By Carl Molesworth
Staffed with green USAAF pilots and led by means of a handful of professional veterans of the yank Volunteer workforce (AVG), the twenty third FG used to be shaped within the box at Kunming, in China, on July four, 1942 and flew strive against missions that very same day. The group's 3 squadrons - the 74th, seventy fifth and 76th Fighter Squadrons - have been firstly built with war-weary P-40s passed down from the AVG. those have been supplemented via the connected sixteenth FS, flying new P-40Es, and all squadrons decorated the noses in their airplanes with fearsome and iconic sharksmouth designs.The twenty third FG fought a guerrilla battle opposed to the japanese, progressively relocating pilots and airplane from one distant air base to a different to maintain the enemy off stability. simply because China might simply be provided through air from India, there have been consistent shortages of plane, gas and ammunition with which to contend. The twenty third FG met those demanding situations head-on and via the tip of the warfare its pilots had compiled a ranking of 594 aerial victories and approximately four hundred floor kills. one of the forty seven aces who flew within the twenty third have been colourful characters corresponding to David L 'Tex' Hill, Robert L 'Bob' Scott and Clinton D 'Casey'. The human fee used to be excessive, even if - 126 pilots misplaced their lives in China whereas serving within the twenty third.
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Extra resources for 23rd Fighter Group: Chennault's Sharks (Aviation Elite Units)
Fter a horr period of training at Kweilin, the 74th FS flew the fir t combat mission employing aerial M-9 rockets in China on 3 March. Carried in long bazooka-like tubes under the wings of a P-40, the early rockets packed a strong punch but were not considered parricularly accurate, plus the tubes were a tremendous d rag on the perFormance of the P-40K '36' of the 74th FS, assigned to Lt Fred Meyer, came to rest in a ditch at Kweilin in early 1944. Note the squadron's red fuselage band and the pin-up artwork of a girl in a bathing suit wearing a big hat on the rudder.
Col Hill led rhe Musrangs off ar 1415 hrs, and rhey arrived ar Suichuan 90 minures larer. Thar same afrernoon, P-38s from Lingling and B-25s from Kweilin also flew ro Suichuan. The pilors wenr ro bed early because reveille was scheduled for 0400 hI'S on Thanksgiving Day. The 76rh FS learned of irs rarger ar an exrensive briefing held ar 0830 hrs on Thanksgiving morning. The roure ro Shinchiku would rake rhe Musrang pilors 424 miles our and abour rhe same disrance back, plus wharever manoeuvring mighr be necessary during rhe arrack irself, when rhe likelihood of engagemenr by rhe JAAF was high.
The B-25s and P-38s also did considerable damage to aircraft and facil ities on the ai rfield. Not a single USAAF aircraft was lost in return, although two of the P-51 pilots had frightening momems. Ironically, the first was Capt Stewart, who had never previously flown a Mustang prior to embarking on this mission. He dropped his external wing tanks just before going down on his strafing pass but forgot to turn on the switch to his internal 77 a: => o u.. a: UJ f- a...