The P-40 was an evolution of Curtiss’ P-36 Hawk. Despite its limited performance, it was used throughout the war, on all fronts.
1. The P-40 became the USAAC’s standard fighter shortly before the war. This early P-40 belonged to the 55th Pursuit Squadron of the 20th Pursuit Group, based at Hamilton Field. Note the long nose gun barrels and lacked the armoured windscreen of later versions.
2. When Japanese aircraft attacked Pearl Harbor, a few American pilots were able to take off and fight back. George Welch used this P-40 from the 47th Pursuit Squadron, 15th Pursuit Group, to down 4 enemy aircraft.
3. Early versions of the P-40 were rapidly replaced by more evolved versions early in the war, with many being relegated to training duties. This heavily weathered aircraft was flown at Luke Field for advanced training.
4. This H81-A2 (British export version of the P-40) was diverted to the American Volunteer Group in China, better known as the “Flying Tigers”. P-8127/47 was flown by several pilots before being assigned to R.T. Smith.