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World War II
The popular shark mouth, well suited to the contours of the P-40, was made famous by the 1941 American Volunteer Group (AVG), also known as the “Flying Tigers.” Flying out of China, Claire Chennault’s 215 pilots earned a record of 286 kills to four losses. After the United States entered the war, the AVG became part of the USAAF's 23rd Fighter Group.
By 1941 almost 14,000 P-40s were delivered, making it the first mass produced US fighter, at a unit cost of $57,000.00.
The P-40 was America’s fighter at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7th,1941.
The P-40 was well liked by its pilots and ground crew, despite its altitude restrictions.
On April 18, 1943, 46 P-40s with 11 Spitfires caught 60 JU-52s and an escort of 21 fighters. The “Palm Sunday Massacre” that followed led to the downing of 59 of the transports and 16 escorts for the loss of only six P-40s.