Why, yes, I am riding a P-40 in a sandstorm, thanks for asking

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Kittyhawk fighter plane of the British RAF No. 112 “Sharknose” Squadron grounded during a Libyan Sandstorm – April 2, 1942 running with a mechanic on the wing directing the pilot. This was required because the view ahead is hindered by the aircraft’s nose when all three wheels are on the ground.

“During July 1941, the squadron was one of the first in the world to become operational with the Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk (lend-lease version of the equivalent to the P-40B and P-40C variants of the US Army Air Corps Warhawks) which it used in both the fighter and ground attack role. Inspired by the unusually large air inlet on the P-40, the squadron began to emulate the “shark mouth” logo used on some German Messerschmitt Bf 110s of Zerstörer Geschwader 76 earlier in the war. (This practice was later followed by P-40 units in other parts of the world, including the Flying Tigers, American volunteers serving with the Chinese Air Force.) In December, the Tomahawks were replaced by the updated P-40 Kittyhawk (P-40D equivalent), which the squadron used for the remainder of its time with the Desert Air Force, often as a fighter-bomber.

The P-40s were considered superior to the Hurricane (which it replaced) and Italian fighter types, such as the Fiat G.50 and the Macchi C.200 (which it flew against) while being equal to the German BF-109 and inferior to later tropicalised Spitfires.  A total of 46 British Commonwealth pilots became aces in P-40s, including seven double aces.

The squadron during this time included a significant number of personnel from the air forces of Poland, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Another member was the English ace Neville Duke (later prominent as a test pilot). For most of 1942, it was commanded by the highest-scoring Australian ace of World War II, Clive Caldwell, the first Empire Air Training Scheme graduate to command a British unit. He was succeeded by Billy Drake, the highest-scoring RAF P-40 pilot and the second-highest-scoring British Commonwealth P-40 pilot, behind Caldwell. Later in the war, an increasing number of South African pilots joined the unit.

After the invasion of Sicily on July 10, 1943, the squadron moved to bases there, in July 1943, and onto the Italian mainland in September. In June 1944 the Kittyhawks were replaced by the Mustang Mark III and, from February 1945, Mustang Mk IVs. The squadron remained in Italy at Lavariano as part of the occupying forces until disbanding on 30 December 1946 at Treviso.

By the end of the war some 206 air victories had been claimed by the Squadron, and 62 destroyed on the ground”

Royal Australian Air Force P-40 Kittyhawk in North Africa, 1942.

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as Guns.com, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms Talk.com, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at Amazon.com as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

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