This Trio of WW2 Curtiss P-40 'hawks Sound Great

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In British Commonwealth service the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk was variously called the Tomahawk (P-40B & P-40C) and Kittyhawk (P-40E and later models).

Production of the P-40 began in 1939 and continued right into 1944, by which time over 13,700 examples of the type had been built, with the P-40N being the final large scale production model. The only American fighters to be built in greater numbers were the P-47 Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang.

Eighteen Royal Air Force squadrons, four Royal Canadian Air Force, three South African Air Force and two Royal Australian Air Force squadrons serving within the RAF used P-40s. Many of these units were part of the Desert Air Force in North Africa (from 1941 onwards).

Over 300 P-40s were allocated to the Royal New Zealand Air Force for use in the Pacific Theater, and these eventually equipped seven RNZAF squadrons between 1942 and 1944. In this period the RNZAF P-40s downed almost 100 Japanese aircraft, including many Zero fighters.

By 1943 and into 1944, the RNZAF P-40s were being used primarily as ground attack aircraft, during which time some units perfected the improvised use of naval depth charges as high capacity bombs! The RNZAF front line P-40s were withdrawn from service in 1944 and were replaced with F4U Corsairs.

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Historical Aviation
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