HANDFUL OF AMERICAN PILOTS SHOOT DOWN 300 JAP WARPLANES IN 90 DAYS
Life Magazine March 30, 1942 Flying Tigers in Burma
One shining hope has emerged from three catastrophic months of war. That
is the American Volunteer Group of fighter pilots, the so-called
"Flying Tigers" of Burma and southeast China who paint the jaws of a
shark on their Curtiss P40's. Outnumbered often ten to one, they have so
far shot down about 300 Jap planes, killed perhaps 800 Jap airmen.
They have violently wrenched from the Jap Air Force control of the
skies over Burma and southeast China. They have conclusively proved
what was once only a Yankee belief: that one American flier is equal
to two or three daps. "Give me," said U.S. Lieutenant General Brett in
Australia last week, "100 fighters to 200 Japs and I'll lick them every
time. And I am not disparaging the Japs. They are good fighters." On
the following pages LIFE presents the first full-length portrait of the
Flying Tigers in action, taken by LIFE Photographer George Rodger
before Jap ground forces seized the A.V.G. base al Rangoon.