The Flying Tigers over China, 1942

Flying tigers are flying close by. In that picture every pilot is looking at the airplane next to him and trying to maintain his position while maintaining the same attitude as his neighbor.

The front pilot camera looking at the plane is doing the same thing. Then the planes were very slow and simple. A formation like this would be the stuff of stunt fighters today.

Flying that close was usually done in bad weather to maintain visual contact with the aircraft in front of them and for further flight.

The Flying Tigers were a group of American fighter pilots who flew to China in the early part of 1942. Led by a controversial American, Colonel Claire Chenault, they were actually called the "American Volunteer Group" (AVG) and achieved considerable success in their own right. Air battle against the Japanese. They were a relatively small group, and there were never more than 100 Curtiss Warhawk P-40s (decorated with the famous red shark mouth) available.

"Colonel" Claire Lee Chenault had been in China since the mid-thirties; He called himself a "colonel", although his highest rank was Major. An outspoken advocate of "chasing" (as fighters were called at the time) in the Army Air Forces, dominated by strategic bomber theorists, alienated many of his superiors.

But in China, armed with the P-40, it developed basic combat tactics that American pilots would use throughout the war. The Japanese aircraft used over China were much more efficient than its Warhawks, which had advantages: speed in a dive, better firepower, and better ability to absorb combat losses.

Chennault devised and documented appropriate tactics that capitalized on the relative strengths of American fighters: interception, making diving passes, avoiding dogfighting, and diving when in trouble. It remained the fundamental American combat doctrine throughout the Pacific War.

The aircraft are the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, single-engine, single-seat, all-metal fighter and ground-attack aircraft. The Warhawk was used by most of the Allied Powers during World War II, and remained in frontline service until the end of the war. It was the third most produced American fighter, with 13,738 built in total.

The lack of a two-stage supercharger in the P-40 made it inferior to Luftwaffe fighters such as the Messerschmitt Bf 109 in high-altitude combat and was rarely used in operations in Northwest Europe.

Between 1941 and 1944, the P-40 played important roles with Allied air forces in three major theaters: North Africa, the Southwest Pacific, and China. The P-40's performance at high altitude was not as important in theaters where it served as an air superiority fighter, bomber escort and fighter bomber.

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