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    The Legendary Curtiss P-40 Warhawk: A WWII Icon

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    The Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, a legendary aircraft of World War II, served in various theaters of war and became emblematic of the Allies’ resilience against the Axis forces.

    P-40 Warhawk. Festival Aéreo Internacional De Gijón. 2015.” by David A.L. is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    This versatile fighter, emerging from the Curtiss-Wright Corporation’s storied “Hawk” lineage, held the skies from the early days of the war until more advanced aircraft took the lead.

    P-40E Warhawk” by pecooper98362 is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    When the United States entered WWII, the P-40 was its most prolific fighter available in significant numbers.

    P-40 Warhawk and F-4U Corsair” by Adelaide Archivist is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    The aircraft first roared into combat during the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and in the Philippines in December 1941.

    P-40 Warhawk” by cclark395 is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    Despite the P-40’s initial setbacks, including many being destroyed on the ground due to surprise attacks, the few that soared into the sky showed their mettle.

    Curtis P-40 Warhawk” by TMWolf is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

    Notably, 2nd Lt. George S. Welch engaged the Japanese with a P-40 and shot down four enemy aircraft.

    Curtiss P-40 Warhawk” by Falcon_33 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

    The Warhawk is perhaps best remembered for its association with the American Volunteer Group (AVG), famously known as the Flying Tigers.

    Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: Vought F4U-1D Corsair, with P-40 Warhawk in background” by Chris Devers is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Under the command of Colonel Claire Lee Chennault, these shark-mouthed fighters became a symbol of American volunteerism and skill.

    Curtiss P-40 Warhawk” by Jason OX4 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    Despite operating at the end of a precarious supply line, the AVG achieved remarkable success against Japanese forces.

    Curtis-Wright P-40 Warhawk, Little Rock AFB, 1985” by euthman is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

    From their first mission on December 20, 1941, the Flying Tigers went on to shoot down 286 enemy aircraft over six months.

    Curtis P-40 Warhawk” by TMWolf is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

    As the war progressed, various models of the Warhawk were introduced.

    The P-40B, with its self-sealing tanks and additional armament, and the P-40C, further improved with armor, demonstrated the fighter’s evolution in response to combat demands.

    The P-40 also played a crucial role in other theaters, serving in North Africa and the Middle East.

    The British Commonwealth and Soviet air forces used the name Tomahawk for models equivalent to the P-40B and P-40C,

    Curtiss P-40 E Warhawk” by ksr8s is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

    And the name Kittyhawk for models equivalent to the P-40D and all later variants.

    Relevant articles:
    40B Tomahawk, navy.mil
    WWII Planes: The Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, Warfare History Network, Jan 25, 2021
    40 Warhawk fighter plane of World War II, history, specifications, and photographs, airplanes-online.com
    Curtiss P-40 Warhawk: One of WW II’s Most Famous Fighters, HistoryNet, Oct 20, 2017

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