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Date: Wednesday, 10 February 1943
Place: Kunming, Yunnan, China
Consolidated B-24D-25-CO Liberator of 308th Bomb Group passes P-40K Warhawks of 23rd Fighter Group on its way to attack Japanese targets. Both groups were part of the 14th Air Force, created from the American Volunteer Group, the famed "Flying Tigers" under Brigadier General Claire L. Chennault on March 10, 1943. In his memoirs, Chennault praised the 308th: "They took the heaviest combat losses of any Group in China and often broke my heart by burning thousands of gallons of gas only to dump their bombs in rice paddy mud far from the target. However, their bombing of Vinh railroad shops in Indo-China, the Kowloon and Kai Tak docks at Hong Kong, and the shipping off Saigon were superb jobs unmatched anywhere. When the Army Air Force Headquarters in Washington tallied the bombing accuracy of every bomb group in combat, I was astonished to find that the 308th led them all." Before the 23d Fighter Group returned to the United States in December 1945, it accounted for the destruction of 621 enemy planes in air combat, plus 320 more on the ground. It sank more than 131,000 tons of enemy shipping and damaged another 250,000 tons. It caused an estimated enemy troop loss of more than 20,000. These statistics were compiled through a total of more than 24,000 combat sorties, requiring more than 53,000 flying hours, and at a cost of 110 aircraft lost in aerial combat, 90 shot down by surface defenses and 28 bombed while on the ground. Photo taken sometime between February 10 and September 1943.
NARA (National Archives) Identifier 535780.