Between June 4 and June 7 1942, the Battle of Midway made its mark in war history. The Battle of Midway is known to be the most important naval battle of the Pacific Campaign in World War II.
P40 Warhawk in flight
Part of this greatest U.S. Naval victory was the P-40s. It served well in the Aleutians Campaign. The P-40’s speed ranged from 350-380mph depending on the model. Equipped with six .50 caliber machine guns or two .50 caliber machine guns and four .30 caliber machine guns, the P-40s packed a mean punch in the war. It also proved to be durable yet fierce. The P-40 Warhawkwasthe most prominently used among the P-40s.
Sinking of the Hiryu
The Battle of Midway was also featured in a documentary by John Ford. Ford earned a Purple Heart and Legion of Merit for this documentary film.
The Flying Tigers, known officially as the American Volunteer Group (AVG), were a unit of the Republic of China Air Force, recruited from US aviators. From late 1941, the P-40 was used by the Flying Tigers.
The Flying Tigers achieved notable success against the forces of Japan during the lowest period of the war for American forces, and gave hope to Americans that they would eventually succeed against the Japanese. The Flying Tigers were credited for destroying almost 300 aircraft with a loss of only fourteen of their own on combat missions. Compared to opposing Japanese fighters, the P-40‘s strengths were that it was very sturdy, heavily armed, generally faster in a dive, and possessed a good rate of roll.
This is an informative video about the Flying Tigers and how they come victorious over the Battle in Southeast Asia.
On December 8, 1942, over a year after the attack on Pearl Harbor, radar in the United States picked up an unusual reading. What appeared to be an airplane was heading for American soil from the direction of Japan. Radar operators knew this bore none of the usual markings of some sort of aerial attack. The sky was overcast, it was late evening, and no prior attack had occurred in these types of conditions.
Two American pilots were sent to intercept the mysterious plane. As they approached the plane they radioed back to the ground to report that the aircraft was a P-40 and bore markings that had not been used since the attack on Pearl Harbor.
When they pulled up alongside the craft they were shocked to find a bullet-riddled plane with landing gear blown away. Puzzled as to how a plane in this condition could even fly, they noticed the pilot was slumped in the cockpit, his flight suit stained with fresh blood.
Moments later the mysterious craft plummeted from the sky smashing into the ground with a loud roar.
American troops swarmed the crash site but found no trace of the pilot or evidence of who he may have been. Neither did they find identifiable markings from the plane. But, they did find a document which was assumed to be the remains of some sort of diary.
From this diary, researchers were able to deduce that the plane must have originated from the island of Mindanao, located about 1,300 miles away. The rest of the story is a mystery.
Some speculated that the craft may have been downed over a year earlier and the pilot managed to survive on his own in the wild. He could have possible scavenged parts from other downed aircraft, repaired his airplane, and managed to somehow navigate his way back to his homeland over 1000 miles of hostile territory.
What they could not explain, is how the heavy P-40 aircraft could have ever taken off without the aid of any sort of landing gear.
Flying Tigers was the popular name of the 1st American Volunteer Group (AVG) of the Chinese Air Force in 1941-1942. They were mostly former United States Army (USAAF), Navy (USN), and Marine Corps (USMC) pilots and ground crew, recruited under Presidential sanction and commanded by Claire Lee Chennault. The group consisted of three fighter squadrons with about 20 aircraft each.
Many US volunteer pilots flew on behalf of Britain, the Soviet Union and China before the United States entered the war. A group of them, equipped with P-40s, went to help the Chinese in their struggle against the Japanese in 1942, where they became known as the ‘Flying Tigers’ because of their uniquely painted aircraft. This group later became part of the USAAF proper, and P-40s were thereafter used widely in the Pacific.
The Curtiss P-40 Warhawk was an American single-engine, single-seat, low-wing, all-metal fighter and ground attack aircraft manufactured by Curtiss-Wright Corporation. In the 1930s and 1940s, the P-40 Warhawk fighter bomber was the last of the famous “Hawk” line, and it shared certain design elements with its predecessors, the Hawk and Sparrowhawk. Warhawk was the name the United States Army Air Corps adopted for all models, making it the official name in the United States for all P-40s.
The Curtiss P-40 was an American single-engine, single- seat, low-wing, all-metal fighter and ground attack aircraft that was used extensively in World War II. It was a direct adaptation of the P-36 Hawk to enable mass production of front line fighters without significant development time. By the time the last plane rolled off the production line in November 1944, a total of 13,738 P-40s had been manufactured. First flown in 1938, the P-40 has been operated by the air forces of 28 countries. The United States Army Air Corps made Warhawk the official name of all P- 40s in the US. British Commonwealth air forces gave the names Tomahawk and Kittyhawk to different variants.
The first P-40 flew in 1938 and it is considered the all-metal fighter and ground attack aircraft. It was used in great numbers in the Second World War.
The P-40 Warhawk is a version of the P-36 used to enable mass production of frontline fighters. About 13,738 of P-40 were produced in November 1944. They were used throughout the war by air forces of different nations. The success of the aircraft became legendary as front liners for the Allied forces.