Cheng and Wang Yung-Lung were killed.
Four I-15bis were also damaged in the heavy combat while a number of Japanese bombers were claimed damaged.

August 1940

The ground war

Chinese Air Force


On 30 August 1940 the Manzhou Guo government set up an “Aviation Section”. The “Manzhou Guo Empire” was the puppet government set up by the Japanese in Manchuria, which had been occupied by the Japanese in 1931.
The Aviation Section was led by Chen Changzu, who opened the “Central Air Force School” on Chengwuqiao Aerodrome, and also became its director. Sixty Chinese pilots trained at this school. During September-October 1942 the “aviation section” received more than twenty training aircraft from the Japanese. The School was reformed as the “Main Training Section of the Air Force”.
In addition to the flight school, Manchurian aviation also received a transport section of three Japanese Nakajima Ki-34 passenger aircraft. These machines served the Imperial Court and provided government transportation. For this purpose there existed a company of ground technical personnel of 36 men including more than 20 mechanics, and also a security battalion.
In October 1943 the “Aviation Section” was reorganized at first as a Department, and then a Sector. From the pilots completing the course of instruction at the flight school, a fighter and a bomber squadron were formed. But this process moved very slowly, mainly due to a chronic shortage of fuel, on which the Japanese military aviation had the first claim.
Still, by the middle of 1944 a Manchurian aviation corps was formed with staff headquarters in Mukden. It is necessary to say that its large units existed only on paper. The level of training and morale of the pilots was extremely low. This air corps never took any part in combat activity. Even in August 1945 when the Red Army moved into Manchurian territory, the Manzhou Guo pilots for the most part simply scattered. All the aircraft were seized on their aerodromes by Soviet forces.

During August Japanese Army bombers attacked Chungking twice.


In August the Navy Air Force attacked Chungking eight times, Tzeliutsing once, Lusien twice and other cities five times.


1 August 1940
Captain Tamio Shibuya (Class 47) of the 10th I F Chutai was killed in a flying accident in Yuncheng on 1 August.

2 August 1940
36 Japanese army bombers from Yuncheng and two groups of 86 navy bombers from Wuhan attacked Chungking before noon. 30 Chinese fighters tried inconclusively to intercept. I-16 no. 2414 was damaged when it landed for refuelling.

9 August 1940
90 Japanese bombers from Wuhan bombed Chungking around 11:30. 29 Chinese fighters intercepted without success. I-15bis no. 2111 force-landed due to mechanical problems and the plane was damaged but pilot unharmed.

11 August 1940
90 Japanese bombers form Wuhan raided Chungking again just after noon.
16 I-15bis, six I-16s and seven Hawk IIIs led by Major Cheng Hsiao-Yu, Commanding Officer of the 4th PG, launched a series of furious attacks on the bombers, claiming to have shot down two including one near Shihchuhsien by Wen Yen (Wen Yan), who continued to press home his attacks despite damages to his plane. A total of eight Chinese fighters sustained various degrees of damage, and one pilot, Lan Shih-Fang was wounded. Subsequently the wreckage of a heavy Japanese bomber was found at Shihchuhsien. Three of the seven men crew survived and were taken prisoner.

12 August 1940
Another Japanese 90-bomber raid in two waves launched from Wuhan. 29 Chinese fighters tried to intercept without much success.

17 August 1940
Two waves of 54 Japanese naval bombers attacked Chungking.
29 Chinese fighters scrambled but largely failed to intercept the intruders. One I-15bis developed problems and crash-landed at the Baishiyi airfield, destroying the plane (no. 2116) and injuring the pilot Wang Ching-Li.

18 August 1940
Three SBs of the 1st BG and six SBs of the 19th BS left Liangshan airfield at 07:30 to attack the Ichang airfield at 09:00 at an altitude of 4500m. There were no Japanese planes on the ground, and the returning bombers were attacked by a total of six planes. At least two of the bombers were shot down.

19 August 1940
29 Chinese fighters scrambled to meet the usual large formation of Japanese bombers. However, they were able to detect in time that there were escorting fighters. Since all the Chinese fighters were equipped specially to deal with Japanese bombers, any combat with Japanese fighters would have been disastrous for the Chinese. Request to avoid combat was raised and accepted, and within 3 minutes all Chinese fighters vacated the area.
Twelve Mitsubishi A6M Zeros led by Lieutenant Tamotsu Yokoyama took part in this their first attack on Chungking when they escorted 50 bombers, but did not meet any opposition in the air.

20 August 1940
Large formations of over 100 Japanese bombers with small groups of escorting fighters once again roamed the sky over Chungking. Chinese fighters once again had to avoid combat, leaving the defence of the city to anti-aircraft guns which claimed to have shot down two Japanese planes (two crewmen were captured).
Again the Japanese A6M Zeros were present, this time the group was led by Lieutenant Saburo Shindo, and again they did not meet any opposition in the air.

September 1940

The ground war

In September the Japanese occupied the northern part of the French Indochina.

Chinese Air Force

On 13 September the Chinese Aviation Committee ordered the cessation of aerial combat activity due to mounting losses.

After the massacre on 13 September all the Chinese pilots were withdrawn from combat, and they conducted only training flights. The 4th PG returned to Chengdu.

During the second half of September over Chungking only once did a single transport fall to six of the Zeros.


On 5 September Imperial Japanese General Headquarters ordered the commander of the South China Area Army to dispatch part of his army to occupy the northern part of French Indochina. The 1st Hikodan Headquarters, the 59th Sentai, the 90th Sentai and some ground service units already in south China began preparations for the operations.
On 14 September, further air units including the 3rd Hikoshidan Headquarters, 18th I F Chutai, 60th Sentai and other ground service units were dispatched to the area.

Since the occupation of northern French Indochina was carried out peacefully, except for minor incidents, on 19 November, the 3rd Hikoshidan Headquarters, the 1st Hikodan Headquarters, the 59th Sentai and the 60th Sentai returned to their previous stations.


On 15 September the Hiryu received orders to assist in the occupation of the northern parts of French Indochina. All air units on the Soryu were temporarily transferred on board the Hiryu and on 17 September it left Kure. Until the early part of October, the unit was active off Hainan Island. During this time the fighters had no opportunity to combat.

When the 14th Kokutai returned to southern China in September the fighter daitai was supplied with nine Mitsubishi A6Ms.


12 September 1940
On 12 September Captain Deng Youde of the 7th PS together with vice-commander of the 28th PS, Cao Shizhong was returning to the aerodrome at Yangzhou after a combat patrol when he suffered an accident at Guangyangba, destroying Hawk III no. 2219.

On September 12, a dozen Zeros led by Ekoyama, escorting 27 bombers to Chungking found five Chinese fighters on the ground and destroyed them. Later it became clear that these were decoys.

13 September 1940
On 13 September 1940, Major Louie Yim-Qun was commander of 28th PS, stationed at Wenchiang near Chengdu.
During the day he took off with six I-15bis and refuelled at Suining (150 km NW of Chungking). He joined a formation with 19 I-15bis and nine I-16s commanded by Major Cheng Hsiao-Yu of the 4th PG.
At 10:00, Liu Chi-Han, base commander of Suining received a report that Japanese planes were flying towards Chungking and ordered the planes to take off. The I-16s, commanded by Squadron Leader Captain Yang Meng-Ging of the 24th PS, flew at 4500 meters and provided top cover for the I-15bis at 3500 meters.
The enemy aircraft sighted were 13 Mitsubishi A6M ‘Zero’ fighters from the 12th Kokutai led by Lieutenant Saburo Shindo, which during the day escorted twenty-seven G3M2s to Chungking. After that the bombers left the target, a Mitsubishi C5M1 reconnaissance aircraft radioed the Japanese fighters that Chinese fighters had been seen near Pi-sham.
As Chinese fighters were flying southeast, near Bei Shan, 40 km west of Chungking, Captain Yang’s planes were hit by the Zeroes diving out of the sun and went down in flames and his deputy was wounded. The I-15bis were hit as they tried to climb into the sun. Without radios, they could not communicate with one another. They were out of formation and fought on their own. Cheng Hsiao-Yu led the entire 22nd PS into battle, and in the battle Captain Zhang Hong was killed. A group of nine I-15bis from the 28th PS led by Louie Yim-Qun engaged the Zeros over Chungking. Two of the I-15bis were shot down. The Japanese Zeroes, with their high speed, amazing climbing ability, agility and firepower, totally dominated the fight. After half an hour’s battle most of the surviving Chinese planes were low on fuel and had to break off action.
This battle was debut of the Zero fighter and the Chinese Air Force suffered its worst defeat. Ten pilots were killed in action and eight were injured. Thirteen aircraft were destroyed and most of the ones that returned to base were badly damaged (11 were reported as damaged). Major Louie Yim-Qun was one of the injured in the fight. He landed his badly shot up I-15bis at Suining and counted 48 bullet holes on it. At least two pilots from 21st PS were killed and one more aircraft was hit, making a forced landing, the wounded pilot suffering a leg shot off, and later dying from loss of blood. One of the pilots that survived being shot down was Hsu Hwa-Jiang who later in the war continued to fly with the CACW.
All 13 Zeroes returned safely (four were slightly damaged) to their Hankou Base claiming 27 victories (both I-16s and I-15bis). All 13 Japanese pilot made claims in this combat; Lieutenant Saburo Shindo (leader 1st shotai, 1st chutai) claimed 1, PO1c Saburo Kitahata (1st shotai, 1st chutai) 2, PO2c Yoshio Oki (1st shotai, 1st chutai) 4, PO2c Kihei Fujiwara (1st shotai, 1st chutai) 1, Warrant Officer Koshiro Yamashita (leader 2nd shotai, 1st chutai) 5, PO2c Toshiyuki Sueda (2nd shotai, 1st chutai) 2, PO3c Hatsumasa Yamaya (2nd shotai, 1st chutai) 2, Lieutenant (junior grade) Aya-o Shirane (leader 1st shotai, 2nd chutai) 1, PO1c Masayuki Mitsumasa (1st shotai, 2nd chutai) 2, PO2c Tsutomu Iwai (1st shotai, 2nd chutai) 2, PO1c Tora-ichi Takatsuka (leader 2nd shotai, 2nd chutai) 3, PO3c Kazuki Mikami (2nd shotai, 2nd chutai) 2 and PO3c Masaharu Hiramoto (2nd shotai, 2nd chutai) 1. The last of Yamashita’s claims had been pursued to within fifty meters of the ground and then forced to crash into a rice paddy.
After this Yamashita and Saburo Kitahata flew a spectacular loop-the-loop fifty meters over the Paishih Railroad Station.

19 September 1940
First Lieutenant Taro Kakizaki (Class 51) of the 84th I F Chutai was killed at Nanning in a flying accident on 19 September.

25 September 1940
Sergeant Major Jiro Ieiri of the 84th I F Chutai shot down a Potez 25 of the local French aerial garrison when he engaged this and a Morane MS.406 of northern Indochina.

October 1940

The ground war

On 18 October 1940 Great Britain re-opened the Burma Road.

Chinese Air Force

In the beginning of October the 6th BS flew leaflets raids over occupied Beijing with their Ilyushin DB-3s.


In October the 84th I F Chutai moved to Jaram, Indochina.


From 8 October to the end of the year the Japanese Zeros completed 22 missions, shooting down two aircraft and destroying a further 22 on the ground. The Japanese claim that in 1940 the Zero completed more than 150 sorties, shooting down up to 60 aircraft, and destroying more than 100 on the ground. They admit damage to only 13 Zeros and not one loss. If there is any exaggeration here, it is not large; the Chinese Air Force doesn’t seem to have shot down any Zeros during this period.

On 6 October the Hiryu returned to Yokosuka harbour.

After the occupation of northern French Indochina the fighter daitai of 14th Kokutai moved to Hanoi on 7 October together with the bomber daitai of the 15th Kokutai to participate in the operation to cut off the supply line to the Chinese forces.


4 October 1940
On the 4 October 27 bombers escorted by eight Zeros from 12th Kokutai led by Lieutenant Tamotsu Yokoyama and Lieutenant (junior grade) Aya-o Shirane made a massive attack on Chengdu. The air staff of 3 Army ordered all aircraft to disperse. Six Hawk 75s of the 18th PS flew off to Guanxian. But on the way they were intercepted by Japanese Zeros which shot down Shi Ganzhen (Hawk no. 5044) in flames. Shi managed to bale out, but his parachute failed to open. Two more pilots were wounded and returned, and one Hawk 75 was burned on the ground at Taipingsi. The Japanese claimed that they destroyed five I-16s and one SB in the air. 19 more aircraft were claimed destroyed on the ground and one more damaged. Then four Zeros (Warrant Officer Ichiro Higayashima, PO1c Matsuo Hagiri, Masayuki Nakase, and PO2c Hideo Oishi) supposedly landed on Taipingsi airfield and the pilots set fire to the command post “by hand”!
It seems that the claimed SB in fact was a DB-3 of the 6th BS with a Chinese crew, which had taken off to disperse but out of impatience returned too early to base at Taipingsi and was shot down over the aerodrome.

The 28th PS received the same order from the Air Force Staff of the 3rd Army to disperse from Chengdu in order to save them from the Zeros. As a result of “difficulties” I-15bis (no. 7218) was smashed in a forced landing beyond the aerodrome, the pilot suffering fatal injuries.

5 October 1940
On 5 October Japanese aircraft set fire to more than ten aircraft and a further 14 decoys at one of the Chengdu aerodromes.

7 October 1940
Same afternoon as the 14th and 15th Kokutais arrived at Hanoi it was decided that they should attack Kunming in south-western China.
The attack force consisted of seven A6Ms from the 14th Kokutai and twenty-seven G3Ms from the 15th Kokutai, commanded by Lieutenant Mitsugu Kofukuda. The second shotai of A6Ms was led by Lieutenant Motonari Suho. After flying above the clouds, the Kofukuda unit arrived two hours later over Kunming and engaged in air combat a group of I-15bis, I-16s and Curtiss Hawks. Within fifteen minutes 14 enemy aircraft were claimed shot down. Four of the victories were claimed by Takeo Okumura (four victories in China and a total of 54) of the 14th Kokutai in his first combat while Lieutenant Suho claimed four more. Suho reported that he chased one of the aircraft down into a valley and forced it to crash without firing a single shot. An additional four aircraft were claimed destroyed on the ground. By evening all Japanese aircraft had returned safely.
They were met by a covering force of nine carrier bombers and nine A5Ms.

13 October 1940
At 12:20, eight Japanese planes strafed the Fenghuangshan aerodrome for some 20 minutes, destroying four (two SBs, one bomber and a transport) and damaging five aircraft on the ground. One of the dispersed Chinese fighters ran out of gas and had to land at a nearby airfield, hitting the ground awkwardly and slightly damaging the aircraft and a Dewoitine on the ground.

26 October 1940
Five fighters and five other aircraft were destroyed in the air during an attack on Chengdu. One I-15bis (no. P-5302) was shot down during dispersal and a Dewoitine D.510 of 28th PS was lost. Liu Wenlin of the 32nd PS was shot down in I-15bis no. P-3587. He was wounded in the right leg and died on the way to the aid station.
After this attack on Chengdu airfield by eight A6Ms led by Lieutenant Fusata Iida of the 12th Kokutai, the returning Japanese pilots claimed ten enemy fighters and trainers. PO2c Tsutomu Iwai and Sea2c Koshiro Yamashita strafed the airfield. Following the strafing, an unarmed trainer aircraft was attacked and shot down by Iwai while flying over the field. One trainer was claimed by Kazu-o Tsunoda for his first victory when he flew as wingman to Warrant Officer Yamashita.

The same day 59 Mitsubishi Ki-21s virtually demolished the new CAMCO factory at Loiwing. Dozens of half-completed Demons and Vultees were destroyed, along with some trainers.
The Loiwing factory was rebuilt as a maintenance and repair facility for the CAF.

November 1940

The ground war

Chinese Air Force

From 14 November the 3rd PG trained at Shuangliu airbase.

From November Chinese pilots were withdrawn to be re-equipped with the new Polikarpov I-153. At the end of the month the pilots of the 27th PS were the first, receiving the new type at Hami (Sichuan Province).

On 18 November the 6th BS returned to Chengdu for supplementary training. There were also plans to re-equip the 9th BS and 11th BS, which also had been sent to Chengdu, with the DB-3, but later they were again brought up to strength with the SB.
According to the recollections of Soviet instructors, the Chinese crews were weakly prepared. Systematic combat training practically did not exist; they flew little, and had not mastered high altitude flight.



The 13th Kokutai was disbanded in November 1940.


16 November 1940
On 16 November 1940 Wong Sun-Shui was promoted to command of the 5th Fighter Group, flying Soviet I-15bis.

20 November 1940
Sergeant Shigeru Kurano (Sho-4) of the 11th Sentai was shot down and killed by AA-fire over Hubei Sheng on 20 November.

December 1940

The ground war

Chinese Air Force

In December 1940 the 2nd BG was sent to Hami to re-equip with Tupolev SB-IIIs.

In the words of the historians of the People’s Republic of China after the appearance of the Japanese Zero with its excellent flying characteristics, the situation of Chinese aviation became worse. The shrinking air forces continually suffered losses and by the end of 1940 only 65 aircraft remained. Adding to this problem, the Soviet volunteers were recalled, and the Chinese Air Force was left isolated, with no resources remaining for combat flights. In order to reduce losses and to preserve combat power, the Chinese Air Force was forced to avoid air battles, completing very few combat sorties.

By 1 December the 18th PS, in reality had ceased to exist. In November they only had one Hawk 75 remaining and this flew to Chengdu. The unit was disbanded in January 1941.

At the end of the year pilots of the 5th PG (receiving 26 I-153s), with the 17th, 26th, and 29th squadrons, were attached to the 27th PS to receive I-153s.

The 11th PG was formed on 16 December at the Taipingsi air base at Chengdu, comprising the newly organised 41, 42, 43, and 44 squadrons. The pilots were chosen from among the graduates of the military aviation schools. From the maintenance and repair shops their received 20 I-15bis, 15 I-16s, 4 I-153s and 5 Hawk 75s. Four new I-153 “Chaikis” were also received.
However it took a long time for them to become operational and they were busy with training flights at Jionglai (Sichuan Province) until 1942.

Deliveries to China of the SB with M-103 motors (The Chinese designated them SB-III) continued almost to the beginning of the Great Patriotic War. At the end of 1940 the 12th BG was formed and equipped with the SB, but for some reason, it never went to the front before it was disbanded in 1944.

In December 1940 S. P. Suprun, alone of his group, was recalled to Russia at the urgent request of the NII VVS (the Scientific Testing Institute of the Air Forces).

On 16 December the 12th BG was formed. It consisted of the 45th BS, 46th BS and 47th BS and it received a complement of crews comprised of graduates of the first class of the new aviation school in Chengdu.


In December the 11th Sentai moved to Harbin, Manchuria.



12 December 1940
Seven A6Ms from the 14th Kokutai led by army reconnaissance aircraft flew 340 miles to the Siangyun airfield and set fire 22 enemy aircraft on the ground by strafing.
The destroyed aircraft included two of the new Ryan trainers that had escaped destruction at Loiwing on 26 October and 18 old Fleet trainers.

30 December 1940
On 30 December the Japanese supposedly burned 18 aircraft at Chengdu aerodrome.

Known units taking part in combat during 1940

Chinese Air Force

Known units, commanders and stations
Squadron Group Commander Station Aircraft type Note
  1st BG     Tupolev SB  
  2nd BG   Hami (12/40 – ) Tupolev SB  
9th BS 2nd BG   Chengdu (11/40 – ) Ilyushin DB-3
Tupolev SB
11th BS 2nd BG   Chengdu (11/40 – ) Ilyushin DB-3
Tupolev SB
  3rd PG   Shuangliu (14/11/40 – ) Polikarpov I-15bis
Polikarpov I-16
7th PS 3rd PG Lu Tian-Long (1938 – 20/03/41)   Curtiss Hawk III
Polikarpov I-15bis (03/38 – 01/41)
Polikarpov I-16 (1940)
8th PS 3rd PG Chou Geng-Hsu (1940 – 02/05/41)   Polikarpov I-15bis (03/38 – 01/41)  
27th PS 3rd PG   Chengdu (13/01/40 – ) Polikarpov I-153 (end/11/40 – )  
32nd PS 3rd PG   Chengdu (01/40 – )
Polikarpov I-15bis (01/40 – )
Polikarpov I-16 (01/40 – )
  4th PG Major Cheng Hsiao-Yu (1940 – 22/04/1942) Chengdu (09/40 – ) Curtiss Hawk III
Polikarpov I-15bis
Polikarpov I-16
21st PS 4th PG Captain Chen Sheng-Hsing (1940 – 1941)   Polikarpov I-15bis  
22nd PS 4th PG Zhang Wei-Hua (1940) Kunming
Lianshan (summer/40 – )
Curtiss Hawk III (1940 – )
Polikarpov I-15bis ( – 1940)
23rd PS 4th PG Wang Yu-Kun (1940) Guangyangba
Lianshan (summer/40 – 02/07/40)
Baishiyi (02/07/40 – )
24th PS 4th PG Captain Yang Meng-Ging ( – 13/09/40)
Liu Chi-Sheng (10/40 – )
  Polikarpov I-15bis
Polikarpov I-16
  5th PG Wong Sun-Shui (16/11/40 – 14/03/41) Shuangliu (summer/40 – ) Polikarpov I-15bis
Polikarpov I-16
17th PS 5th PG Ma Kuo-Lien (1940 – 1941)   Polikarpov I-153 (12/40 – 09/42)  
26th PS 5th PG     Polikarpov I-16
Polikarpov I-153 (end/40 – )
28th PS 5th PG Major Louie Yim-Qun (1939 – 1940)
Captain Chou Ling-Hsu (1940 – 14/03/41)
Wenchiang Polikarpov I-15bis
Dewoitine D.510
29th PS 5th PG Yu Ping-Xiang (1940 – 05/41) Chengdu (13/01/40 – ) Polikarpov I-15bis
Polikarpov I-153 (end/40 – )
  6th BG     Vultee V-12-C Retrained for the most part of 1940.
  8th BG Colonel Chen Chia-Shang   Ilyushin DB-3  
10th BS 8th BG   Chengdu (09/39 – ) Ilyushin DB-3 (09/39 – )  
  11th PG   Taipingsi (16/12/40 – )
Jionglai ( – 1942)
Polikarpov I-15bis
Polikarpov I-153
Polikarpov I-16
Curtiss Hawk 75
Formed on 16 December 1940.
41st PS 11th PG   Taipingsi (16/12/40 – )
Jionglai ( – 1942)
Polikarpov I-15bis
Polikarpov I-153
Polikarpov I-16
Curtiss Hawk 75
Formed on 16 December 1940.
42nd PS 11th PG   Taipingsi (16/12/40 – )
Jionglai ( – 1942)
Polikarpov I-15bis
Polikarpov I-153
Polikarpov I-16
Curtiss Hawk 75
Formed on 16 December 1940.
43rd PS 11th PG   Taipingsi (16/12/40 – )
Jionglai ( – 1942)
Polikarpov I-15bis
Polikarpov I-153
Polikarpov I-16
Curtiss Hawk 75
Formed on 16 December 1940.
44th PS 11th PG   Taipingsi (16/12/40 – )
Jionglai ( – 1942)
Polikarpov I-15bis
Polikarpov I-153
Polikarpov I-16
Curtiss Hawk 75
Formed on 16 December 1940.
  12th BG   Chengdu (16/12/40 – 01/41) Tupolev SB Formed at the end of 1940.
45th BS 12th BG   Chengdu (16/12/40 – 01/41) Tupolev SB Formed at the end of 1940.
46th BS 12th BG   Chengdu (16/12/40 – 01/41) Tupolev SB Formed at the end of 1940.
47th BS 12th BG   Chengdu (16/12/40 – 01/41) Tupolev SB Formed at the end of 1940.
6th BS     Taipingsi (October 1940)
Chengdu (11/40 – )
Ilyushin DB-3 (05/40 – )  
18th PS   Major Yang Yibai (楊一白) (07/37 - 02/41) Kunming (01/39 - 05/39)
Chonqing (05/40 – summer/40)
Guangyangba (summer/40 – )
Curtiss Hawk III (05/40 – 06/40)
Curtiss Hawk 75M
Disbanded shortly after the end of 1940.
25th PS     Lanzhou (07/40 – ) Polikarpov I-15bis (07/40 – ) Independent squadron. Had been deactivated by 1 December 1940.
34th PS         De-activated on 1 January 1940.

Voluntary Soviet units
Unit Commanders Stations Aircraft types Note
Suprun group K. K. Kokkinaki   Polikarpov I-16  


Known units, commanders and stations
Regiments Squadrons Commanders Stations Aircraft types Note
11th Sentai   Major Tadashi Okabe (09/39 – 01/03/42) Wuchang (10/39 – 12/40)
Harbin (12/40 – 11/41)
Nakajima Ki-27 (12/37 – 06/42)  
11th Sentai 1st chutai Captain Kiso-o Beppu (09/39 – 07/41) Wuchang (10/39 – 12/40)
Nanching (03/40)
Harbin (12/40 – 11/41)
Nakajima Ki-27 (12/37 – 06/42)  
11th Sentai 2nd chutai Captain Masayoshi Taniguchi (08/39 – 12/42) Wuchang (10/39 – 12/40)
Harbin (12/40 – 11/41)
Nakajima Ki-27 (12/37 – 06/42)  
11th Sentai 3rd chutai Captain Shunsuke Matsumura (10/39 – 03/41) Wuchang (10/39 – 12/40)
Harbin (12/40 – 11/41)
Nakajima Ki-27 (12/37 – 06/42)  
15th Sentai 3rd chutai   Northern China   Reconaissance unit.
31st Sentai     Southern China   Light bomber unit.
44th Sentai     Hankou   Reconnaissance unit.
59th Sentai   Major Naoto Doi (12/39 – 09/41) Hankou (10/39 – 08/40)
Canton (08/40 – 09/40)
Chinchou (09/40 – 11/40)
Nanning (10/40 – 11/40)
Hankou (12/40 – 11/41)
Nakajima Ki-27 (07/38 – 06/41)  
59th Sentai 1st chutai Captain Takeyo Akera (10/39 – 09/41) Hankou (10/39 – 08/40)
Canton (08/40 – 09/40)
Chinchou (09/40 – 11/40)
Nanning (10/40 – 11/40)
Hankou (12/40 – 11/41)
Nakajima Ki-27 (07/38 – 06/41)  
59th Sentai 2nd chutai Captain Kunio Yamada (07/38 – 07/40)
Lieutenant Kan Tashiro (08/40 – 01/42)
Hankou (10/39 – 08/40)
Canton (08/40 – 09/40)
Chinchou (09/40 – 11/40)
Nanning (10/40 – 11/40)
Hankou (12/40 – 11/41)
Nakajima Ki-27 (07/38 – 06/41)  
60th Sentai     Nanyuan
Mitsubishi Ki-21  
64th Sentai 1st chutai Captain Fumio Maruta (03/39 – 05/41) Canton (01/40 – 03/41) Nakajima Ki-27 (04/38 – 11/41)  
75th Sentai     Wuchang   Light bomber unit.
90th Sentai     Yangchu   Light bomber unit.
90th Sentai 1st chutai   Yangchu    
90th Sentai 2nd chutai   Yangchu    
Independent 10th Dokuritsu Hiko Chutai Captain Kiyoshi Kimura (07/38 – 05/40)
Captain Tamio Shibuya (05/40 – 08/40)
Major Akira Takatsuki (08/40 – 08/42)
Taiyuan (12/38 – 03/41) Nakajima Ki-27 (07/38 – 06/42)  
Independent 16th Dokuritsu Hiko Chutai   Ani   Reconnaissance squadron.
Independent 17th Dokuritsu Hiko Chutai   Hankou   Reconnaissance squadron.
Independent 18th Dokuritsu Hiko Chutai   Southern China   Reconnaissance squadron.
Independent 83rd Dokuritsu Hiko Chutai   Licheng   Reconnaissance squadron.
Independent 84th Dokuritsu Hiko Chutai Captain Magoji Hara (01/07/39 – 08/40)
Major Tsunao Nagano (08/40 – 10/42)
Canton (01/07/39 – 09/40)
Nanning (09/40 – 10/40)
Jaram (10/40 – 10/42)
Nakajima Ki-27 (01/07/39 – 06/42)  


Known units, commanders and stations
Group Squadron Commander Station Aircraft type Note
Akagi Fighter daitai   southern China (end/04/39 – middle/02/40) Mitsubishi A5M  
Akagi Bomber daitai   southern China (end/04/39 – middle/02/40) Aichi D1A2  
Akagi Attack daitai   southern China (end/04/39 – middle/02/40) Yokosuka B4Y1  
Hiryu Fighter daitai   off Hainan Island (17/09/40 – 06/10/40) Mitsubishi A5M  
Hiryu Bomber daitai   off Hainan Island (17/09/40 – 06/10/40) Aichi D1A2  
Hiryu Attack daitai   off Hainan Island (17/09/40 – 06/10/40) Yokosuka B4Y1  
Chokai     Southern China   Seaplane tender with reconnaissance aircraft.
Kamikawa Maru     Southern China   Seaplane tender with reconnaissance aircraft.
12th Kokutai Fighter daitai   Hankou (autumn/38 – 1940) Mitsubishi A5M
Mitsubishi A6M (07/40 – )
12th Kokutai Attack daitai   Hankou (autumn/38 – 1940) Yokosuka B3Y1  
13th Kokutai Bomber daitai     Mitsubishi G3M Disbanded in November 1940.
13th Kokutai Reconnaissance daitai       Disbanded in November 1940.
14th Kokutai Fighter daitai   Nanning (12/39 – )
Hankou (05/40 – 09/40)
Hanoi (07/10/40 – 15/09/41)
Mitsubishi A5M
Mitsubishi A6M (09/40 – )
14th Kokutai Bomber daitai   Hankou (05/40 – 09/40)
Hanoi ( – 15/09/41)
15th Kokutai Bomber daitai   Hanoi (07/10/40 – ) Mitsubishi G3M  
15th Kokutai Reconnaissance daitai   Southern China    
Chingtao Kokutai Bomber daitai   Northern China   Carrier attack aircraft.
Chingtao Kokutai Reconnaissance daitai   Northern China   Carrier attack aircraft.
Kanoya Kokutai Bomber daitai     Mitsubishi G3M  
Takao Kokutai Bomber daitai     Mitsubishi G3M  

Last modified 22 June 2019