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Desert Warriors – Australian P-40 pilots at war in the Middle East & Nth Africa

By: Russell Brown (950/35742)
Publisher: Banner Books ISBN: 978-1-875593-22-5

In the North African campaign 1941-43, the Curtis P-40 Tomahawk and Kittyhawk were the tireless workhorses which bore the brunt of both defensive and offensive fighter and fighter-bomber actions. Australians flew and maintained this sturdy aircraft in both RAAF and RAF squadrons.

Despite an inferior performance as a pure fighter, the P-40 gave a solid performance on fighter sweeps, bomber escorts, ground attack and reconnaissance operations.

The crushing Allied victories in Africa 1943 and in Europe in 1945 were greatly facilitated by air power, and in particular air-ground co-operation and tactical air support. The Allied concept, theory and practice of these vital aspects of warfare were created, tested and perfected around the efforts and experiences of the Tomahawk and Kittyhawk squadrons in North Africa.

Russell Brown’s excellent research and fine writing has resulted in this tribute to the Australians of the Desert Air Force who kept the P-40’s flying, despite endless personal hardships and enemy pressure, and to the pilots who flew the aircraft of a hostile desert against a formidable foe. As well as the famous aces, Russell has included the lesser-known but competent pilots who flew the P-40 in the many roses assigned to it, to defeat the Axis forces in North Africa.

A companion volume describing the P-40 experiences after the victory in North Africa, in the Italian campaigns for 1943-45, is in preparation.

December 2007


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