Air War China (period 1937-41)

Discussions on all aspects of China, from the beginning of the First Sino-Japanese War till the end of the Chinese Civil War. Hosted by YC Chen.
Peter
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Air War China (period 1937-41)

Post by Peter » 03 Nov 2011 18:58

Are there any books in English about the air war over China 1937-41 and which aircraft were involved on both sides ?

I know about the AVG but am interested in other aircraft/units

Thank you

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AVV
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Re: Air War China (period 1937-41)

Post by AVV » 03 Nov 2011 19:56

Hello!
A great book, but in Russian (sorry, if this post is off-topic).

http://shopuuu.ru/product_info.php/products_id/3095

Best regards, Aleks

Peter
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Re: Air War China (period 1937-41)

Post by Peter » 03 Nov 2011 20:22

Hi Aleks
that looks superb, I wish it was in English - my language skills are not as good as yours I am ashamed to admit.

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Re: Air War China (period 1937-41)

Post by Edward Chen » 04 Nov 2011 00:36

Peter,

The best single English-language source on the air war during the first half of the Sino-Japanese War, with the most operational and tactical details, is Håkan Gustavsson’s Biplane Fighter Aces website.
If day-by-day chronological listings of aerial actions are your objective, then look no further.
The tactical details are a magnificent summary of existing sources and more importantly new material. The latter includes Chinese-language descriptions from Republic of China publications, such as the “Zhong Guo Zhi Yi (Chinese Air Force in Action)” series; and the actions of the Soviet Air Force volunteer contingent in China as translated by George M. Mellinger. Much better stuff than the older accounts courtesy of Claire Chennault and his subsequent biographers.

http://surfcity.kund.dalnet.se/sino-japanese-1937.htm

Hope this helps, and Best Regards,

Peter
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Re: Air War China (period 1937-41)

Post by Peter » 04 Nov 2011 16:59

Thanks Edward, that pretty much covers the operational side of things, now I just need to find some colour illustrations of the aircraft on both sides.

fer-de-lance
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Re: Air War China (period 1937-41)

Post by fer-de-lance » 23 Dec 2011 02:42

I've done a few that are posted on Flickr:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/b_atrox/5298172773/

Probably should tell Håkan about them too :)

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Re: Air War China (period 1937-41)

Post by Peter » 23 Dec 2011 09:49

Thanks fer

excellent

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TISO
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Re: Air War China (period 1937-41)

Post by TISO » 31 Dec 2011 15:22

Perhaps this articles might be interesting to you, from Chandelle archives:
Before the Tigers: China’s Air Forces in the Struggle Against Japan
http://worldatwar.net/chandelle/v2/v2n2/china30s.html

Red Riposte: the Soviet Volunteer Group Over Formosa
http://worldatwar.net/chandelle/v3/v3n1/luks.html

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Re: Air War China (period 1937-41)

Post by durb » 16 May 2014 12:20

This has been always a interesting subject to me and I would go even further to years 1942 - 1945 to find something about the Chinese combat pilots of those years. AVG and CACW were a American show. They probably contributed more to the turnining point to the air war in China during 1942/1943 than the efforts of Chinese pilots. However, one should not ignore them completely - it would be interesting to know, if there was some Chinese ace pilot during the years 1942 - 1945.

Thanks to Håkans Aviation Page and other web sources we nowadays know something about the early Chinese pilot heroes like Kao Chi-Hang and Liu Chi-Cheng. Also the so-called "Original Flying Tigers" - American Chinese volunteers, specially Arthur Chin - have adcuired recognition and some fame. The efforts of the Soviet Volunteer Group are also better known in West than they were about 20 years earlier. A series of articles about the them: http://www.j-aircraf...e_sky_of_ch.htm and http://www.j-aircraf...erres.htm#China

The Soviet Volunteer Group is also covered in Mikhail Maslov: I-15, I-16 and I-153 Aces (Osprey).

And last but not least one should not forget the Japanese accounts:
- Saburo Sakai tells something about his serving time in China 1938-1939 in the famous book Samurai.
- Nicholas Millman: The Ki-27 Nate Aces (Osprey) - focuses mainly on Nomonhan, Pacific and Burma, but includes also combat accounts of Ki-27 vs. Chinese-flown I-15 bis in 1938.

To be honest, I do not know any IJAAF and IJNAF book, which would focus on the air war in China. Nor do I know any good monograph of A5M fighter, which in my opinion was the most important Japanese tool to gain air superiority over China. When the Zeros made their effective combat debut in China in Sept. 1940, the A5M´s had already done most of the job. The combat career of "Claude" was almost exclusively linked to air war over China during the years 1937 - 1940/1941. In the Pacific war the "Claude" was in minimal role - it´s effective combat career started and ended in China.

There are of course other points of interest. For example I do not know how much Claire Chennault had connections with the Soviet Volunteer Group. I have read that he developed his tactical fighter combat doctrines upon the experience of Soviet I-16 pilots.

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Re: Air War China (period 1937-41)

Post by YC Chen » 16 May 2014 13:51

Hello all,

Please note that there are some more information of interest in this similar but more developed topic:
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... &p=1353554

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Re: Air War China (period 1937-41)

Post by durb » 16 May 2014 17:17

Thanks, YC Chen - I scrolled through the thread which You mentioned. I think that the main problem with this topic is that there is no CAF (Chinese Air Force) history of 1937 - 1945 published in English, which would give us the well written CHINESE view of the air war over China during the years 1937 - 1945. We have Japanese accounts, AVG and Chennault accounts, Soviet Volunteer Group accounts, but where are the Chinese accounts in English?

Thanks to Håkans Aviation Page and other efforts, some notable Chinese pilots are nowadays more known than they were before. But Håkans Aviation page is more about details and some notable pilots, it is not to give a good overall view of the air war. Håkans Aviation Page focuses on biplanes and biplane pilots, so it does not give information about any Chinese ace pilot of the years 1942-1945.

I do not know, if there is any book giving good overall view of the air war over China during 1937 - 1945. I would very much like to see a book with this kind of structure and content:

1) Order of battle before 7.7. 1937. CAF vs. IJNAF/IJAAF: comparing the pilots and their training, equipment, infrastructure. How big were the IJNAF/IJAAF resources allocated against China, what CAF could throw against them. The attacking plans of Japanese vs. Chinese defence plans.

2) The Invasion (1937) - to me it seems that the initial period was the one, when Chinese pilots really took the most of the burden of fight and they did it quite well. What was the importance of foreign pilots? For example was there a notable group of "Original Flying Tigers"? These are supposed to be American Chinese volunteer pilots, of which I have read about Arthur Chin.

3) The Soviet Aid (1938 - 1939)
How much did the Soviet aid balance the books in the air - were Japanese still numerically and technically much superior? Soviet Volunteer Group was important, but what I have read, also some Chinese pilots learned to make good use of the new Polikarpov fighters. What was the role of Claire Chennault at this point? What were his contacts with Chinese CAF officials and with Soviet Volunteer Group?

4) The Darkness (1940 - 1941)
For what I have read this was the most difficult period of CAF in war against Japan. CAF fighters avoided combat contact with the enemy, and the air battles of Sept. 1940 and March 1941 showed Soviet equipment to be obsolete against the newest Japanese aircraft. What was the mood of CAF pilots and officials at that time? How did they like the idea of forming American mercenary unit to fight for them? Was the attack on Pearl Harbor good news for Chinese as it brought finally USA openly to their side?

5) The Turning point (1942 - 1943)
We in the West know well AVG/23th Fighter Group/14th Air Force. But what about Chinese pilots and their role in this period? What was the Chinese contribution to CACW? I consider the 1942/1943 as a turning point in the air war in China - but not just because of AVG and American aid. There must have been some Chinese contribution also. And it should be remembered that IJNAF as a effective air force left China in late 1941 to focuse on operations at the Pacific. JAAF was left alone to take care of China and it´s resources diminished at the same time as Chinese/American resources grew.

6) Offensive and Victory (1944 - 1945)
Again more information about Chinese air units and Chinese airmen in English would be good add to our previous knowledge.

Of course there are other things to be considered. Japanese employed systematic terror bombing in China. How important it was for CAF fighter pilots to defend civilian population as well as they could? How were the aerial operations connected to ground war situation? And what about comparing Japanese and Chinese accounts of air combats? And let´s not forget CAMCO, which was a Chinese effort to manufacture aircraft, although it was very tiny effort compared to Japanese aircraft industry.

If there is a good book in English putting all, most or at least something of the above nicely together with nice photos, colourplates and maps, I will buy it. :)

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Re: Air War China (period 1937-41)

Post by YC Chen » 17 May 2014 02:41

You have raised a good point. Quite a few nice books and articles on air war in China between 1937 and 1945 have been published in both Mainland and Taiwan, so it is a bit strange that not even a good overview has been published in English.

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Re: Air War China (period 1937-41)

Post by durb » 20 May 2014 14:30

Browsing the forum index I found something that led to me find this book:

Lennart Andersson: History of Chinese Aviation - Enciclopedia of Aircraft and Aviation in China until 1949. Taipei 2008.

I wonder how good the book is for someone interested in the history of airwar in 1937 - 1941/1945, it seems to bring in light interesting things like early Chinese designed planes and the "small" (warlord) air forces. This according to a short review, which was very positive at the http://www.librarything.com/work/586786 ... s/33642778.

My guess is that this is a great book about the general history of aviation in China until 1949, but maybe not the best to cover the history of airwar between Japan and China. More specialized books on military aviation are probably better.

I took a look on the sources of Håkans Aviation Page - there are good web sources, but I would like to find easily accessible and well structurized book with good text, plenty photos, good variety of colourplates and maps. Lots of sources are mentioned in Håkans Source list, but some of the most interesting are magazine articles, which may be hard to find and get.

With some web sources I have problems with the way they are edited - for example no maps which would tell You something about the locations of airfields and air combats. Colourplates and photos are scarce. The text might be good, but it is edited in a way that it is quite tiring to read specially if you read it at the computer screen. For example Håkans Aviation Page is certainly great info, but it is not easiest text to read and not the easiest information to digest (at least for me).

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Chinese Air Force 1937-1941

Post by PF » 03 Mar 2015 15:14


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Re: Air War China (period 1937-41)

Post by YC Chen » 03 Mar 2015 15:23

This topic has been moved here because of obvious similarity.

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