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
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
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.
You can obtain your copy of
this CD, and the other great CDs, from Wade Meyers at http://wademeyersart.tripod.com/id69.html
. 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.
Werner, Jr. 2009