“It was an apt co-incidence that the Chinese government’s contract with the Flying Tigers had to be terminated on the 4th of July in 1942. After all, the tigers had been flying high and low – independently – against the Japanese for seven months straight. Not only for money, but so that China could remain free and unopressed.”
See for yourself if history is worth playing by watching the “Termination” gameplay trailer for Flying Tigers: Shadows Over China (“FTSOC”), the epic air-combat action game available now on Steam which is based on the historical events of America’s secret volunteer squadrons that defended China in World War 2.
Published and developed by ACE MADDOX, FTSOC was created in Steam’s Early Access program which allowed the dev team to gather ongoing feedback from the game’s community while iterating, improving and adding new content and features to the game on a near-monthly basis for over a year and a half until it was released on May 29, 2017 (post-release development still ongoing).
- Officially called the 1st American Volunteer Group (the “AVG”), the Flying Tigers were flying mercenaries contracted by the Chinese government under President Roosevelt’s “Secret Executive Order”.
- Assuming fake identities, AVG recruits had to travel by ship half-way around the world to get to Rangoon, Burma. One pilot made the trip undercover with a specially-made passport indicating he was a missionary. Others posed as plantation managers, cowboys and even circus performers!
- China paid AVG fighter pilots a $500 bounty for each Japanese aircraft shot down. In addition, the monthly renumeration was $675 for flight leaders, $600 for pilot officers, and about $250 for ground-crew staff (at the time, about $600 bought a factory-new Ford V-8).
- The Flying Tigers insignia patch was designed by two Disney artists – Roy Williams and Henry Porter – together they worked up a painting of a Bengal cat leaping out of a V-for-victory sign.
- The AVG and the Chinese were financed and organised by White House lobbyists and advisors using shadow companies and laundered money to shield the Roosevelt Administration from violating any neutrality acts.
- As per Roosevelt’s “Secret Executive Order”, all Flying Tigers “volunteers” had to resign from the military and become civilians. If captured, they risked being executed as spies by the Japanese.
- A total of 311 “volunteers” formed the AVG. Some fought as pilots while others served in ground support roles such as mechanics, doctors, clerks and nurses.
- Starting out with only 99 P-40 fighters, the Flying Tigers racked up an amazing combat record in just about seven months. Their tenure collectively destroyed 297 enemy aircraft in Burma, Thailand and China.
- Rugged construction allowed the P-40s to withstand steep dives as the Tigers swooped down on the Japanese from high above using “hit and run” tactics invented by their daring flight instructor, Claire Lee Chennault. This caused Japanese fighter pilots to view the Flying Tigers with bittersweet respect. They thought the Tigers didn’t fight fair.
- On the 4th of July 1942, the American Volunteer Group aka the Flying Tigers were disbanded as the Chinese contract expired and the onslaught of World War 2 made further non-official (covert) operations politically difficult.
- After July 4, the U.S. Army 23rd Fighter Group took over the AVG P-40s but only five tiger pilots accepted induction. For morale and propaganda, the Flying Tigers name was retained for the 23rd pilots.
- After the AVG were disbanded, the U.S. refused to recognize the Flying Tigers. That position remained unchanged until 1991 when the “honorably discharged” Tigers officially became WW2 veterans.
Get more information about the game at the official Flying Tigers: Shadows Over China website.