Did the P40 fly in the Battle Of Britain?

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Jul 5, 2005
vancouver ,B.C.
I was watching some of my videos and on the video it was stated that France bought P40's from the US. France had fallen and the order was picked up by Britain.So I was wondering if the P40 fought for Britain during the BOB? :confused:
The British received P-40s and matched it against the legendary Messerschmitt Bf-109.... The Tomahawk (as the British called the early P-40 models--they named the later models Kittyhawk) did well in combat with the famous German fighter.... Although it was a bit slower and outclassed in rate of climb, its good dive speed, superior armor, maneuverability, and armament made the Tomahawk a force to be reckoned with..... The Germans felt that it was a more dangerous opponent than the Hawker Hurricane.... In fact, the British wanted to replace their old Hurricanes with new P-40s.... Other countries that operated P-40s (early P-40, B, and C export models were referred to as the Hawk 81A by Curtiss; later P-40D, E, K, and M export models were known as the Hawk 87A) included Canada, Russia (the USSR), Brazil, New Zealand, Iraq, Egypt, Turkey, and China, among others....
Yep, it was a better plane than a lot of people give it credit for. It was even the victim of a congressional hearing after the war. They wondered why an obsolete aircraft was kept in service for so long. That was the opinion of some on the inquiry.
Yep, the P-40 is unfortunately a very unappreciated aircraft. Served in so many theaters but hardly gets the recognition it deserves. And to add to your list Les, the P-40 was the back bone of the RAAF fighter force in WWII with 848 seeing service.
Getting back to your original question about the P-40 in the BoB, no they did not. Here is an excerpt from an article on the American perspective of the Battle of Britain from the official USAF history site:
Still he did not give up attempting to stave off Hitler overseas. Numerous examples suffice of Roosevelt's commitment to Churchill and the British cause. Eventually Churchill got his P-40's (and more besides), in time for fighting in the Western Desert, though not the Battle of Britain.

It's a long piece of work but kind of interesting to look at.
The RNZAF took over P-40s that the USAF had declared U/S and not only had them flying again but made them the mainstay of the RNZAF in the PAC. We kept them in the air until we replaced them with Corsairs/Mustangs in about '43/ '44.

RCAF 403 Sqn. began flying Tomahawks from England in March of '41, a little after the Battle of Britain. They only flew them until June anyway, before they replaced them with Spits.
Deliveries of the first batch of 100 Tomahawks for the RAF - taken over from a French order - did not start to arrive (by sea) in the UK until November 1940, by which time the Battle of Britain was over (officially at least, even if no-one seems to have informed the Luftwaffe of this fact).

They were not used as frontline fighters but as tactical reconnaissance aircraft where their lack of firepower and relatively poor performance at altitude were not disadvantages.

Of the remaining - 980 - early model P40s delivered to the RAF, around 100 were diverted by the RAF to China for use by the AVG and around 50 were supplied to Russia. The remainder saw extensive and valuable service in the Western Desert in the hands of RAF, RAAF and SAAF units.
BTW, None of these early P40s delivered to the RAF were supplied under Lend-Lease, but were all bought on British contracts.

As others have said - a much underrated aircraft.

AFAIK when war finished in 1945 two fighter squadron were still equipped with kittyhawk MkIV: no. 250 RAF sqn. and no. 450 RAAF sqn.
Other squadrons of 239 Wing of WDAF were already flying Mustang Mk III or IV.
Possibly also nos. 3 and 11 sqns. SAAF still flew Kittyhawk.
Anyway the main RAF fighter in MTO was Spitfire Mk VIII and IX.
All units in UK and Europe were instead equipped with Spitfire, Typhoon, Tempest, Mustang and Meteor.

In Pacific P-40 lasted longer than in Europe. It was still the main RAAF fighter in frontline service, along with few Spitfires in 1945. When war ended the first two Mustang RAAF squadrons were still in Australia and didn't see action. No. 3 RAAF sqn in Mediterranean was anyway operational.

In mid '44 all RNZAF fighter units in Pacific traded their Kittyhawks for Corsairs.

I have more details if you want.


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