World War Ii

23rd Fighter Group: Chennaults Sharks by Carl Molesworth

By Carl Molesworth

Staffed with green USAAF pilots and led by way of a handful of professional veterans of the yank 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 teams 3 squadrons - the 74th, seventy fifth and 76th Fighter Squadrons - have been in the beginning outfitted 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.

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23rd Fighter Group: Chennaults Sharks

Staffed with green USAAF pilots and led by way of a handful of pro veterans of the yankee Volunteer team (AVG), the twenty third FG was once shaped within the box at Kunming, in China, on July four, 1942 and flew wrestle missions that very same day. The teams 3 squadrons - the 74th, seventy fifth and 76th Fighter Squadrons - have been before everything built with war-weary P-40s passed down from the AVG.

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The Americans crossed the coast of Formosa at about noon and headed north toward thei I' target. A few moments later someone called in a twin-engined enemy aircraft approaching down the coastline. Col H ill despatched a flight of the P-38s [Q go after it, and I Lt Robert Schultz quickly shot the aeroplane down. The Lighming flight was returning to its station when Hill spolled some enemy fighters taking offfrom the airfield ahead. A few seconds later, the P-38s found themselves in a fighter pilot's dream position when they saw a string of enemy bombers strung out low and slow in the landing pattern for their air base.

They were shooring, bur rheir deRecrion was off - all trailing. I dived a lirde and anorher P-40 came scooring by and scarrered rhe Japs. I came back over rhe field ar 500 fr and saw a "Tojo" going wesr. 1 overhauled him and rook a 5degree deRecrion shor and rhen cur ir down ro 20 degrees.

89 w Lt Stephen J Bonner Jr, who was a five-victory ace with the 76th FS, poses in his P-51B (43-7028) in mid- 2Lt Don Lopez's P-40N '194' of the 75th FS got a mouthful of aluminium when a P-51 taxied into it at Yang Tong airfield, Kweilin, on 12 June 1944. The tough P-40 suffered only superficial damage to its cowling, which Lopez recalled was replaced with an unmarked 'bathtub', leaving him a 'toothless tiger' until it was painted several weeks later (Leon Klesman) OJ » -l -l r- 1944. Unfortunately, the tail number z and other possible markings worn by this aeroplane remain unknown (Steve Bonner!

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