Prints signed by 23 of the legendary Flying Tigers (AVG)
In early May, 1942, the powerful vanguard of two invading divisions of the Japanese 15th Army reached the narrow floor of the rugged Salween Gorge, gateway to southern China. But as the Japanese prepared to cross the river on a pontoon bridge, a Curtiss P-40E Kittyhawk of the American Volunteer Group, known throughout the world as the Flying Tigers, roared into the gorge to drop a 750 pound bomb on the cliff above the road choked with enemy troops. Three more P-40E's followed in quick succession to bomb the Japanese column. The P-40E's were then joined by four P-40B Tomahawk "top cover" escorts, which streaked into the gorge and added the weight of their sixteen machine guns to the slaughter.
For the next four days, the handful of Flying Tiger pilots flew repeated sorties to pound columns of Japanese troops and equipment that were in full retreat towards the Burmese border. The Battle of the Salween Gorge ranks as one of the most decisive and critical uses of air power to reverse the course of a major ground offensive in the history of aerial warfare, and is remembered as the battle that saved southern China from invasion.