Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk
WORLD WAR II
One of the 25 airplanes that won it
still flying 70 years after victory.
AIR&SPACE Smithsonian, May 2015I'd Rather Be Flying From Hangar 18
Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk
(Featuring some of the Ol'Kunnel's favorite airplanes!)
The most important American fighter of the first 2 years in World War II was the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk. Its importance was in its numbers of available fighter aircraft to send up against the enemy.
When war began with Japan, the P-40 was the only aircraft of its type capable of being produced in large numbers and was ready for the national emergency. As the P-40 was built in such large numbers it was able to assist the war effort until the appearance of more effective fighters. Even after the appearance of P-38s, P-47s and P-51s to the fight, the P-40 continued to be constructed by the war industry. This was because of the demand of the Allies for them: 13,753 aircraft in ten models were built and saw service on all fronts, in Europe, Africa, the Pacific and in Russia.
The thumbnail graphics are clickable for larger images:
- The British called it the "Tomahawk" but this is a Warhawk in Africa.
- General Chennault with General Arnold at a Flying Tiger base.
- The tigress "Rose Marie" recently assigned to the 16th AF.
- The late Frank Tallman in his Warhawk which starred in numerous flying sagas.
- A beautifully restored P-40N in Flying Tiger markings.
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Visit the Curtiss P-40N Warhawk Photo Gallery!
If you have any photos the Ol'Kunnel
would like to hear from you!
During world war twice I was stationed at The Naval Aeronautics Technical Training Center at Norman Oklahoma for training as a Aviation Machinist Mate. The music director for the Base Band was---guess who "Tex" Beneke, sax player. He spent long hours marching on the parade field, and practicing with the base band, and there is where he got the idea for a "military" cadence for his music.
The Base Commander was Navy Captain Griffin (sp?) of Pearl Harbor fame. He was awaiting courts martial . Walter Winchell described the base as Captain Griffin's Concentration Camp. It was a miserable base, and I spent 18 weeks in training as an AMM plus two weeks in Radar training. It wasn't all bad a young Lady Marine from Harrisburg, PA made the school a little more tenable. She was in the same class as I.
I made a bad mistake when we were studying airplane brakes. I was the only one in the class who could explain how Bendix Power Control brakes worked, and for the rest of the school when we went to a different type of aircraft I was always assigned to the brakes. I'm not sure but I may still smell of AN-VVC-366-A, the foul smelling vegetable based hydraulic fluid.
Many years later I was driving by a airport near Beaumont, TX, and saw a beautiful old Curtiss P-40 Warhawk sitting up on stands. I had to investigate! The owner was nearby, and was very cordial. He said that the plane had suffered twice. He loaned it to a friend, who made a wheels up landing in it. After months of repair the plane was in good shape, and a young man in his employ put the wrong kind of hydraulic fluid in the system, and ruined all the gaskets and "O" rings in the system. I volunteered that he should have used AN-VVC-366-A. The owner was pleasantly surprised that someone understood the problem. There was good news however. The Curtiss-Wright people heard of his problem, and volunteered to send him a complete set of "O" rings and gaskets for the plane. I hope he is still flying that beautiful old plane.
The late Remmel C. Wilson aka The Story Teller
Lt. Gen. Claire L. Chennault, the pioneering aviator who led the Flying Tigers to fame over China, died July 27, 1958 in a New Orleans hospital of lung cancer at 67. At his bedside was his wife Anna, a Chinese newspaper journalist who served as a nurse for the Flying Tigers.
The son of a Louisiana cotton farmer, Chennault became an Army aviator in World War I and quickly showed a talent for the tactics of fighter planes. During the 1930s, he was the leader of an aerial acrobatic team, know as "The Men on the Flying Trapeze," as he developed the concept that fighter planes were move effective flying in formation than alone, as in World War I.
In 1938, Mme. Chiang Kai-shek hired him to reorganize the Chinese Nationalist Air Force. With tacit approval from Washington, he organized the American Volunteer Group--Americans flying American-made planes for the Chinese--that came to be known as the Flying Tigers. Between its first flight in December 1941 and its incorporation into the Army Air Force in July 1942, the group was credited with shooting down 250 Japanese planes.Check for any REUNION notices here!
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