Flying Tigers’photos of China in 1940s

by Jason Lee on October 11, 2013
In 1941 before the United States entered World War II, 300 young Americans were secretly trained to combat the Japanese Air Force in China. The American Volunteer Group of the Chinese Airforce, nicknamed the Flying Tigers, was comprised of pilots drawn from the U.S. Army, Navy, and Marine Corps.

In the days after Pearl Harbor, the group went on to capture the public imagination in both China and the United States with their daring tactics and distinctive airplanes painted with shark teeth.

Members of the squadron (most prominently, William L. Dibble and H. Allen Larsen) took a huge collection of color photographs that depict the nation adopting new urban and modern modes of living along with the rural practices of the past.

The photos, taken from 1944-1945, depict a number of cities in Southern China including Kunming, Chengdu, Chongqing, and Hangzhou.

H. Allen Larsen stands next to a Curtiss P40 Warhawk, the Flying Tigers’ signature aircraft, at the Air Force Base in Kunming, a city in southwestern China.

Army workers construct the airport runway in Kunming.

A city gate in Kunming.

A young man waits for clothes to dry outside U.S. military barracks in Kunming.

The Huguo Gate in Kunming.

An arch in the Yunnan province in southwest China.

A Chinese farmer sits on a buggy in southwestern China.

A crowded street in Chongqing, the largest city in inland China.

Carriages filled with sand travel the dirt road to the Air Force Base in Chongqing.

Chinese soldiers walking over a bridge on the outskirts of Chongqing.

This is the U.S. Army 14th Air Force base in Chongqing.

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