The Flying Tigers are one of the most commonly forgotten groups of Americans that were fighting on (and above) the Asian continent in what was to become World War 2, and they were doing it long before Americans united around the idea of entering a war many had hoped to stay out of. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was the 9/11 of that era. Emotions naturally ran high after that devastating surprise attack and we were soon thereafter at war with Japan.
I know of the Flying Tigers, but not just because they flew piston-engine fighters with really cool shark mouths painted on their noses. I had heard of them before, but I really started paying attention to their history when I found out that one of my wife's relatives had actually been one of them.
The thing is, the Japanese had been at war in Asia for years before they made the fatal mistake of involving all of America, and many folks in America could plainly see the writing on the wall: once finished with conquering Asia, we could very well be next. Borrowing from Wikipedia (because they're so very good at describing things like this and I am not), here is a brief history:
The First American Volunteer Group (AVG) of the Chinese Air Force in 1941–1942, nicknamed the Flying Tigers, was composed of pilots from the United States Army Air Corps, Navy, and Marine Corps, recruited under presidential authority and commanded by Claire Lee Chennault. The shark-faced nose art of the Flying Tigers remains among the most recognizable image of any individual combat aircraft or combat unit of World War II.
The group consisted of three fighter squadrons of around 30 aircraft each. It trained in Burma before the American entry into World War II with the mission of defending China against Japanese forces. The group of volunteers were officially members of the Chinese Air Force. The members of the group had contracts with salaries ranging from $250 a month for a mechanic to $750 for a squadron commander, roughly three times what they had been making in the U.S. forces. While it accepted some civilian volunteers for its headquarters and ground crew, the AVG recruited most of its staff from the U.S. military.
The group first saw combat on 20 December 1941, 12 days after Pearl Harbor (local time). It demonstrated innovative tactical victories when the news in the U.S. was filled with little more than stories of defeat at the hands of the Japanese forces, and achieved such notable success during the lowest period of the war for both the U.S. and the Allied Forces as to give hope to America that it might eventually defeat the Japanese. AVG pilots earned official credit, and received combat bonuses, for destroying 296 enemy aircraft, while losing only 14 pilots in combat.
Their contributions to the war were notable, but easily eclipsed and forgotten because of the immensity of what happened over the next four years. To date, the Flying Tigers have remained something of a footnote in a far larger and expansive story. That was then, however, and this is now. The Flying Tigers are about to get their due, at least in the world of military-based gaming.
ACE MADDOX has confirmed that its air-combat action game, Flying Tigers: Shadows Over China (FTSOC), which is based on the historical events of America's secret volunteer squadrons that helped defend China in World War 2, has been confirmed for international release on Xbox One on Friday January 12th, 2018, and is now available for pre-order from the Xbox Store.
Check out the teaser video to get a feel for the gameplay - it looks pretty interesting to me, albeit at a console arcade level.
Flying Tigers: Shadows Over China is rated M for Mature by the ESRB (Violence, Blood, Strong Language), PEGI 16 in Europe, MA15+ (Strong coarse language) in Australia, and CERO B (12+) in Japan.
RARELY DEPICTED AIR-BATTLES OF WORLD WAR 2
Action-packed single-player campaign recreates the clandestine operations of the American Volunteer Group in fighter, bomber, gunner, reconnaissance, torpedo, and night missions.
APPROACHABLE TAKE ON AIR-COMBAT
Features TrazerTime™ slow-motion firing, arcade-like combat maneuvers, sim-style pitch & roll controls, moody weathers (including thunderous monsoons, beautiful sunsets, and misty dawns), 20+ Allied and Japanese planes, and more!
MULTIPLAYER FOR 2-16 PLAYERS
Xbox One leaderboards eternalize players’ online rankings across five battle modes! Coordinate devastating air-attacks in TEAM DOGFIGHT while providing cover for your comrades, outdo all enemies using powerful rocket weaponry in ROCKET BATTLE VS, or take to the skies and “Capture the Flag” in the FLAGBUSTERS mode.
FLY IN COCKPIT OR THIRD-PERSON MODE
Soar through the skies of Southeast Asia in third-person or cockpit view in a variety of American, British, Russian/Chinese, and Japanese aircraft.
STRIKING RENDITION OF THE FAR EAST
Faithful environments, beautiful graphics, booming sound effects and an epic-orchestral soundtrack create a lasting impression of the China-Burma-India theatre.