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Curtiss P-36 Hawk, the forgotten fighter?


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#1 F7Ftigercatlover

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 05:08 PM

The Curtiss P-36 Hawk, one of the many overlooked fighters of WWII has a very unique service history in the worlds deadliest war. The P-36 was designed in the early 30's by the Curtiss aircraft company to be the main fighter for the USAAF. In 1938 the Army Air force brought in the new monoplane fighters. For 2 years the Hawk was left out of the conflict until, Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941. While there was a multitude of the P-36's predecessor the P-40 involved in defending the Harbor, there were also many P-36's that fought off the Japanese attackers. The Mitsubuishi A6M zero was considerably better than the P-36, so the few P-36's to take off were mostly shot down. For the USAAF, Pear Harbor was enough to convince Air Force brass that the Hawk was obsolete, and The P-40 was the better option. The U.S deemed the Hawk obsolete, and only a few short months after Pearl Harbor the U.S stopped all P-36 use. Even though the U.S gave up on the P-36, many other nations such as the United Kingdom, Free France and Vichy France, Finland, and the Netherlands used the Hawk generally well. France and Finland were especially succeesful with their lend lease Hawks when there were few adequate options at the Fighter position of their own making. The Finnsih received 40 P-36 hawks in 1941 from Germany (who captured them from France in 1940). The Finnish air force used the Hawk's or "sweethearts"as they called them to great effect, one Finnish ace shot down 14 1/2 Russian aircraft in the continuation war 1941-1944, while some hawks were even used as trainers and reconnaisance aircraft all the way up until 1948. The French also claimed hundreds of aeriel victories against axis and allied aircraft alike, many of whom were considerably more advanced and developed than the P-36. I've seen a P-36 Hawk fly in real life at the 2015 Planes of fame airshow, and it was incredible to see something so rare and ignored. As for all veterans who flew this great bird in combat, I hope they know that there are people who know and care about their service, and will never forget their sacrifice.  



#2 Heräkulman Ruhtinas

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 05:52 PM

Couple adjustments:

 

Finland was not part of Lend&Lease, nor were the Hawks bought by France under Lend&Lease.

 

Along with the French Hawks, Finland got 13 Norwegian Hawks from German war booty storage, making total to 44.

 

The Finns  produced a few aces on the Hawk. Kyösti Karhila scored 13 victories, Kalevi Tervo scored 15.5 victories, Niilo Erkinheimo scored at least 5 of his 11 victories with the Hawk.

 

We had both, Twin Wasp and Cyclone -engined ones, but only 87-octane fuel so we could not get the full output out of the engine. BTW I recall there may be older thread concerning the Hawk, maybe there is some useful information for you!


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#3 Armand

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 07:55 PM

The Curtiss P-36 Hawk, one of the many overlooked fighters of WWII has a very unique service history in the worlds deadliest war. ......... many other nations such as the United Kingdom, Free France and Vichy France, Finland, and the Netherlands used the Hawk generally well. France and Finland were especially succeesful with their lend lease Hawks when there were few adequate options at the Fighter position of their own making.....

I really have to draw attention to the fact that the alpha-numeric designation solitarely is an american thing of wich few, if any, oversea costumers implemented.
The French who was a major costumer named it Curtiss H-75 and other users might likely have named it by Curtiss own maiden name.

Edited by Armand, 22 November 2016 - 08:00 PM.

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#4 Armand

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 08:26 PM

As the achievements of the P-40 over Pearl Harbour are quite documented I felt an urge for reading upon the use of the P-36 at dec 7th.
One can only love the story of 1st. Lt. Rasmussen who charged his guns in air and experienced the guns starting shooting continously - Before He reasoned why did an unattended Japanese aircraft fly through the strafe and exploded directly in front of him, wich shaked off two other unattended Zero's at his tail :-o

#5 F7Ftigercatlover

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 08:41 PM

My apologies for the errors, I do realize Finland was not a part of Lend-Lease, and yes I will know now to give the other foreign designations of the aircraft in the future, thank you for the Constructive criticism  :). I'll have to find that earlier thread


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#6 Heräkulman Ruhtinas

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 08:49 PM

My apologies for the errors, I do realize Finland was not a part of Lend-Lease, and yes I will know now to give the other foreign designations of the aircraft in the future, thank you for the Constructive criticism  :). I'll have to find that earlier thread

 I'll save the trouble:

 

http://www.warbirdsf...mance-timeline/

 

...and no need to apologize (much), you are not the first or last one to be corrected about Finnish history ... anyway, if I see information that I think is incorrect, I will comment on that and I expect no less from other people  :D .


Edited by Heräkulman Ruhtinas, 22 November 2016 - 08:52 PM.

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#7 F7Ftigercatlover

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 09:00 PM

Thank you Ruhtinas :) . The Finnish in general are overlooked sadly, the way they fought off the Russians in 1939 while being incredibly outnumbered is amazing to me. Everyone gives Finland crap for cooperating with the Germans, well if they wanted to remain free of Soviet Russia, that was pretty much their only way to survive.



#8 CORSNING

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 10:16 PM

     I guess I have always had an interest in the Curtiss fighters. The Hawk/Mohawk and then

jump to the Warhawk IV have always held my attention.



#9 Armand

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 11:06 PM

The Lend Lease happened between 1941 and 1945. I dont think any Hawk-75's came under the L-L scheme :-/

#10 F7Ftigercatlover

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Posted 23 November 2016 - 12:08 AM

The Lend Lease happened between 1941 and 1945. I dont think any Hawk-75's came under the L-L scheme :-/

 

............Yeah a few minutes after I posted I realized the P-36 wasn't lend lease, woops :blink:






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