Four fishermen looking for crabs in China’s Yangtze River discovered a wreckage of what looked like a plane last week. The remains was identified as that of a Second World War bomber when it was brought into the surface.
Getting the said plane out of the water took two days.
The plane’s undercarriage, engine as well as its fuselage were the parts that were brought out – these bearing the engraving “North American Aviation” along with a plate with the inscriptions of the plane’s serial number and its date of production which was February 15, 1943.
A US scholar identified by Chinese media as Patrick Lucas said the plane was an American B-25 bomber believed to be from the “Flying Tiger” forces, a special US military pilot unit given the responsibility of training Chinese airmen for combat during WWII.
According to one of the fishermen who discovered the said wreckage, Ma Jinbin, in an interview with a Chinese newspaper, the frequent net snags they experienced in the crash site prompted them to explore the area leading to the discovery.
Mr. Lucas, himself a US Air Force pilot descendant, had traveled to the region six years ago to look for the crash site but was unsuccessful in locating the exact spot.
The Flying Tigers
The Flying Tigers was actually just a nickname of the 1st American Volunteer Group, a group composed of pilots from the United States Army (USAAF), US Navy (USN) and the US Marine Corps (USMC), were recruited under the presidential authority of then US president Franklin Roosevelt and were under the tutelage of Claire Lee Chennault.
The group was divided into three squadrons of fighters with crafts numbering to about 43 with 84 pilots. The whole unit trained in Burma in 1941 before US officially entered World War II with the mission of defending China against the advances of the Japanese. Some stated that the group was private military company and for this reason its members were, sometimes, called mercenaries.
The unit’s war planes had shark faces painted on them, this feature made them the most recognizable among the individual combat war crafts and combat units during WWII. It saw its first action on December 20, 1941, only 12 days after the bombing of the Pearl Harbor. It brought about stories of victories in the US lowest points in war bringing to the US forces and the Allies, in general, hope that they would eventually win over the Japanese in the end.
Near WWII’s end, the whole unit was incorporated into the regular US air force of over 700 planes and was part of the enforcement that fought against the Japanese over China and Burma.
We received feedback on our Facebook page regarding this article that is needs to be added to this article:
The “Flying Tigers” or AVG never operated the B-25. The one in the photo was built more than a year AFTER the AVG was disbanded and incorporated into the Army Air Corps. The AVG was incorporated into the 14th AF and many, in that unit, tried to say they were still “Flying Tigers” after that, but they really weren’t. That was nickname bestowed upon the REAL AVG by the Chinese people, at the time.
There are only 4 actual Tigers living. Lets not diminish the honor they earned while with the AVG by diluting what they accomplished nor let others use their name to steal their honor.
Thank you John Daily for your comments!