P-40 Throwback…Hyundai?

Above we see a 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 angle when all three wheels are on the ground.

During July 1941, the British squadron was one of the first in the world to become operational with the Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk (the lend-lease version of the equivalent to the P-40B and P-40C variants of the US Army Air Corps Warhawks) which was 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 Zerstörergeschwader 76 (ZG 76) earlier in the war, which they had seen in various magazines.


Flugzeug Messerschmitt Me 110

Zerstörergeschwader 76 (ZG 76) Messerschmitt Bf 110C with shark mouth, May 1940, Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-382-0211-011

This toothy practice was later followed by P-40 units in other parts of the world, including the famous Flying Tigers, American volunteers serving with the Chinese Air Force in late 1941 and early 1942.

Capt. Forrest F “Pappy” Parham in front of the shark teeth of Little Jeep, a P-40 Warhawk, when a member of “Chennault’s Sharks” the 23rd Fighter Group in the China-Burma-India theater of WWII in late 1942. He went on to make ace with the 75th Fighter Squadron flying P-51s.

Which brings me to this USAF Recruiting Service Hyundai I came across this week:

Just wondering if RAF and Luftwaffe recruiters are also rocking sharks on their own rides.

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