The Japs "are paying for every foot they advance and for every airfield I've had to abandon...My men are killing them by the thousands".
Founder of the American Volunteer Group (Flying Tigers) in China. Recruited as an instructor and adviser for the Chinese Air Force in 1937, he became Chiang Kai Shek’s chief of staff for air. With his aid China obtained 100 American pursuit planes and 100 American pilots, who were recruited from the U.S....
Founder of the American Volunteer Group (Flying Tigers) in China. Recruited as an instructor and adviser for the Chinese Air Force in 1937, he became Chiang Kai Shek’s chief of staff for air. With his aid China obtained 100 American pursuit planes and 100 American pilots, who were recruited from the U.S. armed services. The Tigers were China’s only effective air arm from their first combat in December, 1941 to mid 1942, destroying some 300 Japanese planes. Chennault played an important part in defense of the Burma Road, and conceived of flying supplies from India to China over what was termed “the Hump.” He was recalled to active duty as a general in the U.S. Army, and was given command of the U.S. 14th Air Force, which succeeded in destroying over a million tons of Japanese shipping, limiting their once formidable sea power.
Autograph Letter Signed, 2 1/4 pages 4to, Oct. 29, 1944. “I am going to call “time out’ on this war for a couple of minutes to acknowledge receipt of your letter written Oct. 12, and while I am about it, all the other letters you’ve written since my last one. As you suspected, my mind has been a complete blank for several months, so I just can’t remember to write. No doubt you’ve seen Ôby the papers’ that the devils are pushing us around quite a bit. However, they are paying for every foot they advance and for every airfield I’ve had to abandon, eight to date. My men are killing them by the thousands but they keep on coming, slowly but surely. Thing that hurts them more than the loss of men is the shipping we sink and damage. More than 100,000 tons sunk in September alone. They may take some more of my fields yet but there will be a lot fewer Japs in Tokyo when we get there…You display my cats until I return from the wars and then we will decide what to do with them. I have dozens of paintings, banners, cups and other trophies. Would almost require a city auditorium to display all of them. Would you like more from time to time, to display for me, or have you room? Don’t know about your war correspondent friend coming out here. They aren’t so popular just now. Instead of reporting the war, it is charged that they are showing too much concern about politics. I wouldn’t know as I have plenty of my own troubles to look after without messing into politics. There has been a major change, long needed, in our military setup here and I believe it will have good results. Take time though. China would be in much better position if it had occurred a year ago. Suppose you’ve seen the announcement…Are you going to San Marco Island after Thanksgiving as usual? Wish I could visit you there for a week of fishing and swimming – but the wish is vain. The gal you bought all the pretty things for is back again. Wants to know if you could spare the time to buy some more things for her…Only this time the lady and I insist that it must be for cash…I am going to write the list of things just as she gave it to me and you buy or don’t just as you feel like doing. 2 afternoon frocks (1) navy blue with white collar (1) any pretty shade for a brunette (very). 4 brassieres (guess that isn’t spelled right so make it Ôbras’), pinks and blues if possible. Underslips, pinks or blues, size 32 or 33…2 dress blouses, white. 3 belts, narrow (1) navy blue (1) red (1) gold. 2 or 3 Kotex wonder (that’s the way it’s written) sanitary belts, latest type. Notes: 1. Dresses to be inexpensive (try and find Ôem, says I), 2. words in parentheses are mine, not hers, P.S. 2 pantie girdles, waist 26, 2 evening dresses: Height 5’ 3”, Bust 32 or 33, Waist 26, hips 34. Colors, choice of magenta, cyclamen, burnt orange, blue sample enclosed, red, rose, sample enclosed. That list didn’t leave room for me to say much more or even sign off, did it? If you decide to shop for her, send pkg. as before. Keep your chin up and tummy in – they can’t whip us, can they? Yours, CLC.”
Fine, a significant letter from every standpoint, especially showing his confidence, declaring “When we get to Tokyo” and “They can’t whip us.” The swatches of material mentioned are attached by him with a pin to the first page. The Japanese had realized by this time the consequences of Chennault’s building airfields in China, where planes took off to sink the shipping he mentions, and began to attack them relentlessly. There were plenty of pilots but few ground forces available to Chennault, and the Japanese were able to make some inroads against him, but in the end his predictions came true. The “change” he mentions was the removal of Gen. Joseph Stilwell from command at the insistence of Chiang Kai Shek, with help from Chennault who felt he was holding his air forces back.
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