In 1939, under the leadership of Claire Chennault, Colonel in the Chinese Air Force, the American Volunteer Group (AVG) was formed to help fight the Japanese forces in the area. In January 1941, the Chinese Government purchased 100 Curtis Wright P-40B Warhawk (specifications) fighters for $8,900,000. The AVG pilots began arriving for combat training and received a salary ranging from $600 to $750 per month plus travel expenses and living quarters. In order to avoid heavy losses, Clolnel Chennaualt advocated the use of fighter planes, when properly used, could easily intercept enemy bombers. He also believed that fighter planes, when properly used, could easily intercept enemy bombing raids. Colonel Chennaults peers in the aviation community considered both of his views "unorthodox". He also suggested that fighter tactics based on pairs of planes were more effective than a single fighter. He had the AVG pilots spend up to eight hours a day practicing his combat tactics.
|On December 25, 1941 the Japanese sent sixty bombers and twenty fighters to attack Rangoon, Burma, and were met by thirteen planes from the AVG, also known as the Flying Tigers. The Flying Tigers, using the air combat tactics taught to them by Colonel Chennault, shot down twenty-three enemy planes to only two AVG planes lost in the battle. Radio Tokyo warned the Flying Tigers at Rangoon that if they didnt abandon their unorthodox tactics, they would be treated as guerillas and shown no mercy whatsoever. The Flying Tigers didnt heed the warning and with their P-40 Warhawks, of which 14,000 were made between 1939 and 1944, continued to fight the Japanese until the end of the war.|