By Carl Molesworth
Staffed with green USAAF pilots and led by way of a handful of professional veterans of the yank Volunteer workforce (AVG), the twenty third FG was once shaped within the box at Kunming, in China, on July four, 1942 and flew wrestle missions that very same day. The teams 3 squadrons - the 74th, seventy fifth and 76th Fighter Squadrons - have been at first outfitted with war-weary P-40s passed down from the AVG. those have been supplemented via the hooked up sixteenth FS, flying new P-40Es, and all squadrons decorated the noses in their airplanes with fearsome and iconic sharksmouth designs.
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Additional info for 23rd Fighter Group: Chennaults Sharks
By this time, however, the damage had been done at Suichuan. The Japanese bombs had destroyed three P-38s and damaged three B-25s and th ree P-4 Os. With the base's fuel supply nearly exhausted, Col Vincent had little choice but to pull his remaining B-25s out of there that same day. Bad weather then set in, and Suichuan remained quiet for the rest of May. At Hengyang, the 75th F flew I I offensive missions - ground attack and bomber escort - plus 15 local alerts during the first 13 days of the month.
Lopez rhen sporred a Ki-43 chasing another P-40 and began closing in on ir from behind. The 'Oscar' pilot sporred Lopez and whipped around in a right turn to make a headon pass. Both pilots opcned fire, and Lopez could see his bullers hirring home, but by then the twO aeroplanes were practically on top of each other. The Japanese pilot veered sharply to his right, but the left wings of the twO fighters struck each othcr. Lopez felt a jolt and looked back to see the wing of the 'Oscar' separate from the fuselage, sending it whirling down in a crazy dive.
Those images, in addition ro some raken from the B-25s during rhe artack, helped ro confirm the following claims by the P-51 pilors - Hill, one confirmed in the air plus one confirmed and one probable on rhe ground; Williams, one confirmed and one damaged on the ground; Srewarr, one confirmed on rhe ground; Colberr, one confirmed on rhe ground; and Hedrick, one probable and one damaged on the ground. The only damage susrained by the Musrangs occurred when Lr Rick Olney made a rough landing at Suichuan and badly damaged rhe propeller on his aeroplane.
23rd Fighter Group: Chennaults Sharks by Carl Molesworth