China Operations In China, the Flying Tigers were inducted into the AAF's 23rd Fighter Group on July 4, 1942, at which time Brig. Gen. Claire Chennault's force had an effective strength of about 35 P-40s and seven B-25 medium bombers. Designated originally as the China Air Task Force, less than a year later, in March 1943, Chennault's unit gained independent status as the 14th Air Force. However, the scope of the 14th Air Force operations throughout the war was limited by the tonnage that could be carried over the Hump and fuel shortages, which at times severely restricted fighter and medium bomber operations. Small in size, even by Pacific standards, the 14th Air Force fought against heavy odds defending the Chinese end of the Hump route and supporting the Chinese ground army. The arrival of B-24s enabled the 14th Air Force to begin heavy bomber raids in May 1943 against Japanese shipping off the Chinese coast. Much of the bombers' available flying hours, however, were spent hauling their own supplies over the Hump in support of bombing missions. Click here to return to the War on the Asian Mainland Overview. Find Out More Related Fact Sheets 14th Air Force in China: From Volunteers to Regulars Consolidated B-24D Liberator North American B-25B Mitchell Curtiss P-40E Warhawk Note: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the National Museum of the USAF, the U.S. Air Force, or the Department of Defense, of the external website, or the information, products or services contained therein.