Read alsoOperation Long Jump
In the middle of World War II, Nazi military intelligence discovered a seemingly easy way to win the war for Adolf Hitler. The three heads of the Allied forces-Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Josef Stalin-were planning to meet in Tehran in October, 1943. Under Hitler's personal direction, the Nazis launched Operation Long Jump,”…
General Chiang Kai-shek sent military aviation advisor Claire Chennault to Washington, where President Roosevelt was sympathetic, but knew he could not intervene overtly. Instead, he quietly helped Chennault put together a group of American volunteer pilots.
This was how the 1st American Volunteer Group—more commonly known as the Flying Tigers—was born.
With the trademark smiling shark jaws on their P-40 fighters, these Army, Navy and Marine pilots became a sensation as they fought for the Chinese. Those who initially doubted them were eventually in awe as they persevered over Rangoon despite being outnumbered 14-1 by Japanese aircraft; as they were described by Madame Chiang Kai-shek as her “little angels” and by a Chinese foreign minister as “the soundest investment China ever made”; and as they ultimately destroyed hundreds of Japanese planes while losing only a dozen of their own in combat. Two of their veterans would later earn the Medal of Honor—and as a group, the Flying Tigers managed to rack up a better record than any other air wing in the Pacific theater. When Tigers Ruled the Sky is a thrilling and triumphant account of their courage and their legacy.