Curtiss Tomahawk Mk.I: Designed in America, Bought by the French, Used by the British

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Curtis H-81A-1 Tomahawk Mk.I

Hello! and welcome to my suggestion for the first British version of the Curtis H-81 (more popularly known as the P-40). I feel this could come to game to give the British Tree a capable multirole fighter around 2.0 and to help diversify rank I of the british tech tree that I feel is currently quite lackluster.



The Tomahawk a rather forgotten about aircraft of WW2 considering its importance and is based of the Curtiss Model 81 aircraft that like its predecessor, the Model 75 (aka P-36), saw wide success on the domestic US and export markets, being sold to a large variety of customers even before the war such as the USAF, ROCAF and, most importantly to this suggestion, France’s Armée de L’air.

On the 10th of May 1939 as a follow up to the French purchase of H-75s an Armée de L’air placed an order with Curtiss for 140 H-81 models dubbed the H-81A-1. these were to be armed with two 12.7mm Browning Machine guns in the nose and a further two 7.5mm Machine guns of french origin. The first of these french H-81s took flight on the 6th of June 1940 and a small number were completed with French markings however none of the aircraft were delivered to France due to the signing French Armistice on the 22nd of June that year. Subsequently Britain agreed to take over the whole order choosing to dub the H-81A-1 the Tomahawk Mk.I and assigning the airframes Serials AH741 to AH880.

Before the aircraft could be delivered however some modifications were to be made to make them suitable for use in British Service the biggest being the changing of the Two 7.5mm machine guns in the wing to 4 7.7mm machine guns as well as the addition of a british radio set. However despite the need for these changes the fear of invasion ran high in Britain and it was requested the aircraft be delivered as soon as possible, this lead to the delivery of some US P-40s being delayed and also meant some of the aircraft were delivered with French lettering in the cockpit instead of British, with the first aircraft reaching britain in september 1940.

Despite the urgency of the delivery the RAF quickly realised these aircraft were not fit for service in europe with them lacking self sealing fuel tanks and any form of cockpit armour making them vulnerable to the new BF-109 variants introducing heavier armaments such as 20mm cannons meaning most of the aircraft in Britain were used for training instead. Despite this the Tomahawks were still made to equip frontline squadrons in North Africa with the first Squadron of the Desert air force, No.112 squadron swapping out their obsolete Gloster Gladiators for the Tomahawks that weren’t as obsolete there due to them facing aircraft such as the CR.42 Falco instead of the modern Bf 109s, this squadron became famous for their use of Shark Tooth Decals on their Tomahawks and later Kittyhawks that would inspire many other similar decals around the world.

The Tomahawk Mk.I would also go one to serve in commonwealth air forces as the RAF replaced them, including the RCAF and the RSAAF throughout the war.




an RAF ground crew with one of their Tomahawk Mk.Is in North Africa


a picture showing the modifications made to the Kittyhawks before delivery, including the addition of a Radio mast above the Fuselage


A rare picture of a Kittyhawk in french markings before the French armistice, its armament had not been fitted yet

A Tomahawk at Boscombe down, it would appear that its weapons and Radio mast have been removed


A Tomahawk Mk.I (Foreground) of the RCAF flying alongside several Tomahawk Mk.IIs (background)

Several Tomahawk Mk.Is being maintained at an airstrip in the UK

Specs/ Armament


Dimensions and wing area taken from P-40E so may be inaccurate

Crew: 1
Length: 31 ft 8.5 in (9.665 m)
Wingspan: 37 ft 3.5 in (11.367 m)
Height: 10 ft 8 in (3.25 m)
Wing area: 236 sq ft (21.9 sq m)
Airfoil: root: NACA2215; tip :NACA2209
Empty Weight: 2,439 kg (5,376 lbs)
Gross Weight: 3,061 kg (6,748 lbs)
Max Weight: 3207 kg (7070 lbs)
Powerplant: Allison V-1710-33, 12-cylinder V, liquid-cooled, 1,040 hp
Max Speed: 352 mph (566 km/h) at 15,000ft (4,572m)



  • 2 x 12.7mm (.50 Cal) Browning Machine guns above the engine
  • 4 x 7.7mm (.303 Cal) Browning Machine guns in the wings (2 per wing)


  • 1 x 250/500 lbs bomb mounted centreline (not 100% confirmed)

any other info regarding armament would be greatly appreciated!

Place in game


Personally I feel this would be a good aircraft either for Rank I or II of the British Tech tree and would bring an interesting high performance fighter to provide an alternative to the Turn fighting gameplay style of the Hurricanes and Spitfires. it would also see some minor usability in ground battles as its 12.7mm armament can be a potent tank killer at lower BRs.

In terms of BR i would expect it to sit somewhere around 2.0 slightly lower than the Chinese H-81A-2 ( due to no armour or self sealing fuel tanks). I would personally place it after the Hurricanes in the First Line of the Tree or in a seperate Line for non-domestic/ heavy fighters.



Curtiss P-40 Warhawk - Wikipedia
Curtiss P-40 Warhawk variants - Wikipedia
Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk Single-Seat. Single-Engine Monoplane Fighter Aircraft
Curtiss Tomahawk
Ray Wagner Collection Image | PictionID:48346924 - Catalog:1… | Flickr
U.S. Army Air Force Resource Center - A Warbirds Resource Group Site
Curtiss H-81A: The Early French P-40 - France - War Thunder - Official Forum

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