Curtiss P-36 Hawk
United States | Bell P-39 | Bell P-59 | Bell P-63 | Brewster F2A | P-36 Hawk | P-40 Warhawk | F4F Wildcat | F6F Hellcat | F7F Tigercat | F8F Bearcat | P-38 Lightning | Lockheed P-80 | P-51 Mustang | P-61 Black Widow | P-47 Thunderbolt | F4U Corsair
In November 1934 Curtiss began the design of a completly new "Hawk" fighter with cantilever monoplane wing, backwards retracting landing gear (the wheels turning 90 degrees to lie inside the wing) all metal stressed skin construction. After being tested by the Army Air Corps this design was put into production as the P-36A, marking a major advance in speed though not in firepower. Successive types of P-36 and its export counterpart, the Hawk 75A, had different engines and additional guns and the Hawk 75A was bought in large numbers by many countries and made under licence in several. Biggest customer was the French Armee de l'Air, which began to receive the H75A in March 1939. Five groups - the GC I/4, II/4,I/5, and III/2 - wrote a glorious chapter over France in May 1940, invariably outnumbered and usually outperformed, but destroyed 311 of the Luftwaffe, more than the total strength of H75As when France fell. The rest of the French orders were supplied to the RAF as Mohawks, serving mainly in the Burma front.*
The Curtiss P-36 holds the distinction of being the first American fighter to score a victory in aerial combat. This happened on December 7th, 1941, when the Japanese were attacking Pearl Harbor. The night before, rows of P-36As were lined up at Wheeler Field, Oahu, in tightly packed lines. Fortunately, the commanding officer of Wheeler Field ordered the P-36s dispersed that same evening, and when the bombs fell the next morning, some of the P-36s managed to get aloft instead of being destroyed on the ground like the fighters at the other airfields on Oahu. Five P-36As attacked the Japanese and together shot down three enemies while losing one P-36.
Specifications for P-36G:
Type: Single seat pursiut ship
Powerplant: One 1200hp Wright R-1820-G205A Cyclone 9-cylinder radial air cooled engine
Performance: Max Speed 356mph at 15,500 feet; ceiling 32,350 feet.
Weights: empty 4,675 lbs; max 5,880 lbs.
Dimensions: span 37ft; length 26ft 6in; height 9ft 3in; wing area 236 sq feet.
Armament: six .50-calibre machine guns fixed forward firing
* This preceeding paragraph was written by Bill Gunston
More Info Not Written by Brett Gibbons follows
initially designated Y1P-36
210 ordered;1 as XP-40;1 as P-36B
P-36A with supercharged R-1830-25
S/N 38-51 & last 30 P-36As modified
P-36A w/ 4 .30-cal. wing guns
P-36A w/ 8 .30-cal. wing guns
P-36A w/ two 23mm wing cannon
Span: 37 ft. 4 in.
Length: 28 ft. 6 in.
Height: 8 ft. 5 in.
Weight: 5,650 lbs. loaded
Armament: Two .30-cal. or two .50-cal. machine guns
Engine:Pratt & Whitney R-1830-13 of 1,050 hp.
Maximum speed: 313 mph.
Cruising speed: 250 mph.
Range: 830 miles
Service Ceiling: 32,700 ft.