The Third A.V.G. squadron moved to Rangoon on December 12, 1941, to join the R.A.F. in the defense of Rangoon. The First and Second squadrons flew from Toungoo to Kunming on the afternoon of the 18th. The first combat for the A.V.G. occurred over southern Yunnan Province on December 20, 1941. In their first combat, a combination of the First and Second Squadrons, shot down nine out of ten Japanese bombers with a loss of one A.V.G. aircraft. The second engagement brought the Third Squadron onto action over Rangoon on December 23, with the R.A.F. flying beside the Tigers. The total haul of Japs was six bombers and four fighters. The R.A.F. lost five planes and pilots and the A.V.G. lost four planes and two pilots.
Then, on Christmas Day, two waves totaling 80 Jap bombers and 48 fighters hit Rangoon. The A.V.G. knocked down 23 of them, the biggest victory of the war, with six more Jap planes believed shot down over the Gulf of Martaban. The A.V.G. suffered not the loss of a single plane.
The 28th brought another heavy enemy attack - 20 bombers and 25 fighters. The A.V.G. got 10 of them with no losses.
The next day, the 29th, the Japs threw 40 bombers and 20 fighters against the Tigers who scored 18 kills with a loss of only a single aircraft.
Now it was the day of New Year's Eve but it dawned with no let up in the Jap assault. 80 planes crowding the skies over Rangoon. The Tigers shot down 15 without the loss of a single aircraft.
In 11 days of fighting, the A.V.G. had officially knocked 75 enemy aircraft out of the skies with an undetermined number of probable kills such as the losses the Japs suffered over the Gulf of Martaban. The A.V.G. losses were two pilots and six aircraft.
Early in January, the Rangoon defense was reinforced by eight planes from the First Squadron and the A.V.G. began their first strafing of the war. Hitting the Jap air base in Thailand, they wiped out a dozen planes on the ground. On January 13, the remainder of the First Squadron joined the other A.V.G. forces at Rangoon and there followed a series of raids on Jap air bases. Ten days later, January 23, after a series of engagements over Kunming and Rangoon, the Japes attacked Rangoon in force again, 72 planes appearing there and the A.V.G. got 21 of them with the loss of only one American pilot. Air battles continued over Rangoon until it finally fell to enemy ground forces at the end of February. During this time, in one strafing raid in Thailand, the A.V.G. knocked out upwards of 60 enemy aircraft on the ground, the biggest ground victory of the war. But advancing Jap ground forces slowly drove the A.V.G. to bases at Magwe in Burma and eventually into the interior of China.
There, the Tigers continued to carry out their final missions, supporting the Chinese ground forces on both eastern and western fronts as well as defending Chinese cities against attacks by the Japanese Air Force.The official home page of "The Flying Tigers"
The AVG was largely the creation of Claire Chennault, retired U.S. Army Air Corps captain who had become military aviation advisor to Chinese generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek in the Sino-Japanese War. On occasion Chennault may have piloted a plane himself, though stories that he was a combat ace are probably apocryphal. Due to poor fighter material, results were not impressive, and when Russian air units were withdrawn from China in 1940, Chiang asked for American squadrons to replace them.
The clandestine operation was largely organized by Lauchlin Currie, a young economist in the White House, and by Roosevelt intimate Thomas G. Corcoran. (Currie's assistant was John King Fairbank, who later became America's preeminent Asian scholar.) The AVG, financing was handled by China Defense Supplies which was largely Tommy Corcoran's creation, with funding provided by the U.S. government; purchases were then made by the Chinese under the "Cash and Carry" provision of the Neutrality Act of 1939.
The pilots were either currently serving in American armed services or reserve officers; contrary to legend, none were recruited from the ranks of civilian transport pilots or barnstormers. Most histories of the Flying Tigers say that on April 15, 1941 President Roosevelt signed a secret executive order authorising Army Reservists on active duty to resign from the Army Air Corps in order to sign up for the AVG, however Flying Tigers historian Daniel Ford could not find evidence that such an order was ever published. Ford states that the State department in fact blocked the issuing of a passport to a pilot who had a history of volunteering for such service, something that would go against the spirit of such order.
The pilots who volunteered were discharged from the American armed services, to fly and fight as mercenaries for the Republic of China Air Force. They were officially employees of a private military contractor, the Central Aircraft Manufacturing Company, which employed them for "training and instruction," and which paid them $600 a month for pilot officer, $675 a month for flight leader (such as Gregory Boyington), and $750 for Squadron leader, though no pilot was recruited at this level. They were orally promised an additional $500 for each enemy aircraft shot down, a promise that was later confirmed by Madame Chiang Kai-shek, who also extended it to aircraft destroyed on the ground.wiki
So in substance, the U.S. attacked Japan without declaration of the War?
Secretary of War Henry S.Stimson's diary of November25, 1941, summarized President Roosevelt to the effect that "the question was how we manuver them [the Japanese] into the postion of firing the first shot without allowing too much danger ourselves" ,Coupled with the fact that there is a good reason to believe that Roosevelt knew Japan would attack Peal Harbor,I think Roosevelt was a smart guy!!!
Of course the law of neutrality does not preclude any government from taking part in a war if it sees fit to do so. It merely requires the observance of candor and decency in international dealings, by inhibiting acts of war under the guise of neutrality. From the elementary principles of international law it necessarily follows that if a government bans the shipment of arms and munitions of war to one of the parties to an armed conflict and permits it to the other, it intervenes in a conflict in a military sense and makes itself a party to a war, whether declared or undeclared.
The fact that America was helping China in all possible ways during Sino-Japanese hostilities would thus be a pertinent consideration in determining the character of Japan's subsequent action against the USA. The prosecution admits that the United States rendered aid economically and in the form of war materials to China to a degree unprecedented between non-belligerent powers and that some of her nationals fought with the Chinese against the aggression of JapanRadhabinod Pal
p662 The making of Modern Japan
* Charles Bond & Terry Anderson - A Flying Tiger's Diary ISBN 0890961786
* Martha Byrd - Chennault: Giving Wings to the Tiger ISBN 0817303227
* Daniel Ford - Flying Tigers: Claire Chennault and the American Volunteer Group ISBN 1560985410
* Frank S. Losonsky - Flying Tiger: A Crew Chief's Story: The War Diary of an AVG Crew Chief ISBN 0764300458
* Frank J. Olynyk - AVG & USAAF (China-Burma-India Theater) Credits for Destruction of Enemy Aircraft in Air to Air Combat, World War 2. Privately published, 1986.
* Robert Lee Scott Jr. - Flying Tiger: Chennault of China ISBN 0837167744
* Erik Shilling - Destiny: A Flying Tigers Rendezvous With Fate ISBN 1882463021
* John Toland - Flying Tigers ISBN 0394904052
* Ralph Vartabedian. 'One Last Combat Victory' Los Angeles Times, 6 July 1991. pg.1