Curtiss P-40C AVG Part 1

Built by:John Svendsen
Kit:1/48 Academy P40-C Tomahawk
Kit Media:Plastic
Modifications and
Built ‘Out Of Box’
Unit:1st PS, AVG
Location:Burma 1942
Pilot:Robert Neale

Area of Operations


The Japanese had been engaged in hostilities with China since 1937 and by the time of the Japanese
attack on Pearl Harbour that turned a European war into a World War, Japan controlled the major
Chinese cities and ports and had occupied French Indochina (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and the
Chinese territory of Guangzhouwan).

The last remaining supply route for the Chinese was the Burma Road, which travelled from Rangoon,
capital of the then neutral British colony of Burma, and ended at Kunming, China. The US, along
with the UK and Russia, had been providing materiel support to the Chinese and, in December 1940,
President Roosevelt signed a secret order to create an American-manned Chinese air unit, the
American Volunteer Group (AVG), to protect the Chinese end of the Burma Road from Japanese

On the 7 th of December 1941 the Japanese attacked the US at Pearl Harbour and simultaneously
invaded the Philippines and Thailand (on the 8 th , the date difference was due to the International
Date Line). The 1 st Pursuit Squadron (PS) was assigned to protect Kunming and the Chinese end of
the Burma Road from Japanese attacks with their first combat occurring on the 20 th of December.
Ten unescorted bombers were intercepted with at least three shot down and the rest badly
damaged. No further raids were carried out on Kunming whilst the AVG were there.

Then, on the 12 th of January 1942, the Japanese launched an attack on Burma from Thai territory
with the aim of capturing Rangoon and closing the Burma Road and thus completely isolating China.
The AVG were in the thick of the fight and 1 st PS relocated to help defend the Burmese capital,
Rangoon. But the British and Chinese forces were overwhelmed and by the end of February the AVG
had withdrawn back to Kunming and other airfields in China.

The 1 st PS was known as the ‘Adam and Eves’ after one pilot quipped that the first pursuit was Eve
chasing Adam in the Garden of Eden. The squadron insignia was a green apple, sometimes encircled
by a snake, with stick figures of Eve chasing Adam.

Robert Neale was a US Navy dive bomber pilot aboard the USS Saratoga when recruited for the AVG.
Originally Vice Leader of the 1 st PS and assigned ‘7’ as his personal aircraft, he became Squadron
Leader on the 7 th of February when Sandy Sandell was killed in a flying accident. By the time the AVG
was disbanded on the 14th of July he was the top scoring US ace with 15.55 kills. The AVG was
absorbed into the USAAF as the 23 rd Fighter Group and Neale stayed on in China for two weeks as
the temporary Commander before returning to the US, where he flew transport aircraft for
American Overseas Airways.

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