• U.S.

BATTLE OF CHINA: Blood for the Tigers

2 minute read

For three years the Japanese had been bombing China from the coast. Their bombs had crunched through the masonry of every major provincial capital in Free China. They had laughed at the ineffectual popping of Chungking’s worn anti-aircraft guns, had shot down fledglings of the Chinese Air Force like wounded ducks.

Last year lean, hardbitten, taciturn Colonel Claire L. Chennault (U.S. Army, retired), adviser to Chiang Kai-shek’s Air Force, left Chungking for the U.S. He rounded up U.S. volunteers to fly 100 new P-40s purchased from the U.S. If U.S. aid were to flow in over the Burma Road, U.S. flyers would have to protect it. All through the summer months Colonel Chennault whipped his volunteers (dubbed the “Flying Tigers”) into shape. By the time he was ready to fight, he had an added incentive: the Japanese were now the enemies of his own country.

Last week ten Japanese bombers came winging their carefree way up into Yunnan, heading directly for Kunming, the terminus of the Burma Road. Thirty miles south of Kunming, the Flying Tigers swooped, let the Japanese have it. Of the ten bombers, said Chungking reports, four plummeted to earth in flames. The rest turned tail and fled. Tiger casualties : none.

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