bigpigeon.us webpage WW II - Japan > China-Burma-India > China - 1941-45, updated by RAC 7 Oct '19. Not yet complete.
WW II in China - Overview
China in 1941 was already the most populous nation on Earth, but unlike today it was economically backward and far from unified. Since 1928, Chiang Kai-shek led both the major political party, the Koumintang, and the Republic of China government.
WW II in China was a continuation of the Second Sino-Japanese War, which began in 1937 and pitted the Republic of China against the Japanese Empire. By the end of 1938, Chiang Kai-shek's government had feld the central China capital of Nanking and retreated to Chongqing in mountainous southwestern China, where it remained until World War II ended.
Throughout WW II, Chinese forces continued to tie up the majority of the IJA (Imperial Japanese Army) without launching a major offensive on their own. However, in 1944, the IJA mounted an offensive to open a rail route south through China.
In addition to the Japanese occupation of key portions of his country, Chiang faced a Civil War resumption from Mao Zedong's Communist party. Moreover, traditional Chinese warlords often possessed regional power and military iinfluence.
Even before Pearl Harbor, Russia, Great Britain and the United States supported Chiang's government by providing shipments of supplies. Shipment by sea through Chinese ports was not feasible due to Japanese control of Chinese seaports. Thus three avenues were used:
The AVG - The Flying Tigers
ingBy 1941, the Japanese had increased their ability to interdict traffic on the Burma Road, the sole remaining avenue into China. The United States sanctioned and supported the creation of the AVG, the American Volunteer Group, whose core consisted of about 100 American fighter pilots, organized to fly under the Chinese flag. The AVG was preparing for combat when the War with Japan began in December 1941. They helped protect the Burma Road area as the Japanese progressed north in Burma in the first half of 1942.
Claire Chennault, the AVG commander, taught his pilots a different style of aerial combat. Rather then engaging in dogfights, they would make an initial surprise attack, and then break off combat.
Although their numbers were not sufficient to stem the Japanese advance, AVG tactics were overwhelmingly successful. The AVG is credited with 297 Japanese planes destroyed, with only 14 AVG pilots lost in combat.
With the loss of Burma, the AVG withdrew into the Kumning area in southwestern China, where they were transferred to the American flag, becoming the nucleus of the 23rd Fighter Group, which later became part of the new 14th Air Force, based in China and headed by Claire Chennault.
Sources for the WW II - China - 1941-45 webpage
- The China in 1941 map is courtesy of Emerson Kent.
- The WW II in China map is courtesy of The Map Archive.
- The P-40 Flying Tiger Aircraft on the Flight Line photo is courtesy of MilitaryHistoryNow.com.
Pottawattamie County, Iowa WW II Dead - China - 1941-45
(taken from the bigpigeon.us WW II Dead webarea)
(taken from the bigpigeon.us WW II Dead webarea)
- 10-02 - China-Burma-India - China 1941-45: (seven dead, updated 6 Oct ’19)
† Berringer, Merroll Jackson - SN O-735025, USAAF
Flight H, 35th Photo Recon. Sqdn., 14th AF; Lockheed F-5E #44-23237 pilot; KIA 21 Nov ’44 over South China Sea; disappeared on triangular flight Suichuan-Nimrod Sound-Batanes Is.-Suichuan; BNR.
† Chancellor, Elmer Lee - SN O-711946, USAAF
118 Tactical Recon. Sqdn., 14th AF; P-51C #43-24938 pilot; KIA 28 Dec ’44, over Yangtze River, Anking, southern China; BNR.
† +Cox, Kenneth A. - SN 17-078-406, USAAF
16th Combat Camera Unit; flying with 11th Bomb. Sqdn., 341st Bomb. Gp., 14th Air Force based at Yangkai near Kumning, China; B- 25 #_____ (pilot John J. Wise); KIA 18 Jan ’45 Chihkiang, China; after bombing Puchi railroad bridge, plane overshot runway when landing to refuel; four lived, three died.
† Davis, August William Jr. - SN 17-003-658, USAAF
792nd Bomb. Sqdn., 468 Bomb. Gp., XX Bomber Cmd., 20th AF; based at Kharagpur, India; B-29 42-6230 “Limber Duggan” crew member; KIA 15 Jun ‘44, over Yawata, Kyushu, Japan on flight from Pengshan, China; plane damaged over target & then exploded; all died, including a civilian correspondent; the first B-29 raid on Japan, maybe first B-29 lost over Japan; BNR.
† Gidley, Robert Allan - SN 17-040-837, USAAF
676th Bomb. Sqdn. 444th Bomb. Gp., 20th AF; B-29 #42-6330 crew member; KIA 20 Aug ’44 near Chengdu, Sichuan, China; plane hit cliff while landing after bombing Yawata Iron Works on Kyushu Is., Japan.
† Holm, Darcy Lee - SN 39-836-855, USAAF
373rd Bomb Sqdn., 408th Bomb. Gp., 14th AF; B-24J #42-73252 flight engineer, KIA 15 Jan ’44 E of Kweilin & N of Hong Kong, China; crash.
† Malick, William Burton - SN 17-024-190, USAAF
6th Ferrying Sqdn., 1st Ferrying Gp., 10th AF, Air Transport Command; C-47 Skytrain/Dakota #41-38656 radio operator; KIA 2 Aug ’43, near Yunnanyi, W of Kumning, China; cargo flight from Mohanhari, India over the Hump to Kumning; CBI Theater.