• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Curtiss P-40 Flying Tigers - fighting the Japanese in China.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Curtiss P-40 Flying Tigers Eliminating 299 aircraft while only losing 15 men for the cause; these are the statistics of one of the most successful fighter groups of the United States during WWII. Before American involvement in WWII, the Japanese dominated the Asian battlegrounds and were rapidly expanding in China and Southeast Asia in the late 1930s. As China's defenses were gradually losing ground, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek of China sent Claire Chennault, a retired U.S. Army Air Corps officer, as an advisor to Washington to ask for American aid.(Wikipedia Origin of the Flying Tigers. Roosevelt most likely preferred a "wink and a nod" on creating the AVG.(Ford 85) Using three times the average pay of an aviation officer at $600, with a bounty of $500 more for every Japanese aircraft shot down (History Channel, vol.1/5), Chennault was able to form a group of ninety-nine untried pilots.(Wikipedia 1st American Volunteer Group) He then supervised the ordering of 100 Curtiss P-40 fighters, and the 1st American Volunteer Group was formed.(Ford 43) The P40B Tomahawks were painted with the emblem of the air force of the Republic of China and the iconic shark head, but were seen as tigers by Chinese citizens, thus the name of the "Flying Tigers." After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, a mercenary air force for the Chinese was no longer necessary, and the American Volunteer Group was subsequently replaced by the 14th Air Force and the 23rd Fighter group, carrying on the name and legacy of this phenomenal group of fighters (Wikipedia Transition to the USAAF). ...read more.

Middle

The main fighters of the Japanese Air Force that the Flying Tigers faced were the Nakajima Ki-27 Nate and the Nakajima Ki-43 Oscar. The Japanese had a tremendous weight and maneuvering advantage, with the Nate at 4000lbs and Oscar at 5000lbs, compared to the 8000lbs of the P40. But as the Japanese aircraft were lightly built, they also had a lower top speed and firing range. The P-40s on the other hand had a higher diving speed, stronger body framework, and more mechanical power. Therefore, General Chennault developed a tactic-Attack the Japanese aircraft by first letting the P40s climb to high altitude and attack them on the way down. (Scott 61-65).He also forbid his pilots to engage in a turning and close combat fighting, since the airplanes would lose to the light and nimble Japanese planes. This "dive-and-zoon" tactic required a network of ground crew to catch Japanese planes early on, so that the P-40s would have sufficient time to climb up to higher altitudes.(Wikipedia Chennault fighter doctrine) Also by enforcing this tactic, Chennault was able to put the less trained pilots as ground crew and make the most out of the men he had. The ability of General Chennault to adapt to these tactics shows that skill and determination can outweigh the trained pilots and nimble Japanese fighters and that even if one is the underdog, determination and wit can make up for the disadvantages one might have. ...read more.

Conclusion

The official Japanese count is 115(Ford 333-334), while others estimate that there were more planes destroyed on the ground and inflated the number, adding to the mythical status of the Flying Tigers. Whichever number it may be, the Flying Tigers were indeed a successful combat force in even the most conservative on numbers. The legend of the Flying Tiger lives on as "the handful of American pilots who met and bloodied the 'Imperial Wild Eagles' of Japan".(Ford Back Cover) The Flying Tigers were known for their legendary fight record and the first Americans to stand up and fight against the Japanese. By the extraordinary number of Japanese planes destroyed and the unique tactics of General Chennault for fighting the Japanese, the original Tigers have secured their place in history as one of the most well known fighter groups in American History. They have shown the American Dream; that anyone can achieve his or her goals by diligence and determination. They have shown that intellect can override the Achilles Heel. They have shown that we should fight, despite the arrangement of the board. They were the first to stand up against Japanese aggression, and although they weren't official US pilots during the war, they secured a record in our nation's history. Even as warfare today is relied on technology more than ever, Americans before us demonstrated that morale and perseverance can have a much greater impact than it seems. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate History section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate History essays

  1. Mao Zedong and the Education(TM)s changes in the People's Republic of China

    In fact, Mao considered that classroom study should be oriented towards social, political and production needs26, things which are practical for real life. Third, the Governance of schools was such a controversial change because the usual administration of schools was moved from the hands of bourgeois intellectuals to committees made

  2. Origins of WWII

    In addition to this, there were also colonial and land claims being transferred from Germany as "It [Germany] lost 13% of its territory, including Alsace-Lorraine, Eupen, Malm�dy, North Schleswig, West Prussia and Posen (Poznan)"7, and "all German colonies became mandates and the allies insisted that the German government agree to

  1. Unwritten Record of Immoderate Greatness

    by the Aztec culture was only 7800 km213and Mayan culture's land under control was not even a quarter of the area under Inca Empire's control in comparison.14 The Incas, after conquering the Chimu kingdom15 and many other small societies, made their land cover up the entire length of the Andean

  2. Ancient China

    The political structure of ancient Chinese civilizations and modern Western civilization is entirely different. In Ancient China, it was a monarchy type of government where an emperor ruled like a dictator and had total control of its people. The Emperor position was passed down from father to the eldest son until the empire has been overthrown.

  1. Relacion Peal Harbor - Hiroshima

    En la Segunda Guerra Mundial hubo innumerables masacres. La acontecida en Hiroshima no fue la que mayor n�mero de muertos provoc�. Tenemos, por ejemplo, el bombardeo masivo a Dresden, ciudad sin guarnici�n militar y llena de refugiados ante el avance sovi�tico, de la nunca sabremos el saldo final de muertes,

  2. Mao and China Revision Guide

    use labor-intensive projects Outcomes * 600,000 backyard furnaces, were built in 1958, meeting the target laid by the government ? but was of poor quality ? abandoned in 1959 ? but met their aim of 20 mill tones of steel * 1958 ? 200 mill tones of grain, government published

  1. The History and Development of the American Dream

    What he also considers as danger to the American Dream and its vision abroad is the «devotion to status». Everything is done not for one’s sake, but in order to emphasise the process. «What we seek, we are told, is no longer wealth or glory or happiness, but a sociological concoction called «status’.

  2. Notes on the history of Communist China

    Mao learns from peasant uprisings that peasants are key to Chinese Communist revolution - defies Marxist-Leninist formula 16. the KMT takes over 5 provinces - Hunan, Hubei, Jiangxi and Fujian - many militaries claim high positions 17. KMT s 18.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work