By Carl Molesworth
Staffed with green USAAF pilots and led by way of a handful of pro veterans of the yank Volunteer crew (AVG), the twenty third FG used to be shaped within the box at Kunming, in China, on July four, 1942 and flew strive against missions that very same day. The teams 3 squadrons - the 74th, seventy fifth and 76th Fighter Squadrons - have been at the start outfitted with war-weary P-40s passed down from the AVG. those have been supplemented via the connected 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 resources for 23rd Fighter Group: Chennaults Sharks
We came on home and norhing else happened. ' Two weeks larer, Col Holloway would be promored ro remporary commander of rhe Forward Echelon while Vincent rook leave in rhe US. This effecrively ended Holloway's combar flying in China, Lr Col Norval Bonawirz duly replacing him as CO of rhe 23rd FG. Of rhe ren vicrories reponed on 24 Augusr, cwo apiece were credired ro Capr Arr Cruikshank or rhe 74rh FS and 1LrJohn Srewarr of rhe 76rh FS, making borh men aces. J> n --I o Z Z --I I m m J> en --I Capt Arthur W Cruikshank Jr became the first ace of the 74th FS when he scored his fifth and sixth confirmed victories on 24 August 1943 while leading an escort for B-24s attacking Hankow.
Air-to-air combat was sporadic during the first two months of 1944, with the 23rd FG claiming nine japanese aircraFt shot down in seven encounters. The 23rd FG lost two P-40s and one P-5IA in aerial combat during this period, plus two more Warhawks that were shot down by enemy ground fire. The weather also proved a dangerous opponenr. On 18 january five pilots left: Kunming to ferry new P-40 s to Kweilin. Leading was apt Harlyn Vidovich, a highly experienced pilot in the 74th F with twO confirmed victories to his credir.
75th FS flight surgeon Maj Laughlin soon had Loofbourrow patched up, and the major led another mission that aFternoon. The 75th FS had another scrap three days later, scoring one vicrory, Four probables and seven damaged, while having two P-40s badly shot up. On that same day, the Japanese army completed its operation in I onan Province to link the Peking-Hankow railway line, and on 26 May the main phase of [chi-Go began. The Japanese Elevemh Army, with some 60,000 assault trOOps in a Force totalling near 250,000, crossed the Yangtze River near Yochow and headed south toward Changsha.
23rd Fighter Group: Chennaults Sharks by Carl Molesworth