Kittyhawks or Hurricane...which aircraft was preferred in the DAF?

Back on the history kick and I thought this would be a good distraction from the current events of the day.

But what aircraft was preferred by the RAF for use in North Africa? The Curtis Kittyhawk or the Hawker Hurricane. ON paper the Kittyhawk blows the venerable Hurricane out of the water in the air superiority role. However it does seem the Hurribombers were more suited for the ground attack role compared to the Kittyhawk.
So lets discuss the importance of both aircraft and figure out one made more of a difference over North Africa.
 
By the time the DAF moved into Italy in late '43, the Hurricane, even with 20mm integral or podded 40mm cannon, had pretty much had its day, while the Kittyhawks, with their 6 .50cals, soldiered on through 1944. Bomb-carrying capacity was similar for both in early marques, but more than double for the later model Kittyhawks.
 
By the time the DAf moved into Italy in late '43, the Hurricane, even with 20mm integral or podded 40mm cannon had pretty much had its day, while the Kittyhawks, with their 6 .50cals, soldiered on through 1944. Bomb-carrying capacity was similar for both.
The Curtis managed to remain in service for a bit longer, and could hold its own against the 109’s. But the 20mm would be far more effective in the cas and interdiction role then the .50’s. But how much emphasis was placed on shooting up the Afrika Korps vs keeping the Luftwaffe out of the air?
 
The decisive element for both aircraft operating was the nocturnal visits by Stirlings men disrupting enemy airfields. The Hurricanes did provide sterling service in North Africa then onto the battles for Burma and Malaya.

While the Kittyhawk became famous with that Hollywood film Torbruk and a truly terrible seventies film with Doug McClure.

Anyone got information on Spitfires in the ground attack role in Italy?
 
The Curtis managed to remain in service for a bit longer, and could hold its own against the 109’s. But the 20mm would be far more effective in the cas and interdiction role then the .50’s. But how much emphasis was placed on shooting up the Afrika Korps vs keeping the Luftwaffe out of the air?
For air superiority, the DAF had the Spitfire Mk.V in numbers by 1942. If you want to go air-air, the Kittyhawk was not only well-armed, but pretty rugged: 'Competent pilots who took advantage of the P-40's strengths were effective against the best of the Luftwaffe and Regia Aeronautica. In August 1941, San Ldr Clive Caldwell, RAAF was attacked by two Bf 109s, one of them piloted by German ace Werner Schröer. Although Caldwell was wounded three times and his Tomahawk was hit by more than 100 7.92 mm (0.312 in) bullets and five 20 mm cannon shells, Caldwell shot down Schröer's wingman and returned to base. Some sources also claim that in December 1941, Caldwell killed a prominent German Experte, Erbo von Kageneck (69 kills), while flying a P-40. Caldwell's victories in North Africa included 10 Bf 109s and two Macchi C.202s.'
 
Caldwell was an exception. Squadron leader DH Clarke,who loved the P-40, wrote a book called "What were they like to fly? " and he begged to differ and he was a very,very good pilot, who made it home after one deadly combat against 109s when he and his wingman barely survived,thanks to the rugged construction of the P-40. Both aircraft were riddled multiple times and were written off after they had made it home. He regarded the 109F and the Macchi 202 as deadly adversaries. He said that the enemy fighters were always above them,could enter and leave the combat at will and would attack when conditions suited them and the mere act of forcing the P-40s to drop their bombs,to turn and fight, was enough to win the fight. The P-40 had the advantage of heavy firepower,which could shred either enemy fighter type,but a few cannon shells from a 109F would nail a P-40 or render it unfit for repair. It also had the priceless advantage of better ailerons than the 109 as the P-40 could be rolled in a steep dive at high speed, that none of the Axis fighters could match.Even the Spitfire couldnt do it. That ability to change direction in a steep dive meant that P-40s could dive away and evade the 109s,who wouldclimb back upto the perch and wait for another chance. Clarke and his fellow pilots had serious respect for the enemy fighters and always tried to fly captured examples. The Italians always destroyed any surviving Macchi 202s but he did get to fly a -200 and would routinely beat fellow pilots in mock combat until the tail came off, when taxying out one day. It turned out the Italians had left the aircraft apparently intact but smeared battery acid inside the tailcone. The entire tail collapsed as he taxied and the aircraft was written off.When they examined other apparently intact aircraft, they found smears of acid in them, so all flying of captured aircraft was banned untileach aircraft had been thoroughly checked for sabotage.
 
Caldwell was an exception. Squadron leader DH Clarke,who loved the P-40, wrote a book called "What were they like to fly? " and he begged to differ and he was a very,very good pilot, who made it home after one deadly combat against 109s when he and his wingman barely survived,thanks to the rugged construction of the P-40. Both aircraft were riddled multiple times and were written off after they had made it home. He regarded the 109F and the Macchi 202 as deadly adversaries. He said that the enemy fighters were always above them,could enter and leave the combat at will and would attack when conditions suited them and the mere act of forcing the P-40s to drop their bombs,to turn and fight, was enough to win the fight. The P-40 had the advantage of heavy firepower,which could shred either enemy fighter type,but a few cannon shells from a 109F would nail a P-40 or render it unfit for repair. It also had the priceless advantage of better ailerons than the 109 as the P-40 could be rolled in a steep dive at high speed, that none of the Axis fighters could match.Even the Spitfire couldnt do it. That ability to change direction in a steep dive meant that P-40s could dive away and evade the 109s,who wouldclimb back upto the perch and wait for another chance. Clarke and his fellow pilots had serious respect for the enemy fighters and always tried to fly captured examples. The Italians always destroyed any surviving Macchi 202s but he did get to fly a -200 and would routinely beat fellow pilots in mock combat until the tail came off, when taxying out one day. It turned out the Italians had left the aircraft apparently intact but smeared battery acid inside the tailcone. The entire tail collapsed as he taxied and the aircraft was written off.When they examined other apparently intact aircraft, they found smears of acid in them, so all flying of captured aircraft was banned untileach aircraft had been thoroughly checked for sabotage.
But I was under the impression most air to air engagements in North Africa were below 15,000 thus negating the ME-109's high altitude superiority? Were the Kittyhawk pilots trained to use the Boom and Zoom techniques on the Germans and Italians?
 
A friend of mine from the Regt, I’ve just found out that his Father was a FAA pilot.
He flew in a few places, but one thing he did mention was that his Dad flew Hurricanes with 40mm Cannon pods in DAF on loan.
 
The 109s had to come down to fight but one factor that made them fly high was air filters on their engines, as they had to be kept filtering until 6000m altitude, so they would simply climb to that height as routine. Allied fighters,when used as bombers, tended to climb to no more than about 10,000 feet,to be able to dive bomb and would then go down to low level to strafe. The 109s and Macchis, wary of getting into low level turning fights, would simply dive and pick on a P-40 or Hurricane, give it a squirt and go backup. If they elected to get into a turning fight, it evened the odds,although a Macchi could outturn a P-40 but it';s weak armament of only two machine guns meant that quick bursts werent often enough to kill a P-40 or a Hurricane. The myth that a 109 couldnt dogfight was mentioned in Clarke's book but a 109F was well able to mix it with P-40s and Hurricanes. The Spitfire V had the better of the 109F but pilots like Marseilles and Schulz were not afraid of going toe to toe with them. The best of the P-40s topped out at 370 Mph, already bested by the Macchi 202 and the 109F and easily bettered by the 109G and the Mc 205. In saying that, Allied air superiority was on its way and sheer numbers and the better logistics game played by the Allies won the day.
 
The decisive element for both aircraft operating was the nocturnal visits by Stirlings men disrupting enemy airfields. The Hurricanes did provide sterling service in North Africa then onto the battles for Burma and Malaya.

While the Kittyhawk became famous with that Hollywood film Torbruk and a truly terrible seventies film with Doug McClure.
This one where the German tank crew discuss Panther tanks on the Eastern Front many months before the Panther made its debut

 
The 109s had to come down to fight but one factor that made them fly high was air filters on their engines, as they had to be kept filtering until 6000m altitude, so they would simply climb to that height as routine. Allied fighters,when used as bombers, tended to climb to no more than about 10,000 feet,to be able to dive bomb and would then go down to low level to strafe. The 109s and Macchis, wary of getting into low level turning fights, would simply dive and pick on a P-40 or Hurricane, give it a squirt and go backup. If they elected to get into a turning fight, it evened the odds,although a Macchi could outturn a P-40 but it';s weak armament of only two machine guns meant that quick bursts werent often enough to kill a P-40 or a Hurricane. The myth that a 109 couldnt dogfight was mentioned in Clarke's book but a 109F was well able to mix it with P-40s and Hurricanes. The Spitfire V had the better of the 109F but pilots like Marseilles and Schulz were not afraid of going toe to toe with them. The best of the P-40s topped out at 370 Mph, already bested by the Macchi 202 and the 109F and easily bettered by the 109G and the Mc 205. In saying that, Allied air superiority was on its way and sheer numbers and the better logistics game played by the Allies won the day.
Sometimes it is better to have three or four Ford's for every Ferrari. But the P-40 could fight the Italians and Germans on even terms, but I do concede that logistics played a massive part in the campaign.
 
A couple of squadrons saw out the War in Italy with their Kittyhawks, only re-equipping with P-51’s after VE Day.

As a fighter bomber, it was very popular - fast enough in it’s element down in the weeds, very tough, very reliable, comfortable to fly with a good punch.
 
The P-40 got the Merlin and used the American Packard copy of the Merlin but either engine (Merlin or Allison) had it's adherents. Clarke was scathing about the quality of overhauled Packards,though,which he reckoned would seize up quicker than the originals when hit.
 

Mölders 1

Old-Salt
Here l go.......

Hawker Hurricane, in my opinion already in it's twilight in 1940, from then on became increasingly out of date as a Fighter but still a useful Ground Attack platform post 1940. The Hurricane Squadrons on Malta were decimated in 1941-42 by contemporary variants of the Bf 109.

The earlier variants of the P-40 were named Tomahawks by the R.A.F./Commonwealth and were only marginally better than the Hurricane in performance. The later P-40 variants were called Kittyhawks and were better than the earlier Tomahawks and were superior to the Hurricane in most areas except when comparing them with the Firepower of the Hurricane Mk llc.

There is general agreement among Bf 109 afficonados the the F-4 variant used by JG27 in North Africa was the best of the breed in terms of handling, power to weight etc. It would be unwise to use Hans-Joachim Marseille as an example of a typical Luftwaffe Fighter Pilot in North Africa because he was simply in a class of his own regardless of whose side he was on. The Luftwaffe favoured Dive And Zoom tactics over Dogfighting and the superior performance of the BF-109F over the Hurricane and P-40 enabled them to exploit such tactics frequently with great success.....(of Marseille' 158 Victories, 151 were in North Africa were he often used such methods).

As far as l know the Spitfire Mk V was solely used as a Fighter in North Africa, were it was able to cruise at similar altitudes to the Bf 109. However the Spitfire Mk V did not quite have the all-round performance of the Bf 109 F-4 and the clumsy Vokes Filter fitted in the Desert made matters worse.

Whatever successes JG 27 achieved over the Fighters of the Desert Air Force were largely irrelevant because the all important Ground Attack Aircraft went about their business largely unmolested by the Luftwaffe.

In sum, The P-40 Kittyhawk was a better mount for the Pilots of the Desert Air Force for both Air To Air Combat and Ground Attack, until the Spitfire Mk V entered the arena to take over the former role from the P-40.
 

RBMK

Old-Salt
On thing not mentioned is that the Kittyhawk was robust and relatively simple to fix. Thus even damaged ones could be back in the air reasonably quickly.
 
By the time they booted the Germans out of Tunisia, they had 200 damaged P-40s upon blocks, being rebuilt,most of which were damaged by flak,not fighters.
 
On thing not mentioned is that the Kittyhawk was robust and relatively simple to fix. Thus even damaged ones could be back in the air reasonably quickly.
Not mentioned like this, in post 2?

'Although Caldwell was wounded three times and his Tomahawk was hit by more than 100 7.92 mm (0.312 in) bullets and five 20 mm cannon shells, Caldwell shot down Schröer's wingman and returned to base.'
 

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