Curtiss P-40 Snub-nosed Kittyhawks
This book is number 11 in the Vanguard series and covers the later short nosed variants P-40D through P-40N. The book begins with the beginning of the end. By that I mean it shows the 15,000th Curtiss fighter built, a P-40-N-CU festooned with the emblems of each nation that flew them and a red, white and blue striped tail. This was the beginning of the end as around one week after this picture was taken a P-40 production ceased and the plants were shut down. And though Curtiss had tried throughout the war to design and produce new fighters as well as into the early years of the jet age, they would never again build another production fighter designed in house.
The P-40 was ready and available at the start of WWII and continued on till the end of the war. This was not be design as its producers wanted to build newer and improved designs but they were never able to produce one that was superior enough to warrant switching over production. The first section of the book covers the design and development of the P-40 from the Hawk 81 to the Hawk 87 and covers both Allison and Merlin engine variants. It also includes a section on the newer designs that failure to usurp the P-40 from the production lines. The XP-46, XP-53, XP-55, XP-60 and XP-62 all of which failed to achieve production.
The next section contains a series of tables with the specifications of each P-40 variant from the P-40D to the XP-40Q. There is also a section of specifications on the failed variants that had prototypes built and ending with a comparison of weight, speed, ceiling and range of all the fighters of 1942 from all the major combatants.
Next the author covers the operational history from stateside duty to its service to all the far flung corners of the globe during WWII. Each main area of battle is covered. The years in the Pacific, with the RAF in the Middle-east, around Mediterranean Europe to the Russian front and the CBI! Before concluding with how after the XP-87, which was a make or break proposition for Curtiss, failed against the F-89 and F-94 and the company then got out of the business of building warplanes forever! There is even a listing of books, magazine articles and websites for further reading on the P-40.
This is the second book in the Vanguard series I have had the pleasure to review! I really did enjoy this book and there is quite a lot of information contained in its 64 pages and it is a nice read. The book is of value to the aviation historian, WWII historian and model builder alike. The list of available P-40 kits is much too numerous to list here but examples can be found no matter what one’s scale or price range preferences are. I look forward to other books in this series.
Our thanks to Osprey Publications for the review copy and my thanks to IPMS/USA for the review opportunity!