Victory Films
14th Air Force
by Floyd Werner, Jr.

This DVD is the latest release from Victory Films. The Fourteenth Air Force started with the famous Flying Tigers in China and progressed throughout the war until its culmination with the surrender of the Japanese in China.

The first chapter of the video is a slice of life of the Flying Tigers from the inception until its disbandment. Pappy Paxton, a member of the Flying Tigers, was there from the very beginning and lucky for us he had a movie camera. Starting out in the US we are treated to a little slice of life from the early 40s. The clothes, cars, and architecture of the period are seen and also such places as the Golden Gate Bridge. You get to see how the Tigers were formed and the background story and now pictures to go with the names. It truly was a simpler time. Traveling on the ship you get to see a naval tradition in the King Neptune ceremony as the Tigers pass over the equator. With a stop over in Hawaii you can see how the islands differed from the mainland. Once arrival in China you can see the contrast between eastern and western civilization. The P-40s are seen just after delivery without the distinctive shark mouth. Also seen are some really unique looking bamboo replicas on the airfield.

Some things you wouldn't expect to see is a priest's burial and downtown Kunming. Seeing a US town is one thing, but a foreign land so different as China is really interesting. The Flying Tigers are obviously the reason for the film. What you get to see here, for the first time, is the complete Pappy Paxton film. Many of the pilots, such as Newkirk and Bond are shown going about getting ready for missions. Also seen is the Chinese Army which at that time was very poorly trained and equipped. They carried everything on their backs.

Of course you can't talk about the Flying Tigers without speaking P-40s and there are plenty to be seen. Everything from the P-40B to the E are shown. Interestingly, some of the P-40Es have US ARMY still on the underside of the wings. There are even some P-40s in color flying over the Hump and some on the airfield. The Chinese Air Force P-43 Lancers and some Oscar wreckage are seen as well. Something that I've never seen before is a captured Japanese pilot in front of a Flying Tiger P-40.

The next installment is a section of United Newsreels. The first being the transfers of the Flying Tigers to the USAAF with Col. Robert Scott taking over from General Claire Chennault. Also some of great air to air footage with low level passes and flybys being the highlights.

There is a color footage sequence of the 23rd FG P-40Es with darker Dark Green repairs readily apparent. An interesting detail for the model builder. From there are some 14th Air Force Alerts with P-40Ns and Ks. Notable among them is a P-40N Lady Eleanor with stars on the wheels.

The final newsreel is called the "Battle of China", I found it interesting with its depiction of Chinese and Japanese war. The first bombing of a civilian populace and the subsequent rape of Nanking are all covered. The rise of Chiang Kai-shek is interesting to note as a historical background.

The final sequence is the surrender of the Japanese in China. Filmed entirely in color the impressive ceremony shows the Japanese generals surrendering their swords and the American and Chinese armies marching by in formation. Bringing the 14th Air Force's story in World War II to a conclusion.

The whole CD is interesting and informative. There are plenty of P-40s to keep you happy. The inclusion of Pappy Paxton's coverage brings a very personal touch to the story behind the story. I love P-40s and this CD contains a bunch. Some of it you probably have seen before and some is new.

Highly recommended.

You can obtain your copy of this CD, and the other great CDs, from Wade Meyers at . Let him know you heard about it from here. While there check out the other Victory Films. I have not found one that I haven't thought was well worth the money and this one is no different. It contains unique footage that you won't find anywhere else. Superior work all the way around for the modeler and/or historian.

Thanks to Wade Meyers Studios for the review copy.

© Floyd Werner, Jr. 2009