Curtiss P-40M-10CU Kittyhawk 27490 43-5802 G-KITT/49. Photo by Bob Franklin
The P-40 design was a direct modification of the Curtiss P-36 Hawk, which enabled the aircraft to be brought into production and into operations much sooner than a new design. The Warhawk was the name adopted by the United States Army Air Corps for the P-40s in America. P-40B and P-40C models were called the Tomahawk by The British Commonwealth and Soviet Air Forces. Other models equivalent to the P-40D and after were named the Kittyhawk. The P-40's first flight was on 14th October 1938 and the aircraft was produced between 1939 and 1944, with the total number of airframes built being 13738.
P-40s first saw combat in the Middle East and North African campaigns with The British Commonwealth squadrons of the Desert Air Force (DAF). The Royal Air Force's No. 112 Squadron was among the first to operate Tomahawks in North Africa and the unit was the first to feature the shark mouth logo, copying similar markings on some Luftwaffe Messerschmitt Bf 110 fighters. Operators of the P-40 included the Royal Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force, United States Army Air Forces, French Air Force and Japan.
Curtiss P-40s. Images courtesy of Colin Sayce - Airshowphotomania.ifp3.com and Bob Franklin