The ground war
The Declaration of the United Nations was signed on 1 January. Each signatory pledged not to make a separate peace and to employ its full resources against members of and adherents to the Tripartite Pact with which it was at war.
On 1 January Chinese ground forces crossed the Burma border in north-east, where they awaited orders to assist the British.
Chinese Air Force
During 1942 and early 1943 the main weight of air battle in China lay upon the American 23rd PG (formerly the Flying Tigers). From July 1942 to March 1943 they shot down (according to Chinese records, which most likely are highly inflated) 149 Japanese aircraft and dropped on Japanese positions more than 300 tons of bombs, while losing 16 P-40s.
During the years 1941-1943 29 (according to other sources 28) Lockheed A-29 light attack bombers were sent to China. They participated in combat until the middle of 1944.
Retraining on American aircraft occurred for the most part in India (Karachi and other cities), where they were sent both as groups and as entire units.
At the end of January 1942 eleven I-153s of the 17th PS led by squadron commander Liu Qingguang, were quartered at Kunming (Yunnan Province). According to intentions, they were to repulse Japanese air attacks together with the American volunteers, who also were stationed there.
However after some time they were sent on to Laxu airbase in Burma where they were utilised for communications and in May flew sorties attacking ground targets.
Due to lack of aircraft and spare parts the 6th BS was disbanded during January.
About the same time same thing happened with the 10th BS.
On 1 January five P-40s from the 1st AVG Squadron arrived from China to reinforce the 2nd Squadron.
On 14 January the rest of the 1st AVG Squadron had joined the 2nd at Mingaladon; one flight of six arrived, led by Squadron Leader Bob Sandell. Later in the day seven more P-40s arrived, led by the 1st Squadron’s Vice Squadron Leader Bob Neale.
After 5 January, the whole 1st Hikodan supported the 11th Army during the second Changsha Operation.
3 January 1942
On 3 January Squadron Leader Jack Newkirk led three P-40s of the 2nd AVG Squadron off to strafe Raheng airfield in Thailand. They arrived just as Ki-27s from the 77th Sentai were landing there. The Japanese fighters were from Lampong had raided Moulmein air base and were using Raheng for refuelling. Some of the Ki-27s had just landed as Newkirk, Vice Squadron Leader James Howard and Flight Leader David Hill approached, while the 77th’s third element actually followed the P-40s in (mistaking them for ‘Spitfires’).
Seeing many aircraft lined up on the ground, Howard went down to strafe unaware that he had a Ki-27 on his tail. Newkirk turned in behind this, opened fire and reported that it crash-landed, turned over and burst into flames. Hill meanwhile claimed another fighter shot off Newkirk's tail, and Newkirk then claimed another before heading for home, whilst Howard reported the destruction of four fighters on the ground; troops who were firing at the strafers were also attacked. Newkirk did not realise that he had been under attack himself until he was shown the tail of his aircraft, which was peppered with 22 7.7mm bullet holes. He was credited with a ‘Zero’ and an ‘I-96’ shot down, the other fighters not being specifically identified.
During the fight Sergeant Major Matsunaga claimed one of the attackers shot down and Lieutenant Kisaij Beppu one probable, but Warrant Officer Yokoyama was shot down and badly wounded. On the ground one Ki-27 was burned, one badly damaged and one damaged to a lesser extent.
4 January 1942
On 4 January 1942 32 Ki-27s from the 77th Sentai appeared over Rangoon on an offensive sweep led by Major Yoshio Hirose. Fourteen P-40s from 2nd Squadron (Panda Bears), AVG were scrambled at 12:30 and they climbed through the clouds to 20,000 feet, only to find that they had lost radio contact with Mingaladon. Eight aircraft kept the altitude while the other spiralled down in hopes of regaining communications with fighter control. The descending Tomahawks also divided. Frank Swartz led one three-plane element, with Gil Bright and Hank Geselbracht as his wingmen. Bert Christman led the other, tailed by George ‘Pappy’ Paxton and Ken Merritt.
They broke through the clouds at 11,000 feet and were immediately attacked by the Ki-27s from the southeast. The Japanese fighters were below the AVG top cover and therefore invisible to them, but they held the altitude advantage over the six descending Tomahawks. The American fighters were hard hit and Christman came under attack from five Ki-27s and baled out. He was then fired at as he floated down. Paxton went to his aid but his own aircraft was then badly shot-up and he suffered multiple wounds. With two bullet holes through his right side and one through his left shoulder, incendiary burns on his arm and leg, and fragments of another bullet in his back, Paxton crash-landed on the airfield, where 61 bullet holes were subsequently counted in his aircraft.
Meanwhile Ken Merritt claimed the Ki-27 (identified as a ‘Navy 96’) which had shot down Paxton, and Geselbracht a second as probably destroyed, but Bright’s aircraft was also hit and badly damaged, which caused him to force-land in a paddy field. As he raced away from his smoking aircraft, it suddenly burst into flames and exploded, causing him slight facial burns. Swartz also claimed hits on Japanese fighters in the combat.
The 77th Sentai actually suffered no loss in this engagement, but claimed four destroyed and one probable. Warrant Officer Masao Hideshima made one claim, the others going to other 3rd chutai pilots; Sergeant Kobayakawa, Warrant Officer Yoshida and Warrant Officer Honma each received credit for one confirmed, and Lieutenant Shigeru Suzuki for the probable.
8 January 1942
Nine unescorted SBs from the 2nd BG led by Colonel Chin Wen attacked Hunan. Over the northern Hunan they were intercepted by eight Ki-27s of the 54th Sentai, which prevented them to reach the target. Captain Yaichiro Hayashi and his pilots claimed five SBs shot down and two damaged.
It seems that two SBs were shot down and three more damaged bombers had to make forced landings.
During the day, four 2nd AVG Squadron P-40s were despatched to strafe Mesoht airfield, where they claimed eight aircraft destroyed on the ground; the Japanese reported that four Ki-27s of the 77th Sentai were burned and three damaged, and that a transport aircraft was also destroyed in flames - but at Raheng, rather then Mesoht! The AA defences claimed two P-40s shot down and, in fact. Flight Leader Charlie Mott's aircraft was hit, but he successfully force-landed in a clearing near the airfield and managed to jump clear before his aircraft burst into flames. He was taken prisoner, and a week later was allowed to broadcast over Bangkok radio that he was unhurt and being treated well. On return the other pilots reported that Mott had destroyed three of the aircraft claimed, Flight Leader Percy Bartelt and Bob Moss each claiming two, and Flight Leader Bright one.
That night three AVG pilots (Howard, Bright and Peter Wright) took off in an attempt to intercept the nightly bombing raids on Rangoon. Owing to the lack of a flare-path, cars and trucks were lined along the edge of the runway to illuminate the take-off strip by the light of their headlights. The Americans were unsuccessful in making contact and at 04:00 advised Mingaladon that they were returning; the headlights of the vehicles forming the improvised flare-path were switched on to facilitate landings.
As Wright came in to land, a hydraulic pipe in his cockpit fractured and he was sprayed, and half-blinded, by the greasy fluid; his aircraft careered towards the line of vehicles and collided with a car in which one of the other pilots - Ken Merritt - was sleeping. Merritt was killed but Wright escaped injury.
9 January 1942
The AVG returned to the offensive during the day, this time joined by the RAF, when Squadron Leader Newkirk led four P-40s and six Buffaloes in an afternoon strafe of Tak (Raheng) airfield. The Americans reported observing "seven Buffaloes that the Japanese had evidently taken over from the Siamese", which were about to take-off, whilst two others circled overhead; this latter pair were claimed shot down by Newkirk. During several strafing passes, Newkirk then claimed two ‘Buffaloes’ on the ground; Bright claimed another and Flight Leader Noel Bacon shared a fourth with Bob Layher. Meanwhile the 67 Squadron pilots reported destroying two ‘Type 97’ bombers (by Flight Lieutenants Brandt in W8213 and Pinckney in W8239) with a further four damaged. Japanese records show that one aircraft was burned, one badly damaged, and one starter trolley destroyed.
17 January 1942
On 17 January the 84th I F Chutai, based in Indochina, escorted three Ki-21s to attack Kunming.
Due to bad weather they became separated from their charges, two of which were shot down, the third being damaged and force-landed.
19 January 1942
Early in the morning, six of 113 Squadron’s newly-returned Blenheims flew down to Tavoy, escorted by two P-40s and two Buffaloes, to evacuate 30 RAF ground staff cut off there by the Japanese advance. Squadron Leader Duggan Smith, who was leading, had been briefed to land only if a white cross could be seen on the airfield, signifying that it was still in friendly hands. No such indication was seen and, over the airfield, they encountered a number of 31st Sentai Ki-30s, escorted by seven Ki-27s of the 77th Sentai, on their way to attack the airfield in support of advancing Japanese troops. The Ki-27s engaged and Squadron Leader Duggan Smith’s aircraft (Z7630/A) was hit in the tailplane, and had the pilot’s hatch and radio aerial shot away. However all the Blenheims managed to evade their attackers by using cloud cover, and returned safely.
The escort - now down to one P-40 and the two Buffaloes - became involved in dogfights, the AVG pilot, Frank Lawlor, reporting being chased "all over the sky" by six Ki-27s. Sergeant Sadler, in one of the Buffaloes, attacked one Ki-27 which easily evaded him and got on his own tail. The New Zealander gained cloud cover before any damage had been inflicted. The Blenheim crews reported that the escort had shot down one of the attackers, and Lawlor may have made a claim, but this does not appear to have been credited to him.
The Japanese pilots suffered no losses and claimed three shot down, two by Captain Kaoru Kakimi of the HQ chutai, and one by Sergeant Major Shibata of the 2nd chutai. Before the day was out the Burma Rifies had given up Tavoy to the invaders.
During this morning a trio of P-40 pilots from the AVG’s 2nd Squadron - Howard, Petach and Layher - claimed a single-engined reconnaissance aircraft identified as an ‘Army 98’, which they engaged over Mesoht airfield. However, no Japanese loss has been found which might relate to this.
20 January 1942
A Japanese force had advanced through the Dawna Mountains and had taken Kawkereik by the end of the day, whilst the 77th Sentai had provided patrols overhead.
On one of these around midday the 3rd chtutai - pilots from which earlier in the patrol had accounted for two Buffaloes shot down at Moulmein - had escorted 31st Sentai Ki-30s to the area, and the eight Ki-27s were patrolling when six 113 Squadron Blenheims escorted by six 2nd AVG Squadron P-40s approached, on their way to bomb Mesoht. Squadron Leader Newkirk claimed two of the Japanese aircraft shot down and another probable, and Bob Neale one probable; however Moss was shot down but baled out, while Bert Christman's aircraft was badly damaged; Moss returned later and was also credited with a Ki-27 shot down (identified as an ‘I-97’), while two aircraft were claimed destroyed on the ground by Blenheim crews.
In the two engagements, the 3rd Chutai claimed four victories and one probable - two by Lieutenant Yoshiro Kawabara, one each by Lieutenant Shigeru Suzuki (Class 52) and Shimoda, and one probable by Lieutenant Jun-ichi Ogata, for the loss of Suzuki during the fight with the P-40s. Over Tavoy the crews of one flight of 31st Sentai Ki-30s also claimed two aircraft shot down - possibly double-claiming with the Ki-27s.
22 January 1942
18 Chinese SBs from the 2nd BG bombed the aerodrome at Anqing escorted by the American volunteers from the Flying Tigers. During this mission, one SB was shot down.
23 January 1942
The first three Hurricanes arrived to Mingaladon where they landed at 09:15. Within minutes of their arrival the approach of a Japanese raiding force was announced.
The first wave of the attack comprised 24 Ki-27s of the 50th Sentai but, before their arrival over Mingaladon, two Buffaloes had been scrambled when a reconnaissance aircraft had been sighted over Zayatkwin; before they could make an interception however, Flight Lieutenant Colin Pinckney and Sergeant Christiansen ran into the Ki-27s, Pinckney (W8239) being shot down and killed near Pegu (the award of a DFC to this pilot would be announced the following June), while Christiansen claimed one of the attackers shot down. A further Buffalo (flown by Pilot Officer Cooper of 67 Squadron) together with five P-40s then joined the battle, followed by the three Hurricanes - still with the ungainly long-range tanks underwing - in the hands of Wing Commander Pennington-Legh (BG853), Squadron Leaders Stone (Z4726) and Elsdon (Z5334). The P-40s engaged the Ki-27s, Flight Leaders Hill and Lawlor of the 2nd AVG Squadron claiming two apiece, Hill adding a probable, while Bill Bartling of the 1st AVG Squadron claimed one and a probable. Pilot Officer Cooper also reported damaging one. The Hurricanes were attacked as they attempted to reach altitude; the one flown by Stone returning damaged.
During the fight, the 50th Sentai claimed two P-40s and one probable, one Buffalo, one ‘Spitfire’ and one probable, and one unidentified aircraft for the loss of two Ki-27s.
About two hours later a dozen Ki-30s of the 31st Sentai approached Rangoon alone. They were to have been escorted by 24 Ki-27s of the 77th Sentai but these failed to rendezvous with the bombers, proceeding alone to arrive over Mingaladon 15 minutes later, where they found the bombers hard-pressed by the AVG; they reported meeting about a dozen fighters identified as P-40 and one ‘Spitfire’. The 2nd Squadron of the AVG had engaged the Ki-30s (identified as ‘Army Type 98’ bombers) and Percy Bartelt claimed three, while others were credited to Newkirk, Bright and Petach. Actual losses for the 31st Sentai were one shot down, three badly damaged and seven damaged to a lesser degree (virtually the whole force). The Americans, joined by a number of 1st Squadron pilots, were then heavily engaged by the 77th Sentai fighters.
After claiming one fighter shot down, Newkirk had his own aircraft badly shot-up and he crashed at the end of the runway whilst trying to land, escaping unhurt however. Bert Christman was shot down and baled out, but didn’t survive; his body was found next day, riddled with machine gun bullets. A third P-40 was lost when Bill Bartling crash-landed his damaged aircraft in a paddy field. In return for these losses, Flight Leader Bacon claimed two ‘I-97s’, Flight Leader Lawlor two more (and a probable), Vice-Squadron Leader Robert Neale (1st Squadron) one and one probable, and Flight Leader Bob Little (1st Squadron) two probables. Neale then force-landed at Moulmein with a burnt out engine.
In fact the 77th Sentai suffered no losses, pilots of the unit submitting claims for eight P-40s shot down and four probables. The 1st chutai’s Captain Toyoki Eto claimed three and one probable, Lieutenant Beppu one and Warrant Officer Kimura one probable; for the 2nd chutai, Lieutenant Yamamoto and Warrant Officer Hagiwara each claimed one and one probable, while Warrant Officer Honma and Sergeant Major Nagashima of the 3rd chutai claimed one apiece.
From Mingaladon after the raid, a Blenheim of 113 Squadron flew down to Moulmein carrying AVG groundcrew to repair Bob Neale’s P-40. A little later more of the unit's bombers headed for Raheng with a P-40 escort, but returned without attacking due to bad weather.
24 January 1942
On 24 January Chinese SBs from the 2nd BG bombed the aerodrome at Anqing escorted by the American volunteers from the Flying Tigers.
Shortly before midday on 24 January six Ki-21s of the 14th Sentai led by Captain Ryosuke Motomura, escorted by 20 Ki-27s of the 50th Sentai led by the 1st chutai commander, Captain Fujio Sakaguchi, attacked Rangoon. On the way to the target the fast Ki-21s had left their escorts behind, reaching Rangoon alone.
All available Allied fighters were scrambled including P-40s from the AVG’s 1st and 2nd Squadrons and Buffaloes (67 Squadron) and two Hurricanes (the only serviceable) from RAF flown by Squadron Leaders Stone and Elsdon. The Hurricanes attacked the bombers claiming damage to several of them. At this stage a single P-40 joined in, followed by a flight of 67 Squadron's Buffaloes and more P-40s from both the 1st and 2nd AVG Squadrons. The Japanese bombes were shot from the sky and the 67 Squadron pilots claimed four victories. Amongst the AVG pilots, Neale was credited with two bombers, while in the 2nd Squadron Squadron Leader Hill, Flight Leader Rector and Ray Hastey each claimed one. Whilst between them the RAF and AVG pilots had claimed nine bombers, they had indeed done great execution, virtually destroying the 14th Sentai formation, which lost five of its six Ki-21s, including that flown by Captain Motomura. The Americans had then encountered the 50th Sentai Ki-27s as these arrived, and claimed six shot down - Flight Leader Bartelt was credited with two, and Hill, Rector, Howard and Frank Schiel (1st AVG Squadron) with one apiece. The 50th Sentai actually lost three for no claims including that flown by the Formation Commander Captain Fujio Sakaguchi.
At the same time a second Japanese formation, comprising three Ki-30s of the 31st Sentai escorted by 25 Ki-27s of the 77th Sentai, slipped in to strafe Mingaladon. The Ki-30 crews claimed three small aircraft destroyed on the ground and a fuel dump in flames, whilst the fighters reported engaging P-40s, Captain Toyoki Eto claiming one shot down and Warrant Officer Fujinaga a probable. Lieutenant Shinjirou Nagoshi claimed one large aircraft destroyed on the airfield and other pilots three more damaged.
Toyoki Eto and Fujinaga may well have been engaged with two Hurricanes flown by Squadron Leader Stone and Pilot Officer Fuge, which was scrambled an hour or so after the raid by 14th Sentai. Stone reported being attacked by a fighter as he was coming into land, although his aircraft was not hit.
26 January 1942
The 50th Sentai despatched 23 Ki-27s on a sweep over Mingaladon during the morning; P-40s and three Hurricanes - flown by Squadron Leader Stone (Z5473/J), Squadron Leader Elsdon (BD921) and Pilot Officer Moorhouse (BE233) - were scrambled and a general dogfight commenced. Moorhouse was attacked by three Ki-27s, firing a short burst at two before experiencing trouble with his guns which, as he latter discovered, had not been fully loaded. The American pilots were attacked as they were climbing. Bob Prescott and Louis Hoffman both being shot down; Hoffman, a 43 year-old ex US Navy fighter pilot, was killed; his aircraft was found upside down minus its starboard wing, with the pilot’s body half out of the cockpit. Gil Bright and Bob Moss engaged the Ki-27s, Bright claiming one shot down, though Moss was forced to bale out. With the aid of local farmers, Moss was transported back to Mingaladon on an oxcart. Meanwhile, Bob Neale and Bill McGarry of the 1st AVG Squadron had also each claimed fighters shot down in this action, while the 50th Sentai pilots claimed four confirmed and six probable victories against an estimated dozen Allied fighters, losing one Ki-27 themselves.
Sergeant Rutherford of 67 Squadron undertook a low-level reconnaissance over the Kawkareik area, as a result of which five 113 Squadron Blenheims were sent off during the latter part of the afternoon, with an escort of two Hurricanes and six P-40s. At the last moment Pilot Officer Fuge's Hurricane refused to start, so only Squadron Leader Elsdon accompanied Jack Newkirk's AVG flight. After the bombing, movement was spotted in the Attaran River valley, which proved to be some 50 elephants being driven to batter a route through the jungle, followed by a column of Japanese troops and light armoured vehicles. The Americans strafed, reporting that they had caused much damage and confusion.
28 January 1942
On 28 January a reconnaissance flight indicated the presence of considerable numbers of Allied aircraft at Mingaladon and the 5th Flying Hikoshidan despatched a fighter sweep over the area. 27 Ki-27s from the 77th Sentai and ten from the 50th Sentai arrived around midday, but the two units were unable to co-ordinate their arrival and became involved in separate dogfights. P-40s from the 1st and 2nd Squadron of the AVG were scrambled together with Squadron Leader Sutton and Pilot Officer Brown of 136 Squadron. The 1st Squadron claimed five Japanese fighters shot down and one probable (two and one probable claimed by Squadron Leader Bob Sandell and Flight Leaders Schiel, Bill Bartling and Dick Rossi one each) while the 2nd Squadron claimed one (John Petach). The AVG lost one aircraft shot down (Ray Hastey, who parachuted) and another force-landed (Sandell).
The 77th Sentai claimed seven and one probable against a force of “at least ten P-40s”. The probable was credited to Captain Toyoki Eto (1st chutai) while the victories were credited to Lieutenant Nakajima (1st chutai)(two), Lieutenant Beppu (1st chutai), Lieutenant Nakao (1st chutai), Lieutenant Matsuo (2nd chutai), Warrant Officer Hagiwara (2nd chutai) and Lieutenant Kuwabara (3rd chutai). The 77th Sentai lost three pilots when Warrant Officer Kitasaka was shot down and killed while Captain Mitsuhiro Matsuda, commander of the 2nd chutai, and Lieutenant Kanekicki Yamamoto from the same unit, both failed to return. It seems that Yamamoto, after receiving hits in his engine deliberately crashed his fighter into Sandell’s force-landed P-40.
The 50th Sentai claimed eight and four probables without losses.
29 January 1942
In the afternoon on 29 January the commanding officer, Yoshio Hirose, led 20 Ki-27s of the77th Sentai on a sweep over Rangoon.
Six Hurricanes had got off, together with a number of P-40s. Pilot Officer Storey (BD921) climbed fast to 2,000 feet with Squadron Leader Carey (BE171), from which vantage point they saw below six Ki-27s above cloud base at 12,000 feet. The two Hurricanes dived down at 420 mph to attack but, as they approached, the Japanese fighters disappeared into the clouds. The pair swept up again into the sun, rolled over, and saw some of the little fighters come up through the cloud again. Two of these appeared to become separated, but some P-40s engaged them at that moment. Carey and Storey went into a dive for a second attack, when they saw one P-40 with three fighters on its tail, obviously being out-turned. Coming down in a steep right-hand spiral at 310 mph. they selected one each. Storey got in two steady bursts, seeing hits, and his victim fell away to port. Meanwhile, Carey's first burst sent his target crashing straight down.
Two AVG aircraft were apparently lost, Matt Kuykendall force-landing at Mingaladon wounded in head and leg. The Americans claimed heavily, believing that they had shot down a dozen fighters to bring total claims for the action to 14. In the 1st AVG Squadron, Squadron Leader Sandell claimed three, Flight Leader Bond two and one damaged, Bob Little, Bob Prescott and John Dean one apiece. Squadron Leader Newkirk and Flight Leaders Hill, Bacon and Lawlor made the three other claims for the 2nd AVG Squadron.
The 77th Sentai had again suffered quite heavily, losing four Ki-27s. Sergeant Major Nagashima was reported killed, while Warrant Officer Yoshida, Sergeant Major Kanda and Sergeant Kojima all failed to return. Only the 3rd chutai, which was providing top cover, vas able to make any worthwhile claims in a fight with "ten plus Spitfires and some P-40s"; Lieutenant Kawabara claimed two shot down, Warrant Officer Honma and Sergeant Kobayakawa one each, and one was credited to the missing Sergeant Major Kanda. The only other claim, for one probable, was made by Lieutenant Nakao of the 1st Chutai.
31 January 1942
With the southern coastal strip now in their hands, the Japanese began the real invasion of Burma, successfully crossing the Salween River in the east. Three P-40s were despatched to strafe the invaders; however as Jim Howard and Thomas J. Cole were firing at infantry, the latter pilot was seen to fly into some high trees and crash into the ground, where his aircraft burst into flames.
The ground war
On 15 February Japanese forces on the Malay Peninsula captured Singapore.
Chinese Air Force
On 8 February the 2nd AVG Squadron was withdrawn for a rest, part moving to Loiwing, part to Magwe, and a few personnel to Kunming.
Half a dozen American pilots of the 3rd AVG Squadron (Flight Leaders George B. McMillan, Charles N. Older, Thomas C. Haywood, Robert T. Smith, Paul J. Greene and Chauncey H. Laughlin), currently resting at Kunming, were flown aboard a CNAC C-47 transport to Calcuttet on 16 February. There they boarded an Empire flyingboat for Cairo, from where they were to journey by C-53 transport - flown by a Pan American crew - to Accra, Gold Coast (on the west coast of Africa). Waiting for them at Accra were six brand-new P-40Es (the RAF’s Kittyhawk), which were to be ferried to China for use by the AVG. More were to follow.
The 54th Sentai moved to Canton via Formosa during February. They lost three aircraft en route.
3 February 1942
On 3 February six Ki-30s of the 31st Sentai escorted by 24 Ki-27s of the 77th Sentai raided Toungoo and claimed damage to two aircraft on the ground. Indeed one Blenheim of 113 Squadron was riddled with bomb splinters and a Burma Volunteer Air Force Tiger Moth which had just landed, tipped up onto it nose in its haste to get away again immediately the attack ended. The pilot had attempted taking off without the wheel chocks having been removed!
To meet the raid two Buffaloes had been scrambled, but made no contact. It seems that at least one 2nd AVG Squadron P-40 was also up. Bob Keeton taking off in such a hurry that he failed to take his helmet and oxygen mask. Nonetheless, he climbed to 20,000 feet, where he lost consciousness due to oxygen starvation, his aircraft then falling away. As he recovered, he saw below him a Japanese bomber at which he fired, but observed no result. Apparently a member of the AVG ground crew reported seeing a bomber crash in flames near the airfield and this was credited to Keeton; this was the AVG's 100th official victory. No Japanese loss was recorded however.
6 February 1942
On 6 February the Japanese launched an assault on Mingaladon. This began with attacks just after 04:00 by four Ki-21s of the 14th Sentai, followed an hour later by six more from the 62nd Sentai. At 07:00 15 Ki-30s from the 31st Sentai attacked, about 80 bombs landing within the airfield boundaries on this occasion, although little damage was done. Two 'A' Flight Hurricanes of 17 Squadron, on night readiness, were scrambled into the dawn sky – Flight Lieutenant Allan Carvell for the fourth time that night! He and Sergeant Ken Rathbone finally intercepted a number of the Ki-30s, each claiming one shot down. They obviously attacked the same aircraft for only one of the bombers failed to return.
Finally, with full daylight, came some 25 Ki-27 fighters of the 50th and 77th Sentai on a fighter sweep. A number of P-40s of the 1st AVG Squadron and six Hurricanes were scrambled to intercept; the Japanese reported meeting 17-18 fighters, identified as ‘Spitfires’, Buffaloes and P-40s. Pilot Officer Storey (Z5659/WK-C) was leading the Hurricanes, but these were jumped by three Ki-27s whilst climbing to 21,000 feet. Storey claimed two Ki-27s while Pilot Officer Underwood claimed one destroyed and one probable before returning with a damaged Hurricane and a wounded leg. Sergeant Malcolm McRae claimed one damaged, but was hit in the shoulder when an armour-piercing bullet went straight through the armour plate behind his seat; Pilot Officer Eric Batchelar's aircraft was also hit. Meantime Flight Lieutenant Barry Sutton (BE171/YB-B of 17 Squadron), who had been carrying out a reconnaissance sortie over the Salween River, also encountered the Japanese fighters as he was returning to base and claimed two probably shot down.
The American pilots who had joined the fight claimed a further seven ‘I-97’ fighters shot down and one probable to add to the RAF's three ‘confirmed’, three ‘probables’ and three damaged. Their claims were two apiece by Flight Leaders Robert L. Little and Greg Boyington, one each by Vice-Squadron Leader Robert H. Neale, Robert W. Prescott and William D. McGarry whilst Charles R. Bond claimed the probable. One AVG pilot was slightly wounded, joining Underwood and McRae in sick-quarters to receive anti-tetanus injections. All three were given the afternoon off, although they were advised that they would be fit for flying next day!
For the Japanese the 50th Sentai claimed three certain and four probables, and the 77th Sentai two and two probables (Lieutenant Kisaji Beppu one and one probable; Lieutenant Yoshiro Kawabara one, and Warrant Officer Fujinaga one probable), but from the latter unit Lieutenant Kitamura failed to return and Major Yoshio Hirose force-landed his damaged fighter at Molulmein. No losses were recorded by the 50th Sentai.
In evening Squadron Leader Robert J. Sandell took up his newly-repaired P-40 to test the tail unit which had been fitted to replace that damaged by the Japanese suicide pilot a week earlier. Whilst performing aerobatics over the airfield, the tail broke away and he was killed in the resultant crash. Vice Squadron Leader Bob Neale took over the command of the 1st AVG Squadron.
8 February 1942
During 7 and 8 February the AVG's 2nd Squadron had twice escorted Blenheims to attack Pa-an on the Salween, whilst a column moving from Moulmein had also been strafed.
As a result of these actions, Squadron Leader John V. Newkirk was recommended for a British DSO.
9 February 1942
As the battle on the ground raged around Moulmein and 9a-an, the 8th Sentai twice attacked British troops in the latter area, under cover of 50th Sentai Ki-27s, while three Blenheims escorted by four 135 Squadron Hurricanes and six AVG-escorted Lysanders attacked Japanese troops in the same area, before Moulmein finally fell to the invaders.
21 February 1942
On 21 February five P-40s of the 1st AVG Squadron escorted four 45 Squadron Blenheims to bomb Kawbein, 16 miles east of Martaban, where a column of over 300 vehicles was attacked.
As they headed for the target, 23 Ki-27s from the 77th Sentai were seen escorting a dozen 31st Sentai Ki-21s in the other direction. Estimating the Japanese fighters to be about 40 strong, the Americans attacked, claiming four and three probables without loss, although several P-40s were damaged. Claims for the AVG were submitted by Flight Leader George Burgard (two), Robert H. Smith and John W. Farrell (one and one probable apiece) and Flight Leader Bond (one probable).
Lieutenant Kawabara claimed one of the US fighters shot down, while probables were claimed by Lieutenant Ogata and Warrant Officer Masao Hideshima. Only one Ki-27 sustained minor damage.
During the raid two Blenheims were hit by ground fire and both were obliged to crash-land during the return flight; one crew survived unscathed but the pilot of Z7770, Second Lieutenant F. A. L. de Marillac, SAAF, and his observer were both wounded.
24 February 1942
At midday 1st AVG Squadron P-40s strafed Raheng airfield, Squadron Leader Neale and Bill McGarry claiming one bomber destroyed on the ground there, whilst Bob Prescott and Robert H. Smith jointly claimed a second. Flight Leader Burgard and Bill Bartling each claimed a fighter, also on the ground.
An hour or two later Wing Commander Carey, Squadron Leaders Stone and Elsdon and one other Hurricane pilot, accompanied by a pair of AVG P-40s, made a similar attack on Moulmein. Carey (BM914) spotted a transport aircraft “similar to a Dakota” taking off and quickly shot it down. Almost immediately he saw a Ki-27 just getting airborne and gave this a burst as he flashed by, claiming this shot down also. Meanwhile, Stone (YB-X) claimed a bomber and a fighter destroyed on the ground.
Japanese records indicate that a single Ki-27 of the 47th I F Chutai was badly damaged during the strafe.
25 February 1942
Constant patrols were maintained over Mingaladon all through the morning on 25 February, but it was midday when a big Japanese fighter sweep approached, comprising 21 Ki-27s from the 50th Sentai, 23 more from the 77th Sentai and three of the preproduction Ki-44s of the 47th I F Chutai, which had operated earlier over Malaya.
Three P-40s were led off by Squadron Leader Neale, together with six of 17 Squadron's Hurricanes. Sergeant Barrick had seen the oncoming mass of hostile fighters, which he accurately assessed to be 50 strong, and had excitedly yelled "Snapper! Snapper!" over the R/T, forgetting that this was the emergency code word used in the European theatre to indicate that they were being jumped. Consequently Squadron Leader Stone had not reacted, and continued heading south-west, towards the position where the enemy had been reported. “Snapper! Snapper!” was then repeated with even greater urgency, at which Stone led the Hurricanes into a circle, waiting instructions, until Operations ordered them to return, having seen nothing.
Meanwhile Barrick, believing that the rest of the squadron were following him, had sailed into 15 Japanese fighters alone:
“I attacked and shot down one 'Army 97' and was then jumped from above by a ‘Zero’ (presumably one of the Ki-44s). I went into a tight turn which caused one of the gun panels to fly open. This made the aircraft ‘flick’ and probably saved my life, because the ‘Zero’ was in an excellent position behind me. As it was my plane was not hit."The AVG trio had also become engaged with the Ki-27s, claiming four shot down without loss - two by Neale and one each by Bob Prescott and Bill McGarry. Despite the five claims submitted, the Japanese fighters suffered no losses. However their own claims proved wild in the extreme, amounting to many more Allied fighters than were in the air. The Ki-44 pilots claimed two, whilst the 50th Sentai added three and two probables. No less than 11 and five probables were claimed by the 77th Sentai, one by the Headquarters flight, seven and two probables by the 1st Chutai, one and two probables by the 2nd Chutai and two, one probable and one damaged by the 3rd Chutai. Claiming pilots were: Sergeant Major Matsunaga (two), Captain Hajime Kawada (one), Captain Toyoki Eto (one and one probable); Lieutenant Matsuo (one), Lieutenant Kawabara (one), Warrant Officer Fujinaga (one and one probable), Warrant Officer Kimura (one), Sergeant Niino (one), Lieutenant Nakajima (one), Lieutenant Tsuguo Kojima and Warrant Officer Honma (one shared), Lieutenant Shinjirou Nagoshi (one probable) and Sergeant Ono (one probable).
The Japanese soon returned. A dozen 8th Sentai Ki-48s, covered by all three fighter units, had flown first to Bassein, but finding no aircraft there, headed instead for Mingaladon, arriving there at about 17:00. All available serviceable P-40s and about a dozen Hurricanes of 17 and 135 Squadrons were scrambled, climbing hard to 18,000 feet. Pilot Officer Hemingway of 17 Squadron found himself at the head of two or three other Hurricanes, and soon spotted the bombers and a mass of fighters. He managed to slide in behind one section of four bombers and saw his fire strike one before he dived away, fearful of being jumped. Pulling up, he climbed to 20,000 feet, came up behind a Ki-27 and again saw strikes before it dived away. He returned to base with one of the P-40s and was later credited with the bomber shot down, when Pilot Officer Frank Earnshaw reported that he had seen this go down in flames. Squadron Leader Sutton of the 135 Squadron was credited with one Ki-27 and one bomber during this combat.
The AVG pilots had undertaken their favoured diving attack on the Japanese formation, and returned to submit an extraordinary ‘bag’ of claims: Squadron Leader Neale two fighters; Flight Leader Burgard one bomber and two fighters; Flight Leader Bond three fighters; Flight Leader Little three fighters; Robert H. Smith three fighters; Bob Prescott two fighters; Camille Rosbert one fighter and one probable; John Blackburn one fighter; Dick Rossi one fighter; Bill McGarry three fighters - to give a total of 21 fighters, one probable fighter and one bomber! James D. Cross' aircraft was badly hit however, and he force-landed at the ‘John Haig’ strip although he was not hurt and the P-40 was soon repaired.
Only the 50th Sentai submitted any claims against the Allied fighters, claiming one and two probables for the loss of two Ki-27s, it being reported that Lieutenant Masao Mihara had rammed an opponent (possibly a head-on attack with Sutton). The 8th Sentai lost no bombers, but claimed two aircraft destroyed on the ground. In this at least, there had been an underestimate of results, as five of 45 Squadron's recently returned Blenheims were destroyed or damaged beyond repair during the attack.
26 February 1942
During the day the 1st AVG Squadron launched an attack on Moulmein with seven P-40s. On approaching the airfield three Ki-27s were seen standing on an auxiliary field and two of these were claimed destroyed in flames, by all seven pilots jointly. At the main airfield three more Ki-27s were seen about to take off and a further 20 warming up. As the initial trio got into the air, Flight Leader Burgard and his wingman, Dick Rossi, each claimed one shot down. Many more Japanese aircraft apparently now appeared from the south and Squadron Leader Neale was chased out over the Gulf of Martaban with three on his tail. He escaped in cloud and returned in his damaged aircraft to claim all three shot down! Allegedly the other pilots had meantime engaged the new arrivals, Burgard claiming one more, while Flight Leader Little claimed three, Bill McGarry two, and Camille Rosbert one!
There is some confusion regarding this attack since Moulmein seems to have been attacked by a RAF formation at the same time and Japanese records note only one strafe, and identify the attackers as Hurricanes. It is possible that the AVG formation attacked the satellite strip at Mudon.
Around midday a further raid was launched by the Japanese, this time Ki-48s of the 8th Sentai, led by Captain Sueo Yamamoto, attacking Mingaladon, escorted by Ki-27s from both the 50th and 77th Sentais. Here the bomber crews reported two aircraft destroyed and seven others damaged on the ground; apparently eight Blenheims and Lysanders were hit, several subsequently being written off, as they had been damaged beyond repair.
Nine P-40s and several Hurricanes were scrambled, the AVG pilots claiming seven fighters and one bomber shot down without loss: Flight Leader Bond one; Flight Leader Burgard one; Dick Rossi two; Camille Rosbert two, John Blackburn one, while Robert H. Smith claimed a ‘Type 97 bomber’. Squadron Leader Cotton (BD963) of 17 Squadron claimed one bomber before being wounded by fighters.
On this occasion, two of the 8th Sentai bombers failed to return, one being seen to be shot down, while one of the 50th Sentai Ki-27s was also lost when Warrant Officer Atsuo Nagata (Sho-2) was killed. The escort fighters claimed seven and three probables, the 77th claiming three (one apiece being credited to Captain Hajime Kawada, Lieutenant Kawabara and Lieutenant Matsuo) and one probable (Lieutenant Shimoda). One of their victories may have been Hurricane BE171/YB-B of 17 Squadron, which Captain A. D. Penton (the Army Liaison Officer attached to the unit, who was also a trained army co-operation pilot) had borrowed to undertake a reconnaissance over the Sittang area. He was intercepted by Japanese aircraft and shot down, though he escaped injury and returned later to Mingaladon in an ox-cart.
The 25 and 26 February had brought some of the greatest over-claiming of the campaign - if not of the whole war - and for very limited actual results. On 25 February the AVG had claimed 26 and one probable, and the RAF four, for one P-40 force-landed; next day the AVG added a further 20 claims in the air and two on the ground, and the RAF six plus one probable on the ground for the loss of two Hurricanes and one P-40, with two more Hurricanes and one P-40 badly damaged. The Japanese had been almost as profligate, claiming 16 and seven probables for the loss of two Ki-27s on 25 February, followed by seven and six probables, plus one by AA gunners, on 26 February when two Ki-51 bombers and two Ki-27s were lost in the air, with one more destroyed, one badly damaged and three damaged in the Moulmein area.
Thus combined total claims by both sides for 80 aircraft shot down, plus 14 probables, had been matched by actual losses of perhaps 10 or 11, and with about seven more damaged. There had obviously been some questioning at the time of the Allied claims, for Air Vice-Marshal Stevenson was later to write in his despatch:
“There was a little feeling in the AVG on the assessment of results. Consequently I held a meeting with the AVG squadron commander, the wing leader and RAF squadron commanders, at which it was agreed that the standard of assessment should be that obtaining in Fighter Command at home.As a consequence of the claims made and accepted on these two days, Squadron Leader Bob Neale had become the AVG's top-scorer with 12 victories plus several probables.
“Colonel Chennault was informed. Combat reports by pilots were initialled by squadron commanders. The claim was then admitted. Previous claims by the AVG for aircraft destroyed in the air were agreed at this meeting.”
The 54th Sentai suffered a big setback when Captain Shoji Tomita (NCO55) (CO of the 1st chutai), First Lieutenant Chiyoichi Yuasa (Class 54) and First Lieutenant Ken-ichi Hosoi (Class 54) all were lost over the South China Sea during the day.
The ground war
On 9 March Japanese forces completed the capture of Rangoon, Burma, dealing China a great blow by cutting off supplies from the Burma Road.
Chinese Air Force
From the middle of March 1942 the Chinese pilots gradually began to rearm with American fighters, but a number of remaining I-16s, I-15bis and I-153s were used for training in the flying schools and training centres. There is no information about the very last days of their flying careers.
The last to turn in the Soviet fighters for “combat storage” were the pilots of the 26th, 29th and 41st PS, generally a year later than the others.
At Magwe part of the 3rd AVG Squadron arrived on 4 March, led by Flight Leader Parker Dupouy, ostensibly to relieve the 1st Squadron. However Squadron Leader Neale refused to go, continuing to lead his unit in daily strafing sorties until 13 March, when Colonel Chennault ordered him out of Burma. Squadron Leader Arvid Olson soon followed Dupouy to Magwe with the rest of the 3rd Squadron.
On 12 March, ten P-40Es (some of those diverted from Java) reached Karachi; most would eventually find their way to the AVG.
In the end of March the AVG’s 1st and 3rd Squadrons were concentrated at Lashio.
Following the fall of Hong Kong in December 1941 the 10th I F Chutai returned to Hankou in mid March 1942.
9 March 1942
On 9 March 1942 six DB-3s bombed Yichang at the extreme of their range. One DB-3 was lost.
14 March 1942
The AVG strafed road target in the area north of Kyaitko.
15 March 1942
Four P-40s of the AVG strafed road target in the area north of Kyaitko. While doing this, six Ki-27s attempted to 'bounce' them, but Bob Moss of the 2nd AVG Squadron was able to turn the tables, claiming one shot down 15 miles south of Nyunglobin (identified by him as a 'Navy 96').
18 March 1942
On 18 March Blenheims of 45 Squadron escorted by five Hurricanes and five P-40s attacked boats on the Irrawaddy, while the fighters strafed the river banks.
Shortly afterwards, Flight Leaders Ken Jernstedt and Bill Reed flew a pair of 3rd Squadron P-40s down to Moulmein and to a subsiduary airfield ten miles south of the town, their aircraft each loaded with 30 fragmentation and incendiary bombs. They attacked both airfields catching many aircraft on the ground at each. The results were "staggering, some blew up, other burned; 15 or 25 aircraft seen claimed totally destroyed", stated the report. Reed claimed an 'MC 20-type' transport, two 'Army 97' bombers and five 'Army type 98' fighters destroyed, Jernstedt submitted similar claims, except he claimed only four fighters.
The claims were quite accurate, though rather more prosaic. At Moulmein two Ki-21 bombers were, indeed, destroyed in flames, plus a Ki-48 and a Ki-15 badly damaged. The satellite field was Mudon, where three Ki-30s and a Ki-15 were burned, while two more Ki-30s were badly damaged; 31st Sentai, at this base, was left with only one serviceable aircraft. Obviously, the American pilots had identified the Ki-48 as a transport and the single-engined Ki-15s and Ki-30s as fighters, although they had double-claimed on these.
21 March 1942
At 13:00 a single reconnaissance aircraft was reported approaching Magwe and two Hurricanes were sent off, although Pilot Officers Murdoch and Chadwick failed to make contact. Murdoch's aircraft then developed engine trouble and he was obliged to land at an emergency airstrip.
20 minutes later a formation of hostile aircraft was reported approaching but, as the formation was not flying from a southerly direction, it was late being spotted on the radar. All available fighters - six Hurricanes and three P-40s - were scrambled, Pilot Officer Neville Brooks getting airborne as the first bombs began falling. 31 Ki-27s of the 12th Flying Daitai, led by Lieutenant Colonel Sada Okabe, the new commanding officer of the 11th Sentai, had been despatched ahead of the main formation, the pilots briefed to patrol over Magwe. They were followed by 25 Ki-21s of the 98th Sentai and 27 of the 12th Sentai, escorted by 14 Ki-43s of the 64th Sentai and a number of 51st Chutai Ki-46s, to observe results. Some way behind came ten Ki-30s of the 31st Sentai and 14 more Ki-27s. One 98th Sentai Ki-21 had crashed on take-off.
In the initial attack by the Ki-21s much damage was inflicted on the airfield buildings, with communications and services being rendered unserviceable. One trio of Hurricanes was engaged by the escorts as they attempted to get to the bombers, Pilot Officer Everard reporting that he had time to make only one firing pass through the formation before the Japanese fighters were upon him like a swarm of angry bees. He heard the other two pilots, Pilot Officers Ken Hemingway and Brooks, call over the R/T that they had been hit and were going down: Hemingway, who claimed a Ki-27 probably destroyed, crash-landed in a dried-up river bed a few miles north of Magwe, while Brooks, who believed that he had also shot down one of the fighters, force-landed on the airfield. Within seconds of vacating his aircraft, it was totally destroyed by bombs.
Meanwhile, Sergeant Al MacDonald, RCAF, reported shooting down another of the Japanese fighters. Everard meantime, saw an aircraft erupt in a fireball as the P-40s engaged. He then dived away to low altitude, where he spotted a lone Ki-27, which he claimed shot down.
The P-40 pilots reported engaging seven of the Ki-43s, Parker Dupouy diving on the rear aircraft and claiming that it blew up under his attack - probably the fireball that Everard had noted. Reed’s aircraft was hit and he was wounded, although he managed to get down safely. Meanwhile the Japanese fighters had turned on Dupouy's aircraft, causing severe damage; a bullet grazed his arm and fragments wounded him in the shoulder and leg. Three further P-40s had managed to get off by this time and attacked a formation of ten bombers, one of which was claimed damaged by Bob Prescott, while Ken Jernstedt reported that he had barely got his aircraft off the ground before the first bombs began exploding. Unable to rendezvous with other P-40s, he attacked alone and reported that he shot one bomber out of formation. Coming in for a second pass, he saw his fire hitting a second but then his windscreen, struck by a bullet, exploded in his face. Unfortunately, he had left his goggles pushed up onto his forehead and glass fragments entered his left eye. He saw the second bomber he had attacked begin to go down, so turned and flew back to Magwe where he landed safely, despite the bomb craters and his injuries. Meanwhile, as Everard approached Magwe, he saw Japanese fighters strafing and followed one of these, opened fire and reported that it turned away, trailing smoke. He then saw another – “a dark blue aircraft which I incorrectly guessed to be a Navy Zero” - and fired at this, as it skimmed over the airfield.
One of the Japanese aircraft lost was the Ki-27 flown by Lieutenant Colonell Ishikawa, who was killed. Other 11th Sentai pilots claimed three victories, while 64th Sentai pilots reported engaging two P-40s but achieved no decisive results.
Almost an hour later the 31st Sentai Ki-30s - with their escorts - approached, bombed and claimed 21 large and four small aircraft destroyed or damaged on the ground. A handful of P-40s were able to scramble and pursue the retreating raiders, Cliff Groh claiming one Ki-27 shot down 15-20 miles to the south-east of the airfield.
During these two raids the Japanese claimed a total of eight aircraft burned on the ground and 27 destroyed or damaged, plus eight more shot down, at a cost of four of their own aircraft. The defenders' claims were, indeed, assessed as four and one probable - the two fighters claimed by the AVG and three by the Hurricane pilots. Jernstedt’s claims do not appear to have been listed, possibly because his wounds prevented him submitting a report. Two Hurricanes and two P-40s were hit and damaged, the two former being obliged to force-land, while six more Hurricanes and two P-40s were damaged beyond repair on the ground.
The mystery surrounding Pilot Officer Everard’s second claim - the "dark blue Navy Zero" - was soon solved: he had, in fact, attacked Flying Officer Ken Perkins’ dark blue PR Hurricane (Z4949) as the latter returned from a reconnaissance sortie over Yenangyaung! Perkins, who suffered only minor injuries, carried out a successful belly-landing in his badly damaged machine, under the impression he had been shot down by a Japanese fighter. Victor and victim were later to meet in the Mess, when Perkins was not at all amused to learn the truth. The downing of many drinks softened his attitude and all was eventually forgiven, Squadron Leader Stone remarking: "Not a bad day's work, Everard - one of theirs and one of ours!"
22 March 1942
At 13:00 a reconnaissance aircraft was again reported approaching Magwe and two Hurricanes, of the three that remained serviceable, took off but failed to intercept. When they returned to land, an hour later, a further raid followed them in. This attack comprised 27 Ki-21s of the 12th Sentai, 26 of the 98th, 18 Ki-43s of the 64th Sentai and 23 Ki-27s from the 12th Flying Daitai. Following this latest raid, Magwe was left shattered; the runways were rendered unserviceable and the remaining communications cut. Nine Blenheims and three P-40s were destroyed or irreparably damaged, while AVG pilot Frank Swartz was severely wounded as he dashed to his aircraft; he later died from his wounds
Magwe was evacuated during the day, the AVG ground party loading five damaged P-40s onto trucks and departed, to follow their air party to Loiwing.
24 March 1942
Early in the morning on 24 March five of the AVG 1st Squadron P-40s flew from Kunming to Namsang, close to Heho in Central Burma, where they were to be joined by four of the 2nd Squadron aircraft from Loiwing. On arrival however, no sign of the latter aircraft were to be seen, so the 1st Squadron flew on to their target alone. This was Chiengmai airfield in Thailand, where an estimated 50 aircraft were seen on the ground. Squadron Leader Bob Neale ordered an attack and the P-40s dived through heavy AA fire, made several passes and claimed 13 aircraft destroyed, all of which were identified as bombers. Neale, Charlie Bond, Greg Boyington, Bill McGarry and Bill Bartling were credited with two apiece; Neale and Bond shared another, as did Boyington and Bartling.
The four pilots from the 2nd Squadron had arrived at the rendezvous late, heading first to Chiengmai's satellite airfields, where nothing was to be seen, but they did strafe two armoured cars whilst on their way to the main airfield. It seems that at least one of these pilots, Vice-Squadron Leader Ed Rector, arrived while the 1st Squadron were still there, as he shared in the destruction of one aircraft with McGarry and claimed two more alone, bringing the total claims to 15.
However, as the 2nd Squadron aircraft swept over Chiengmai, the P-40 flown by the commanding officer, Jack Newkirk, was seen to take a direct hit and crash in flames. McGarry's 1st Squadron aircraft was also hit and was seen to trail smoke; he baled out 55 miles from the border and remained at large for 28 days, before being captured by Thai police. The AVG had lost two of its leading pilots. However, the attack had been about as successful as estimated, although their victims had not been bombers, but Ki-43s of the 64th Sentai. Three of these went up in flames and at least ten others were damaged beyond repair.
29 March 1942
After 13:45 Flight Leader Charles Older of the 3rd AVG Squadron claimed a Japanese reconnaissance aircraft 10 miles from Loiwing.
This aircraft was possible form a JAAF bomber formation, which raided Loiwing and Namsang, claiming buildings destroyed and the runways cratered, but lost one of their numbers.
The ground war
On 30 April the Japanese capture Lashio, Burma and begin a move to drive the Chinese back along the Burma Road toward China and drive US and British forces back toward India.
Chinese Air Force
On 20 March 1942, the first Republic P-43As arrived at Karachi. Once at Karachi, the fighters had to be transported to Malir airfield, taken out of their crates, assembled and test flown. This process was slow and it was April before the first P-43s were test flown and turned over to the Chinese pilots for ferrying to China. The 4th PG (22nd - 24th PS) received these P-43s and the pilots retrained in Kunming and in small groups the pilots flew in turn to India for the new fighters.
As of 29 April, 69 P-43s had been received at Karachi and eleven of these had been delivered to the Chinese and flown east.
During 1942-1943, the Chinese received 129 P-66s and 108 P-43A Lancers.
In the spring 1942 the 2nd BG bombed the railroad-bridge over the river Huanghe. Then they re-based to Nanzhen (Shanxi Province) to participate in combat on the central plain.
Lashio, Burma, was evacuated by the AVG in the end of April since Japanese troops started to come to close. The AVG retreated to Kunming after burning 22 of their P-40s which were under repair.
During the early 1942 Japanese reconnaissance reported that the Chinese gradually strengthened its air forces in south China, especially around Hengyang and Kweilin. Also, aerial pictures taken by the 1st Hikodan in late March showed that the runways on Chuhsien, Lishui and Yushan airfields had been increased from 700 meters to 1500 meters; that ammunition and fuel were gradually being accumulated and that additional installations were being built. Furthermore, an airfield had been constructed at Chienou. This work was carried out under the protection of fighters that flew almost daily from Hengyang and Kweilin.
In early April the 1st Hikodan (using about 50 aircraft, including fighters and reconnaissance aircraft) attacked and destroyed a newly built Chinese airfield in the Chekiang sector, destroying the runways and the majority of the installations.
Although the Hikodan repeated these attacks again and again, each time the Chinese succeeded in rebuilding the field.
On 16 April, the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters drafted an operational plan where the objective was to defeat the Chinese in the Chekiang area and to destroy the air bases from which the enemy might conduct aerial raids on the Japanese Homeland.
On 20 April a further directive was issued stating:
“The Air Forces of the United States, Britain and China will seek bases in China from which to bomb Japan. They may also attempt to carry out air raids on Japan from Midway, Morell, the Aleutians and from aircraft carriers, in which event the logical terminal would be airfields in Chekiang Province.
Air and ground units will be employed to capture and secure airfields in the vicinity of Lishui, Chuhsien and Yushan. Other airstrips in Chekiang Province will be neutralized by our air units at an opportune time.
Consideration will be given as to whether certain air bases, together with the accompanying military installations and important lines of communications, will be destroyed completely or whether they will be occupied for a certain period of time.”
The Chekiang-Kiangsi operations was on 30 April ordered to be undertaken at the earliest possible date and the 1st Hikodan supported it, primarily with bomber and reconnaissance sorties.
In order to reinforce the 1st Hikodan during its attacks against the airfields in the Chekiang Province, in early April the Japanese Southern Army was directed to send the 62nd Sentai (28 heavy bombers) and the 90th Sentai (20 light bombers) to central China.
8 April 1942
Soon after midday on 8 April the 3rd Chutai of the 64th Sentai led by Captain Katsumi Anma (at least 12 victories) headed for Loiwing. In the formation several of the pilots were inexperienced new arrivals. The radar operator at Loiwing detected the raid in good time; hence eight of the new P-40Es were scrambled and gained altitude over the airfield (these aircraft had been ferried across India from the Middle East, during March, by pilots of the 2nd and 3rd AVG Squadrons). Four more were scrambled before the attack began and, as the eight Ki-43s swept in low to strafe the airfield, a further three got off. Both sides gravely over estimated the strength of the opposition, the Americans reporting 30 ‘Model 0s’ while the Japanese believed that they were attacked by 20 or more P-40s.
The first eight P-40s to take off, by then high in the sky, dived from the clouds to hit the Ki-43s: Flight Leader Fritz Wolf (two), Ed Overend, Cliff Groh, Squadron Leader Arvid Olson, Flight Leader Bob Little and John Donovan claimed seven shot down, one probable and seven damaged between them. It seems that the pilots who had got off later probably attacked at the same time, from lower level: Flight Leader Bill Reed claimed one (not officially allowed however) before two others shot the windscreen off his aircraft. Within five minutes, five more were claimed, two of them by Flight Leader Robert T. Smith, who also claimed a probable and three damaged, two and a damaged by Flight Leader Chauncey ‘Link’ Laughlin, and another by Fred Hodges to bring total official claims to 12:2:11. Of his victories, Smith wrote:
"It was the most thrilling experience I've ever had. I picked a 'Zero' (sic) that was just completing a strafing run. I opened fire at about 300 yards. I couldn't miss, and the 'Zero' flipped over on its side and dove for the ground, crashing in a ball of flame. I spotted another 'Zero' just starting a strafing run. I could see my tracers flying wildly all around him, until I kicked the rudder and saw them finding their mark; smoke and flame poured from his engine, and that was that."Pilot Officer Ricky Chadwick of 17 Squadron had led a section of three Hurricanes into the air as the raid approached, the pilots briefed to engage any bombers which might have been accompanying the fighters. Sergeant Barrick was in the air when the attack occurred but could not lose altitude fast enough to join the fight. At first he thought he could see bombs falling on the airfield, but then realised that the explosions were aircraft crashing, nearly all of which fell within the Lashio perimeter. The interception had upset the Japanese attack, which succeeded only in the destruction of two P-40s and damage to an unserviceable Blenheim.
During the day U.S. Col. William D. Old made the first Air Transport Command (ATC) flight over the hump in route between India and southern China.
9 April 1942
A small formation of Japanese fighters, identified as one Ki-43 and four Ki-27s, strafed Loiwing again early in the morning; five AVG P-40s suffered some damage but none got off the ground (some RAF Hurricanes were however scrambled).
10 April 1942
On 10 April 1942 Lieutenant Colonel Tateo Kato led his Hayabusas from Chiang Mai on early morning strike on the Loiwing airfield, the base of the AVG's 2nd and 3rd Squadrons and a RAF Squadron. Of the eleven Hayabusas that were prepared to take three were disabled when their pilots taxied into one another in the darkness while preparing to take-off. That left eight fighters to lift off at 03:45 and three of those turned back with engine trouble.
At 06:10 the five fighters arrived over the enemy field where 23 P-40s were counted, parked side by side, prior to the attack. Kato waggled his wings, turned of his navigation lights, and dove to the attack. The attack was a complete surprise and the 64th Sentai pilots actually saw the enemy airmen running across the field. The Hayabusas strafed the field repeatedly, but they failed to set any of the fighters alight. Finally Kato turned on his navigation lights and waggled his wings for the flight home. To the astonishment of his pilots, he then fired a burst from his machine guns. Back at Chiang Mai, Lieutenant Hinou asked Kato about this unusual signal, and the Colonel admitted that he had strafed Loiwing with dead guns. Reaching to turn off his navigation light, Kato had hit the main switch instead, and did not realize the error until he tried to turn the lights on again; he had fired his guns to convince himself that he had really done this stupid thing.
Kato’s pilots were convinced that they had torn a great swath through the enemy air force, though they were puzzled why the planes did not burn. (They finally decided that the Americans had drained the gasoline from their planes overnight.) 64th Sentai claimed at least 15 of the American fighters destroyed on the ground but in fact, the damage at Loiwing was trivial. Of twenty-three fighters on the field that morning - thirteen Tomahawks, seven Kittyhawks, and three Hurricanes - fewer than half were hit, and only one was so badly damaged that it could not be put back into commission.
With just one hour's delay, the AVG fighters were up showing the twelve-pointed CAF star over the Chinese lines.
When Kato returned to Chiang Mai he decided to make another raid on Loiwing during the afternoon. This raid consisted of nine Hayabusas. The AVG warning net picked them up at 14:30 near Lashio and the alarm sounded at Loiwing at 14:45. Seven Tomahawks took off, but one returned back with a loose oil cap; the others climbed through the clouds to 25,000 feet. They patrolled for half an hour, and then got word that the Japanese fighters were over the field. Four RAF Hurricanes from 17 Squadron were also up on patrol but it has not been possible to verify from which base they operated. The Allied fighters intercepted the lower flying Ki-43s.
In the ensuing clash 'Bob' Brouk of the AVG probably shot down Sergeant Major Eikichi Misago (NCO82), Lieutenant Hinoki was almost certainly wounded by Robert T. Smith (AVG) and his aircraft was seriously damaged although he managed to return to Chiang Mai.
Kato and Sergeant Yoshito Yasuda claimed one Tomahawk each but since none were lost it seems that they were two Hurricanes, which in fact were lost. Second Lieutenant Gordon Peter, SAAF, saw Sergeant Barrick shoot down one Ki-43, after which the South African dived on two others, which were trying to get on the tail of Barrick's aircraft. Before he could open fire however, he was attacked by another Ki-43, which thoroughly shot-up his Hurricane. Badly wounded, Peter was able to bale out of the stricken BH121 and, as soon as he was located, was rushed to Nalmkalm Hospital. Meanwhile Barrick, having watched his victim crash, was jumped by two others (as witnessed by Peter). He managed to get some strikes on one of these before his own aircraft (BG824) was hit in the engine, which stopped. Hot oil from the damaged engine spurted into the cockpit, burning his face, chest and arms, while shrapnel splinters inflicted minor wounds. Almost blinded by oil, and without the aid of flaps, Barrick managed to force-land the Hurricane on the side of a hill, but struck his head on the gunsight in the process. Despite the pain of his injuries he was aware of a native shouting to him and pointing skywards. He was able to scramble from the cockpit and dive for cover just as his victor came down to strafe the Hurricane.
The other two Hurricane pilots, Pilot Officer Earnshaw and Sergeant Gibson claimed one destroyed and one damaged respectively one damaged.
As soon as he was able Kato broke of the engagement and headed for home. Knowing that the Japanese pilots tended to relax when the heat was off, they were followed by the American pilots. Chuck Older and Duke Hedman intercepted the Ki-43 flown by Sergeant Yasuda and damaged it but the pilot was able to limped back home with his stricken fighter. Smith shot down Sergeant Major Tsutomu Goto (NCO77).
Totally in this combat the 64th Sentai claimed two aircraft and lost two aircraft and got two damaged. 17 Squadron claimed two and one damaged while losing two Hurricanes. The AVG claimed three and didn't sustain any losses.
12 April 1942
On 12 April two P-40s flown by 2nd Squadron pilots, Squadron Leader Tex Hill and his wingman, Peter Wright, encountered ten unescorted Japanese bombers 10 miles north of Toungoo, which they identified as 'Army 98s', one of which was claimed shot down by Wright. The two pilots then strafed the airfield, where Hill claimed two bombers on the ground and Wright another.
18 April 1942
At 13:00 Flight Leader Bob Brouk and his wingman, Bob Prescott, of the AVG's 1st Squadron, intercepted a "white-painted Army 98" reconnaissance aircraft - probably a Ki-46 - over the Loiwing/Lashio area and claimed to have shot this down.
20 April 1942
At 06:30 on 20 April Vice-Squadron Leader Rector and Flight Leader Hedman, of the 2nd and 3rd Squadrons respectively, jointly intercepted and shot down a Ki-15 of the 8th Sentai, which was on a reconnaissance over Pyinmana; Lieutenant Akira Fujimori and his pilot were both killed.
21 April 1942
At 09:30 on 21 April P-40s intercepted a reported ten fighters which had just attacked Namsang airfield; one of these was claimed damaged by Flight Leader Tom Jones 15 miles south of Pyawbwe.
24 April 1942
A USAAF C-47, which had just delivered a load of fuel and ammunition for the AVG at Lashio, was intercepted on its return flight by a fighter identified as a 'Zero'. Captain Don Olds, the co-pilot, took the transport down to treetop height to frustrate the Japanese pilot's attacks, while Colonel Caleb B. Haynes went back down the fuselage to help other members of the crew attempt to ward off the attacks with sub-machine guns; on this occasion the aircraft managed to escape damage.
During a sortie between 09:50 – 12:30 Squadron Leader Tex Hill, Vice-Squadron Leader Ed Rector, Flight Leader John Petach and Peter Wright of the 2nd AVG Squadron, intercepted and, between them, claimed to have shot down a 'Type 98' bomber over Loilem.
The vice-commander of the 24th PS (P-43As), Wu Zhenhua, crashed during a flight between Karachi and Kunming.
25 April 1942
On 25 April a reconnaissance mission was flown to Kweilin by the 54th Sentai. During the mission Sergeant Major Kazuka Kobayashi (NCO82) was obliged to force-land near Kweilin. Captain Toshio Dozono (Class 50), CO of the 2nd chutai, landed alongside in an effort to rescue him, but in the event both pilots were captured..
During a sortie between 14:30 – 17:00 Flight Leaders Robert T. Smith, John Petach, Lewis Bishop and Link Laughlin of the 3rd AVG Squadron reported meeting an 'Army 98', some 75-80 miles south of Lashio, which they shared in shooting down with Peter Wright of the 2nd AVG Squadron. Petach and Wright then joined Smith, Robert Raines and Freeman Ricketts in shooting down another, identified as either an 'Army 97' or 'Army 98', which fell in the same area.
Raines made the third claim, alone, for a single-engined aircraft 10 miles south of Loilem, identified as either a fighter or a reconnaissance aircraft.
26 April 1942
During the day two 3rd Squadron pilots reported an engagement with fighters, identified as 'Model 0s', 20 miles south-east of Lashio, when Vice-Squadron Leader Dupouy and his wingman, John Donovan, each claimed one probably shot down.
28 April 1942
As 28 April was known to be the day before the Emperor of Japan's birthday, Chennault anticipated a big attack on Loiwing on this date. His prediction became a reality when, at 10:30, two dozen Ki-21s of the 12th Sentai and 20 escorting Ki-43s of the 64th Sentai approached, to find the AVG already up and waiting for them in strength. As the P-40s attacked, First Lieutenant Masashi Kataoka (Class 53) was shot down and killed, while Corporal Y. Hirano was shot-up and reportedly collided with a pursuing P-40, both pilots baling out; Hirano returned to his base, on foot, six days later but there is no record of an AVG aircraft having been lost on this date, apart from that flown by Robert T. Smith, which ran out of fuel.
The AVG pilots claimed no fewer than 15 'Model 0s' shot down, plus one probable and two damaged. Apparently they had all dived and attacked at once, probably all firing together at the same pair of aircraft. Their claims were: 2nd Squadron: Squadron Leader Tex Hill two, Flight Leader Lewis Bishop four and Flight Leader Tom Jones one: 3rd Squadron: Flight Leader Ken Jernstedt one, Flight Leader Charles Older two, Flight Leader Robert T. Smith one, Flight Leader Tom Haywood and Vice-Squadron Leader Parker Dupouy one shared, Ed Overend one and one damaged, Frank Adkins one, Flight Leader Paul Greene one and one damaged, Squadron Leader Arvid Olson one probable.
Chinese Air Force
In early May the Japanese seized three key points in Burma which cut the Burma Road. To maintain uninterrupted supply to China of strategic materials requested by the Kuomintang government, the US leaders agreed to organise an air-bridge, which received the name ”the Hump”. Transport aviation units of the American army and the air transport section of the Chinese Air Company flew it. During 1942-1945 the Chinese received 100 transport aircraft from the USA, 77 C-47 Dakotas and 23 C-46 Commandos.
Between India, Burma and China there began to operate an airlift of unimaginable scale. In the west ”the Hump” began in India and passed over the mountains of Yongnan and a series of spines to the Sichuan Province. After the opening of the air route, it became for the Chinese a true “road of life”. The quantity of cargo transported reached 7000 tons every month. According to Chinese records, from May 1942 to September 1945, a total of 650,000 tons were transported, of which Chinese pilots accomplished 75,000 tons (about 12%). 33,400 people were also transported in both directions. Totally 1.5 million flight hours were flown.
In spite of poor weather conditions, with inadequate navigational resources (there were not enough navigators for all the groups) the American and Chinese pilots day by day transported cargo to Chengdu, Kunming, and other cities. The air-bridge continued until the end of the war.
The flights suffered large losses due to bad weather, failures of equipment and Japanese fighters. In all, 468 American and 46 Chinese crews were lost with totally over one and a half thousand aviators. Monthly losses reached 50% of committed aircraft.
”The Hump” became the largest strategic air-bridge in the world and wasn’t exceeded until the Berlin Airlift in 1948-49.
On 3 May two I-153s of the 26th PS were sent to the Chanximaogong region (on the Burmese border) to take part in the battle against the drug growers (evidently reconnaissance and aerial destruction of the opium plantations).
On 3 May, four more P-40Es arrived at Dinjan airfield, en route for the AVG at Kunming, having been ferried from the Middle East. In mid April five such aircraft had departed Ismailia (Egypt) in the hands of three RAF ferry pilots of the Air Delivery Unit – Pilot Officers Jim Pickering and Bob Brookman, together with Sergeant Len Davies - and two USAAF pilots, led by an ADU Blenheim. At Habbaniya one of the American-flown P-40Es became unserviceable, while at Sharjah a second one also dropped out; however, the remaining three were joined by another, flown by Lieutenant Hans Werbke, USAAF, which had been delayed from an earlier delivery flight.
On arrival at Dinjan, Pilot Officer Pickering (the formation leader) was confronted by Colonel Robert Scott, USAAF, Executive Officer of the ABC (American-British-Chinese) Ferrying Command:
"He tried to commandeer one of my aircraft, but I wouldn't agree. He pulled rank on Lt Werbke and took his aircraft, so honour was satisfied all round."Of the incident, Colonel Scott wrote:
"Number 41-1456 stayed with me. It was mine and I was proud of it. I found a painter. Buying red and white paint from the village, I had him paint the shark's mouth on the lower nose.
Very proudly I taxied out for my first take-off. All around me on the airdrome I could feel the jealous eyes of every American and British pilot - or at least my ego thought it felt their looks."
3 May 1942
Squadron Leader Bob Neale, of the 1st AVG Squadron, intercepted a single-engined bomber or observation aircraft 10-15 miles north-east of Lungling, at 14:20, which he claimed to have shot down for his 13th personal victory.
Meantime, Flight Leader Jones of the 3rd AVG Squadron flew a photo-reconnaissance to Hanoi and, on return, reported an estimated 40 'Model 0s' parked at the city's airport. A strike by four bomb-carrying P-40Es was therefore planned for the morrow.
4 May 1942
The JAAF launched an offensive against the nearest AVG airfield at Paoshan (just across the border in China), bombs from 98th Sentai Ki-21s falling mainly on the town where, amongst others, AVG pilot Ben Foshee was fatally wounded. Only two P-40s were able to get off in time to intercept, as there had been no warning of the raid. Squadron Leader Charles R. Bond was able to break through the fighter screen, provided by the 64th Sentai, and shoot down one of the bombers at 11:30 before he was shot down over the airfield, baling out slightly burned. Two other bombers returned with three wounded aboard.
5 May 1942
A larger attack was launched against Paoshan, when the 27th Sentai despatched its light bombers, escorted by 11th Sentai Ki-27s and 64th Sentai Ki-43s. Intercepting at 13:00, 1st and 2nd AVG Squadron P-40 pilots claimed seven shot down and three probables - all misidentified the single-engined, fixed-undercarriage, bombers of the 27th Sentai as ‘I-97s’ (Ki-27s). The Japanese suffered five losses during this raid, comprising three 11th Sentai Ki-27s (Sergeant Major Yoshio Sudo (Sho-2), Sergeant Major Kan-ichi Suzuki (NCO75) and Sergeant Major Nobuo Hiura) and two 27th Sentai bombers. One victory was claimed by the 64th Sentai and two by the 11th, one of them the first for Sergeant Takeo Takahashi (totally at least 13 victories). One of the Ki-43s was badly damaged in a landing accident on return.
AVG claims were: 1st Squadron: Flight Leader Matt Kuykendahl one ‘I-97’; 2nd Squadron: Squadron Leader Tex Hill one ‘Zero’; Flight Leader Frank Schiel one fighter; Flight Leader John Bright one ‘I-97’ and one probable; Flight Leader Frank Lawlor two ‘I-97s’; Freeman Ricketts one ‘Zero’ and one ‘I-97’ probable; Ray Hastey one fighter probable. Both Schiel and Hastey failed to return following this engagement, the former having been forced down; after a three-day trek he reached the AVG base at Yunnanyi, which was also the home of a Chinese flight school. Hastey had run out of fuel and baled out 40 miles from the airfield, returning five days later on the back of a mule.
During the morning Lashio was visited by a lone P-40E, in the hands of Colonel Scott. As he approached the occupied airfield, he spotted a twin-engined ‘Army 97’' bomber parked in the north-west corner and dived to attack:
"My first shots hit the front of the plane. I turned for a second attack. This time I did better. I saw my tracers go into the fuselage and then into the engines. It was on fire."
7 May 1942
During the day, Japanese armoured units reached the west bank of the Salween, the AVG being called upon to delay their crossing into China. Four P-40Es loaded with 500 lb bombs flew from Kunming to attack, protected by four P-40Bs. Four more, armed with Chinese 35 lb bombs, then repeated the strike; the Japanese force was badly damaged, which allowed the Chinese to cross the river and counter-attack. One bomb was reported to have destroyed a headquarters, while the Chinese troops estimated that they killed more than 2,000, driving the survivors back over the frontier.
9 May 1942
During a sortie between 14:40 – 16:20 Squadron Leader Neale and Bill Bartling of the 1st AVG Squadron intercepted a single-engined reconnaissance aircraft, 60 miles south-west of Kunming, which Bartling reported shooting down into a lake.
Colonel Scott (in his 'private' P-40E) made four flights into Burma during the day, the first of these escorting two C-47s to Paoshan. Shortly after he had departed, Paoshan was subjected to an air raid but little damage resulted and no interceptions were made. Scott flew to Lashio and carried out a strafing run, his own aircraft sustaining a few bullet strikes. By the end of the day, having returned to Dinjan three times to refuel and re-arm, Scott had logged no less than ten hours flying.
12 May 1942
Chen Lokun, flight commander of the 24th PS (P-43A Lancer), was killed during a training flight when he crashed into a tree during landing at Kunming.
AVG P-40s from the 2nd and 3rd Squadrons flew south deep into Indo-China on this date, to attack Gialam airfield at Hanoi at 17:35. Flight Leaders Tom Jones, Lewis Bishop and Frank Schiel of the 2nd, together with Link Laughlin and John Donovan of the 3rd, each claimed three aircraft destroyed on the ground. 14 of these were fighters, the other - claimed by Laughlin - being identified as a transport. However, Donovan's aircraft was hit by AA fire and crashed, killing the pilot.
B-17s of the 10th AF US Army flew their first mission in direct defence of the air cargo line to China when four B-17s from Dum Dum Airfield, India, heavily damaged the runways and set fire to several parked aircraft at Myitkyina, Burma. Myitkyina, which fell to the Japanese on 8 May, posed a serious fighter threat to the Allied base at Dinjan.
15 May 1942
During the night between 15 and 16 May a most unusual 'bomber' headed towards Hanoi; it was in fact a US Transport Command C-47, in the hands of Lieutenant William Grube. Aided and abetted by his co-pilot, Lieutenant Jack Krofoed, and accompanied by Lieutenant Dick Peret, AVG engineering officer, and Sergeant Roy Hoffman, the transport aircraft set out on its unauthorised bombing sortie against Hanoi, arriving over the city at about 04:00. On board were clusters of Chinese incendiary bombs, a few French 50 and 100 pounders and some Russian 250 lb bombs - all 'stolen' from the Chinese armoury at Kunming! The bombs had to be armed individually prior to being thrown or rolled out of the cabin door, as the aircraft circled over Hanoi at 11,000 feet! Running low on fuel as he struggled to find Kunming on the return flight, Grube was forced to feather one engine to save fuel before the airfield was sighted at 08:30.
16 May 1942
Flight Leader Tom Jones of the AVG's 2nd Squadron lost his life during the day, when his P-40E crashed while he was practising dive-bombing.
17 May 1942
Squadron Leader Lewis Bishop of the 2nd AVG Squadron was shot down in flames by AA fire during a bombing attack on the railway yards at Lackay.
Bishop came down safely but landed in the occupied town and was immediately captured.
During the night between 17 and 18 May Lieutenant William Grube with his crew set out to repeat the raid on Hanoi but missed this town, so bombed Haiphong instead.
News of the sorties soon reached Colonel Chennault, who promptly put a stop to any further such flights.
21 May 1942
During an attack on Jionglai on 21 May 1942 Japanese aircraft set fire to six I-15bis of the 11th PG.
22 May 1942
During the morning P-40s were sent to attack Japanese emplacements near Paoshan, along the Salween. AA fire struck the aircraft flown by Flight Leader Bob Little of the 1st AVG Squadron, shooting away the right wing, causing another of the AVG's leading 'aces' to crash to his death.
Chinese Air Force
The 3rd PG sent pilots to India to receive the P-66s from the middle of June 1942, and during a half year received 60 machines, though they only kept 15. The remainders beginning in September were transferred to the 5th and 11th PGs.
During the middle of 1942, the largest share of the remaining SBs was concentrated on the Burmese border for battle against the local Opium Kings. The American and Chinese commands were trying to do something about the spread of narcotics addiction in the armed forces, which was sapping the strength of the army.
In June-July 1942, the 12th BS completed nine reconnaissance and bombing missions against the poppy plantations. They flew in mixed groups of SBs, Corsairs and Douglases. The bombers also supported the ground forces defending positions on the Chinese-Indian border.
A U.S. status report from 4 June, advised the Chinese that 87 P-43s had been received, 58 assembled, 54 tested and the same number delivered to the Chinese at Karachi. Two P-43s had been lost during test flights.
The same report stated that 20 P-66s had been received but none delivered to the CAF.
US Army Air Force
On 4 June the 11th BS (Medium), 7th BG (Heavy) was established at Kunming, China with B-25s.
On 28 June a detachment of B-25s were sent to Dinjan, India.
Two days later, on 30 June, B-25 detachments were sent to Kweilin, Hengyang and Nanning.
The 16th FS, 51st FG, moved from Karachi, India to Kunming on 27 June with P-40s.
During May – June 1942 the 10th I F Chutai converted to the Nakajima Ki-43 at Akeno.
3 June 1942
A flight of six B-25s of the 11th BS (Medium), 7th BG (Heavy), earmarked for China, took off from Dinjan, India for China. They bombed Lashio, Burma en route to Kunming, but afterward three crashed into an overcast-hidden mountain at 10,000 feet (3,048 m) and another was abandoned when it run out of fuel near Chan-i, China. The remaining two B-25s reached Kunming, China, one with its radio operator killed by a fighter.
12 June 1942
On 12 June 13 Japanese fighters from the 54th Sentai and the 84th I F Chutai attacked Kweilin claiming 5 destroyed and four probables for the loss of three fighters. The 3rd chutai of the 54th Sentai engaged P-40s over Kweilin claiming three and two probables.
The pilots killed were Second Lieutenant Jiro Ieiri (Sho-1) and Sergeant Major Misao Yamada (Sho-4) of the 84th I F Chutai and Sergeant Kunihiro Nakano (NCOR) of the 54th Sentai.
They had been opposed by the 1st AVG Squadron, which claimed 9 and 4 probables in this combat.
22 June 1942
The 54th Sentai took part in a raid on Henyang and lost First Lieutenant Mitsunori Akiyama (Class 54).
The unit took part in three combats over Henyang and Nanchang on 22 June, 3 and 4 July, claiming three P-40s destroyed and two probables while losing five aircraft (three pilots killed) in these raids.
They had been opposed by the 1st and 3rd AVG Squadrons, which claimed 3 destroyed and 3 probables in this combat.
Duuring a sortie between 14:30 – 15:30 Vice-Squadron Leader Frank Schiel claimed an Ki-27 10-15 miles north of Hengyang airfield.
Chinese Air Force
In the middle of July the 17th PS (I-153s) returned to Chengdu, but it is unclear whether they took part in opposing air attacks at the end of August 1942.
At this time the city was defended by seven I-16s of the 29th PS.
In July, Major Cheng Hsiao-Yu, CO of the 4th PG, was killed when his P-43 for unknown reasons caught fire in the air and crashed.
US Army Air Force
On 4 July China Air Task Force (CATF) was activated under the command of Brigadier General Clare Chennault. This new command was the successor to Chennault's American Volunteer Group (AVG). The CATF was part of the 10th AF.
Only 5 pilots and a few ground personnel of the AVG opted to join the USAAF, although 20 other pilots agreed to stay until replacements arrived in Kunming.
The combat elements of CATF were:
23rd FG at Kunming (CO Colonel Robert L Scott Jr) with 74th and 76th Fighter Squadrons at Kunming with P-40s and 75th FS at Hengyang with P-40s; all units were activated on 4 July.
16th FS, 51st FG attached to 23rd FG at Kunming with P-40s.
11th BS (Medium) (CO Colonel Caleb V Haynes), 7th BG (Heavy), at Kunming and with a detachment at Kweilin, Hengyang and Nanning with B-25s.
The detachments of 11th BS (Medium) operating from Kweilin, Hengyang and Nanning with B-25s returned to Kunming on 20 July.
On 25 July the 76th FS moved to Kweilin.
On 15 July the India-China Ferrying Command was activated to replace the Assam-Burma-China Command.
1 July 1942
On 1 July four B-25s of the 11th BS (Medium) from Hengyang, escorted by P-40s, bombed docks at Hankou. Bad weather handicapped the bombardiers and the effects of the raid were inconsequential.
2 July 1942
B-25s and P-40s hit the Hankou dock area for a second consecutive day. This raid was more successful than the first and caused considerable damage. The Japanese retaliated during the night by attacking Hengyang but failed to hit the airfield.
3 July 1942
10th AF aircraft bombed and strafed the airfield at Nanchang, the probable base of the previous night’s raiders on Hengyang; several parked aircraft were claimed destroyed.
This was five B-25s from 11th BS that took off at about 09:00 from Hengyang led by Major Basye into doubtful weather to attack Nanchang. They climbed up over the overcast and as they approached their target one and a half hour later, it looked like they would be unable to find their target because of near-solid overcast. When they hit the river, which flows along the west side of their target, a large hole revealed the airdrome clearly. They dove clown to an altitude of about 2,500 feet and released their bombs over the large hangers and ramps. Heavy anti-aircraft of large calibre began to close in on their line of flight prompting Major Basye to manoeuvre violently and climb back up over the overcast. As the bombers levelled off at the above course, Lieutenant Crouch came out over the command frequency, ”I see red spots and they are right over us!” One came from below and was halted in his attack by Staff Sergeant Adam R. Williams as he got too close and Williams got him as he tried to pull away.
Two hours and a half after take-off, they were back at the base. Besides the one confirmed which Williams got in the air, the raid destroyed six confirmed and several probables on the ground.
Taking part in this raid was also P-40s from the 3rd AVG Squadron, which engaged the attacking Japanese fighters. They also claimed 2 destroyed and 1 destroyed on the ground. Jerry Bolster, in making good his promise to go down and strafe if the bombers did a good job, got his oil cooler punctured by small calibre anti-aircraft and only managed to get to friendly lines before being forced to bail out.
Japanese fighters intercepted the raid over Nanchang, including Ki-27s from the 54th Sentai.
The 54th Sentai took part in combats over Hengyang and Nanchang on 22 June, 3 and 4 July, claiming three P-40s destroyed and two probables while losing five aircraft (three pilots killed) in these raids.
The 10th I F Chutai also took part in these combats claiming a number of victories (at least six were claimed on 3 July and 5 August).
No American aircraft seems to have been lost during this attack.
On 11 November, one of the B-25 crews (Pilot 1st Lieutenant Charles D. Jantzen, Co-pilot 2nd Lieutenant Lloyd N. Kindall, Jr., Navigator 2nd Lieutenant Vincent J. Scally, Bombardier 2nd Lieutenant Robert E. Davis, Engineer Sergeant John Bayley, Radio operator Sergeant Patrick Boudreaux) was decorated with the Silver Star for their part in this mission. The citation stating:
“On July 3, 1942, the above crew participated in a raid against an enemy held airdrome at Nan Chang, China. Because of unfavourable weather, it was necessary to attack at low altitude to insure the success of the mission, and although opposed by anti-aircraft fire and harassed by six enemy fighters, the attack was pressed home, resulting in the certain destruction of six airplanes on the ground and serious damage to runways and enemy ground installations. Such gallantry in action when opposed by both ground fire and enemy fighters is characteristic of the finest traditions of the Army Air Forces."
During the night Japanese aircraft again attacked Hengyang and once more failed to hit the airfield.
The 11th BS reported that it was three Japanese bombers and they arrived an hour earlier than the previous night. Again, they made a wide circle of the field and again the bombs went to the right of the mark.
The 11th BS then moved back to Kweilin.
4 July 1942
Early in the morning Mitsubishi Ki-21s from the 62nd Sentai attacked Hengyang and the dispersal field at Lingling.
A third raid was reported at first light and AVG fighters scrambled at 06:00. The 2nd Squadron were patrolling at 18,000 feet when the spotted Ki-27s bellow and dived to attack. Vice-Squadron Leader Edward Rector claimed one and one probable while Squadron Leader James Howard claimed one Ki-27. Flight Leader Charles Sawyer (of the 1st AVG Squadron) claimed one Ki-27 and one more as a damaged and Van Shapard (one of the newly attached flight instructors) claimed one Ki-27. Squadron Leader Robert Neale and another pilot had been stationed at Lingling overnight, and they flew up to Hengyang to lend a hand. Arriving over the airfield at 13,000 feet, they saw a dozen enemy fighters above them. In the ensuing combat Neale claimed two Ki-27s as probables.
The 54th Sentai took part in this raid on Hengyang with 12 Ki-27s and lost 1st Lieutenant Keiji Fujino (Class 54) and Sergeant Yoshio Yamada (NCO84).
The unit took part in three combats over Hengyang and Nanchang on 22 June, 3 and 4 July, claiming three P-40s destroyed and two probables while losing five aircraft (three pilots killed) in these raids.
The 10th I F Chutai also took part in these raids.
During the day five B-25s of the 11th BS (Medium), with fighter escort, heavily damaged buildings, runways and parked aircraft at Tien Ho Airfield.
6 July 1942
On 6 July B-25s of the 11th BS (Medium) attacked the waterfront at Canton, marking their initial action against coastal facilities of Japanese-held Chinese ports.
During the raid the 2nd AVG Squadron claimed 2 destroyed and 1 probable.
8 July 1942
On 8 July a single B-25 of the 11th BS (Medium) flown by Colonel Caleb V Haynes (CO) attacked a Japanese HQ at Tengchung near the Burma border.
After this bad weather, pilot fatigue and maintenance halt major operations for several days.
9 July 1942
Flight Leader Peter Wright of the 2nd AVG Squadron claimed a reconaissance bomber 100-200 kilometers north-east of Hengyang.
This seems to have been the AVG’s last combat claim.
16 July 1942
Four B-25s of the 11th BS (Medium) from Kweilin (Hengyang according to some sources), with P-40 escort, attacked a storage area with docks and godowns at Hankou, starting a fire that was later reported to have burned for three days.
The B-25s were led by General Haynes with wingmen Captain Sheldon, Captain Blair M. Sorenson and Lieutenant C. H. Hagan and landed at Hengyang during the return flight to refuel.
The bombers were about half-gassed when an alert sounded- the signal for all aircraft to take-off and go to the dispersal field, Lingling about 100 miles south of Hengyang. One crew experienced unexpected difficulties on the way to Lingling. This was the crew of No. 72, a B-25C, which included:
Captain Skeldon, Pilot
1st Lieutenant S. E. Sewell, Co-pilot
2nd Lieutenant H. D. Hippert, Navigator
1st Lieutenant G. A. Stout, Bombardier
Technical Sergeant N. G. Stubblefield, Engineer-Gunner
Sergeant J. L. Soikowski, Radio-Gunner
The minute the alert sounded, gassing was stopped and the crew climbed aboard and took off. The weather was poor-low ceiling and thundershowers. When approximately 30 miles from Lingling, several P-40’s were observed. About 10 seconds later, a terrific burst of machinegun bullets poured through and around the ship. It looked like a Fourth of July celebration with the tracers tearing through the ship and past the nose. Stout came through the tunnel out of the nose in a single headlong dive. Stubblefield was in the turret trying futilely to make it fire, but like the left engine, it too was hit in the first burst and was inoperative. Approximately 20 seconds later (it seemed like an instant) the attacking fighter, wearing a shark’s nose, fired its second burst. This burst was worse than the first. It not only disabled the left engine, but also knocked Stubblefield out of the turret. A bullet glanced off his skull, leaving a very neat hole in his helmet. Somewhat in a semiconscious state, he managed to get into his chute. About that time, Skeldon had ordered the crew to bail out as he could no longer control the ship. All bailed out safely, though 1st Lieutenant Sewell made a somewhat delayed opening to prevent strafing and Captain Skeldon was reported down with the ship as he jumped at such a low altitude that his chute was not observed.
Some of the crew spent a cold, miserable night in the hut of a poor farmer. However, the other crew members were fortunate enough to land near the home of General Wong. Madame Wong had been saving several cans of good old USA canned beer for the first American flyer that she met. This, along with a few other luxuries was, to say the least, a pleasant surprise to be found in the heart of China where anything in a can is like a gift from heaven.
All personnel arrived the next afternoon at a little town about 20 miles t rom Lingling but located fortunately on one of China’s few railroads. Here the whole population turned out to see, some of them for the first time, the “mai gwa fiji”, or American flyers. The populace really feted and entertained them in the best Chines style. At every opportunity the Americans were required to make a speech with the aid of an interpreter.
That evening the crew boarded the train for Kweilin, the home base, and although not feeling very healthy arrived home glad to be alive.
It was not until arriving at Kweilin that they knew that it was a P-40 piloted by an AVG which had blasted them from the sky.
This was the first bomber lost since the CATF began operations in China.
According to some sources this combat and loss took place on 15 July.
On 11 November, one of the B-25 crews (Pilot 1st Lieutenant Robert B. Klemann, Co-pilot 2nd Lieutenant John Tyson, Navigator 2nd Lieutenant Arvis R. Kirkland, Bombardier 2nd Lieutenant Charles H. Dearth, Engineer Staff Sergeant Noble Brown, Gunner Staff Sergeant Adam R. Williams) was decorated with the Silver Star for their part in this mission. The citation stating:
“On July 16, 1942, the above crew participated in a raid against the Japanese concession in Hankow, China. The actual bombing of Hankow was performed in the face of heavy anti-aircraft fire, but so precisely did every member of this crew perform his assignment and duties, that every bomb dropped was seen to land directly in the target area. This one mission was responsible for the destruction of large quantities of gasoline and other war supplies in addition to several hundred casualties, and further resulted in shattering the enemy's confidence in their protection against air raids, as evidenced by Chinese Intelligence Reports confirming the results of the raid. Such gallantry in action in the face of heavy anti-aircraft fire while carrying out a successful attack in the area known to be defended by superior numbers of enemy fighters is characteristic of the finest traditions of the Army Air Forces.”
18 July 1942
Three B-25s of the 11th BS (Medium) from Kweilin attacked Tien Ho Airfield, Canton.
Six bombers were reportedly destroyed on the ground.
On 11 November, one of the B-25 crews (Pilot Major Bailey, Co-pilot 1st Lieutenant Elmer L. Tarbox, Navigator 2nd Lieutenant Joseph F. Dockwiller, Bombardier Sergeant Elden E. Shirley, Radio operator Sergeant Samuel 0. Koval, Engineer-Gunner Corporal Karl H. May) was decorated with the Silver Star for their part in this mission. The citation stating:
“On July 18, 1942, the above crew participated in a bombing mission against Tien Ho Airdrome, Canton, China. The actual bombing of the airdrome was performed in the face of anti-aircraft fire of heavy calibre, but so precisely did every member of this crew perform his duties that every bomb dropped was seen to land in the target area. This one mission was responsible for the total destruction of large quantities of supplies and equipment vital to the enemy. Such gallantry in action in the face of heavy anti-aircraft fire while carrying out a successful attack in an area known to be defended by a superior number of enemy fighters is characteristic of the finest traditions of the Army Air Forces.”Two more crews (Pilot 1st Lieutenant John C. Ruse, Co-pilot 2nd Lieutenant Mason O. Brown, Navigator 2nd Lieutenant Abe Schestopol, Bombardier Sergeant Frank Ralph, Engineer Staff Sergeant Charles H. Patton, Radio operator Sergeant Robert T. Schafer, Pilot Captain Everett W. Holstrom, Co-pilot 1st Lieutenant Crandall H. Hagan, Navigator 2nd Lieutenant Alton Peck, Bombardier Staff Sergeant Morris A. Paynter, Engineer Staff Sergeant. Earl D. Rhodes, Radio operator Sergeant William P. La Plant) also received the Silver Star at the same date:
“On July 18, 1942, the above crews participated in a bombing mission against Tien Ho Airdrome, Canton, China. The actual bombing of the airdrome was performed in the face of anti-aircraft fire of heavy calibre, but so precisely did every member of those crews perform his duties, that every bomb dropped was seen to land in the target area. This mission was responsible for the total destruction of at least six enemy bombers and damage to many others. Such gallantry in action in the face of heavy anti-aircraft fire while carrying out a successful attack in an area known to be defended by a superior number of enemy fighters is characteristic of the finest traditions of the Army Air Forces.”
19 July 1942
In response to a Chinese request, two B-25s of the 11th BS (Medium) attacked, in support of Chinese ground forces at Linchuan, a Japanese held city under siege for some time.
The Chinese commanding officer later reported that the raid broke the stalemate and the city was entered the following day.
20 July 1942
Three B-25s of the 11th BS (Medium) bombed and warehouses at Chinkiang on the Yangtze River. Four escorting P-40s strafed junks on the river.
This was the last CATF bombing raid of July.
30 July 1942
On 30 July a reported 120 Japanese aircraft attacked Hengyang, from which CATF was harassing the Yangtze Valley. The attacks lasted about 36 hours.
P-40s from the 75th and 16th Squadrons intercepted them and claimed seven and four probables for the loss of three P-40s. Totally 17 Japanese aircraft were claimed shot down (four of them at night).
27 Ki-43s from the 24th Sentai and 12 more from the 10th I F Chutai took part in these attacks, claiming three destroyed and one probably shot down for the loss of one Ki-43.
31 July 1942
The attacks continued on Hengyang. The P-40s from the 75th and 16th Squadrons scrambled at 06:30 and claimed six and two probables. From 16th FS, 2nd Lieutenant Dallas Clinger claimed one and one probable over Hengyang, Captain Edmund Gloss claimed an Army Zero over Hengyang and 1st Lieutenant John Lombard claimed a Zero near Leiyang. From 75th FS, Major John ‘Gil’ Bright claimed one and one probable Zero over Hengyang, 1st Lieutenant Henry Elias claimed a fighter over Hengyang and 2nd Lieutenant Mack Mitchell claimed a Zero in the Hengyang area. The 75th FS landed back again at 08:30.
At 09:09, Colonel Robert Scott attacked enemy aircraft eight miles from Leiyang and claimed a type 97 bomber and a Zero destroyed.
The 24th Sentai again took part in the attacks claiming six shot down, but three Ki-43s were lost when they disintegrated in the air and Sergeant Major Togo Tatsumi (NCO77), Corporal Tomoshige Yoshida (Sho-7) and Corporal Kunitoshi Samejima (Sho-7) were all killed.
Chinese Air Force
Concluding their conversion to the P-43A in early August 1942, the 4th PG returned to Chengdu.
Seven I-16IIIs of the 29th PS participated in battle at Chengdu at the end of August, but no details are known.
Another seven I-16s, led by the commander of the 29th PS, Wang Yin-Hua flew off to Lanzhou for defence of the city and airbase.
US Army Air Force
On 2 August a detachment of the 11th BS (Medium) began to operate from Nanning. The detachment returned to Kunming on 6 August.
On 15 August the HQ of the 341st BG (Medium) and the 490th and 491st BS (Medium) were activated at Karachi, India with B-25s; also assigned were the 11th BS at Kunming and the 22nd BS (Medium) at Karachi.
On 17 August the 16th FS moved from Kunming to Chungking while the 75th FS moved from Hengyang to Chanyi.
On 18 August Major General Clayton L Bissell became Commanding General 10th AF, relieving Brigadier General Earl L Naiden who now devoted full time to command of India-China Ferry Command under the 10th AF.
The 76th FS moved from Kweilin to Kunming on 18 August.
Subsequent to the occupation of captured areas in the Chekiang-Kiangsi Operation, by mid-August units of the 13th Army had destroyed the Yushan, Chuhsien and Lishui airfields. The Chinese, however, continued to reinforce the air force around Hengyang and Kweilin and, with the withdrawal of the 11th and 13th Armies, it was feared that using airfields in the Kiangsi and western Chekiang Provinces as staging areas, they would bomb the Japanese Homeland. The 1st Hikodan, therefore, in spite of the fact that its fighting strength was gradually diminishing, repeatedly attacked and damaged airfields in this area.
At the beginning of August 1942, the IJAAF in China was disposed as follows:
Headquarters, 1st Hikodan – Hankou
18th I F Chutai – Hankou (main force), Canton (three aircraft)
44th Sentai – Hangchou and Chuheien
83rd I F Chutai – Hangchou
8th Tokushu Kogekatai (?) – Nanching
54th Sentai – Hankou (one chutai), Nanching (two chutais)
10th I F Chutai – Canton
90th Sentai – Licheng (main force), Peiping (element)
24th Sentai – Canton
206th I F Shireibu – Peiping
Headquarters, 209th I F Unit – Nanchang (together with two reconnaissance chutais)
65th Sentai – Shanghai and Hangchou
62nd Sentai – Hsinyang (main force), Wuchang (element)
The 3rd Hikoshidan returned to Canton from Singapore on 6 August and was again placed under the command of the Commander in Chief of the China Expeditionary Army.
The Hikoshidan cooperated with the ground forces in China and at the same time was ordered to destroy the enemy air forces, which had advanced to the Hunanand Kwangsi Provinces. To do this the commander of the 1st Hikodan was ordered to advance to Canton and, using the main strength of the 18th I F Chutai, the 24th Sentai and the 10th I F Chutai, to destroy the enemy advancing into the Hunan and Kwangsi Provinces as soon as possible. Should this prove impossible, this force, using airfields in the Wuhan area, was to conduct sneak attacks against Chungking.
The 44th Sentai (with three Ki-15s and one chutai of the 54th Sentai attached) using Nanchang as its base, was charged with the responsibility of reporting movements of the enemy at the main airfields in the Kiangsi, Fukien and Chekiang Provinces and crushing the enemy’s attempt to attack Japan from the air. It was also, at the appropriate time, to cooperate with the 11th Army’s operations.
The 65th Sentai (with the 83rd I F Chutai attached) using Hangchou as its base, was to cooperate immediately with the 13th Army’s operation while the 206th I F Unit, from Yangchu, was to cooperate directly with the North China Army’s operation. The 54th Sentai (minus one chutai) was responsible for the air defence of the Wuhan sector.
The 90th Sentai was to continue night training at Peiping and Licheng while the 16th Sentai, upon it’s arrival in China from the Philippines, was to conduct night training exercises at Hsinhsiang and Anyang.
The 29th I F Unit was scheduled to be returned to Manchuria within a short time.
In the end of August the 55th I F Chutai (reconnaissance aircraft) and the 33rd Sentai arrived to China. The former unit was engaged in taking aerial pictures of the interior of China from its base in Kingmen, while the latter attacked the Kweilin-Liuchowhsien area from its base at Canton.
3 August 1942
The Group vice-commander of the 4th PG (P-43A Lancer) Chen Sheng was killed when he crashed with P-43 No. 1222 during a training flight.
4 August 1942
During the day American P-40s attacked the Japanese HQ at Linchwan and bombed HQ buildings and barracks and strafed transports.
5 August 1942
On 5 August the Japanese attacked Hengyang. The raid was notified well in advance by the Chinese warning net and P-40s from the 76th FS intercepted it claiming two fighters shot down. A third Japanese aircraft was claimed by ground fire.
The 24th Sentai took part in this attack, claiming nine shot down for the loss of two Ki-43s. One of the lost Ki-43s was flown by Lieutenant Tetsuji Watanabe (Class 52), CO of the 1st chutai while the second was flown by Sergeant Major Yukio Koshibara (NCO81).
The 10th I F Chutai also took part in these raids claiming a number of victories (at lest six were claimed on 3 July and 5 August).
6 August 1942
Four B-25s of the 11th BS (Medium) bombed Tien Ho Airfield, Canton, causing heavy damage to the runways and destroying several parked aircraft.
Reports were confirmed that twelve light bombers and six heavy bombers were destroyed on the ground, along with many probables and one barge loaded with troops! There could be only one explanation of this since the bomb string did not start until well onto the airport. It was the custom to carry six 40-lb. fragmentation bombs in the rear end of each bomber. These were in addition to the regular bomb load and an after-thought directed towards further discomfiture of the enemy. These bombs were thrown out by the bottom gunner at a signal of some sort, usually given by interphone. The signal being given, he would pull the pins and toss them out the camera hatch as quickly as possible, then return to his gunnery post.
On this particular mission, a military intelligence officer was riding in the back end of one of the B-25s. He cooked up a signal with Staff Sergeant Patrick Boudreaux, bottom gunner of the B-25 in which he was riding; he was to watch for the big bombs to fall and when they started he would kick Boudreaux, who would be crouching ”on the mark” with a bomb in his hand. At the kick, Boudreaux would leap into action. This was, theoretically, a good system, but the sudden turn onto the bombing run caught the observer off balance and he accidently kicked the bomb-dropper. Before he could stop him, Boudreaux had thrown out two bombs, and since the turn was made just before crossing the river, they must have hit the barge. Sergeant Boudreaux did not deny this possibility.
8 August 1942
Five B-25s of the 11th BS (Medium) bombed Tien Ho Airfield and other targets (including the Naval Headquarters) in the Canton area claiming direct hits on their targets.
Edward M. Cooning, turret gunner on the crew comprised of pilot 1st Lieutenant C. D. Jantzen, Co-pilot 2nd Lieutenant S. E. Sewell, Navigator 2nd Lieutenant A. R. Kirkland, Bombardier 2nd Lieutenant S. C. Dennis, Engineer Sergeant E. M. Cooning and Radio Operator Private L. N. Howell, claimed a probable ”Zero” over Canton.
Escorting P-40s from the 76th FS claimed two Japanese fighters shot down.
The Canton area offered many good military targets only an hour and a half flying time from 11th BS’s base and was situated so close to the enemy’s front lines that they seldom had any warning. These targets were well protected by anti-aircraft besides large concentrations of aircraft at the Tien Ho and satellite airports, which sometimes attempted interception.
9 August 1942
During the day P-40s of the 23rd FG continued to support Chinese ground forces by harassing the Japanese at Linchwan.
Four B-25s of the 11th BS (Medium) and three P-40s from the Kweilin-Hengyang area, staging through Nanning, attacked docks and warehouses at Haiphong, French Indochina, causing considerable damage and claiming a freighter sunk in the harbour.
This was the first CATF raid over French Indochina.
The 11th BS reports slightly different number and reports that five B-25s took off for the reportedly impossible raid against Haiphong. It was necessary to refuel at Nanking in South China before going on to the target. The five B-25s and six P-40s were refuelled out of five-gallon tins by Chinese with each crew standing by for immediate take-off. Nanning was only five minutes flying time from the enemy lines and it would have been difficult to scramble all the planes if the Japanese had picked up the raid. There was no interruption, however, and as soon as the gassing was done, everyone fired up and took off. The sky was about eight-tenths covered leading up to the target and there was some question whether the target could be found.
All doubts were soon dispelled when the formation roared across the edge of the overcast at 17,000 feet into perfectly clear weather with the dock and warehouse area laid out below as though by prearranged plan. The first flight of three made their run, the wing bombers dropping off to Major Morgan, who was the bombardier in Colonel Haynes’ lead bomber and the second flight with Lieutenant S. C. Dennis bombing for Captain Blair N. Sorenson in the lead bomber, made their run at a different angle just a few minutes later. All aircraft returned to Kunming, though their gas was very low. It had been a long flight and the weather had made it much longer since it closed in and the formation had to look for a hole to get to their base.
Later, intelligence reports stated that both strings of bombs were laid well within the target area and the whole area was completely gutted by fires which burned uncontrollably for three clays, being brought under control only when there was no longer any material left for the flames to work on. This area was never rebuilt by the Japanese.
10 August 1942
B-25s of the 11th BS (Medium) bombed Hankou. Afterwards the P-40 escorts, led by Colonel Robert L Scott (CO 23rd FG), attacked ammunition dumps and military warehouses at Sienning, causing heavy destruction of material which the Japanese have accumulated to use against Hengyang and other US bases in central China.
11 August 1942
During the day American P-40s hit airfields at Yoyang and Nanchang from which the Japanese had been attacking Hengyang.
17 August 1942
The 75th FS, 23rd FG, was at Kweilin en route to its new base at Chanyi when a Japanese intruder was reported by the warning net. Two P-40s and two P-43s (combat debut) scrambled. The P-40s were unable to intercept but both P-43s made contact. Lieutenant Phillip B. O’Connell got within range only to have his guns jam and then his radio to fail. Lieutenant Burrell Barnum then followed the speedy Japanese aircraft in a lengthy chase involving climbs, dives and straight runs until close to Canton. Barnum fired from long range but never got close enough to inflict serious damage. Barnum reported the ”I-45” to be equal in speed to the P-43 at 20,000ft.
Barnum most likely encountered a Mitsubishi Ki-46 from the independent 18th I F Chutai, which had three aircraft based at Canton.
26 August 1942
B-25s of the 11th BS (Medium), which have moved temporarily from central China to Yunnanyi, bombed Lashio, Burma, an important rail centre, highway junction and air base. Covering P-40s strafed numerous targets of opportunity and according to some sources claimed at least 2 Japanese fighters.
28 August 1942
During the day eight B-25s of the 11th BS (Medium) attacked targets in the French Indochina, hitting barracks and ammunition dumps at Hoang Su Phi and a fuel dump at Phu Lo In.
This was the largest force of B-25s used by CATF to date and the first B-25 mission flown without escort.
29 August 1942
B-25s of the 11th BS (Medium) attacked Lashio, Burma, during the day, scoring numerous hits on the airport and starting three large fires in a warehouse area south-east of the city.
30 August 1942
During the day Myitkyina, the northernmost Japanese supply depot and airfield in Burma, from which fighters could hit Dinjan, India (terminus of the Assam-Burma Ferry), was bombed for the first time by eight B-25s of the 11th BS (Medium).
The history of 11th BS reports slightly different number on participating B-25s when five B-25s, led by Colonel Haynes, left Kunming for an attack against Myitkyina, its airport and other installations. This target was the northernmost depot of Burma, supplying the Japanese troops operating in that part of Burma and basing aircraft used for attacks either on Yunnan Province, China, or on Assam, India. This meant also that it could be used as a base for operations against the U. S. Ferry route from India to China.
The first flight scored hits on the runways of the airfield, while the second flight laid its string directly across the soldiers’ barracks, after which the formation reformed and continued on to Dinjan, India, where bombs were loaded.
31 August 1942
B-25s of the 11th BS (Medium) bombed Myitkyina, Burma for the second consecutive day when the five B-25s returned from Dinjan to Kunming and bombed the target again.
Chinese Air Force
The 3rd PG (7th, 8th, 28th, 32nd PS) started to re-equip with the P-66 during September. The 7th PS began flying combat missions at Chungking during the same month.
The 21st PS (4th PG) re-equipped with P-43s in September.
In September three P-66s of the 5th PG, newly received from the USA, were attached to the 29th PS. The 17th PG started to re-equip with the P-66 at the same.
The American volunteers fought in China until the middle of September 1942. The Chinese write that “the Flying Tigers, thanks to the outstanding flying qualities of the P-40 and their high level of training, achieved superior results.” According to their count, from 20 December 1941 to the end of May 1942, the Tigers participated in more than 100 air battles and shot down or damaged 297 Japanese aircraft, while themselves losing 51 fighters. Analysis of actual data about Japanese losses gives a not quite so optimistic picture. In fact, the Flying Tigers shot down 31 aircraft (17 fighters, of which 14 were Ki-43 & 3 Ki-27 and 14 bombers). Their own losses in air combat consisted of 6 aircraft (5 Tomahawks and a Kittyhawk). All the other written-off machines were destroyed in accidents or through attacks on their airfields.
US Army Air Force
On 15 September the 11th BS (Heavy), 7th BG (Heavy) was redesignated to the 11th BS (Medium), 341st BG (Medium).
During September the 24th Sentai left China for Palembang, Sumatra, having claimed 17 victories (including six probables) for the loss of five pilots over China.
Toward the middle of September the 65th Sentai, which had suffered heavy casualties, was ordered back to Manchuria.
2 September 1942
On 2 September American P-40s hit barges and junks carrying rice in the Poyang Lake region, strafed HQ and runways at Nanchang Airfield, attacked railroad stations and warehouses at Hua Yuan, and sunk a launch, damaged four junks, and wrecked a train on Wuchang Peninsula.
3 September 1942
In the morning, the 24th Sentai and 10th I F Chutai strafed Henyang, Lingling and Kweilin, claiming 10 aircraft destroyed on the ground.
The raid was intercepted by American P-40s, which claimed three shot down, two probables and two damaged; all by the 75th FS.
Lieutenant Martin Cluck of the 75th FS aborted a reconnaissance mission with mechanical trouble. At low altitude near the base, he run into the Japanese raid and he was jumped by fighters, which riddled his fighter. Cluck landed safely and escaped from his aircraft but the P-43 was destroyed by strafing. A P-40 was also destroyed on the ground.
One B-25 of the 11th BS (Medium) dumped bombs and pamphlets on Hanoi in the first US raid against that city; munitions, supplies, and several parked aircraft were claimed destroyed or damaged.
Nine Japanese interceptors pursued the B-25 for about 30 miles (48 km) but failed to make contact.
The B-25 was flown by Major Basye, who took it on an armed reconnaissance against Hanoi. The object was to bomb the airport and gather information for further raids in greater force. Major Bailey, executive officer of the Bomber Command, acted as co-pilot, navigator and observer (flying officers held down all ground posts of the outfit as there were no ground officers to handle these jobs; executive officer, supply officer, engineering officer, all offices were handled by pilots). It was necessary to climb to 20,000 feet to get over the weather and the target was approached and the bombing run made at that altitude.
The weather was broken just enough at the target to permit a run to be made. However, frost had covered the bombardier’s windows to the extent that his bombsight was useless. Lieutenant George A. Stout was up to the which was a ball and socket swivel affair, and using his bombing data, conjectured his dropping angle. The target came into view through this port and Lieutenant Stout dropped his bombs squarely across the runways and a line of hangars which were on a line with the interception of the runways.
Major Bailey observed aircraft taking off below and Major Basye made his diving turn to leave the target behind as quickly as possible. About this time, Staff Sergeant Douglas V. Radney, top turret gunner, observed casually by way of interphone, that there were seven ”I-45s” hovering around above. As these planes started in, Staff Sergeant Radneypoured a burst into their midst, sending one smoking for a probable and scattering the rest of the timid enemy in all directions, just as Major Basye dove into a cloud formation for which he had been heading with all possible speed. He levelled off on instruments and, as the country did not permit safe instrument flying at too low an altitude, broke out shortly again into the open. Staff Sergeant Radney spied two of the uneager enemy fighters only slightly out of range. One moved in as though to come from beneath, but a few well-placed rounds from Sergeant Robert Schafer’s lower twin-thirties immediately discouraged him. Meanwhile, Staff Sergeant Radney was given occasion to fire several warning rounds at the other ”I-45”, which seemed unable to screw up the necessary courage for a pass. After this exchange, the shy enemy followed at a safe distance for some 30 minutes and then turned back for their home field, while the bomber completed its return flight to Kunming uneventfully. Lieutenant Stout’s bombing had reportedly destroyed nine light bombers on the ground at Hanoi.
On 11 November 1942, Staff Sergeant Radney was decorated with the Silver Star. The citation stating:
“On September 3, 1942, Staff Sergeant Radney was assigned and accompanied a reconnaissance mission from Kunming, China, to Hanoi, French Indo-China and return as top turret gunner. The weather enroute being unfavourable, it was necessary that search be made for the objective, which resulted in the reconnaissance plane being intercepted over Hanoi by nine Japanese twin engine fighters. A running fight ensued by Staff Sgt. Radney, who by his coolness, gunnery ability and devotion to duty, although opposed by odds of nine to one, prevented all enemy fighters from securing a position favourable for attack on his plane. It has further been confirmed by all members of the reconnaissance plane that one of the Japanese fighters by Staff Sgt. Radney was seen to peel out of the attacking formation with dense smoke pouring from one engine and was probably destroyed. Such devotion to duty on the part of Staff Sgt. Radney in the face of a numerically superior enemy force is in keeping with the best traditions of the Army Air Forces.”
For the next 3 weeks, bad weather and inaccurate Chinese weather forecasts severely limited bomber operations.
12 September 1942
Major Frank Schiel, CO of the 74th FS, flew a reconnaissance mission with a P-43 from Kunming to Hanoi. Three enemy fighters rose to intercept but Schiel avoided them and returned with information that led to a successful bombing mission a few days later.
Schiel was awarded the Silver Star for this mission.
19 September 1942
On 19 September B-25s of the 11th BS (Medium) attacked Lungling. The raid was ineffective due to bad weather but resulted in the discovery of much Japanese activity which further reconnaissance revealed as part of a heavy movement of enemy and supplies along the Burma Road toward the Salween front.
25 September 1942
In the afternoon four B-25s of the 11th BS (Medium), with an escort of ten P-40s, attacked Hanoi. The strike force was intercepted by ten Japanese fighters but the B-25s placed several bombs on the runway at Gia Lam Airfield. The P-40s claimed six Japanese fighters and two damaged.
It is possible that it was during this raid that radio-gunner Sergeant William LaPlant was credited with one ’Zero’ probably destroyed. He was part of a B-25 crew, which included:
1st Lieutenant Robert B. Klemann (pilot)
2nd Lieutenant Stewart E. Sewell (co-pilot)
2nd Lieutenant Rowland G. Hill (navigator)
Staff Sergeant Morris A. Paynter (bombardier)
Staff Sergeant Earl D. Rhodes (engineer)
Sergeant WilliamB. LaPlant (radio-gunner)
During the rest of September and early October the CATF bombers flew 11 missions to support Chinese ground forces attempting to hold the Japanese on the west bank of the Salween River.
26 September 1942
On 26 September four B-25s of the 11th BS (Medium) devastated the village of Luchiangpa in south-west China.
27 September 1942
On 27 September four B-25s of the 11th BS (Medium) over south-west China blasted Mengshih, claiming about 30 trucks and 400 troops destroyed. The B-25s also bombed Tengchung, leaving it aflame. Three flights of P-40s strafed targets of opportunity along the Burma Road, claiming 15 trucks destroyed and 5 barracks groups damaged.
Chinese Air Force
The 11th BS began to re-equip with the Lockheed A-29 at Xinjin in October 1942. At this point, the entire 2nd BG flew the Lockheed.
In October the 8th PS was attached to the 7th PS to strengthen the air defences of Chungking. Both units were equipped with the P-66.
From 27 October all the squadrons on the Lancer (4th PG (21st - 24th PS)) began to escort the A-29 bombers of the 2nd BG. The 4th PG’s main base became Taipingsi.
The 23rd and 24th PS of the 4th PG started to re-equip with Curtiss P-40Es in October 1942.
US Army Air Force
On 3 October the India Air Task Force (IATF) was activated at Dinjan, India to support Chinese resistance along the Salween River by hitting supply lines in central and south Burma. The new task force, commanded by Colonel Caleb V. Haynes, included all AAF combat units in India (all based at Karachi); the 7th BG (Heavy), the 51st FG and the 341st BG (Medium). The IATF is part of the 10th AF.
On 24 October the 11th BS (Medium) sent a detachment to operate from Nanning.
On 26 October CATF B-25s moved to western China to carry out the neutralization of Lashio, Burma, where the Japanese had aircraft they were using against the Dinjan, India area.
21 October 1942
On 21 October B-24s of the IATF staged through Chengdu to bomb Lin-hsi coal mines. The plan was to blast the nearby power stations and pumping facilities and flood the mines; the attack failed to flood the mines but inflicted considerable damage to the target area.
This marked the first use of heavy bombers in China and the first AAF strike north of the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers.
24 October 1942
Two P-43s flying from Nancheng claimed a Japanese reconnaissance aircraft.
25 October 1942
Twelve B-25s of the 11th BS (Medium) and seven P-40s from the 23rd FG, led by Colonel Merian C. Cooper, hit the Kowloon Docks at Hong Kong. 21 Japanese aircraft intercepted and one B-25 and one P-40 were shot down (this was the first loss of a CATF B-25 in combat). The P-40s and B-25s seems to have claimed 16 shot down, 6 probables and 5 damaged.
At least some of the fighters were from the 33rd Sentai, which claimed two B-25s over Hong Kong during the day.
The 11th BS reported that late in October several B-25s and crews of the 22nd BS (Medium) (also part of the 341st BG) came into Kunming to work with the 11th BS. Early in the morning on 25 October, twelve B-25s took off for Kweilin. After a short briefing they took off for Hongkong, with General Haynes (recently promoted) leading the second element of four, with Captain Everett ‘Brick’ Holstrom leading the third element of four B-25s. The fourth B-25 in this last element was 22nd BS, flown by Captain Howard O. Allers. The course to Kweilin to Hongkong went directly over Canton, so that it was necessary to circle wide to avoid the possibilities of early interception from the several fields there. Only seven P-40s, led by Colonel Robert Scott, escorted the twelve bombers. They went into tight battle formation 30 minutes before reaching Canton. No trouble was found from Canton and soon the bay came into view, with Hongkong Island only five minutes away. It was a beautiful day, with not a cloud in the sky and the bombers made their turn into the bombing run at 17,000 feet. A perfect target area came into view with the docks, warehouses and general shipping facilities for the Hongkong area. The anti-aircraft started, exploding around the formation. The bomb string was laid, however; 500-lb. bombs from twelve B-25s running in three parallel, evenly spaced clouds of dust and debris, across the warehouses and into the docks. They made a turning dive out of the anti-aircraft fire. But before the turn was completed, General Haynes went into a sudden turn into the other direction, coming right into the middle of several diving Japanese fighters, which had been waiting in the sun. This manoeuvre caught them by surprise and turned their attack into a melee of Japanese fighters attempting to get them out of the way of the defensive guns on the B-25s, which they had gotten into the middle of before they had intended. The formation of bombers was flying wing inside wing, full throttle in a slight dive and, although it seemed impossible, some of the Japanese fighters dived through the formation.
The Japanese fighters reformed out in the sun side of the bombers and started a systematic series of passes. Each time the Japanese fighters came within range, the B-25s opened defensive fire. Staff Sergeant W. C. Stubblefield, engineer and gunner on General Haynes’ B-25 claimed one ‘Zero’ and one ‘I-45’ with two more ‘Zeros’ as probables. Staff Sergeant A. R. Williams, engineer and gunner on Captain Holmstrom’s B-25 claimed one destroyed and one probable. Staff Sergeant W. H. Williams, engineer and gunner on 1st Lieutenant A. P. Forsythe’s B-25 claimed one ‘Zero’. Staff Sergeant D. V. Radney, engineer and gunner on Major W. E. Basye’s B-25 claimed one probable ‘Zero’.
Eleven B-25s returned to Kweilin. The twelfth, Captain Allers’ B-25 had gone down.
Two weeks later, Lieutenant Marich, Captain Allerss co-pilot, and Lieutenant. Cunningham, the navigator, walked into Kweilin and gave the following account:
“We had just come over the target and dropped our bombs when the Flight turned into a very steep bank. It was not until we had straightened out did I notice that these were Japanese pursuits attacking, in number approximately twelve, that I could see. It was a matter of seconds before three pursuits were bearing down on us. The top turret gunner, Sgt. Webb, opened fire. I could not see these planes. Allers closed in even closer to the element.Marich and Cunningham were the only two who escaped out of the crew of six, the other four becoming prisoners of war.
Meanwhile the Japanese pursuit attacking the first element of the formation, while attacking this element, passed on towards the rear, firing on the bombers as they passed them. At this time, the Japanese pursuits were close enough to see that there was one plane different from the rest not only in color, but also the ship itself. It was not a radial engine. There was a Zero on his wing and both dove at our ship, missed and passed in front of us. However, the black ship which I now recognized as a Me-109 [i.e. most probably a Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien] made a beautiful vertical reverse and hit us from the right engine to the tail in that one movement.
The radio man, Young, called up and said the right engine was on fire. I then noticed that we had been hit in the oil line. The emergency system worked but the engine was still working a bit and throwing oil. Oil pressure was zero. It was not long before we began to gradually drop back from the formation, also the Japs began to concentrate on our ship. I counted seven ships at one time attacking us.
It was at this time that a Zero diving on us turned at our level and gave the top gunner a beautiful shot. The plane seemed to disintegrate in the air, tail coming off first in bits. Not much later, another Zero made a head on pass at us and I could see Lt. Cunningham and also Sgt. Webb’s tracers hitting it. The plane burst into smoke and fire and kept on going towards the sea.
This all seemed to take a long time, but actually it was a matter of minutes. We were hit in our left engine at ten thousand feet or so and it quit immediately. All this time the right engine would quit for a second and then start up again. After we had lost our second engine, Captain Allers headed for land and gave the order to get ready to bail out. The gunners had run out of ammunition at about this altitude or a little lower.
Sgts. Young and Webb were the only men to bail out. Capt. Allers had given me orders to get ready to bail out. Lt. Lewis didn’t have his parachute on when I got out of my place. Lt. Cunningham came out almost at the same time I did and helped him with his chute, but Lt. Lewis could not strap his on as they were too short. This was about 2,000 feet and after all this I saw it was too late for all to get out. I saw Allers line up on a rice paddy field, so I just yelled that it was too late to bail and that Allers was going to crash land. It was a good landing; the plane skidded pretty badly and we got out in a hurry: Lewis, Cunningham, Allers and myself. Captain Allers’ immediate concern was some way to burn the plane as we thought we were in a J ap village. Allers fired seven bullets into the bombsight from the outside.
We had not seen the planes coming in to strafe us until one had passed over. He had cut his throttle back and hence we couldn't hear him; however, we did see the other two coming and dived into the bushes. Captain Allers received a wound in the left foot. Lewis and I helped him while Cunningham ran back to the plane for a medical kit.
The village was about four hundred yards from the crash landing. When we arrived there the whole village gathered around us. We did not see any Japs so we stayed there and dressed Allers’ foot and also tried to get a doctor, but no one seemed to move or try to help us, so as soon as we were ready, we started for the hills nearby. However, some of the villagers who knew a little English said they could get us out if we gave them some money. These Chinese then took us to a temple and we gave them about $1,000 national currency. They gave us the clothes (Chinese) and we took off our jackets and flying suits and put them over our OD uniforms ... “
In India, Japanese aircraft attacked airfields connected with the India-China air transport route, heavily bombing Dinjan and Chabua fields and scoring hits also at Mohanbari and Sookerating; ten US aircraft were destroyed and 17 badly damaged. Nine Japanese aircraft were claimed shot down.
Taking off at 21:00, six B-25s of the 11th BS (Medium) led by Major Basye, on the first CATF night strike, continued pounding Hong Kong, bombing the North Point power plant, which provided electricity for the shipyards.
When returning to Kweilin, Captain Allen P. Forsyth was having difficulties. Soon after taking off, his air speed indicator had gone out. He flew the mission in his No. 3 position, 1st element, with no airspeed indicator. On arriving back at the base, he circled the field until everybody else had landed. His plight became known by this time so Major Basye took off and met Forsyth over the field, where Forsyth tacked onto the Major's wing and they flew in to a perfect formation landing.
Three other B-25s from the 11th BS led by Colonel Morgan bombed the secondary target, the Canton warehouse area, causing several large explosions and fires.
P-66s of the 3rd PG flying from Peishiyi attempted unsuccessfully to intercept Japanese reconnaissance aircraft.
26 October 1942
During the day, American P-40s continued to hit the Hong Kong-Canton area, using dive-bombing tactics for first time in the area.
In India, the Japanese again hit airfields in Assam connected with the India-China transport route, concentrating on Sookerating. A freight depot, containing food and medical supplies for China, was destroyed but no US aircraft were lost.
Due to a lack of warning, no fighters intercepted the attacking force.
P-66s of the 3rd PG (CAF) flying from Peishiyi attempted unsuccessfully to intercept Japanese reconnaissance aircraft.
Four P-66s proceeded to Dinjan contrary to American advice. They arrived after dark and despite recent Japanese attacks, the field's lights were turned on for a night landing. One P-66 landed safely. Three others were washed out in crashes with one Chinese pilot killed and one injured.
27 October 1942
P-66s of the 3rd PG flying from Peishiyi attempted unsuccessfully to intercept Japanese reconnaissance aircraft.
During the day in an air battle with a Japanese reconnaissance aircraft a P-43A of the 21st PS was shot down. The pilot, He Dexiang, was killed.
No less than twelve P-43s flying from Taipingsu escorted nine A-29s in a raid on Yungcheng in Shansi Province. One aircraft was claimed destroyed on the ground without losses to the Chinese.
28 October 1942
The 33rd Sentai claimed a P-40 over Hong Kong on 28 October.
Chinese Air Force
A message dated 8 November 1942, summarized the P-66 situation at Karachi. 104 P-66s arrived. One was too corroded to assemble, one was lost before acceptance by the Chinese (presumably in the Vultee test pilot Gibbons crash), and two were used for parts. 81 had been accepted by the Chinese and 61 flown away. Ten others were ready to fly. The remaining 19 had been completed and delivered to the flight section.
Of the 81 P-66s accepted by the Chinese as of early November 1942, ten had crashed at Karachi. Complete details of losses on the ferry route are not known but three P-66s crashed at Jodhpur (first leg of the ferry route) and were shipped back to Karachi by rail.
By November 1942, the pilots of the 11th PG had not yet taken part in combat.
US Army Air Force
During November 1942, the 9th PRS, 8th PRG of the 10th AF, based at Karachi, India, with Lockheed F-4s, sent a flight to operate from Kunming until July 1943.
On 28 November the detachment of the 11th BS (Medium) operating from Nanning returned to base at Kunming (another detachment was operating from Karachi, India).
The 16th FS moved from Kweilin to Chenyi on 29 November.
2 November 1942
The 25th and 33rd Sentais attacked Kweilin.
Whilst providing top-cover, Kiyoshi Namai of the 33rd Sentai saw below him a P-40 and without time to drop his long-range fuel tank, he pursued this to low level, claiming to have shot it down. Totally, the Japanese fighters made three claims.
Four Chinese A-29s bombed airfields and Customs House Warf at Hankou. Cotton mills at Wuchang set afire. Three seaplanes were reported destroyed on the ground and five aircraft were destroyed at Wong-Kia-Den.
8 November 1942
Five B-25s from 11th BS (Medium) attacked Lungling, starting many fires in the town and hitting a motor pool with assembled vehicles and supplies.
10 November 1942
Four Chinese P-66s flew a sortie in search of enemy reconnaissance aircraft. None were seen.
23 November 1942
Nine B-25s of the 11th BS (Medium) and seven P-40s feinted at Hong Kong, then flew to the Gulf of Tonkin and sunk a freighter and damage 2 others near Haiphong, French Indochina.
Six B-25s of the 11th BS (Medium) and 17 P-40s attacked Tien Ho Airfield at Canton claiming 40+ aircraft destroyed on the field.
First Lieutenant Hideo Sugawara (Class 52), CO of the 1st chutai of the 25th Sentai, was killed on the ground by the bombs in Canton and Warrant Officer Katsuji Katayama (NVO66) from the same Sentai was also killed in this raid.
These strikes followed three weeks of missions in support of Chinese forces along the Siang-Chiang River.
25 November 1942
During the day, B-25s of the 11th BS (Medium) and US P-40s crippled three freighters on the Pearl River near Canton.
27 November 1942
In the morning ten B-25s of the 11th BS (Medium) and more than twenty P-40s of the 23rd FG and the 16th FS (the largest CATF effort in China to date), hit shipping and harbour installations at Hong Kong, setting fire to warehouses and claiming two freighters and numerous barges sunk.
A large force of Japanese fighters intercepted during the return trip but was driven off by the escort. The P-40s claimed 23 shot down, 4 probables and 1 damaged while the B-25s claimed additional Japanese fighters.
Six Chinese A-29s and five SBs bombed enemy vessels and ferrying equipment at Shasi, Shayang and Tatukow. Airdrome and storehouses at Shadi were damaged. One A-29 and three SBs force-landed due to bad weather.
29 November 1942
B-25s of the 11th BS (Medium) bombed Hongay and Campho on the French Indochina coast.
30 November 1942
First Lieutenant Fujio Ichihashi of the 33rd Sentai was killed over Canton.
Chinese Air Force
By December the first-line strength of the Chinese Air Force had declined to 276 aircraft (1st, 2nd, 8th and non-operational 12th BGs; 3rd, 4th, 5th and 11th PGs and 12th RS).
By the end of the year, there remained only three operational DB-3s in China. Due to shortage of replacement parts, they ceased even training flights.
During 1942, the Chinese bombers only flew 100 sorties.
As of 11 December, there were still 15 P-66s at Karachi that had been ready to fly away for a considerable period. Colonel Loo made repeated requests for CAF pilots to fly these aircraft out but as of that date, no pilots had been sent. In addition to the 15 P-66s at Karachi, 18 P-40s awaited CAF pilots to fly them to China. They were part of the consignment of 27 P-40Es allocated to China only nine of which had been delivered to China. The seeming indifference of the Chinese to these readily available combat aircraft is difficult to understand. It reinforces the impression that some Americans had that the Chinese had no real interest in using their aircraft against the Japanese.
In December, the CAF flew no combat missions.
On 10 December, The Japanese Imperial General Headquarters notified the China Expeditionary Army that the future policy and conduct of operations in China was being carefully studied. Before defining the policy however, grave consideration would have to be given to the situation of the Japanese Army in all theatres, as well as the shortage of shipping and war material. Aerial operations were to be carried out as the situation demanded and every effort was to be made to destroy the rapidly increasing enemy air forces. The conduct of future operations in China could not be planned in detail however, until the successful completion of the first phase of operations in the Pacific.
Preparations were to be undertaken for operations in China after the spring of 1943 when every effort was to be made to crush the enemy air force. In the meantime, air operations were to be conducted in accordance with the change in the situation within their present boundaries.
The China Expeditionary Army was directed to carefully study the situation and to arrange for the use of Type 2 single seat fighters (Nakajima Ki-44) on at least one of each of the front line airfields in north, central and south China as promptly as possible.
1 December 1942
The 9th PRS flew its first mission.
5 December 1942
Major Frank Schiel, CO of the 74th FS, was killed in a flying accident when his Lockheed F-4A Lightning photo-reconnaissance aircraft crashed in bad weather near Suming.
14 December 1942
Four P-43s joined 14 P-40s in an escort mission to Hanoi covering P-40s in a successful combat.
17 December 1942
CATF aircraft bombed Lashio, Burma.
20 December 1942
B-25s of the 11th BS (Medium) bombed Lashio, Burma.
22 December 1942
CATF aircraft bombed, Lashio Burma.
26 December 1942
B-25s of the 11th BS (Medium) bombed Lashio, Burma.
In the afternoon, a large force of Japanese aircraft attempted to raid Yunnani Airfield. They were intercepted by P-40s of the 16th FS, which claimed eight Japanese aircraft shot down, five probables and one damaged.
Warrant Officer Minoru Yamada (NCO73) of the 11th Sentai (based in Burma) was killed during this raid.
28 December 1942
B-25s of the 11th BS (Medium) bombed Magwe, Burma.
30 December 1942
Three P-43s gave top cover to six P-40s on a mission to Lashio, enabling the P-40s to claim one of six Japanese fighters encountered.
Known units taking part in combat during 1942
Chinese Air Force
Known units, commanders and stations
|3rd PG||India (06/42 – )||Vultee P-66 (06/42 – )|
|7th PS||3rd PG||Chungking (09/42 – )||Vultee P-66 (09/42 – )|
|8th PS||3rd PG||Chungking (10/42 – )||Vultee P-66 (09/42 – )|
|28th PS||3rd PG||Vultee P-66 (09/42 – )|
|32nd PS||3rd PG||Chungking (09/42 – )||Vultee P-66 (09/42 – )|
|4th PG||Major Cheng Hsiao-Yu (40 – 07/1942)
Li Hsiang-Yang (07/1942 – 09/44)
|Kunming (03/42 – 08/42)
Chengdu (08/42 – 10/42)
Taipingsi (27/10/42 – )
|Republic P-43A (03/42 – )|
|21st PS||4th PG||Kunming (03/42 – 08/42)
Chengdu (08/42 – )
|Republic P-43A (09/42 – )|
|22nd PS||4th PG||Wang Te-Gian (1942)||Kunming (03/42 – 08/42)
Chengdu (08/42 – )
Qiangjin (end/42 – )
|Republic P-43A (03/42 – )|
|23rd PS||4th PG||Kunming (03/42 – 08/42)
Chengdu (08/42 – )
|Republic P-43A (03/42 – 10/42)
Curtiss P-40E (10/42 – end/43)
|24th PS||4th PG||Kunming (03/42 – 08/42)
Chengdu (08/42 – )
|Republic P-43A (03/42 – 10/42)
Curtiss P-40E (10/42 – end/43)
|5th PG||Vultee P-66 (06/42 – )|
|17th PS||5th PG||Liu Qingguang||Kunming (01/42 – )
Laxu, Burma (/42 – summer/42)
Chengdu (middle/07/42 – )
|Polikarpov I-153 (12/40 – 09/42)
Vultee P-66 (09/42 – 03/44)
|11th PG||Polikarpov I-15bis
Vultee P-66 (06/42 – )
|2nd BG||Jin Wen (12/41 – 16/01/42)
Tong Yan-Bo (08/42 – 04/01/43)
Xinjin (10/42 – )
|11th BS (Light)||2nd BG||Shao Rui-Lin ( – 22/01/1942)||Xinjin (10/42 – )||Tupolev SB
Lockheed A-29 (10/42 – )
|12th BG||Tupolev SB|
|45th BS||12th BG||Tupolev SB|
|46th BS||12th BG||Tupolev SB|
|47th BS||12th BG||Tupolev SB|
|6th BS||Ilyushin DB-3 (05/40 – 01/42)
Tupolev SB-III (05/41 – )
|Disbanded in January 1942.|
|10th BS||Disbanded in January 1942.|
|12th BS||Tupolev SB
|26th PS||Polikarpov I-153|
|29th PS||Wang Yin-Hua (1942)||Chengdu (summer/42 – )
Lanzhou (08/42 – )
|41th PS||Polikarpov fighter|
American Volunteer Group
|1st Squadron||AVG||Squadron Leader Robert Sandell (18/08/41 – 06/02/42)
Squadron Leader Robert Neale (07/02/42 – 04/07/42)
|Kunming (mid/12/41 – 14/01/42)
Mingaladon (14/01/42 – )
Lashio (03/42 – 27/04/42)
Baoshan (02/05/42 – )
|Curtiss P-40||A.k.a. ’Adam & Eves’.|
|2nd Squadron||AVG||Squadron Leader John Newkirk (18/08/41 – 24/03/42)
Squadron Leader David Hill (24/03/42 – 04/07/42)
|Mingaladon (30/12/41 – 08/02/42)
Loiwing (08/02/42 – )
Magwe (08/02/42 – )
Kunming (08/02/42 – )
|Curtiss P-40||A.k.a. ’Panda Bears’.|
|3rd Squadron||AVG||Squadron Leader Arvid Olson (14/08/41 – 04/07/42)||Mingaladon (12/12/41 – 03/42)
Magwe (03/42 – 22/03/42)
Lashio (03/42 – 27/04/42)
|Curtiss P-40||A.k.a. ’Hell’s Angels’.|
US Army Air Force
Known units, commanders and stations
|11th BS||7th BG (Heavy)
341st BG (Medium)
|Colonel Caleb V Haynes ( – 03/10/42)||Kunming (04/06/42 – )
Kweilin (30/06/42 – 20/07/42)
Hengyang (30/06/42 – 20/07/42)
Nanning (30/06/42 – 20/07/42)
Nanning (02/08/42 – 06/08/42)
Nanning (24/10/42 – 28/11/42)
|North American B-25||Assigned to the 341st BG (Medium) on 15 September 1942.|
|9th PRs||8th PRG||Kunming (11/42 – 07/43)||Lockheed F-4||Operated only a flight in China.|
|23rd FG||Colonel Robert L Scott Jr (04/07/42 – 09/01/43)||Kunming (04/07/42 – 09/43)||Curtiss P-40||Previously the “Flying Tigers”. Under American command from 4 July 1942.|
|74th FS||23rd FG||Major Frank Schiel (04/07/42 – 05/12/42)
Captain Albert Baumler (11/12/42 – 18/02/43)
|Kunming (04/07/42 – )||Curtiss P-40|
|75th FS||23rd FG||Major David Hill (04/07/42 – 01/12/42)
Major John Alison (01/12/42 – 05/43)
|Hengyang (04/07/42 – 17/08/42)
Chanyi (17/08/42 – )
|76th FS||23rd FG||Major Edward Rector (04/07/42 – 05/12/42)
Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Holloway (05/12/42 – 02/01/43)
|Kunming (04/07/42 – 25/07/42)
Kweilin (25/07/42 – 18/08/42)
Kunming (18/08/42 – )
|16th FS||51st FG||First Lieutenant H. B. Young (30/04/41 – 14/09/1942
Major G. W. Hazlett (14/09/42 – 27/01/43)
|Karachi ( – 27/06/42)
Kunming (27/06/42 – 17/08/42)
Chungking (17/08/42 – )
Kweilin ( – 29/11/42)
Chenyi (29/11/42 – )
Known units, commanders and stations
|24th Sentai||Major Takeshi Takahashi 09/40 – 03/43)||Manchuria (06/42 – 07/42)
Canton (23/07/42 – 09/42)
Palembang (09/42 – 05/43)
|Nakajima Ki-43-I (04/42 – 03/43|
|24th Sentai||1st chutai||Captain Isao Kojima (03/41 – 07/42)
Lieutenant Tetsuji Watanabe (07/42 – 05/08/42)
Lieutenant Tadashi Koga (08/42 – 06/43)
|Manchuria (06/42 – 07/42)
Canton (23/07/42 – 09/42)
Palembang (09/42 – 05/43)
|Nakajima Ki-43-I (04/42 – 03/43|
|24th Sentai||2nd chutai||Captain Hyoe Yonaga (07/41 – 12/42)||Manchuria (06/42 – 07/42)
Canton (23/07/42 – 09/42)
Palembang (09/42 – 05/43)
|Nakajima Ki-43-I (04/42 – 03/43|
|24th Sentai||3rd chutai||Lieutenant Shigeo Uehara (03/42 – 10/43)||Manchuria (06/42 – 07/42)
Canton (23/07/42 – 09/42)
Palembang (09/42 – 05/43)
|Nakajima Ki-43-I (04/42 – 03/43|
|25th Sentai||Major Toshio Sakagawa (07/11/42 – 07/44)||Hankou (11/42 – 01/45)||Nakajima Ki-43-I (11/42 – 06/43)||Formed on 7 November 1942 from the 10th I F Chutai.|
|25th Sentai||1st chutai||Captain Masatsune Mori (07/11/42 – 01/04/44)||Hankou (11/42 – 01/45)||Nakajima Ki-43-I (11/42 – 06/43)|
|25th Sentai||2nd chutai||Lieutenant Hideo Sugawara (07/11/42 – 23/11/42)||Hankou (11/42 – 01/45)||Nakajima Ki-43-I (11/42 – 06/43)|
|33rd Sentai||Major Tsutomu Mizutani (08/42 – 01/43)||Xingshu (09/39 – 08/42)
Canton (09/42 – 07/43)
|Nakajima Ki-43-I (05/42 – 06/43)|
|33rd Sentai||1st chutai||Lieutenant Yasuto Ohtsubo (02/42 – 31/05/43)||Xingshu (09/39 – 08/42)
Canton (09/42 – 07/43)
|Nakajima Ki-43-I (05/42 – 06/43)|
|33rd Sentai||2nd chutai||Captain Taketo Sakashita (09/41 – 08/05/43)||Xingshu (09/39 – 08/42)
Canton (09/42 – 07/43)
|Nakajima Ki-43-I (05/42 – 06/43)|
|33rd Sentai||3rd chutai||Lieutenant Kosuke Kono (08/42 – 05/44)||Xingshu (09/39 – 08/42)
Canton (09/42 – 07/43)
|Nakajima Ki-43-I (05/42 – 06/43)|
|44th Sentai||Hangchou (08/42 – )
Chuheien (08/42 – )
|54th Sentai||Major Yasunari Shimada (07/41 – 04/44)||Hankou (16/11/41 – 02/42)
Canton (02/42 – 07/42)
Hangchou (05/42 – 06/42)
Nanchang (06/42 – 09/42)
Chitose (10/42 – 01/43)
|Nakajima Ki-27 (07/41 – 02/43)||One chutai was detached to Nanking 02/42 – 09/42.|
|54th Sentai||1st chutai||Captain Shoji Tomita (07/41 – 26/02/42)
Lieutenant Kanji Kikuchi (02/42 – 02/44)
|Hankou (16/11/41 – 02/42)
Canton (02/42 – 07/42)
Hangchou (05/42 – 06/42)
Nanchang (06/42 – 09/42)
Chitose (10/42 – 01/43)
|Nakajima Ki-27 (07/41 – 02/43)|
|54th Sentai||2nd chutai||Captain Toshio Dozono (07/41 – 25/04/42)
Lieutenant Yukichi Kitakoga (04/42 – 06/44)
|Hankou (16/11/41 – 02/42)
Canton (02/42 – 07/42)
Hangchou (05/42 – 06/42)
Nanchang (06/42 – 09/42)
Chitose (10/42 – 01/43)
|Nakajima Ki-27 (07/41 – 02/43)|
|54th Sentai||3rd chutai||Captain Yaichiro Hayashi (07/41 – 11/43)||Hankou (16/11/41 – 02/42)
Canton (02/42 – 07/42)
Hankou (07/42 – 09/42)
Chitose (10/42 – 01/43)
|Nakajima Ki-27 (07/41 – 02/43)|
|62nd Sentai||Lieutenant Colonel Hiroshi Onishi||Hsinyang (08/42 – )
Wuchang (08/42 – )
|65th Sentai||Shanghai (08/42 – 09/42)
Hangchou (08/42 – 09/42)
Manchuria (09/42 – )
|90th Sentai||Licheng (08/42 – )
Peiping (08/42 – )
|Independent||10th Dokuritsu Hiko Chutai||Major Akira Takatsuki (08/40 – 08/42)
Captain Masatsune Mori (08/42 – 10/42)
|Canton (11/41 – 02/42)
Hankou (03/42 – 04/42)
Akeno (05/42 – 06/42)
Canton (06/42 – 10/42)
|Nakajima Ki-27 (07/38 – 06/42)
Nakajima Ki-43-I (06/42 – )
|Became the 25th Sentai on 7 November 1942 with two chutais.|
|Independent||18th Dokuritsu Hiko Chutai||Hankou (08/42 – )
Canton (det. 11/41 – )
|Independent||55th Dokuritsu Hiko Chutai||Kingmen (08/42 – )||Reconnaissance squadron|
|Independent||83rd Dokuritsu Hiko Chutai||Hangchou (08/42 – )||Reconnaissance squadron|
|Independent||84th Dokuritsu Hiko Chutai||Major Tsunao Nagano (08/40 – 10/42)||Jaram (10/40 – 10/42)||Nakajima Ki-27 (01/07/39 – 06/42)
Kawasaki Ki-45kai (01/42 – end of war)
|Became the 21st Sentai in October 1942.|
|Independent||29th Dokuritsu Hikodan Shireibu|
|Independent||206th Dokuritsu Hikodan Shireibu||Manchuria ( – 01/07/42)
Peiping (07/42 – )
|Independent||209th Dokuritsu Hikodan Shireibu||Manchuria ( – 01/07/42)
Nanchang (07/42 – )
|Independent||8th Tokushu Kogekatai (?)||Nanching (08/42 – )||Army cooperation unit.|