Before we went to war with Japan the Chinese needed help against the onslaught of Japanese fighters. Commander Claire Chennault put this group of American Volunteer group together to fight for the Chinese.

The Japanese were caught completely off guard by these camouflaged planes with tiger teeth painted on them. The Japanese did not know who these mystery pilots or planes were.

On their first mission they shot down a number of enemy planes and the Chinese press nicknamed them the Flying Tigers. Walt Disney designed the art work for AVG. Because they were not funded by the American government they would use bicycles from the locals so they could go down to the local watering holes and release some steam.

They also used bicycles to get from one side of the air field to the other since jeeps and other gas powered vehicles were not readily available.

Unfortunately the Chinese Government does not express this part of history to the younger people of China.

The AVG were considered hero’s by the people of China and were very honored and happy to receive our help. Now they are all but forgotten there. But like most governments history gets rewritten for their own benefits.

Also the Chinese soldiers used hundreds of bicycles to traverse the vast land scape burdened with guns and equipment because it was faster then walking in large columns. It sometimes surprised the Japanese how fast they could get to an area of combat with out the use of troop carriers. They bicycles numbered in the thousands. Often with just one speed bicycles.

In this picture a couple of P-40’s are chasing down a Zero at low altitude which Claire Chennault would never have approved of since the zero was a faster tighter turning aircraft.