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P-40 Warhawk, War Eagles Air Museum

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P-40 Warhawk at War Eagles Air Museum

The Warhawk in action

When the United States entered World War II in December 1941 with the P-40 Warhawk as a front line fighter, and would be used by nearly all Allied forces. It would however, unfortunately prove to be inferior to some of the enemy fighters of the time.

The P-40 Warhawk is best known for its service with General Claire Chennault's Flying Tigers, the American Volunteer Group which was made possible through an executive order by President Roosevelt in April, 1941. Organized to defend the Burma Road against the Japanese, the experienced volunteers or the Flying Tigers turned the Warhawks into a deadly force.

The American Volunteers Group was dissolved in the summer of 1942 after the U.S. entered the war in December 1941. The AVG was credited with shooting down 297 enemy air craft with a loss of 12 P-40s in aerial combat. It was replaced by the China Air Task Force and the squadrons flying P-40s formed the 23rd Fighter Group.

The P-40 saw combat to the end of WWII, but never achieved the publicity of later fighters, being seen as a faithful, rugged airplane that could be counted on when there was nothing else available. There is more glamor and mystique associated with a Chennault P-40 and its shark-painted nose than any other warbird of WWII. The airplane on display in the War Eagle Museum served in China in the 23rd Fighter Group.

This aircraft is on display at the War Eagles Air museum in Santa Teresa, New Mexico. This article is based on museum information. Photo credit: David and Paula Barnett.

Also see:
P-40 Warhawk - Planes of Fame
P-40 Warhawk - Palm Springs Air Museum
P-40 Warhawk - American Aircraft