Curtiss P-36 Hawk photo gallery

Curtiss H-81A Hawk - Tomahawk photo gallery

Curtiss P-40 Warhawk photo gallery

Curtiss P-40 Warhawk photo gallery

Curtiss P-40F Kittyhawk FAF G.C.II/5 Lafayette   White 1 Pilot Kostia Rozanoff Tunisia Jan 1943

Profile 00: P-40F Kittyhawk operated by G.C. II/5, Alger-Maison Blanche, January 1943, Commandant Rozanoff's personal machine.

Curtiss P-40F Kittyhawk FAF GCII/5 Lafayette   White 2 Tunisia Jan 1943

Profile 00: P-40F White 2 G.C.II/5.

Curtiss P-40F Kittyhawk FAF GCII.5   Pilot Justin Giscoln White 6 Algeria 1943

Profile 00: P40M Lafayette Squad Justin Gisclon flown in North Africa by FFL pilot Justin Gisclon of the Lafayette squadron.

Curtiss P-40F FAF GCII.5   White 6 Pilot Justin Giscoln North Africa 1943

Photo's 01-02:Shots of Sgt. Jean Giscoln and his P-40F-1. Sgt. Giscoln looks as though he is ready for leave in Paris. The stork symbol in front of the canopy represented II Escadrille [SPA 167 while the Sioux head was the 'Group Lafayette' marking used by this unit of the Free French Air Force in North Africa. The vertical strips on the rudder are the Blue, White and Red of the Tricolor. [Cd1. Jean Giscoln]

Curtiss P-40F Kittyhawk FAF GCII/5 Lafayette   White 13 Tunisia Jan 1943

Profile 00: P-40F Kittyhawk operated by G.C.II/5 Lafayette, under the command of Commandant Rozanoff Thelepte, Tunisia January 1943.


Lt. Hal C. Tunnell (left) introducing the Reverend R. P. Bougerol, Chaplain of the Lafayette Escadrille, to Lieutenant J. J. Ketcher, full-blooded Cherokee Indian. The Indian head and Escadrille insignia are seen on the fuselage of the P-40. (Library of Congress, Prints n Photographs Division, FSA-OWI Collection.)

The Curtiss P-40F Kittyhawk

This version was the first serious attempt by the Curtiss design team to solve the problems which had been noted previously: directional instability at slow speeds particularly on take off, limited low engine speed at altitude limiting the plane to the ground attack role since its reputation in a dog-fight * was not brilliant. The solution came from England, which was producing the Rolls Royce Merlin 28, a two-stage engine fitted with a turbocharger which generated the required extra speed which the Allison V-1170-39 cruelly lacked above 15,000 feet (4,575m). Planned at the end of 1940, this engine change was carried out on a P-40D airframe (serial No 40-360) at the beginning of 1941 and the prototype designated XP-40F made its maiden flight in June of the same year. The trials showed that apart from the engine fitting the airframe well, the aircraft's quality had not suffered and that the prototype was almost as fast at 20,000 feet as the P-40E at 15,000. It was decided to mass-produce the new machine and two contracts were signed, one for the production under license of the English engine which became the Packard Merlin V-15600-1, and the other for 1,311 examples of the P-40F (Hawk 878 in its factory designation and Kittyhawk for the English).

In terms of power, the new Packard V-1560 produced 1,300bhp at takeoff, 1,240bhp at 11,375 feet and 1,120bhp at 18,330 ft, being also quieter and more regular than the Merlin. The shape of the plane was thus modified and the long carburetor air-intake over the engine cowling was repositioned inside the large lower intake which itself became deeper as it now held different kinds of radiators. The fuel tank was increased by 30 litres, the main wing tanks being set out differently; the P-40F was equipped with central underbelly pylons to take drop tanks or 227kg or 405kg bombs.

The first 699 P-4F built and delivered between January and August 1942 (96 P-400F-CUs, serial numbers 41-13660 to 41-13965 and 603 P-40F¬1-CUs, serial numbers 41-13967 to 41-14229) still had directional stability problems which had to be solved. The first attempts to rectify this consisted in a dorsal fin mounted on some P-40F-1 s linking the base of the tail fin to the middle of the fuselage, but the results were not convincing.

Starting from the following lots of 123 P-40F-5CUs (serial numbers 41-14423 to 41-14599, delivered in August 1942), 177 P-40F-1 OCUs (serial numbers 41-14423 to 41-14599, delivered from October to November 1942), 200 P-40F-15 CUs (serial numbers 41-19733 to 41-19932, delivered in December 1942) and 112 P-40F-20CUs (serial numbers 41-19933 to 41-20044 delivered in January 1943), the fuselage was radically rethought and the tail fin was moved 18 inches (50.8cms) further back along the fuselage, the horizontal tail surfaces remaining where they were. To this successful modification were added electrically operated radiator flaps from the P-40F-10 onwards, equipment for operating in cold climates especially for the machines sent to Alaska, and a controllable oxygen flow to replace the preceding constant flow system. Finally certain P-40F did not receive the new Packard V1650-1 as it was not always easily available; they were equipped with the old Allison engine, becoming thus P-40R-1CUs and given over to training.

The Commonwealth (RAF, RAAF, SAAF) should have taken delivery of 330 P-40Fs, of which 230 were earmarked for the RAF only (serial numbers FL209 to FL368 and FL369 to FL448) but it would appear that only 117 machines were received by these three forces; the rest en route to other allied forces, among whom the USSR which received a hundred or so, and to the FAFL, (Forces Aeriennes de la France Libre/Free French Air Force were either sunk during convoying or given back to the Americans (81 machines). It is worth noting that the British name of Kittyhawk for both the P-40F and P-40L does not make the task of identifying them any easier.

The P-40F went into operational service during the summer of 1942 after the first deliveries to the USAAF in January of that year. It was the 57th Fighter Group (64th, 65th and 66th Fighter Squadrons) equipped with 75 P-40Fs from Mitchell Field in the States which was ready for action in North Africa from 1 September 1942, supporting the British forces who had been fighting the Italians, then the Germans, since 1940. The first kills were obtained on 9 August 1942, with two Me 109s shot down. The number of P-40Fs sent to the Mediterranean theatre increased with the preparations for Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa under control of Vichy France, which began in November 1942. The 57th Fighter Group was then rejoined by the 33rd Fighter Group (58th, 59th and 60th Fighter Squadrons) and the 79th Fighter Group (85th, 86th and 87th Fighter Squadrons which were based in Morocco and Egypt.

The P-40F's most famous feat of arms in the Mediterranean area was also one of the bloodiest and is now known as the 'Palm Sunday Massacre': 18 April 1943, just after sundown off Cape Bon, the 57th Fighter Group, reinforced by the 314th Fighter Squadron (324th Fighter Group) as well as 92 Squadron RAF, came across a formation of 60 Ju-52s flying at low altitude and escorted by 21 Me-109, Bf-110 and Macchi C.202 fighters coming from Sicily. In the fight which followed, 46 P-40Fs covered by 11 Spitfires, fell upon on the unfortunate formation, shooting down no less than 59 Ju-52s and 16 fighters for the loss of only 6 of their own. The Germans only admitted losing 24 Ju-52s, 35 others managing, according to their reports to reach the coast and carry out emergency landings.

The French received some P-40s for Commandant Rozannoff's GC 11/5 on 8 January 1943 at Alger Maison-Blanche (see the article on this subject in WING MASTERS n° 11) which were kept until March 1943 when he received P-40Ls, lighter versions of the F. The P-40F was also used in the same theatre of operations by 260 Squadron RAF and 3 Squadron SAAF of the Western Desert Air Force until Italy's surrender in 1943.

Specifications for the P-40F

One PackardV-1650 (Rolls Royce Merlin 28 built under license) rated at 1300bhp
Wingspan: 37ft 4 ins (11.38 m) 
Length: Standard fuselage: 31 ft 4 ins (9.65 m), lengthened fuselage: 33ft (10.16 m)
Wing surface: 2136sq. ft. 
Height: 12ft 4 ins (3.76 m)
Unloaded: 6,470lbs (2,941kg) 
Loaded: 8,069lbs (3,668 kg) 
Max. All-up weight: 8,615 100 (3.916 kg)
Max. Speed: 365 mph (585kph) at 19,800ft (6,096m), 321mph (515kph) at 48,750ft (1,500m)
Cruising Speed: 302mph (482kph)
Climb Rate: 3,220ft/min (991m/min)
Ceiling: 33,990ft (10,458m)
Range: 605 miles (965 km), 1,508 miles (2,414 km) with drop tank.
Six 12.7 mm machine guns,


 Algiers International Airport Houari Boumediene, Dar El Beïda, Alger, Algeria Map


    Bibliography: +

  • Baugher, Joe. 'Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, Tomahawk, Kittyhawk.' American Military Aircraft.
  • Planes and Pilots: Curtiss P40 Vol 3 From 1939 to 1945. ISBN: 2913903479 Author: Anis Elbied Publisher: Histoire & Collections Paperback Pages: 84
  • Osprey - P-40 Warhawk Aces of the CBI (Aircraft of the Aces 35) ISBN: 184176079X Author: Carl Molesworth Publisher: Osprey Paperback Pages: 96.
  • Osprey - P-40 Warhawk Aces of the Pacific (Aircraft of the Aces 55) ISBN: 1841765368 Author: Carl Molesworth   Publisher: Osprey Paperback Pages: 96.
  • RAAF Camouflage & Markings 1939-45 Vol 1 ISBN: 0858800365 Author: Geoffrey Pentland Publisher: Kookaburra Hard Cover Pages: 144
  • RAAF Camouflage & Markings 1939-45 Vol 2 ISBN: 0858800373 Author: Geoffrey Pentland Publisher: Kookaburra Hard Cover Pages: 144
  • Jane's - Fighting Aircraft of World War II ISBN: 1851701990 Author: Bill Gunston Publisher: Janes Hard Cover Pages: 320

    Magazines: +

  • Airfix Magazines (English) -
  • Avions (French) -
  • FlyPast (English) -
  • Flugzeug Publikations GmbH (German) -
  • Flugzeug Classic (German) -
  • Klassiker (German) -
  • Le Fana de L'Aviation (French) -
  • Le Fana de L'Aviation (French) -
  • Osprey (English) -
  • Revi Magazines (Czech) -

    Web References: +

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This webpage was updated 6th April 2021