Curtiss P-40B Warhawk, 160/15P, 2nd Lt. G. Welch, 47th PS, 15th PG, USAAF, Pearl Harbor
The Curtiss P-40 Warhawk is not generally regarded as one of the most accomplished fighters of the Second World War, but it is difficult to think of a more important aircraft for both Britain and America in the months following the end of the Battle of Britain. At a time when both Britain and France were desperate for as many modern monoplane fighters they could lay their hands on, the Curtiss P-40 was arguably the best aircraft the Americans had available and they allowed the French (this order was ultimately transferred to Britain) and British to order the fighter in large numbers. The P-40 was quick and easy to manufacture and allowed nations already in combat with Axis forces to obtain large numbers of new, modern fighters, enabling them to continue fighting on many fronts and buying them much needed time until the incredible industrial might of America could be brought to bear.
For the British and Commonwealth Desert Air Forces, the Curtiss P-40, which they christened ‘Tomahawk’, proved to be a critically important aircraft and they were the first to take the P-40 into combat during June 1941. Being rugged and reliable, the RAF P-40s were a dogged adversary for Luftwaffe and Regia Aeronautica units – even though many Tomahawks were lost in combat, they took a heavy toll of Axis aircraft.
Following an extremely late night at the Squadron Christmas party the day previously, USAAF pilots George Welch and Kenneth Taylor woke to the sound of explosions and low flying
Caution: This item is an adult collectible designed for use by persons 14 years of age and older.