Tex Hill - Ichi-Go and Jet Age (Part 6)

p59 historical 1April, 1944. Tex Hill has been back in China now for 6 months, leading the 23rd Fighter Squadron. As part of the 14th Air Force, he help carry out Gen. Chennault’s air campaign against Japanese supply lines. While constantly lacking in material and manpower, the 14th Air Force was having a major impact on the Japanese ability to move materials overland in China and along the Chinese coast. The Japanese empire had also suffered a series of defeats in the Pacific, putting them on a strategic defensive.

Read more: Tex Hill - Ichi-Go and Jet Age (Part 6)

Tex Hill - 23rd Fighter Squadron (part 5)

P51B historical 2After the entry of the US into war, plans were made to disband the AVG and incorporate them into the Army Air Force. Since the AVG were technically civilians, the USAAF attempted to use strong arm tatics to force the men to join the USAAF voluntarily. This went off badly and resulted in most of the men leaving to return to the United States or joining up with the CNAC to fly supplies in C-47s from India to China. A handful choose to remain in China, only five pilots choose to stay and Tex Hill was among them he was personally asked to do so by Chennault.

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Arthur Chin - Chinese American Ace

chin 0In the early morning of August 3rd, 1938, over 70 Japanese A5M fighters escorting 18 Mitsubishi G3M Bombers (type 96) of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) were detected to be in route to Wuhan, China. The Japanese and Chinese had been fighting an undeclared war since July of 1937 when Japanese Army forces invaded North China. By July of 1938, China had lost much territory in the North, its great port of Shanghai, and its capital, Nanjing (Nanking). Instead of suing for peace as the Japanese military was hoping, the Chinese government under Generalissimo Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai-Shek) moved the capital to Wuhan – the 2nd largest Chinese city at the time. The IJN had been bombing Wuhan since Feb of that year and as the Chinese Air Force defended its new capital, the largest air battles in China were being fought over her skies.

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Tex Hill - AVG goes into Action (part 4)

P40E 3

After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Thailand surrendered. Chennault feared that the AVG position in Toungoo was too precarious so he ordered the 3rd Squadron to Mingaladon in Rangoon to support the British, while the 1st and 2nd Squadron was to pull back to Kunming, China.

Home of the AVG in Kunming, China (USAF)







Read more: Tex Hill - AVG goes into Action (part 4)

Tex Hill - With the AVG in Burma (part 3)

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While Tex was with Ed Rector and Bert Christman in Norfolk Virginia, they bumped into their squadron commander and were introduced to a Navy Commander Irvine. Irvine was a recruiter for Claire Chennault, secretly authorized to gather US military pilots and ground crews for the American Volunteer Group. After a discussion about the current state of affairs in China and the Japanese strangle hold on the entire Chinese coast, Irvine indicated that an overland route between Burma and China was the only lifeline left to the Chinese. Irvine explained that he was authorized by President Roosevelt to recruit pilots to help the Chinese. All three men indicated they were interested and Irvine said he would be back in touch.

Tex Hill at Kyedaw Airfield, Toungoo In 1941, notice that the shark motif has not been painted on the P-40s yet. (Flying Tigers Association)


Read more: Tex Hill - With the AVG in Burma (part 3)
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