23rd Fighter Group "Flying Tigers"

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The 23rd Fighter Group was formed at the end of 1941 to replace the American Volunteer Group, then fighting against the Japanese in China. This group, created by Claire L. Chennault, had been active since the summer of 1941, but its pilot's contracts were due to expire in the summer of 1942. It had originally been hoped that a large number of existing AVG pilots would be willing to join the 23rd FG, but by the time it was activated in March 1942 it became clear that very few AVG pilots were willing to sign up for the new unit, and so the change-over was not made until July 1942.

On 4 July the China Air Task Force was activated, under the command of Claire L. Chennault. On the same day the 23rd Fighter Group entered combat, supported by a small number of AVG pilots who had been persuaded to stay for a couple of weeks to forestall any Japanese offensive timed to take advantage of the changeover.

The 23rd Fighter Group remained in China until the end of the war, forming part of the Fourteen Air Force from 1943. It performed a variety of duties, including defending the Chinese end of the air supply route across the Himalayas, flying escort missions to support American bombers based in China, protecting American air-bases and supporting the Chinese army. It also took part in Chennault's campaign against Japanese air power, attacking Japanese airfields and deliberately attacking Japanese aircraft in the air.


P-40 Warhawk Aces of the CBI, Carl Molesworth. This volume in the Aircraft of the Aces series looks at the P-40 Warhawk in its most consistently successful theatre of the war – China, Burma and India. [see more]
cover cover cover


P-40 Warhawk: 1942-1945
P-51 Mustang: 1943-1945


17 December 1941 Constituted as 23rd Pursuit Group
May 1942 Redesignated 23rd Fighter Group
4 July 1942 Activated in China
December 1945 Moved to US
5 January 1945 Deactivated

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Colonel Robert L Scott Jr: 4 July 1942
Lt. Colonel Bruce K Holloway: 9 January 1943
Lt. Colonel Norval C Bonawitz: 16 September 1943
Colonel David L. Hill: 4 November 1943
Lt. Colonel Philip C. Loofbourrow: 15 October 1944
Colonel Edward F Rector: 12 December 1944-Decembet 1945

Main Bases

Kunming, China: 4 July 1942
Kweilin, China: September 1943
Liuchow, China: 8 September 1944
Luliang, China: 14 September 1944
Liuchow, China: August 1945

Component Units

16th Fighter Squadron: 1942-1943
74th Fighter Squadron: 1942-1946
75th Fighter Squadron: 1942-1946
76th Fighter Squadron: 1942-1946

Assigned To

Tenth Air Force: 1942-1943
68th Composite Wing; Fourteenth Air Force: 1943-1945

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (22 December 2007), 23rd Fighter Group , http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/23rd_Fighter_Group.html

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