From: email@example.com(Erik Shilling)
Subject: Re: about those Flying Tiger victory claims
Date: 2 Jun 1997 21:45:58 GMT
The following are excerpts from a letter I received from a
History professor who had taught at the Air Force Academy in
Colorado, and is now a professor of history at the University of
Over a year after receiving this letter, Professor Guilmartin I
believe has retired from the teaching staff at Ohio State University.
Professor Guilmartin graduated from the United States Military
During the Viet Nam war, Guilmartin flew as a rescue pilot on
helicopters know as the “Green Jolly Giant. He was awarded the
Air Force Silver Star. This was about the same time Ford was a free
lance writing for the communist weekly new rag by the name of THE
I posed the following question to Professor Guilmartin, “why do you
think the AVG was so disliked by some in the military, especially
during the time when the AVG was de-activated, and why are there those
today trying their best to rewrite history or trash those who fought in
Quoting from the professor’s letter,
“The best I can do to explain the wishy-washy treatment (I am
being charitable) Ford gave the Flying Tigers is to say that ever
since the “anti-war” movement took over on campus during the
vietnam war, it has been an “in” in academia to be anti-military.
I have also found, most recently while working on a study of the
impact of air power on the Gulf War for the Secretary of the Air
Force, that even within the military non-aviators simply don’t
understand professional integrity as we do. I guess what I mean
by that is that while we all remember things that didn’t happen
quite the way we remembered them – combat is like that – decep-
tion by a combat aviator, lying in other word, is very rare and
the liars are generally known and stigmatized. To cite a specific
example with which I am sure you’re familiar, I do not recall a
good word said about — —– of — — — ——– among Dad
and his friends. (Name of author and title of book purposely left
A factor in the Air Force,s hostility toward the Tigers.
Chennault embarrassed the regulars so badly that they couldn’t
admit how right he was and how wrong they were with regard to
training and tactics. They covered their tracts by minimizing the
AVG’s accomplishments. It’s a subtle bias, but it shows in the
official histories if you know what you’re looking for. An
example from personal experience: as a young captain teaching
history at the Air Force Academy I was involved in the oral
history program, and one of the first interviews I participated
in was that of General J.P. McConnell, who was Chief of staff
during the mid-60s. I and another young Captain involved in the
interview were sons of pre-war Randolph graduates who had bounced
back and forth between the Air Corps and the flying business and
knew many of the Tigers. We were also aware of what a cruddy job
the Air Corps had done developing and teaching air-to-air tac-
tics. One or the other of us asked McConnell about the AVG, and
his reply was telling: A bunch of reserve officers one step ahead
of the Sheriff.” If it’s any consolation, the Lafayette
Escadrille got the same sorry treatment from the air Service in
1917 that you got from the AAF in 1942. I guess some things never
Still quoting, I haven’t studied World War II in the Far
East. but I have done a lot of reading and teaching on air power
and on World War II in general, and my conclusion is that the
Tigers’s claims are probably pretty close to the mark. Back in
the late ’50s when the twentieth anniversary of the Battle of
Britain was coming up, there was a big debate in Britain over the
supposedly inflated claims of the RAF fighter Jocks. British
academia doesn’t suffer from on ingrained, across the board anti-
military bias that ours does, and after some serious archival
research the conclusion that emerge was very interesting. The
correlation between German losses and Fighter Command confirmed
claims was extremely close, day in and day out. In fact, the
jocks’s kill claims were about 10-15% high – aircraft seen going
into clouds trailing smoke where the fire subsequently went out:
two pilots firing on, damaging, and claiming the same aircraft
without knowing of each other: etc.:etc. – but German losses to
flack and operational wastage, notably landing accidents, made up
the difference.” (unlike the Japanese, who supposedly lost all
the records of their outfits that fought against the Flying
Tigers in Southeast China, Burma and Thailand.)
“With full wisdom of hindsight, the British fighter pilots’
confirmed claims were the best single measure of German losses
and the only accurate one. To reinforce the point, air-to-air
kills were the biggest single source of German losses, and the
others;, only landing accidents were consistently a major one
taken in isolation. It is abundantly clear that near-kills and
survivable battle damage inflicted by British fighters clearly
drove operational wastage. To put it in concrete terms, who – or
what – gets credit for the German bomber with battle damage which
crashed on landing? How about the Me-109 pilot who got scared and
disoriented in combat, ran himself out of fuel and had to bail
out? What about the Me-109 pilot who tangled with Spitfires and
got off without a scratch, but was so drained emotionally and
physically by the experience that he lost his concentration and
washed out his gear on landing? All three are technically opera-
tional wastage, but none would have happened without air-to-air
“I expect the same kind of relation between confirmed air-
to-air kill claims and enemy losses will prove to be true of the
AVG. If anything, I would be inclined to suspect that your
confirmed kills understated Japanese losses in light of the
fragility of Japanese aircraft, the primitive condition of most
of their fields, Japanese supply and maintenance problems, the
hugh distances by European standards and the wretched weather.”
I have included below a comment of my own.
Because of petty jealousies within the Air Force’s brass,
Chennault’s intimate knowledge of the Japanese pilots and their
planes which he taught to those of us in the Flying Tigers, and
used against the Japanese, were never passed on to the American
fighter pilots in the Pacific theater by the military. As a
consequence hundreds of fighter pilots were killed in combat
against the Japanese Air Force due entirely to the lack of
knowledge concerning the tactics used so successful against the
Japanese by the Flying Tigers. This jealousy started in the
military from the top including, Generals Marshall, Arnold,
Stillwell, Bissell and many others to numerous to mention.
It has been seaid that Bissell got into trouble in europe black
market dealing with coffee.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org(Erik Shilling)
Subject: Re: Fighter pilot claims & validations?
Date: 11 Jun 1997 18:38:01 GMT
In email@example.com (Emmanuel.Gustin)
:Erik Shilling (firstname.lastname@example.org) wrote:
> Quoting from the professor’s letter:
: ever since the “anti-war” movement took over on campus during the
: vietnam war, it has been an “in” in academia to be anti-military.
>Political tendencies could affect the interpretation, but not
>the raw figures, so I think this is irrelevant. Let’s keep
>politics out of this, or the level of this discussion will
RAW figures are what Dr. Guilmartin used. NONE OF THE OTHERS DO.
I had no control over the Professor’s political views, or what he
wrote, however I felt it best to post his letter in its entirety.
Nor would I have the audacity to suggest how he should answer. He
was kind enough to answer my question. Also the Professor is not
a contributor to the Newsgroups therefore, without constraint,
speaks his mind.
: “I haven’t studied World War II in the Far East. but I have done
: a lot of reading and teaching on airpower and on World War II in
: general, and my conclusion is that the Tigers’s claims are
: probably pretty close to the mark.
>Meaning that he doesn’t know, but is willing to make an
>(educated) guess. His guess is as good as any, I suppose,
>but it hasn’t the value of actual data.
He does not hide the fact, however Dr. Guilmartin is an expert on
the European Theater of Operations. Apparently you missed most of
I don’t think Dr. Guilmartin leaves any doubt in the reader mind,
THAT he is NOT speaking from facts, but it’s his opinion. I
personally feel however that his comments, as an educated guess,
are closer to the truth than the 3 to 1 theory.
Lets leave the Far East out of the discussion for the moment, and
concentrate on the main target, the ETO wherein Dr. Guilmartin’s
I directed my comments to those who are convince that fighter
pilots overclaimed by 3 to 1. This is the theater where Dr.
Guilmartin is undoubtedly an expert due to his studies on the
MY quarrel is with those who continually write about, and use as an
“accepted fact,” this 3 to 1 theory based upon baseless evidence.
Have these experts whose studies that are being so freely quoted,
actually studied the military archives of German and British combat
reports, which include pilots combat reports that include their
claims as well as the air force’s actual losses.
(If they have, I’ll apologize.)
With this information tabulated, have then gone to Germany and
repeated the same study? After that, correlated the two and
reconciled losses against claims and truthfully say the pilots
overclaimed by 3 to 1. I THINK NOT.
You ask the question.
>”I wonder what the source for this claim is. Prof. Guilmartin
>must have read it somewhere — but where?
NO Dr. Guilmartin did NOT read it somewhere. HE MADE THE REPORT.
He used the military archives of each country and based his report
to the PENTAGON upon actual losses, having compared them to fighter
In regard to the CBI theater it was his opinion, and an educated
guess, which he doesn’t put forth as hard evidence.
Since the European authors insist upon sticking the their 3 to 1
theory with out using fact to back it up. Isn’t this exactly what
most of them are doing, “guessing.” I have yet to see any ACTUAL
records of any substance being quoted?
: The correlation between German losses and Fighter Command con-
: firmed claims was extremely close, day in and day out.
>As this is contradicted by all other publications on the BoB
>that I have ever seen (most of them British), I wonder what the
>source for this claim is. Prof. Guilmartin must have read it
>somewhere — but where?
They are contradictory Because Dr. Guilmartin uses military
archives as his source, and the others went out and counted wrecks
to prove their point. (Very scientific??)
Being British, in itself does not make them accurate.
Apparently you did not read Guilmartin’s complete letter. He was
ORDERED by the United States Military to conduct the study of the
BRITISH and GERMAN ARCHIVES specifically to correlate and compare
pilot’s claims to actual aircraft destroyed.
Many of you apparently do not understand the vital importance
accurate information is to the military. He summarized his report
to me. IT WAS his REPORT that he was referring to. Not something he
had read. He was the AUTHOR. He source it what historians should
be using. Not the pie in the sky stuff, which can be slanted in
what ever way they desire.
: Since All Japanese records concerning their combat against the
: Flying Tigers was destroyed by them. Regretfully there are
: absolutely no Japanese records available.
>Can someone explain to me what these famous “lost records”
>exactly were? That “all Japanese records” were lost seems
>impossible, as several authors have quoted from Japanese
>documents relating to this period, listing units, aircraft,
>pilots, and losses. So there seems to be a partial, not
>a complete, loss of records. Which ones were lost?
My source for records being destroyed, among others, is Daniel
Ford’s own Book, the Flying Tigers. It was a partial loss that
dealt with combat records of the Japanese against the AVG only.
Look on page 369 Ford clearly states, “CURIOUSLY ALL THE RECORD
KEPT BY THE JAPANESE WERE DESTROYED BY “THEM.”
This is easily proven. Try to locate the Japanese combat records
concerning their Burma, Thailand, and Southwestern China against
the AVG. The written records of the British and AVG, are still
I am not speaking about those japanese who have written book from
memory since it was forbidden to keep diaries.
My source is Japanese leading living Ace, Saburo Sakai. Who
incidently admits the Japanese over grossly claimed their victories
and under Claimed their losses.
To paraphrase Winston Churchill. “Why are so many so eager to trash
those who help save their ass?”
From: email@example.com(Erik Shilling)
Subject: An apology to Dan Ford
Date: 28 Jun 1997 16:47:09 GMT
In a way I guess I do owe Mr. Ford an apology, and I am sorry I
miss-quoted him, although the quote was not exactly correct, the
subject matter was.
I had written,
>>ON PAGE 369 IS THE FOLLOWING WHICH I QUOTE, “That curiously the
>>Japanese records of the battles over Burma were destroyed by them
THE STATEMENT IS CORRECT, BUT THE QUOTE IS INCORRECT.
>That the sentence doesn’t appear on p 369 or any other page in my
Ford considered the above to be an inexcusable error on my part, so
he REVERTED to name calling and personal insults, “saying I was
lying to young Americans about my war record!”
After such an uncalled for outbursts, I guess it is Okay to call
Mr. Ford a damn liar, since my war record is provable.
I should have said, “I was paraphrasing the information from page
369, instead of quoting from page 369. Had I said this, my
statement would have been entirely correct.
To erase any doubt as to the contents or correctness of what’s on
page 369, the following are scanned images from this page.
* * * *
From Daniel Ford’s book
“In almost every case, these unit records were lost in the great
retreat of 1944-1945.”
“As for central records–if there were any–the jest in Tokyo in
August 1945, was that the smoke from the final American air raid
merged into the Pall raised by military and civilian bureaucrats,
burning documents before the victors arrived.
“So all we have is reconstructions.”
Comment: This sure as hell is not what anyone would call combat
records, but Ford would have us believe it. Since Japanese Military
regulations prohibited soldiers from keeping diary, they are
worthless interviews obtained from a few Japanese pilots. What
Ford calls records are only time dimmed memories of those he
interviewed. Even then Ford says the Japanese admit that 161 pilots
of the 64th Sentai had been killed, representing 400 percent loss.
Please note this was not the only Japanese Sentai in operation
against the AVG.
Interestingly, losses for the AVG were only 13.4 percent killed,
compared to Japan’s admitted 400 percent.
What is difficult to understand is Ford continues to refer to
non-existing records, perhaps he thinks he can prove his point with
My statements concerning the lack of records are correct, and I
leave it up to the reader as to who is correct. At least I don’t
think it called for a rash of personal insults from Mr. Ford.
Gentlemen, I think I have proven my point which is, you cannot
believe everything Daniel Ford has written. So on to more
An Original Flying Tiger
From: firstname.lastname@example.org(Erik Shilling)
Subject: Re: Neumann’s Zeros a reply to the Ford-Shilling heat
Date: 5 Jul 1997 17:48:16 GMT
>Have to agree with Shilling that the Japanese often shade the truth
>about the war. A case in point is what may have been the last dogfight
>of WWII (at least one of the very last). It happened on the afternoon
>of Aug 14, 1945 when eight Ki-84s and five P-38s clashed over the Bungo
>Straight. The P-38s were flying escort for PBY rescue planes. One P-38
>was shot down; the Japanese claimed five downed. The Americans also
>claimed five Ki-84s downed, but Japanese accounts of the action say
>only two were downed. So…chalk it up to routine overclaiming and
>forget it. Except that the PBY crews who witnessed the action reported
>seeing five Japanese fighters crash as well as one P-38.
>Since the Japanese records only admit to the loss of two. Using
>illogical logic the THE AMERICANS must be LYING.
In the Battle of Midway, the US navy claimed 4 Japanese aircraft
carriers SUNK. The Japanese government went to such an extreme to
keep this information from the Japanese people, that they isolated
crew member they thought had knowledge of the sinking from any
contact with their own people. This was done to prevent such a
catastrophe of this magnitude being known.
Ford made the statement, “how could the Japanese have hidden the
loss of over one hundred aircraft to the AVG from the Japanese?”
With this profound statement, Ford justifies his estimate of the
Japanese loss to AVG fighter pilots as being only 115 down from 297
confirmed losses to the AVG.
In other word DO WE ASSUME THAT IF the Japanese don’t admit the loss,
the Americans are lying.
Such logic is astounding. You must remember that IN ALL CASES, when
ever YOU CAN’T FIND RECORDS OF Japanese where they don’t admit the
loss, whether it is FOUR aircraft carriers, or two hundred war
planes, IT NEVER HAPPENED.
The blanket statement made by Ford that there were no Zeros over
China from late 1941 until April 1944 (?), just because the
Japanese never admitted this, is idiotic.
How can the absurdity OF Ford’s statement be explained in the face of
physical proof to the contrary? Yet he tenaciously sticks with his
story. Like Germany’s propaganda minister who said, if you tell a
lie often enough people will eventually believe you.
In cdb100620’s post, is that we experienced the same claims the PBY
and P-38 crews had with the Japanese. The number of Japanese
victories claimed by “Tokyo Rose,” was almost identical to what we
in the AVG experienced.
After every battle, “Tokyo Rose” gave the Japanese version of the
Invariably it was identical to the number of Japanese planes we had
In another instance, “Tokyo Rose” accused the Flying Tigers of
cowardice saying that only a coward would hit and run, and that we
were afraid to stay and fight the brave imperial Japanese pilots.
It was also “Tokyo Rose,” who proclaimed on December 24th 1941,
that the Japanese pilots had Christman presents for the American
pilots fighting in Burma. It backfired.
Enough of the idiocy of using Japanese records to prove the American’s
Look for the Flying Tiger’s Web page available by the end of July
From: email@example.com(Erik Shilling)
Subject: Re:No Zeros over China
Date: 18 Jun 1997 18:03:37 GMT
Personal email to me from Dan Ford.
Quote, “I owe an apology to Buffalo Bill, aka Peaceful William. He
had you pegged about right. I kept believing against all the
evidence that you were an honest man — crabby but honest. You
aren’t. You twist facts and spew invective and make up quotations
and invent statistics and mislead young American children about
your war record. I’m sick of you. You have been placed on my
newsreader kill list along with the hawkers of latin nudes and
other internet garbage.”
Dan, I have proof of my war record, a certificate of discharge
From Active Duty DD form 214 which is proof of my military record.
If anyone has doubts, I will smail a copy. I’ll match war records
with yours any day.
Retroactively the U.S. Air Force has awarded me the
Distinguished Flying Cross w/oak leaf cluster, Air medal,
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign medal w/4 Bronze Service Stars, World War
II Victory Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation for bravery w/oak
leaf cluster, an Honorable Service Lapel Button, and an Honorable
Discharge from the US Air Force.
A SUMMERY OF ERRORS
DF: “No zeros over China skies from 1941 to 1944.”
Oct 1942 Gerhard Neumann restores to flyable condition one zero
using parts FROM SIX other zeros shot down over China WITHIN the
preceding nine months. (Feb to Oct)
DF: “Oh, it was a zero all right, but it wasn’t shot down.
Either you misquoted Neumann or he was mistaken about the Date.”
Didn’t say it was shot down said it was in China. Proof from
Neumann’s book. Posting by another says, “no misquote and Date is
DF: “In no instance did any AVG member meet a Zero.”
Keep in mind that DF, says there were no zeros over China from
1941 to 1944. Read on, then you decide.
GN: “It became obvious immediately that most PARTS from other
zeros needed filling to fit.” (parts form at least 6 zeros
according to Gerhard’s book. Proof of other zeros in China (Feb to
Another posts: Chennault hadn’t seen a Zero since 1940/41 raids.
ANS: Do you honestly think that in six months, General Chennault
would forget what a Zero looked like?
AS a result of Chennault’s lectures at Toungoo, AVG pilots
thought the Hayabusa was a ZERO, since Chennault mistakenly used
the outline of Hayabusa as Zero.
My reply: I can identify and distinguish a P-40B from a P-40E
although quite similar, and I haven’t seen one in 55 years.
I attended every one of Chennault’s lecture and what Ford says is
not true about the mistaken identity. Only AVG pilot attended
Chennault’s lectures. Ford WAS NOT THERE, although Ford writes as
though he were.
Page 83 “The same thing happened the following day, though
Eriksen Shilling of the 2nd squadron got close enough to count
five silver ships.”
NO TRUE. Incidently I was in the 3rd. A group picture of the 3rd
will prove It.
page 86 “When Erik Had to fly a propless Tomahawk to Loiwing for
overhaul. Ricks put on the `club’ for lack of anything better.
NOT TRUE Impossible to fly any fighter plane with test club. Never
flew to Loiwing until April 1942, flying a export version of T-6.”
Page 89 “Shilling stole a piece of Chalk.”
NOT TRUE, AS WELL AS A LIE.
Page 104 “Erik Shilling took the photo plane down to the RAF Base
at Moulmein and refuel.”
NOT TRUE. Ed Rector, Bert Christman and refueled at Rangoon and at
“Shilling photographed Don Maung from 20,000.”
NOT TRUE. I took photos from 26,000 feet. 92 aircraft on the
Page 138 “Shilling did not have the temperament of a fighter
Never Met Ford. HOW the hell does he know what my temperament is?
He would not know a fighter pilot if he saw one.
Why did Chennault CHOOSE me to dogfight the Brewster buffalo?
He knew damn well I could win.
Page 178 “Sally’s were so fast, Shilling noted, that his manifold
pressure was showing forty inches by the time he caught up with
NO TRUE. We met head on. Could have intercepted them with my GEAR
Page 105 “Chiang Kai Shek agreed to lend one AVG squadron to the
Royal Air Force stipulating that the pilots and planes remain
under his command. The Compromise was the Generalissimo at his
NOT TRUE. AVG pilots refused to serve under total British control.
WE Insisted that Chennault, and our own Squadron Commanders
maintain complete control of our group, and told Chennault this.
Page 190 “Major Yoshioka’s pilots reported that, “the enemy had
great will to fight,” though quickly added that, “their
technique in the air was not superior.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK
Page 194 “Chennault never visited his squadron in Rangoon — a
curious lapse in a leader devoted to his men, and whose men were
devoted to him.”
NOT TRUE. Chennault was in Bed with Influenza, and sick the rest
of the winter.
Page 195 “The AVG continue as a mercenary force.”
NOT TRUE. It was an under cover covert mission approved by the
President of the UNITED STATES, and Ford knows this. I have a
Honorable Discharge from the USAF AMERICAN VOLUNTEER GROUP (FLYING
TIGERS) to prove it.
The United States Air Force does not give honorable discharges to
mercenary forces. As a matter of fact there is a law forbidding
an american citizen from joining a mercenary force.
Page 369 “Ford says, “How many planes did the AVG destroy, in the
air and on the ground? Different documents yield different
figures.” You state, “after these documents are sorted out the
Chinese confirm 296 confirm kills.” (This should have read
ANS: In your book you’ve admit that the Chinese confirm 296 plane
destroyed. You continually say we over claimed by 3 to 1.
Apparently we must have claimed close to 600 Japanese aircraft
destroyed. This is not true either.
I have used only a few fact from Ford’s book that I personally know
are neither correct nor true. Others in the AVG can count as many
if not MORE than those I have just related.
SEVERAL YEARS AGO I POINTED OUT THESE MISTAKES TO FORD. HIS COMMENT
WAS, “HE SAW NO REASON TO CHANGE. Except he said I may consider
changing stole to purloin.”
DF: “Yasuda, Yoshito was claimed to have been killed by Duke
Hedman and Chuck Older, but lives to tell his side –”
Ans. NOT TRUE. The combat report did not mention killing a pilot.
DF: “I served in the US Army for about the same time.”
Ans: Ford doesn’t have the vaguest idea how long I served in the
Military. HOW can he make such a statement.
DF: “Erik, why you are so willing to leap to the defense of the
Germans while dismissing every Japanese accomplishment as a Lie.”
Ans: My only defence concerning the Germans was to ask if You
ABSOLUTELY Knew that Erich Hartmann or Adolph Galland were nazi’s.
You accused them of being Nazi’s, and just as guilty of the crimes
of the Holocaust as was ALL Germany.
DF: Virtually everyone is willing to hear you praise Erich
Hartmann as a noble knight of Germany while dismissing Yoshita
Yasuda as a liar.
Ans: Even if true, it would not be my fault. Although I am
personally aware that many Japanese had a propensity to lie (SAVE
FACE) and suspect EVERYTHING unless there is positive proof to the
DF: Yoshita Yasuda was a good pilot, he saw a hell of a lot more
combat than you did, and he deserves your respect.
ANS: So did Erich Hartmann
Same Question: Erich Hartmann saw more combat than I, and shot down
a hell of a lot more airplanes than Yasuda. Doesn’t he deserve the
same respect you are willing to give Yasuda?
If you believe Yoshita Yasuda, why wont you believe Saburo Sakai,
when I quoted him about the Zero, he’s Japanese. I suspect you feel
that I am a liar just like all other AVG pilots.
I’ve met Sakai, and after getting to know him I am able to say I
Never said Yasuda was a bad pilot, I did say that most Americans
were superior to Japanese pilots, still think so. does that make
him a bad pilot?
Being in combat is not proof that a person is a good pilot,
neither does shooting down a bunch of enemy airplanes prove how
good a pilot one is. It does prove he is a good shot.
In the AVG we had one pilot who became an ACE, but during training
wrecked 5 of our own P-40’s.
Boyington Wrecked at least two, and the cause of four others. I
wouldn’t say he was a good pilot, perhaps lucky or perhaps had a
good wingman, or a good shot.
Having made 700 flights across the “Hump,” where more than 600
aircraft were lost and over 1,000 flight crew were killed. Also 37
resupply drops at Dien Bien Phu. 8 spy flight deap into communist
China, flying a C-54 and C-118 during the Korean war. With this
record, I believe many “pilots” would agree that I was a pretty
good pilots. Perhaps even better than your Hero Yoshita whom you
have such a great deal of respect for.
Flt Ldr 3rd Sqdn
PS with all these mistake how can anyone accept Ford’s writting as
Subject: Neumann’s Zeros a reply to the Ford-Shilling heat
Date: 03 Jul 1997
This post picks up from the one about Dick Bueschel’s listing of Zero
units and their operations.
As I mentioned earlier Gerhard Neumann’s recollection of Chennault’s claim
that several Zeros were shot, forced or landed with in the nine months
prior to October 1942 (Jan. – Sept. 1942) just doesn’t match with the
historical record. However I could not simply dismiss the evidence that
there may have been several Zeros used to supply parts for the Teitsan Zero
Several of his passages struck me as corresponding with known events
involving Zeros and China. Comments such as :
1) “we’ve got hold of a pretty good Zero captured by Chinese farmers on the
Japanese-occupied beach opposite Hainan. They took it apart and dragged the
2) “that these planes had not been mass-produced–an important fact for
our intelligence operation. Most components required filling before they
finally all fit together. ”
3) “We were unable to recover any original tires–which the Chinese
farmers had cut up for shoe soles; ”
I really feel that Mr. Neumann’s recollections could comfortably be
reconciled with the historical record. Several bits of information were
lacking. Mainly histories of the IJNAF units that operated in and around
China that could provide dates and aeas of IJNAF operations. Purchasing
Hata and Izawa’s JAPANESE NAVAL ACES AND FIGHTER UNITS IN WORLD WAR II
and reviewing some of the other works on China air operations filled in
The key missing piece is the origin and mission of the found/restored
Tainan Kokutai Zero. What was a Zero doing in the area north of Hainan
Island. This is supplied by Hata/Izawa: On November 22 a composite
fighter squadron attached to the 22nd Air Flotilla HQ was created to
support the Singapore operation. Fourteen A6M2s (model 21) of the Tainan
Air Group and another 13 A6M2 (21) of the 3rd Air Group departed Tainan
and Takao airfields for Saigon via Hainan Island on November 26 and 27.
They arrived at Soc Trang, about 150 miles south of Saigon on December 1,
1941. ‘En route to their destination, however, two Zero fighters had to
make emergency landings on Luichow Peninsula because of foul weather, and
two pilots were missing in action.’ Page 143-144 of Hata/Izawa.
Now the Luichow Peninsula is the bit that sticks out towards Hainan Island
and is due south from Kweilin by about 150-200 miles. The peninsula was
not held by the Japanese in 1940-1941, they occupied it during the Ichi-Go
operation to drive out the bombers at Kweilin. I still don’t know where
Teitsan is as it’s not on any of my old maps, but from Neumann’s own words
it must be near the beach opposite Hainan Island on the Luichow peninsula.
There are alot of matches between this story in Hata/Izawa, the info in
Mikesh on 1940-1941 Zero operations in China, and in Neumann’s story.
Right IJNAF air group is involved – Tainan. Which we know from the picture
of the Zero being re-reconstucted at Kweilin in Mikesh.
Right model – A6M2 model 21. The folding wing tips are seen in the Kweilin
picture and others. The Serial number (3372) checks out to a A6M2 model 21.
Right area – in proximity to Kweilin. Hata/Izawa and Neumann agree on this
point. Mikesh might too if I could find Teitsan on a map.
Right kind of landing to produce a relatively undamaged airplane.
Hata/Izawa state two A6M2s made a forced landing, Neumann gives more
detail adding they or it landed on a beach opposite Hainan. The photo in
Mikesh of the Zero at Kweilin shows an undamaged drop tank attached to
the rack so I doubt the plane landed wheels up.
More than one airplane is involved so Neumann would have extra parts to
file. Hata/Izawa report two missing Zeros not the “MANY ZEROS” cited, but
I will return to this point later.
Not exactly the right date according to my memory of the post on ‘Prizes
of War’ (Phil Butler) – On or just before December 1, 1941 according to
Hata/Izawa not Feb. 1, 1941, from Butler but the quote of Butler, if
accruate, contains other errors. The December 1941 date certainly puts
the Zeros on the ground and abandoned long enough for the locals to cut
up the tires and the planes to become unservicable.
Neither aircraft was lost to enemy action – no AVG shooting down Zeros
here. The unit was on a ferry flight to French Indo-China and not
involved in operations over China. Which fits with what we know of the
historical record. What about the comment attributed to Chennault about
the 5-6 Zeros shot down over the last 6-9 months prior to October 1942?
What, then about the ‘MANY ZEROS’ used in the reconstruction and the
reference to the aircraft not being mass produced and parts needing
filing to fit?
The Japanese lost three planes (Hata/Izawa say 3 or 4) to ground fire in
China by September 1941. One, the Chendgu Zero, shot down in May? 1941
must have been in pretty good shape for the Chinese made some good
drawings of the plane (absent the tail, which was absent). This same
plane was the source of an analysis by the US Naval Attache. These three
(or 4) were part of the pre-production group of 15 sent to China for
combat tests. These were not mass produced airframes. Now you have five
possibly six Zeros to incorporate into the rebuild. Three maybe four of
which were shot down, by AA.
It may be impossible to completely disprove, but so far I do not see any
evidence that proves the AVG shot down A6M2s or otherwise encountered
them in combat over China prior to October 1942.
*figure out what to delete.
Subject: Re: Attn: Richard Bueschel Re Zeros Over China
Date: 30 Jun 1997
In Article Attn: Richard Bueschel Re Zeros Over China , CDB100620 wrote:
> In trying to solve the question of Zeros over China after the Hankow
> squadrons were withdrawn in Sept., 1941, your book on the Zero might have
> the answer (“Mitsubishi ABM1/2/-2N Zero-Sen in Japanese Naval Air Service”
> by Richard M. Bueschel.)
> In your series on Japanese aircraft, each volume has an appendix listing
> regiments equipped with the aircrat being profiled, when it was used and
> the area of operations.
> Unfortunately, I don’t have a copy of your book on the Zero.
> The question that this index in your Zero book could answer is:
> Were Zeros stationed on Hainan island in the time frame the AVG was active
> in China or during the time frame when “Herman the German” assembled his
> Zero from wrecks–late 1941-early 1942?
> If Mr. Bueschel or anyone else has a copy of this book and can check the
> index for reference to Zeros being stationed on Hainan and can post the
> dates they were there, the question of Zeros over China might be resolved.
As promised here is the information:
List of A6M2 units from MITSUBISHI A6M1/2/-2N ZERO-SEN IN JAPANESE NAVAL
AIR SERVICE by Richard Bueschel that possibly could have over lapped the
AVG in time and space. This not the complete story and in comparing Dick
Bueschel’s comments (reporduced in part below) and the histories in Hata
and Izawa’s JAPANESE NAVAL ACES I get the feeling none of these units came
anywhere near the AVG. I will be expanding this with info from Japanese
Naval Aces and Mikesh in a later post.
just remove the nospam.
Unit: GENZAN Naval Air Group
July 14, 1942
11th AIr Fleet, 22nd Air Flotilla
Used A6M2 from Sept. 1, 1941 to Aug 1942
Where: Genzan (Wosan), Chosen (Korea); Saigon, Indo-China; Malaya; Rabaul,
Previous Aircraft: A5M
Later aircraft: A6M2-K, N1 K1-J, N1 K2-J
Comments: On July 14, 1942 unit flew 36 A6M2 and 36 G4M1. Home base at
Genzan, Chosen (Wosan, North Korea)
Unit: Kanoya Naval Air Group
July 14, 1942 SW Area Fleet, 21st Air Flotilla
Used A6M2 from Fall 1941 to late 1942.
Where: Home Islands; Saigon, Indo-China; Buin, Solomons
Previous Aircraft: A5M
Later Aircraft: None
Comments: Combat unit. Flew A6M2 and G4M1. On 7/14/42 had 36 A6M2. Home
base Kanoya, Kagoshima, Kyushu. Covered Malaya Invasion
Unit: Tainan Naval Air Group
December 8, 1941 11th Air Fleet, 23rd Air Flotilla
Used A6M2 from Sept. 1941 to Nov. 1942
Where: Tainan, Taipei; Philippines; Dutch East Indies; Lae & Buna, New
Guinea; Rabaul, New Britain; Home Islands.
Previous Aircraft: A5M, A6M2-K
Later Aircraft; A6M
Comments: Crack combat unit. Had 92 A6M2 on 12/8/41. Attacked Philippines
from Taipei. Arrived Rabaul April 1942. July 14, 1942 in 11th AIr Fleet,
25th Air Flotilla. Became 251st Air Group, Japan, Nov. 1942.
Unit: 1st Naval Air Group
Dec. 8, 1941 11th Air Fleet, 21st Air Flotilla.
Used A6M2 form Sept. 1941-April 1943
Where: Takao, Taipei; Inner South Seas (Aur and Wotje atolls); Solomons
Previous Aircraft: none
Later aircraft: A6M3
Comments: Crack combat unit. Had 72 A6M2 and 24 reserve on Dec. 8, 1941.
In late May was assigned to Aur and Wotje to provide cover for Midway
invasion. In July assigned to 24th Air Flotilla. Decimated over
Unit: 3rd Naval Air Group
Dec. 8, 1941, 11th Air Fleet, 23 Air Flotilla
Used 6M2 from May 1941 to Aug. 1942
Where: French Indo China; Taichu, Taipei; Philippines; Dutch East Indies;
Kendari, Celebes; New Guinea
Previous Aircraft: None
Later Aircraft: None
Comments: Crack combat unit. Had 92 A6M2, 72 G3M2 and 12 C5M2 on 12/8/41.
Attacked Philippines from Taipei. Small portion remained to reduce Bataan.
Became part of SW Area Fleet.
Used A6M2 Model 1 from Sept. 1940 to early 1942
Where: Hankow , China; French Indo-China.
Previous Aircraft: A4N, A5M
Later aircraft: None
Comments: First unit to receive A6M2 model 1. Total of 15 A6M2 sent to
China July 21, 1940. First Kill Sept. 13, 1940. Occupation of Indo-China
summer of 1941.
Unit: 202nd Naval Air Group
1st Air Fleet, 23rd Air Flotilla
Used A6M2 from Feb. 1942 to July 1943
Where: Occupied China; Mereyon, Dutch East Indies; Kendari, Celebes;
Koepang, Timor; ‘North of Australia’
Previous Aircraft: none
Later Aircraft: A6M3
Comments: Occupied China. Transferred to DEI in early 1942. Escort and
convoy protection. Flew in raids against Merauke and Darwin, Australia
spring and summer 1943. Became 301st Group.
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