P-40's with Royal New Zealand Air Force

Between 1942 and 1946, the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) operated 297 P-40's (although four were destroyed before being officially brought on strength) of various models (E, K, L, M, N). The aircraft were assigned to Nos 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20 Fighter Squadrons, and No's 2 and 4 (F) OTU. Nos 14 thru 19 Squadrons flew P40's in the Pacific, carrying out offensive and defensive fighter operations, bomber escort, and dive-bombing duties. A total of 99 Japanese aircraft were destroyed in the air, with 14 probables recorded. 20 P-40's were lost in combat, and a further 152 in accidents in New Zealand and overseas.

The P-40 began to be replaced in front line duties by F4U-1A's from 1944. The remainder were sold for scrap in 1948.

The RNZAF serials were as follows:

Kittyhawk IA: NZ3001/3044, NZ3091/3098, NZ3100/3108, NZ3271 (all P-40E)

Kittyhawk II: NZ3074 (P-40L)

Kittyhawk III: NZ3045/3065 (P-40K), NZ3066/3073(P-40M), NZ3090 (P-40K), NZ3075/3989 (P-40M), NZ3099 (P-40K), NZ3109/3119 (P-40M), NZ3180 (P-40M).

Kittyhawk IV: NZ3120/3179, NZ3181/3270,NZ3272/3293 (all P-40N)


War Planes of the Second World War, Fighters, Volume Four, William Green, Doubleday, 1964.

The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987.

United States Military Aircraft since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989.

Curtiss Aircraft, 1907-1947, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1979.

The Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk, Ray Wagner, Aircraft in Profile, Volume 2, Doubleday, 1965.

Hawk Dynasty: The Curtiss Hawk Monoplanes, Ken Wixey, Air Enthusiast No 72 (1997).


© Joseph Baugher