Liu Cuigang file photo [24062]

Liu Cuigang

SurnameLiu
Given NameCuigang
Born1913
Died16 Nov 1937
CountryChina
CategoryMilitary-Air
GenderMale

Contributor:

ww2dbaseLiu Cuigang (Wade-Giles: Liu Tsui-kang) was born into a wealthy-family in Jinjia Village, Changtu County, Liaoning Province, China in Feb 1913. Upon completing elementary school education in his home town, he passed the entrance examinations for Liaoning Province's technical high school and then Northeastern University in Mukden (now Shenyang) in the same province. On 19 Sep 1931, Japanese troops occupied Mukden, forcing him to flee the city for his home county. Two days later, Japanese troops arrived at Jinjia Village. He decided to leave his family to go to China Proper to join the Nationalist military. In 1932, he entered the Army Academy in Nanjing, China. Shortly after, he was transferred to the Central Aviation Academy at Jianqiao Airfield near Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China. In 1933, while flying a newly arrived Italian-built aircraft, an accidental fire broke out in the fuselage; rather than abandoning the aircraft, he shut off the fuel supply and skillfully glided the aircraft to a safe landing, earning him a commendation. In Dec 1934, he graduated with the second class of the Central Aviation Academy; he was made a warrant officer with the 1st Pursuit Group. Shortly after, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. He married Xu Xilin in 1935; they would have no children. After some time as a flight leader, he was made the commanding officer of the 24th Pursuit Squadron of the 5th Pursuit Group flying Hawk III fighters stationed in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, China. On 14 Aug 1937, he claimed the first of his many victories; although post-war studies of Japanese records showed that many of his claims would be false, his proclaimed victories nevertheless bolstered Chinese morale when it was needed most. The greatest of his victories came in the afternoon of 12 Oct 1937, when he, flying a Hawk III fighter, engaged in a fierce dogfight with a Japanese A5M fighter over a busy district of Nanjing, China. After several tight turns, he successfully allowed the A5M fighter to over-fly him and then shot it down, causing it to crash into a city street; civilians cheered as they gathered to inspect the downed Japanese fighter. On 26 Oct 1937, after refueling at Luoyang, Henan Provine, China, he led a group of four Hawk III fighters for an airfield near Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, China to reinforce Communist guerrilla forces engaged in combat with Japanese troops. As the sun began to set and in poor weather, he failed to locate the airstrip and overflew into Japanese lines, not realizing his mistake until Japanese anti-aircraft guns opened up on the group. He led the group around, again failing to locate his destination, thus chose to return to Luoyang. En route, one of the fighters ran out of fuel, and its pilot bailed out. Liu swooped low to drop a flare to light the way for his descending comrade, but, misjudging his altitude, he crashed into the 20-meter tall pagoda Kuixinglou southeast of Gaoping, Shanxi Province, China. He was buried at the Air Force Martyrs Cemetery on Purple Mountain in Nanjing, China in Nov 1937. Chinese leader Chiang Kaishek awarded Liu's widow 10,000 silver pieces and posthumously promoted Liu to the rank of major. Having claimed 11 victories, he was often cited as the top scoring ace of the Chinese Air Force, but post-war research discredited some of the scores. After the Republic of China relocated to Taiwan in 1949, Liu's widow Xu served as the principal of Cuigang Elementary School for children of military servicemen.

ww2dbaseSources:
Raymond Cheung, Aces of the Republic of China Air Force
Baidu Baike

Last Major Revision: Sep 2015

Liu Cuigang Timeline

12 Aug 1937 Liu Cuigang flew his first combat mission of the Second Sino-Japanese War, attacking Japanese warships at the mouth of the Yangtze River in the Shanghai area in eastern China in a Hawk III fighter. The mission was called off due to weather.
14 Aug 1937 Liu Cuigang, commanding officer of the 24th Pursuit Squadron of the Chinese 5th Pursuit Group flying a Hawk III fighter, claimed the squadron's first victory, an E8N seaplane, near Shanghai, China; Japanese records showed no E8N aircraft lost on that date.
15 Aug 1937 Liu Cuigang engaged in aerial combat over Shanghai, China flying a Hawk III fighter, claiming the downing of a Japanese reconnaissance aircraft.
17 Aug 1937 Liu Cuigang engaged in aerial combat over Shanghai, China flying a Hawk III fighter, claiming the downing of a Japanese bomber at 1940 hours.
20 Aug 1937 Liu Cuigang, flying a Hawk III fighter, shot down a Japanese fighter and an E8N seaplane from seaplane carrier Kamoi after he dropped a 500-pound bomb on a Japanese troop concentration in Shanghai, China.
23 Aug 1937 Liu Cuigang claimed a Japanese A4N biplane fighter from carrier Ryujo over eastern Shanghai, China at 0730 hours; the heavily damaged A4N fighter would return to Ryujo successfully, however.
6 Sep 1937 Liu Cuigang, flying a Hawk III fighter, attacked Japanese warships off Shanghai, China with 500-pound bombs.
8 Sep 1937 Liu Cuigang, flying a Hawk III fighter, claimed to have destroyed two Japanese tanks in Shanghai, China with bombs and claimed a Japanese fighter shot down.
20 Sep 1937 Liu Cuigang, flying a Hawk III fighter, damaged a Japanese D1A1 dive bomber and shot down an E8N seaplane near Nanjing, China. Both Liu and his wingman Lieutenant Yuan Baokang each claimed an E8N shot down, but Japanese records showed only one lost.
22 Sep 1937 Liu Cuigang, flying a Hawk III fighter, shot down a Japanese D1A2 dive bomber near Nanjing, China. His wingman Lieutenant Yuan Baokang also claimed a D1A2 shot down, but Japanese records showed only one lost (from 13th Kokutai).
27 Sep 1937 Liu Cuigang, flying a Hawk III fighter, led a flight of six others to drop 110-pound bombs on Japanese tank concentrations reported near Luodian, Shanghai, China. Failing to find the tanks but seeing Japanese fighters, Liu ordered all bombs jettisoned in order to engage the fighters. Liu would claim one Japanese fighter shot down.
6 Oct 1937 Liu Cuigang, flying a Hawk III fighter, engaged in dogfights with Japanese A5M fighters, heavily damaging one A5M fighter (although he claimed it as a victory). Liu's fighter was then damaged by another A5M fighter; he was able to escape.
12 Oct 1937 Liu Cuigang, flying a modified Hawk III fighter, shared the downing of two E8N seaplanes from seaplane carrier Kamoi over Nanjing, China in the morning. In the afternoon, he engaged in a fierce dogfight with a Japanese A5M fighter, ultimately downing it over a busy city district, which bolstered civilian morale.
26 Oct 1937 Liu Cuigang, flying a Hawk III fighter, led three others from Piaosui Airfield in Jiangsu Province, China to reinforce Communist guerrilla forces near Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, China, taking off at 0700 hours. In the evening, they briefly stopped at Luoyang, Henan Province, China to refuel, taking off again at 2000 hours. As the sun began to set and in poor weather, he led the flight past Taiyuan into Japanese lines by mistake and was subjected by anti-aircraft fire. Failing to locate their destination airfield near Taiyuan, they turned back for Luoyang, but one of the fighters ran out of fuel. Liu swooped down to drop a flare for his comrade, who was descending via a parachute. Misjudging his altitude, Liu crashed into a pagoda southeast of Gaoping, Shanxi Province, killing him.
16 Nov 1937 Liu Cuigang's remains were buried at the Air Force Martyrs Cemetery on Purple Mountain in Nanjing, China.




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More on Liu Cuigang
Event(s) Participated:
» Second Battle of Shanghai
» Battle of Nanjing and the Rape of Nanjing

Related Books:
» Aces of the Republic of China Air Force



Famous WW2 Quote
"We no longer demand anything, we want war."

Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister, Aug 1939