By Carl Molesworth

Staffed with green USAAF pilots and led by means of a handful of pro veterans of the yankee Volunteer crew (AVG), the twenty third FG was once 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 outfitted with war-weary P-40s passed down from the AVG. those have been supplemented by way of the hooked up 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 warfare opposed to the japanese, gradually relocating pilots and plane from one distant air base to a different to maintain the enemy off stability. simply because China may perhaps in simple terms be provided via air from India, there have been consistent shortages of airplane, gasoline and ammunition with which to contend. The twenty third FG met those demanding situations head-on and by means of the tip of the battle its pilots had compiled a ranking of 594 aerial victories and approximately four hundred flooring kills. one of the forty seven aces who flew within the twenty third have been colourful characters comparable to David L 'Tex' Hill, Robert L 'Bob' Scott and Clinton D 'Casey'. The human expense was once excessive, even though - 126 pilots misplaced their lives in China whereas serving within the twenty third.

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In all, 23rd F pilots were credited with 16 confirmed vi tories on 12 December. The 76th FS, under newly appointed commanding officer CaptJohn S Stewart, moved its P-51 As from Kweilin to the forward base at Suichuan, lo on the Kan River in south Kiangsi Province, on 26 December 1943. Japanese intelligence was apparently very good in this area because the JAAF's 3rd Air Division launched an arrack on the base from Canton the very next morning. Seven P-5IAs and seven P-40s scrambled at 1130 hrs on word from the warning net that an attack was on the way.

O t •• Z •• : Z -l I m ·,, •• •· ....... ,.. ·· ··· m » C/) -l . "-. Yoehow . ~Nangchang : : ...... - ,-@ ~ • : # ".... • Poseh@ · • • _C'" '.. : / :.. ~;....... , :.... , " ...... "~ .. #~Nanning ... Wenchow. Foochow. @Kanchow . •• Changchow. Arnoy. Formosa " • Swataw. "@Canton @Tanchuk·.. ' # ••:@LiuChow • '. r·· :@Kweilin -. 1, •• # @Suichwan '. ' . •• Ling-Ling ~ _, • • Kunming 11II . . - Hengyang~: .... ~.. • Hanchow. ,@Wuchang : Paliuchi '. - Liangshan@ . @ Chungking.

Meanwhile, Col Hill's Mustangs engaged a few Ki-43 'Oscars' that managed to get airborne. Hill shot down one that 'chandelled' in front of him while it tried to get on the tail of the last B-25. Lt Bell sent another fighter down in flames a few seconds later. Then Hill led his P-5ts in on a strafing run, and the flight destroyed several more aircraft on the ground. 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.

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