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 AVG FLYING TIGERS - TIMELINE, ....from Pearl Harbor to AVG disbandment.... (1 Replies, Read 7715 times)
aaatripp
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Post Group: Super Member
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cousin of Maax C. Hammer, Jr., AVG 22Sep41 RIP
Greetings to AVG Forum members and all members of the AVG support family around the world....!

75 years ago our AVG guys, who had been looking forward to their first Christmas in Burma, were still reeling from all the news reports about the Japanese attack on U.S. forces at Pearl Harbor and other installations on the island of Oahu.  They knew that action against the Japanese would be coming soon----while the attack on Hawaii was on December 7th (Hawaii time), it was December 8th in the Far East.

Colonel Chennault was worried about imminent attack from the Japanese.  Their shield of being neutral and only training at the leased British airfield at Toungoo, Burma was gone and war had been declared by the U.S. and Great Britain.  The AVG pilots were standing alert and P-40s were kept in a state of readiness in case of attack.  Planes were dispersed to auxiliary fields as needed.

Chennault's intel network was feeding him info regarding Japanese movements and he knew that the quick collapse of Thailand meant that the Thai area would become a staging area from which to launch attacks against the British forces in Burma, particularly the strategic Port of Rangoon.

Aware of this threat from Thailand, Chennault put together the first AVG mission of the war---a photo reconaissance mission to be flown by Erik Shilling in the stripped down P-40 photo ship.  With guns & ammo removed she boasted a better speed, climb rate and overall range.  There would be an armed escort of Ed Rector and Bert Christman from the 2nd Squadron Panda Bears. 

More coming on that date.......




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Tripp

Tripp Alyn, chair
Historical & Museums Committee
AVG Flying Tigers Association
IP: --   

AVG FLYING TIGERS - TIMELINE
aaatripp
Group: Moderator
Post Group: Super Member
Posts: 592
Status:

cousin of Maax C. Hammer, Jr., AVG 22Sep41 RIP
December 10, 1941 in Toungoo, Burma---

The details of the raid on Oahu by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan are still filtering in to Col. Claire Lee Chennault.  The extent of the damage is massive...at Pearl Harbor the destruction of the (BB-39) USS Arizona resulted from the penetration of Arizona's foredeck by a converted naval artillery armor-piercing shell of approx 800kg.  The resulting flash explosion virtually ripped the Pennsylvania-class battleship in half and killed 1,177 officers and sailors.  Arizona sank at her mooring while USS Oklahoma capsized and turned turtle, trapping hundreds of sailors below decks.  Many of America's capital ships were either destroyed or heavily damaged along "Battleship Row" at Ford Island.  Japanese planes attacked Army Air Force installations at Hickam, Wheeler and Bellows airfields.  2,403 people were killed in the attack on Oahu on this "day of infamy".

The incoming war news worsened as Chennault learned of Japanese attacks on Guam, Wake Island, Luzon Island, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong.  He knew that the massive air armada being amassed in Thailand would soon be launched against the AVG in a swift strike to eliminate the American threat in a single stroke.
The AVG was now on 24-hour alert, personnel wore side arms as the possibility of Japanese paratrooper landings became real and barbed wire went up all over the perimeter of the airfield.  Aircraft were kept in a constant state of readiness, warmed up near the flightline.  The AVG could only muster approx. 60 operationally ready aircraft while the Japanese aircraft numbered over 600.

At 0330 (3:30am) the air raid siren sounded and pilots raced for their aircraft. No Japanese planes appeared and the 6-ship night-alert a/c continued to circle the base.
In the darkness, Tex Hill was the 1st night-alert fighter to land.  Overshooting, Tex landed long and ran off the end of the runway, ending up in the brush.  His #48 was washed out---right wingtip gone, prop bent, tail heavily damaged.  It would not fly again.  Two vehicles were added to the line of lanterns on the edge of the runway and the remaining 5 P-40s landed safely.

Charlie Bond, Bob Little, Jim Cross & Ed Leibolt took off to escort Lacy Mangleburg on the return leg of his photo recon mission to Thailand but they never joined up with him, nor did they see any Japanese aircraft.....


Edited by aaatripp : December 10, 2016, 11:11 am

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Tripp

Tripp Alyn, chair
Historical & Museums Committee
AVG Flying Tigers Association
IP: --   

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