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American Volunteer Group

Claire Lee Chennault (1893–1958) was instrumental in the implementation of the AVGs

The American Volunteer Groups were Nationalist government of China against Japan in the Second Sino-Japanese War. The only unit to actually see combat was the 1st AVG, popularly known as the Flying Tigers.

In an effort to aid the Nationalist government of China and to put pressure on Japan, President Franklin Roosevelt in April 1941 authorized the creation of a clandestine "Special Air Unit" consisting of three combat groups equipped with American aircraft and staffed by aviators and technicians to be recruited from the U.S. Army, Navy and Marine Corps for service in China. The program was fleshed out in the winter of 1940–1941 by Claire Lee Chennault, then an air advisor to the Chinese Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek, and Lauchlin Currie, a young economist in the Roosevelt White House. They envisioned a small air corps of 500 combat aircraft, although in the end, the number was reduced to 200 fighters and 66 light bombers.[1]


  • 1st AVG (Flying Tigers) 1
  • 2nd AVG 2
  • 3rd AVG 3
  • References 4
    • Notes 4.1
    • Bibliography 4.2
  • External links 5

1st AVG (Flying Tigers)

A-20G of the United States Army Air Forces
The Lockheed Hudson was an American-built light bomber and coastal reconnaissance aircraft


  • Roster of the 2nd AVG
  • Cables about recruiting the bomber group
  • Rossi, J.R. "AVG American Volunteer Group - Flying Tigers". 

External links

  • Armstrong, Alan. Preemptive Strike: The Secret Plan That Would Have Prevented the Attack on Pearl Harbor. Guilford, Delaware: Lyons Press, 2006. ISBN 1-59228-913-4.
  • Ford, Daniel. Flying Tigers: Claire Chennault and His American Volunteers, 1941–1942. Washington, DC: HarperCollins|Smithsonian Books, 2007. ISBN 0-06-124655-7.
  • Leonard, Royal. I Flew for China: Chiang Kai-Shek's Personal Pilot New York: Doubleday, Doran, 1942.
  • Schaller, Michael. The U.S. Crusade in China, 1938–1945. New York: Columbia University Press, 1979. ISBN 0-231-04455-0.


  1. ^ Ford 2007, Ch. 2.
  2. ^ a b c d Rossi, J.R. "History: The Flying Tigers - American Volunteer Group - Chinese Air Force." AVG: American Volunteer Group, The Flying Tigers, 1998. Retrieved: 4 July 2011.
  3. ^ Rossi, J.R. "A Flying Tiger's Story by Dick Rossi." Planes and Pilots Of World War Two, 1995. Retrieved: 4 July 2011.
  4. ^ Older, Chuck. "Hammerhead Stalls and Snap Rolls: Written in the mid-1980s." (Tales of the Tigers: The Flying Tigers Tell some of their stories) AVG: American Volunteer Group, The Flying Tigers, 1998. Retrieved: 4 July 2011.



The 3rd AVG was to have been a fighter group like the 1st. Because the 2nd AVG had been recruited from the U.S. Army, recruiting for the 3rd was to have been limited to the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, starting in the early months of 1942. These plans too were abandoned as a result of the U.S. entry into World War II.

3rd AVG

In the fall of 1941, the 2nd American Volunteer Group was equipped with 33 Lockheed Hudson (A-28) and 33 Douglas DB-7 (A-20) bombers originally built for Britain but acquired by the U.S. Army as part of the Lend-Lease program passed earlier in the year. The Central Aircraft Manufacturing Company, fronting for the Chinese and American governments, recruited 82 pilots and 359 ground crewmen from the U.S. Army in the fall of 1941, and an undetermined number, including one pilot, actually sailed for Asia aboard Noordam and Bloemfontein of the Java-Pacific line. Other pilots reported to San Francisco, and were scheduled to depart aboard the Lockheed Hudsons on 10 December. The Douglas DB-7s, meanwhile, were to have gone by freighter to Africa, where they would be assembled and ferried to China, but the attack on Pearl Harbor caused the program to be aborted. The vessels at sea were diverted to Australia, the aircraft were taken back into American service, and most or all of the personnel likewise rejoined the military, either in Australia or in the U.S.

2nd AVG

[4] in July 1942, with only five of its pilots choosing to continue with the AAF.23rd Fighter Group' United States Army Air Forces It was disbanded and replaced by the [2] Under Chennault's command, the Flying Tigers became famous in the defense of Burma and China.[2] on 7 December 1941.attack on Pearl Harbor The Flying Tigers did not go into combat until after the Japanese [3]

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