Fallen Tigers

Fallen Tigers

The Fate of America's Missing Airmen in China During World War II

by Dan Jackson

Hardback Publication Date: 15/04/2020

�Zeros � A swarm of Japanese fighters ambush Lee Gregg and Glen Beneda over central China. It is the height of World War II and the two airmen are a part of the greatest aerial armada yet assembled by Major General Claire Lee Chennault�s Flying Tigers. Their mission is to strike back against the largest Japanese ground offensive of the war, but the enemy�s preemptive ambush sends four of the American fighters down in flames. Gregg and Beneda bail out, only to find themselves in the hands of Communist guerrillas, on an epic months-long odyssey behind enemy lines.

During the war, America�s air forces in China reported at least 624 aircraft and 1,771 airmen as missing on combat missions. Fighting a savage guerrilla air war against the Japanese, the prospect of crash-landing or bailing out in a remote and dangerous land loomed ominously in the mind of every individual. Of the airmen reported missing, more than half perished. Remarkably, ninety percent of those who survived returned to friendly territory � more than four times the percentage of those rescued in occupied Europe Their rescuers included Nationalists, Communists, warlords, and even alleged collaborators. Despite deep divisions throughout wartime China, helping downed Americans transcended politics.

The author scoured thousands of pages of official reports to build a comprehensive database of every American reported missing in China during the war. Memoirs, wartime diaries, and dozens of interviews with veterans � both American and Chinese � overlay this core of thorough historical research with compelling personal narratives. Lee Gregg and Glen Beneda find themselves on the run with the Chinese Communists, battling injury, sickness, China�s internecine politics, and the Japanese. Brick Holstrom remains in China after the Doolittle Raid to command a squadron of medium bombers. Casey Vincent, the second-youngest general officer in the history of the Air Force, struggles to command in the most desperate circumstances, and American Volunteer Group ace George �Mac� McMillan returns to China to command a 14th Air Force fighter squadron for General Chennault. The fate of these men is an incredible story of survival in the midst of a brutal war; it is a touching story of cooperation between the United States and China � including with Mao Zedong�s Communists. Fallen Tigers is not just a thrilling historical drama, it is of pressing importance for our time and the United States� relationship with the rising Chinese superpower.

Air forces & warfare
Publication Date:
Naval Institute Press
Country of origin:
United States
Dimensions (mm):

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