Monday, July 6, 2015


Other Highlights and Achievements of the 4th Pursuit Group
Chinese Air Force During the War of Resistance

On August 14, 1937, the first-ever large-scale aerial battle in China was brilliantly fought and decisively won by the 4th Pursuit Group of the Chinese Air Force.

From 1937 through 1942, during the eight-year War of Resistance against the Japanese invasion, all four commanders of the 4th Pursuit Group, Wang Tianxiang[1] (aged 31, 1906-1937), Gao Zhihang (age 30, 1907-1937), Li Gueidan[2] (age 24, 1914-1938), and Zheng Shaoyu (age 31, 1911-1942), through their gallant fighting, each one after the other, made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

Of all the Pursuit Groups of the Chinese Air Force, the 4th Pursuit Group had the highest number of fatalities and wounds from combats.  This was especially true in the most devastating four years from 1937 through 1941 when China alone was fighting the Japanese, before Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941.

The 4th Pursuit Group had two nicknames. One was the renowned “Zhihang Group.”  But the other was the lesser-known “Lieutenant Group.”  This second name came from the unique fact that in the Hankou[3] Wuchang[4] Defense War in 1938, all the members of the 4th Pursuit Group were all called by the military rank of Lieutenant, from commander, which was the highest position, to pilots, which was the lowest position. They earned this equal rank of lieutenant because they were so young, but so skilled. This was indeed a rare situation.  In some ways, this reflected our strict Air Force personnel system and the military ranking system.  It also illustrated that our Air Force was still in its fledgling stage. All members of the Group were young, spirited cadets, who had just graduated from the Chinese Central Aviation Academy.  They all had strong aspirations to defend our country from the Japanese aggression.

In the Nanchang Air Base, the records from the combat skills training of the 4th Pursuit Group were superb.  As an example, the requirement for bombing and shooting was a 90% hit rate. All the pilots met or exceeded the requirement. The caliber of these airmen’s crucial and precise combat skills was the key factor contributing to the “8.14” victory as well as all the subsequent air battles with varying degrees of success in destroying enemy planes, including those at Shanghai, Nanjing, Wuhan, Nanchang, Sueifan[5], Tairzhuang[6], Chongqing[7], Liangshan[8] and Chengdu[9].

On the 70th anniversary celebration of the Japanese surrender, this article was translated by:
Debbie Cheng,  寇蕩平   (臺北空小) July 2015    Los Angeles,  CA 

[1] Wang Tianxiang:王天祥 
[2] Li Gueidan 李桂丹
[3] Hankou:  漢口
[4] Wuchang:武昌
[5] Sueifan:随樊
[6] Tairzhuang:台兒莊
[7] Chongqing 重慶
[8] Liangshan:梁山
[9] Chengdu:成都

No comments:

Post a Comment