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  American "Flying Tiger" in Word war Two 
   
   
   
Fighter of the famous "Flying Tiger"

In 1937 Japan launched a many pronged invasion of China . Inflicted immense damage to China , Japanese occupied China's east coast ,the Nationalist government relocated in Chongqing ,Sichuan ,with some ministries and industries moving to Yunnan . To keep supplies coming into western China the Nationalists has a road constructed from Kunming to Dehong , the famous Burma Road ,using mostly labour conscripted from tribes along the route. The road followed the old Southeast Silk Route as far as Baoshan and continued to Wanding,Dehong,Goods and war material continued to come from British Burma over the bridge at Wanding until the Japanese overran Burma in 1942 and closed the route . 

    By that time the Americans were involved in the Pacific War as much as the British . New supply routes were organised out of British India . One was by land from the eastern Himalayan town of Kalimpong . From here pony and mule caravans traveled up through eastern Tibet  ,then into Yunnan at Deqen , down to Zhongdian , Lijiang and Xiaguan. From there fresh caravans carried the goods to Kunming and from the capital to Sichuan or other parts of China . 

   The other route was by air ,over that section of the eastern Himalayas called the Hump , and famous as one of the most hazardous air routes in the entire world . Volunteer pilots of Claire Chennault's Flying Tigers , who had a base in Kunming and whose boss was a strategic advisor to General Chiang Kai-Shek . Chennault kept telling Chiang that his air unit could defend western China against any Japanese advance . The implication was that Chiang needn't deploy his own forces intact for the Communists . This attitude infuriated General Joseph Stillwell ,the American responsible for the Sino-Allied defence against
the Japanese . 
 

   
Yet no one could deny that Chennault's Flying Tigers were men of great courage . An uncomfortably large number of transport planes crashed when buffeted by the unpredictable winds and storms of the Hump . Even in recent years Yunnanese farmers have discovered the remains of planes in various mountain locations in the west . and the older folks still remember the sacrifices made by American and British pilots in the war ,reflected in the very friendly and favourable attitude they have nowadays towards tourist from these two countries . 
 


 

 




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