Curtiss P-40 Warhawk
The Flying Tigers Claws of Death
Underpowered, under-gunned, and obsolete at the beginning of WW2, it became a deadly platform that turned into one of the greatest fighter icons of all time. The Flying Tigers were given 100 P-40B’s and had to adapt the outdated plane’s weaknesses to counter the agile Mitsubishi A6M Zero.
Over the course of the war the plane was upgraded, especially the armament which started off with two .50 cal machine guns in the nose and two .30 cal in the wings. Eventually they added six .50 cal machine guns in the wings and a larger engine. By the time the war was over, the P-40 was a deadly ground attack platform and a deadly air superiority fighter in the right hands.
The Flying Tigers used the speed of their P-40s and its toughness against their Japanese opponents. The P-40 could absorb a lot of damage as shown in one of the above photos. The men who flew them knew its limitations and made the best of what they had to devastating effect. It takes Valor to get in an outdated, outclassed and outgunned fighter and face your enemy.