the Wanderling

"As the lone escort of bombers in a raid on the Japanese air depot at Hanoi, Scott's shark-nosed ship keeps Zeros at a distance."

Robert L. Scott, Jr. was a full-bird U.S. Army Air Force Colonel that flew C-47 transports over the hump during World War II. He was originally trained and sent to the China-Burma-India theater to fly a secret mission to bomb Japan. After the bombing he was to fly his B-17 to the Philippines. However before the U.S. was able to implement the plan the Philippines fell. In that he had experience in flying multi-engine planes, i.e., B-17s, the Army assigned him flying C-47s over the hump. In the process, with the rank of Colonel and all, he got to know and befriended Claire L. Chennault, the head of the American Volunteer Group (A.V.G.), or as they were better known, the Flying Tigers, by bringing Chennault extra cartons of Camel cigarettes in on his flights. Scott convinced Chennault to loan him a P-40 so he could, after arrival in his C-47, turn around and use the P-40 to provide cover escort for other incoming C-47s. According to the legend surrounding Scott the following transpired:

"When he wasn't escorting the transports, the P-40 was his to do with as he pleased. On his own, Scott began a one-man war against the Japanese on the Burma Road. He even had the propeller spinner on his Tomahawk, which he named 'Old Exterminator,' painted a different color each day so the Japanese would think that a whole squadron of planes was strafing them. On some days he flew as many as five missions. When he could, Bob Scott also flew combat missions as a wingman with the Flying Tigers."


In the fourth panel of the second page of the illustrated story on Scott, above, as well as the quote in text followed beneath it, it is stated that Scott was the lone escort of bombers in a raid on the Japanese air depot at Hanoi. In any number of books, stories, and articles on Scott it shows up that he himself has said that in May of 1942 he used his P-40 to escort a bombing run into Hanoi.

"On May 12, 1942, the Flying Tigers, in lieu of bombers in that none were in their inventory nor were any ever available anyway, sent a group of six A.V.G. P-40s consisting of three late-model P-40Es equipped with bomb racks along with three early model P-40Bs, from Kunming on an attack run against the Gia Lam airfield in Hanoi. Five of the P-40s reached Hanoi, with one turning back to base because of engine trouble."


One of the P-40s, apparently without bomb racks turned back leaving the three with bombs and two whose role it would seem to be as escorts. Nowhere is Scott's participation in a bombing run with the Flying Tigers clear except for the citing of the May 1942 time frame. Since information is fuzzy it could be if it was the official A.V.G. run and if he was a wing man, he himself would have been unofficial, so no record of it would show up.

The only place I've found any semblance of dates regarding any bombing runs as an escort coming from Scott himself has been in an obscure article published in Flying Magazine, June 1943, Vol. 32, No. 6. In the article Scott briefly mentions one run being on Hirohito's birthday April 29th and a second run one week later on May 5th. Nothing shows up for any bombing runs by the Flying Tigers on Hanoi on either of those dates.


There were however, two back-to-back off the record totally unofficial Flying Tiger bombing runs in May --- a raid on Hanoi carried out using a Flying Tiger shark-teeth adorned C-47 in a renegade or rogue like fashion by some off the reservation USAAF hump pilots and Flying Tigers. The raid by the Flying Tiger shark-tooth C-47, is infamously known as the Fujiyama Foo Foo. The following, as cited below, regarding the Fujiyama Foo-Foo, is from Robert M. Smith's Book With Chennault In China: A Flying Tiger's Diary (1984):

"Some of the A.V.G. ground men were drinking in Kunming with two Army Air Force pilots, both second lieutenants. The pilots had just flown in with a load of gas on a C-47. Our men were bemoaning the fact that we did not have any bombers, arguing that it would be much more efficient to bomb Hanoi, destroying the Japanese planes on the ground, than to shoot them down one by one in the air. Nearly everyone in the A.V.G. is always crying for bombers, from Chennault on down.

"About midnight, when everyone was feeling pretty good, one of the American pilots said, 'I could bomb Hanoi with my C-47.' One of the A.V.G. ground men had the keys to the bomb storage bunkers near the field and replied, 'I've got the bombs.' Someone said, 'Let's go,' and they did. They took off about one in the morning and got over Hanoi about three o'clock. The city was brightly lit, since it had never been hit with an air raid at night by the Chinese. They pushed the bombs out through the side cargo door of the plane. One of the A.V.G. almost went with the bombs. They turned around and headed back to Kunming. They were lost for a while but finally landed at the airport about eight in the morning. By that time they were cold sober and tired. They said nothing to anyone but went to the hostel and to bed."


If the bombing run he escorted was one or both of the rogue Fujiyama Foo Foo nighttime bombing raids on Hanoi, and I think what has been written about Scott and the independent thinker he comes across as considering his actions, it seems to put the Fujiyama Foo Foo right into his camp. If so, then for sure it wouldn't be recorded. However, not one person who has acknowledged any sort of participation in, or whose name has surfaced in some fashion in connection with the Fujiyama Foo Foo raid, has ever come forward stating or hinting that their illicit bombing run into Hanoi was escorted by a fighter or fighters.

Originally Scott was sent to the CBI theater to pilot B-17 Flying Fortresses on bombing runs over Japan from China, then fly on to the Philippines. However, the Philippines fell leaving the B-17s with no place to land, so at the last minute Scott's and all future missions were cancelled. Scott, the multi-engine pilot he had become and thought of, soon found himself flying supplies into China in unarmed C-47s over the high and dangerous Himalaya mountains given to be called "the Hump" by those who flew over it. On return trips his C-47 was crammed full of refugees escaping war torn Burma as shown in the illustrated page below. However, in no time Scott was able to convince Chennault into letting him fly a P-40 to help protect other transport planes flying over the Hump coming in behind him.

"While in Calcutta I was given an opportunity to take a much earlier flight to Dinjan by a C-47 pilot that was going to continue on to Kunming. Thinking I could convince the pilot to deliver me closer to where I was going, I was just about to board his plane when I was stopped by a Charles Laughton looking man in a deeply rumpled civilian suit.

"The C-47 pilot who offered to take me to Dinjan early was Col. Robert L. Scott. Scott, who would eventually fly for the Flying Tigers, was ferrying men and equipment over the hump into Kunming, often returning with plane loads of refugees, refugees that needed to be spread around, hence being in Calcutta."(source)

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Scott was big in other ways too. He was a prolific author with eleven or more books written by him, all of them having to do in some manner with the Flying Tigers, P-40s, or both. His first book God Is My Co-Pilot, published while the war was still raging, was a best seller, even being made into a very well received motion picture under the same title. For those who may be so interested I have linked both the book, in PDF online and free, along with the movie online and free, below.

On the day I met the woman who would eventually become my Stepmother for the very first time she saw my avid interest in the book written by Olga Greenlaw, the wife of the second in command of the Flying Tigers, titled The Lady and the Tigers that I had removed from the shelves in her library. When our time getting to know each other was over and it was time for me to leave she handed me her own personal signed copy telling me just to bring it back the next time we saw each other --- ensuring for me that, at least in her mind and possibly in her heart, we would meet again..

At the sametime she also gave me a second book she thought I might be interested in that dealt with P-40s as well, titled Damned to Glory which was Scott's second book. I know I don't say much about Damned to Glory throughout most of my works, always it seems going on-and-on about The Lady and the Tigers, but that's because most of what I write about when it comes to P-40s has to do with the Flying Tigers. Usually when I mention Scott's Damned to Glory it is in conjunction with what is typically referred to as the P-40 Ghost Ship.


(for free full length movie please click image)

( for free PDF version of the book please click image)



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As to the subject of donations, for those of you who may be interested in doing so as it applies to the gratefulness of my works, I invariably suggest any funds be directed toward THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT and/or THE AMERICAN RED CROSS.

"Around dusk of the last Friday in May the CNAC C-47 slowly moved across the tarmac eventually lifting up out of Calcutta bound for Dinjan. With the extremely bad weather and strong tailwind we encountered almost immediately as well as being double hammered by static so bad the pilot couldn't get a fix on any radio station, the plane passed well east of Dinjan, slamming headlong into an unnamed 22,000-foot high Tibetan mountain in the Graveyard of the Himalayas, otherwise known as the Aluminum Trail.

"Some time later found me all alone and face down in strong blizzard-like conditions partly covered by ever accumulating snow. Wincing my eyes through frost covered eyebrows the best I could in the blowing snow I was barely able to make out what looked like the darkened remains of a fuselage. Inching my way across the drifts, the wind blowing so strong at times I couldn't remain upright. Facing white-out conditions as well, causing a complete loss of sense of direction, I finally reached the wreckage, using for all intent what was left of the interior of the fuselage as a wind break and shelter. Once inside I slowly began to regain my thoughts and clarity of mind. On my way to the wreckage I saw no signs of anybody else, nor inside the nearly intact portion I was in either. I scraped around and found a thermos full of, at least relative to me, lukewarm coffee and settled back trying to figure out just how long it would be before I froze to death."


BEFORE LEAVING CALCUTTA-----------------------------------------------------AFTER LEAVING CALCUTTA