P-40F

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World War II aircraft
P-40F
P-40F
Nickname Warhawk
Type Fighter/Attacker
Country of origin United States
Manufacturer Curtiss-Wright
Crew Single-seat
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The P-40F in World War II

Development

The Curtiss P-40F/L was a merger of the Hawk 87A airframe and the Merlin engine, this adaptation was long awaited by the British Air Ministry for the RAF Kittyhawks. The arrival of this variant into service came relatively late in the war. As the RAF battled against the axis powers on several fronts, the resources and planning necessary to create this merger took significant time. Previous variants of the P-40 in the Tomahawk, Kittyhawk, and Warhawk were seeing widespread usage on multiple fronts with the RAF, USAAF, and USSR.


The Merlin engine used in the P-40F/L was the same version of the Merlin that was used in the Supermarine Spitfire V and the Hawker Hurricane Mk IIA. These Merlin engines were license-built in the U.S. by The Packard Motor Car Company under the designation Merlin XX, also known as the Packard V-1650-1. It was decided to use a single stage, two-speed supercharger that gave the Warhawk an effective ceiling of approximately 20,000 ft., which was only a 5,000 ft. more than the previous Warhawks with the Allison mounted V-1710 series engine. The overall service ceiling of the P-40F/L was 34,400 ft. It is important to note that the P-40F/L did not use the Merlin 60 that was mounted on the P-51 and Spitfire IX airframes. The difference in these two engines brought a huge leap in performance between these aircraft.


A major and distinctive modification to the P-40F/L was that the length of the fuselage was increased by 29” in order to adjust to the additional torque and power of the Merlin engine. This gave additional stability to the airframe in flight. The merger also brought with it a need to increase the performance of the P-40 overall. There were several modifications to attempt to increase the performance of the aircraft to include; removing armaments, decreasing available fuel loads and decreasing the amount of protective armor plate on the aircraft. The P-40L, in particular, saw many of these modifications made in the field by depot and squadron maintenance personnel. The P-40L variant was also known to pilots and crews as the "Gypsy Rose Lee", a famous burlesque striptease artist. Only half of the P-40Fs manufactured had the 29" extension added. It is important to note that some of the modifications could be added back to the aircraft, reflective of the combat situation of the squadrons that used these aircraft.

Unit Deployment

Commonwealth Deployments

A total number of 250 airframes were supplied to RAF and RAAF squadrons starting in June of 1942. The division of these aircraft were, 150 P-40Fs and 100 P-40Ls. These aircraft were divided between RAF 260 Squadron and RAAF 3 Squadron. The aircraft were used to good effect in the region of the Mediterranean and Italy as the Kittyhawk II and Kittyhawk IIa. Between June of 1942 and March of 1944, these aircraft flew more than 6500 sorties with claims of 60 enemy aircraft destroyed.


USAAF Deployments

The USAAF use this variant as its main fighter aircraft in the Mediterranean region between 1942 thru 1943. There were five main fighter groups that used this variant to success over Luftwaffe BF109s and Regia Aeronautica Macchi 202s; the 33rd Fighter Group, 324th Fighter Group, 325th Fighter Group, 79th Fighter Group, and 57th Fighter Group. The all Black 99th Fighter Squadron flew this variant in the region detached to various fighter groups in the MTO as well. The 325th FG flew this variant with great success boasting a record of 102 confirmed victories in 37 mission with 16 losses producing four aces. Most of these missions were over the island of Sardinia. It was stated that the P-40F/L flown with the right tactics could cope well with the BF109s and Macchi 202s during that time. Most of the well used and worn out P-40F/Ls were given over to the Free French in their end as USAAF Fighter Groups began to transition to the P-47 Thunderbolts.

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Aces High II aircraft
P-40F
P-40F
Variant of P-40E Warhawk
Nickname The P-40L was the Gypsy Rose Lee.
Nicknames Warhawk and Kittyhawk
Type fighter/attack
Country of origin United States
Manufacturer Curtiss-Wright
Crew Single-seat
Dimensions Wing span 37 ft 4 in (11.38 m)
Length 33 feet 4 in (11,38 m)
Height 12 ft 4 in (3.76 m)
Aces High II loadout options
Package 1 6x .50 cal (12.7 mm) M2 machine guns, 281 rounds/gun
6x .50 cal (12.7 mm) M2 machine guns, 235 rounds/gun
Package 2 4x .50 cal (12.7 mm) M2 machine guns, 304 rounds/gun
4x .50 cal (12.7 mm) M2 machine guns, 235 rounds/gun
Options 1x 75 gallon drop tank
1x 500 lb. bomb
Aces High II Main Arenas
Typical perk cost : None (Late War)
ENY value : 40 (Late War)
Available on carrier : Not available
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The P-40F in Aces High II

Engine Power

The P-40Fs engine performance can be characterised as inferior to most mid years and late years war aircraft available in the Malee arena. Starting off at around 290mph on the deck, the P-40F's top speed increases to 360mph at 20k. The P-40F does have WEP, adding about 15mph to top speed. Unlike previous P-40 variants, the P-40F also has a two-staged supercharger which greatly increases this P-40's high altitude performance. Even with that, the P-40F is still greatly outclassed compared to other aircraft available in the Malee arena. The P-40F like the Spitfire V and Hurricane IIa do not have the type of acceleration that will get you clear of trouble in a running fight. Whereas the Merlin engine produces the minimum amount of performance to be combat effective in speed and climb, the P-40F cannot be considered a warhorse.

Aces High II Performance Charts

In Game Test Data
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Firepower

The P-40Fs armaments is not so much the story of what the P-40 can do as much as it is about the Browning M2 50 caliber machine guns. The P-40F is well armed. The P-40F carries the same standard machine guns that most of the USAAF fighters carried throughout the war. There were three .50 cal machine guns are mounted in tight proximity in each wing, giving a total of six, but with only 281 rounds/gun. The P-40L variant also has the option to carry fewer 50 cals making the aircraft lighter. This allows the P-40F/L an increase in speed and climb performance in exchange for fewer bullets. This armament setup allows the P-40F to hit hard, especially in close slow turning fights. The total ammunition load is certainly lower due to the design of the wing, making you conserve your ammunition. Once you have someone in the cross-hairs they are going to quickly know you are there and be concerned. Set your convergence as with any other similar aircraft for consistency's sake but whether you set them all to a point, or whether you create a small zone convergence, is up to you. Consider that in most cases you may have to keep your guns on target a bit longer than if you have been flying a cannon armed bird for a while, the difference is noticeable, but if you are use to .50s then you can appreciate their ease of use. If you can, fire short bursts and short-medium ranges for best effect. As the stability of the P-40F/L increased due to the longer fuselage, the ability of the P-40F/L to be a great gun platforma and deflection shooter increased. Take advance of this ability in diving attacks and slow turn and burn fights. The only external armament is one 500lb bomb, which is good enough to take out a ground vehicle or building.

Maneuverability

The P-40F/L is a top down fighter. This meaning that you always want to be the highest fighter in the room. Whereas the P-40F is a good turn fighter, the power of other aircraft over the P-40F doesn't allow it to fight very long before being overwhelmed. The P-40F can perform tight loop back turns into a enemy rear attack. The P-40F performs all of the basic ACM maneuvers well, just not with the power that you would get from other aircraft with more powerful engines. In comparison to its contemporaries the Spitfire V, the Hurricane IIa, the BF109G-2 and the A6M3 Zero, you can expect the P-40F/L to be last in maneuverability in this crowd. Yet, to the pilot that is keen on the Warhawks maneuvering abilities, these aircraft and other later fighters can be defeated in a turn fight. Practice and a high number of Malee arena furball engagements will get you quickly acclimated to the P-40Fs maneuvering abilities.

Fighting in the P-40F

In order that you get the best out of the P-40F in combat, always be the HIGHEST airplane in the fight. The P-40F is a top down fighter. You want to start above your enemy if possible. The reason being is that the P-40F is not an "E" fighter. It will not recover altitude or run away from anything in a fight. A diving attack is where this aircraft lives. The six or four 50 caliber machine guns will pound your target, but you have to get in his six. Extend from a fight early and often to stay clear of trouble. You will spend much of your time climbing back to an altitude where you can begin to fight again. The P-40F/L is a great gun platform and a awesome deflection shooter. If you have mastered or are good at deflection shooting, it is best that you lure your opponent into a turn fight. If your opponent pushes you into an "E" fight start looking for the door. If your opponent is unskilled or just wants to have fun in a turn fight, the P-40F is a premier "Knife" fighter. Just know how to kill with this knife.

Fighting against the P-40F

The P-40F as most P-40s in general is an "Easy Kill" to the unskilled P-40 pilot. Keeping in mind that its climb performance is not good and its speed is nothing to write home about. Getting the P-40F into an "E" fight spells doom for this fighter. It just cannot compete in a vertical fight. Slashing high speed attacks on a P-40F will get this fighter turning and diving. It will soon bleed off its built up energy and soon be on the deck wishing it could climb or run away. If the P-40F is diving on you, you'd better be ready. It can dive fast and quickly slow itself for a turn fight. If the attacking pilot is good, he will be in your six in one turn. The P-40F can dive and maintain 450 mph with maneuverability in an attack. The Warhawk is as dangerous as a Mustang or Thunderbolt until it loses its speed. If the Warhawk cannot kill on the immediate engagement, it will seek to quickly climb back to a higher altitude with its remaining energy. In the hands of a better than good pilot the P-40F is a really good turn fighter and will surprise most thinking that "this is an easy kill". Be careful, you may find pilot wounds, oiled engined and missing control surfaces a result of your Warhawk experience.

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