|This page is about the fighter P-40E-1 (China). For other vehicles of the family, see P-40 (Family). For other uses, see P40 (Disambiguation).
The ␗P-40E-1 Kittyhawk is a rank II Chinese fighter with a battle rating of 2.3 (AB/SB) and 2.7 (RB). It was introduced in Update 1.91 "Night Vision". Other than the lovely emerald green camouflage, this P-40E-1 is identical to the original US version.
Succeeding the P-66 in the Chinese air tree, the P-40E-1 is not dissimilar, having good firepower and protection but rather average flying characteristics. Its six M2 Browning heavy machine guns, a typical armament for US fighters, pack a hefty punch and can rip targets apart despite being limited to early-war belts. It can also carry bombs for ground attack. While it is often outperformed by contemporary aircraft, the Warhawk is still a formidable opponent when flown carefully.
The P-40E-1 has a decent top speed for its rank, capable of outrunning most early monoplane fighters like the F2A Buffalo, Ki-43-I, He 112, and I-16. However, the Bf 109Es can match or exceed its speed and certain planes like the C.202, F4U-1A, Ki-44-II hei, and He 100 D-1 will catch the P-40 easily. Turning ability is quite good at medium speeds, but it compresses above 600 km/h IAS and struggles to manoeuvre at low speeds, though the combat flaps help a lot. Roll is decent. Horizontal energy retention is quite good and vertical energy retention is mediocre. The main weaknesses of the P-40E-1 are related to its engine, which is rather underpowered for the weight of the plane. It does not climb well, the high altitude performance is lacklustre, and the engine like to run hot.
Like the P-66, the P-40E-1 has no particular strengths in its performance and is often completely outperformed by its opponents. The Bf 109 E-1 sits at a lower battle rating but has superior speed, turn, and climb, for example. This makes it difficult to fly against skilled opponents, and teamwork is a must.
| Max Speed
(km/h at 3,810 m)
| Max altitude
| Turn time
| Rate of climb
| Take-off run
|Max Static G
|Optimal velocities (km/h)
Survivability and armour
The P-40 E-1 has the same armour as its American counterpart, P-40E-1. 6.35 mm steel in front of the pilot, 8 mm steel behind the pilot, and 38 mm bulletproof glass in front of the pilot. The fuel tanks are self-sealing, with one being located under the pilot, and one in front of the previous fuel tank.
Modifications and economy
The P-40E-1 (China) is armed with:
- 6 x 12.7 mm M2 Browning machine guns, wing-mounted (312 rpg outer + 291 rpg mid + 240 rpg inner = 1,686 total)
The M2 Brownings have quite generous ammunition loads and will shred fighters, attackers, and bombers alike - only especially hardy aircraft like the IL-2s can reliably withstand more than a brief burst of accurate fire. Their accuracy when stock leaves some to be desired and unlocking the new machine guns upgrade makes them much more consistent. Compared to the P-66's twin M2 Brownings, these offer three times the burst mass but are limited to early-war belts. The loss of the M8 AP-I rounds leads to more difficulty in starting fires. The best belts to use against aircraft are Universal and Stealth since they contain M1 Incendiary rounds. The latter is the most lethal option since a third of its content consists of said rounds. For those who still want tracers to aim with, the Universal belt does the trick, though it only has 20% incendiary content.
Convergence is mostly up to personal preference, but the high velocity and good ballistics of the machine guns lend themselves to 500-600 m of convergence. This allows enemies to be engaged comfortably from longer distances, especially helpful in head-ons or when approaching bombers.
1 x 500 lb AN-M64A1 bomb
The P-40E-1 (China) can be outfitted with the following ordnance:
- Without load
- 2 x 100 lb AN-M30A1 bombs (200 lb total)
- 1 x 500 lb AN-M64A1 bomb (500 lb total)
- 1 x 500 lb AN-M64A1 bomb + 2 x 100 lb AN-M30A1 bombs (700 lb total)
The twin 100 lb bombs are very difficult to use. Against armoured vehicles they will need to land practically right on top of their target to cause damage. Unarmoured vehicles like SPAA trucks will suffer more, but at that point it is probably easier and safer to hose them down with the P-40's machine guns. The 500 lb bomb is of a more usable size and its centreline mounting makes it easy to deliver accurately.
Usage in battles
At the start of the match, climb to the side somewhat and gain some altitude. If using MEC, turn up the propeller pitch to 80-90% and open the radiators fully. When using WEP, the engine will overheat even with fully open radiators if the prop pitch is increased, but it can run hot for a while without taking damage. If the situation is safe and the engine needs to be cooled, ensure that the radiators are open and dial down the prop pitch and throttle. The P-40E-1's poor climb rate can be frustrating, but considering its poor high altitude performance, climbing to around 3,000 m or slightly higher should be enough.
By the time the cruising altitude has been reached, your teammates should have engaged in combat with the enemy already. After leveling out, gain some speed and look for targets to attack, such as attackers or distracted fighters. Keep an eye out for enemies at high altitude that might be looking to dive on you.
Enter engagements in shallow dives. If using MEC, either turn down the prop pitch to around 50% or set it to auto to reduce drag and pick up speed more rapidly. Deep dives can be attempted, but be sure to pull up before the control compression kicks in. If the initial attack misses, gain some separation before looping around and trying again, taking advantage of the decent horizontal energy retention. Speed is life with this fighter; try not to make hard or extended turns since they bleed energy and the P-40 will struggle to gain it back. Do not pursue enemies into the vertical through stall climbs, vertical loops, or climbing spirals. Feel free to "spray and pray", even a few hits onto an enemy can reduce their performance enough to give the P-40 an edge. If tight turns must be attempted (for a good reason like finishing an enemy off), use combat flaps and/or rudder, but keep in mind that these sharper turns will drain even more energy.
If a fight goes south, try escaping and running towards teammates. Enemies with weak weapons such as the Japanese Ho-103 machine gun will be unable to cause significant damage outside of a few hundred m, and the P-40 itself can take a few hits. If the pursuer sticks to your tail, they will present an easy target to friendly fighters, and if they break off, you have some time to reset the engagement or return to base.
The Warhawk's firepower makes it adept at cleaning up enemies, but without backup it is easy pickings for many fighters since it cannot easily shake enemies off of its tail. This means that you should attempt to stay close to teammates. If the rest of your team has been shot down, the odds are not good, but that's life.
The Warhawk has a significantly easier time in Ground RB, where its rugged nature, heavy firepower, and bomb load are welcome. The airspawn also helps to counteract its climb issues and enemies will often spawn as bombers or attackers- easier targets to deal with than agile single-engined fighters. Spawn in with the single 500 lb bomb and climb a bit. If you are very skilled at dropping bombs accurately, take the full bombload of 1 x 500 lb & 2 x 100 lb. Use the two small bombs for SPAA or light vehicles and the 500 lb for medium / heavy ones. Keep an eye out for enemy aircraft that may already be present and also look for viable ground targets. Tanks that are pinned down by teammates or otherwise unlikely to move are the easiest to bomb. Enter a moderate dive and deliver the bomb as accurately as possible, then pull up and extend away. Landing the bomb successfully can take some practice, but it helps that it is mounted on the plane's centreline. Climb back up while looking for air targets and loop around to reset. Then, hunt enemy aircraft, preferably targets that are unaware or distracted. If the skies are clear, search the battlefield for vehicles to strafe. Light tanks and tank destroyers are appetizing targets, but medium tanks are often vulnerable to the heavy machine guns as well if attacked from steep angles. Be sure to pull up in time, throttling back during the dive helps. Do not attack SPAAs that are aware of your presence.
The P-40 can be used for BnZ fighting, bomber hunting and ground pounding in Sim. It is a decent plane with distinct pros and cons. Its heavy firepower of 6 x 12.7 mm MGs can critically damage the enemy and rip it apart. It has great dive speed and decent level speed, capable of outrunning slower opponents. However, it is a nose-heavy plane so unlike other planes, the P-40 has to trim the elevators upwards. It has quite limited visibility with lots of canopy frames and a razorback design. The P-40's over-the-nose visibility is one of the worst due to its big, long engine, and the small intake on top of the cowling, making leading very hard. Moreover, its engine tends to overheat frequently even with 95% throttle, meaning you have to cut throttle a lot to avoid damaging the engine.
Before entering a battle, it is recommended to set keybinds for trimming and vertical head movements to improve the forward visibility a bit. Take at least 30 minutes of fuel. Set the convergence between 250-500 m, with vertical targeting on.
For dogfighting, because almost all aerial battles in Sim occurs at below 3,000 m, the P-40 can easily climb to this altitude and gather up lots of speed before engaging a battle. The tactic is similar to the RB one above, which is to keep speed and boom and zoom. If, unfortunately, you find yourself being chased on your six and you don't know how to do any defensive manoeuvres, do a large, smooth turn towards the nearest friendly airfield to avoid bleeding too much speed. Then shallow-dive towards your airfield. The P-40 can quite easily outrun opponents like the A6M or I-15, but struggles to outrun Bf 109 F/Gs, Fw 190 A or other P-40s. Another way of disengaging is to do a sudden Split-S to dodge under the chaser. Average Sim players will now try and see where you went, if not immediately losing track of you. You can then run for your airfield or shallow climb for another attack.
You want to be more careful when hunting bombers, since with the Sim control (whether it be mouse joystick or a real stick) the plane will manoeuvre much more gently, making itself a great target for the bomber's gunners. DO NOT follow behind a bomber's six unless you are sure that its tail gunners are unconscious. Chasing behind a bomber makes yourself pretty much stationary for the tail gunners, and you will be showered with bullets. The engine of the P-40 will usually get damaged. Instead, before launching an attack, get an altitude advantage over the bomber by flying around 2 km above it. The bomber should only fill up about 1/6 of your gunsight. The best position for an attack is at the bomber's high six so you can adjust the lead much easier. Dive at the bomber, but not directly at it, try to predict where you two will crash by imagining yourself as a missile, that's where you should aim at (deflection shooting). To maximise the damage it is better to aim for their wings and engines, as the fuselage usually soaks up quite some bullets. Only fire when the bomber passes in front of your guns. This short window might seems inadequate to do anything, but the six MGs on the P-40 are actually pretty destructive, as sometimes it only takes one bullet to set the target aflame.
For ground pounding, the P-40 can carry a bomb payload of 2 x 100 lb or 1 x 500 lb or 2 x 100 lb + 1 x 500 lb (700 lb), making it a decent ground attack fighter for its rank. The Ground Targets belt for the .50 cals allow the P-40 to rip apart enemy AAA, Pillboxes, and even most German/Japanese light tanks. Pz.IIs, BT-5 and -7s, Chi-Has, etc., can all be torn to shreds with the .50 cals- primarily from the side and top. Note that the P-40 will wobble a lot (sideways mainly) so you must get used to smoothing the plane down in order to hit ground targets.
Enemies worth noting:
- Bf 110, Ki-45, A-26: These twin-engine aircraft are a big threat since their lack of manoeuvrability compared to single engine fighters is minimised in Sim. They are usually armed with heavy guns & cannons in the nose, so an accurate burst will tear any plane apart, including the P-40. Engage them with either altitude or speed advantage to avoid being targeted. If they are not manoeuvring aggressively, aim for their wings or engines. If the fight is intense and you cannot smooth the aim, just burst anywhere as long as you hit them, the 12.7 mm bullets will damage their flight models quite a bit.
- H6K4: This bomber is a very spacious flying boat. It has a fairly deadly 20 mm defensive cannon facing backwards, so avoid tailing it from its six unless its gunner is unconscious. Engage from its sides or high six and aim for its wings. Your 6 x 12.7 mm MG will destroy its wing structures easily or set it aflame.
- B18A/B: These planes are wolves in sheep's clothing. Their powerful 13.2 mm MG will easily snap the P-40's wing off with a short burst so avoid attacking them from behind. Utilise deflection shooting against them, to give their gunners little chance of targeting you.
- A6M: Never, ever, ever turn fight a Zero. Zeros are the natural and historical nemeses of Allied aircraft, they can manoeuvre much better than the P-40s and those 2 x 20 mm cannons can rip them to shreds. Instead, Boom & Zoom them - dive on the target and engage. Due to its lack of armour and large fuel tanks, the A6M is easy to destroy. Outrunning the A6M is not hard as it isn't a really high-speed plane, the P-40 can outrun it flat-out easily, so turn around after the Zero becomes a tiny black dot and try to head-on or start climbing then. The A6M might start to climb to try and gain energy- if you keep running from it, you will put enough space between you and your opponent to climb to an acceptable altitude, or re-group with allies or go to a nearby friendly airfield.
Manual Engine Control
Auto control available
| Not controllable
Not auto controlled
Auto control available
| Not controllable
Pros and cons
- Heavy firepower against any opponent, even tank roof armour
- Decent speed, especially at low altitudes
- Good manoeuvrability at medium to high speeds
- Rugged construction, pilot is well protected
- Can carry up to 700 lbs of bombs (1 x 500 lb + 2 x 100 lb), quite useful in tank RB
- Underpowered and heavy, struggles to climb or regain energy
- Engine runs hot
- Poor high altitude performance
- Outperformed by many contemporaries
- Rather unstable in pitch axis in SB
- Extremely bad visibility over the nose in SB
The Curtiss P-40 Warhawk was a US monoplane fighter designed in the late 1930s. A derivative of the P-36 Hawk series of fighters, the P-40 featured an inline engine and a fairly streamlined construction. While it suffered from poor high altitude performance, it proved to be a rugged platform with good high speed manoeuvrability. Maintenance and manufacturing were easy as well. Despite having a reputation as a substandard fighter, historical records suggest that the P-40 was quite effective overall, and it gave many Allied nations a fighting chance until newer and more advanced designs were available.
The P-40 was famous for its use by the American Volunteer Group (the "Flying Tigers") in southern China during World War II, where skilled pilots and good tactics allowed the Warhawk to rack up scores of kills against Japanese aircraft. However, it was also used in large numbers by the Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF) proper, flown by Chinese pilots. At the start of the war against Japan, the ROCAF was mainly equipped with Soviet fighters such as the Polikarpov I-15 and I-16. Hampered by poor logistics and inexperienced pilots, the ROCAF fared very poorly against Japanese attacks, and newer Japanese aircraft like the A6M Zero were able to outclass anything in the Chinese inventory. Purchases of newer US aircraft like the Hawk 75 (an export variant of the P-36 Hawk) did little to improve the situation. In 1941 the US began assisting China through the AVG and other efforts. Reportedly, export versions of the P-40 were purchased and tested by Chinese pilots, who deemed the fighter unable to match the Zero. Thus, they were diverted to the AVG instead. After the entry of the United States into World War II, much more military aid was sent or sold to China, including shipments of more modern aircraft such as the P-66, P-43, and P-40. The P-40E model first saw ROCAF service in early 1943 in the hands of the 4th Air Group, alongside the P-43. They flew combat missions in central China, though numerous aircraft were lost to accidents, anti-aircraft fire, and enemy fighters, and for not much success in return. Deliveries of the improved P-40N model were received later that year, and after this point the Chinese pilots saw more success, those losses were still severe. The P-40N continued to serve even as P-51D Mustangs were delivered in 1945. While the P-40 had a rather poor track record in Chinese service, largely due to the logistics and training issues, its pilots fought very hard and contributed to the war effort.
Little information exists about the fate of the Chinese P-40s after the conclusion of World War II. While it seems unlikely that the entire fleet would have been scrapped afterwards, the ROCAF received quantities of modern US aircraft such as the P-51 Mustang and P-47 Thunderbolt by the time the Chinese Civil War resumed. It does not appear that any P-40s were captured or operated by the Communists. In the present day, no Chinese-operated P-40s are known to exist.
- Related development
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Grumman F4F Wildcat
- Messerschmitt Bf 109
- Lavochkin-Gorbunov-Gudkov LaGG-3
- Hawker Hurricane
- Kawasaki Ki-61
|P-36A · Rasmussen's P-36A · P-36C · P-36G
|P-40C · P-40E-1 · P-40F-10
|SB2C-1C · SB2C-4
|H-75A-1 · H-75A-4 · H-81A-2 · ▂P-40E-1 · ␗P-40E-1 · ▄P-40F-5 Lafayette · CW-21 · Hawk III
|␗Gladiator Mk I
|␗A6M2 · ␗Ki-27 otsu · ␗Ki-43-III ko · ␗Ki-44-II hei · ␗Ki-61-I otsu · ␗Ki-84 ko
|CW-21 · Hawk III · P-66 · ␗P-40E-1 · H-81A-2 · ␗P-43A-1 · ␗P-47D-23-RA · ␗P-47D-30 · ␗P-51D-20 · ␗P-51K
|␗I-15bis · ␗I-153 M-62 · ␗I-16 Chung 28 · ␗I-16 type 5 · ␗I-16 type 10 · ␗I-16 type 17 · ␗La-11 · ␗La-9