Academia Historica premieres documentary on Flying Tigers
The China Post news staffTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Academia Historica (國史館) yesterday premiered the documentary “Leaping Tiger Soaring Eagle — Chennault and the Sino-Japanese War” (虎躍鷹揚-陳納德與中國抗戰) in Taipei.
January 25, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
Based on the memoir “Way of a Fighter” by Lieutenant General Claire Lee Chennault (陳納德), the documentary tells the compelling history of the R.O.C.-U.S. alliance during World War II, and the efforts of Chennault, who served as chief air advisor to the nationalist government and helped to organize the international squadron of volunteer aviators, later known as the Flying Tigers.
Spanning the entirety of Chennault's campaign in China, the film contains a wealth of invaluable historical information and footage, from the formation of the Flying Tigers under his guidance to the actions of prominent U.S. government and military figures and their nationalist counterparts.
It also looks at Chennault's ultimate departure from the war on the eve of victory, and recounts the love story between him and reporter Chen Xianmei (陳香梅), who he later wed.
The film includes new footage taken at old battlefield sites throughout China, interviews with Chennault's descendents, and numerous veteran aviators of the famed fighter squad, in addition to analysis by historians in the tumultuous era.
Since its first strike against the Japanese air force, downing four of 10 fighters over Kunming in December 1941, the exploits of Chennault and the Flying Tigers have been a compelling and celebrated subject in history and film.
Throughout the conflict, Chennault's three squadrons of P-40s guarded the Burma Road, which was the Chinese force's only resupply route, as China's eastern regions were occupied by Japanese forces.
Among guests at the film's premiere was Flying Tiger pilot and centenarian Lee Ji-sian (李繼賢). A veteran of 52 air missions, Lee recounted his experience in the conflict, and extending great praise for Chennault and the joint U.S.-
“The Americans matched our commitment to the war aircraft for aircraft, always dispatching the same number of fighters as we did,” said Lee.
Lee also commended the Americans' mounds of accurate intelligence, the result of an early warning network of spotters created by Chennault, and the Americans' tireless efforts to provide replacement aircraft and supplies.
The film will be shown on CtiTV's (中天電視台) news channel at 8 p.m. on Jan. 25, with DVDs to be sold at select outlets.