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P-36 Hawk Aces of World War 2 (Aircraft of the Aces) Paperback – February 17, 2009

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Product Details

  • Series: Aircraft of the Aces (Book 86)
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing; 1St Edition edition (February 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846034094
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846034091
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 7.3 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,505,550 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"P-36 Hawk Aces of World War II joins others in the 'Aircraft of the Aces' series to focus on WWII military battles and service. The Hawk saw extensive service and this book documents all the battles and keys to its importance." -California Bookwatch (May 2009)
"In all, a fine book on the subject and the first to have been published covering Hawk 75 aces. One that will delight the aviation enthusiast." - Scott Van Aken, modelingmadness.com (February 2009)

About the Author

Lionel Persyn has written widely about French aces for several French language magazines and has recently collaborated on a study of the Curtis Hawk 75 in French service, a type on which he is regarded as an expert.

Kari Stenman is the world's leading authority on the Finnish Air Force during World War 2, and has written or co-authored many books on the units and aircraft of this service.

Andrew Thomas is one of Britain's leading RAF researchers. He joined the RAF to fly straight from school and has maintained his enthusiastic interest in the history and development of his Service throughout his career.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michael OConnor TOP 500 REVIEWER on February 25, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My initial thought when I saw the Osprey adverts for P-36 HAWK ACES OF WORLD WAR 2 was: WHAT P-36 Aces!?! Then the attic light went on and I realized P-36 = Hawk 75 = French aces. And, as chronicled in this interesting 'Osprey Aircraft of the Aces' book, some 39 l'Armee de l'Air pilots made ace in the aircraft. Finnish pilots likewise made good use of Hawk 75s against Russian aircraft, some 15 aces being produced. Along with the odd USAAF and RAF kill, Curtiss' scrappy little fighter compiled quite a combat record.

Lest the reader think the P-36 was a second-stringer warbird, consider these facts. The FIRST Luftwaffe pilot downed by l'Armee de l'Air Hawks was Werner Molders! French Hawks were credited with 234 kills in the 1939/40 fighting with Vichy Hawks later adding a few more victories over RAF and USN aircraft. Aces like Camille Plubeau, Georges Baptizet, Edouard Sales, Maurice Tallent, Michel Dorance and Georges Lefol used the highly maneuverable, heavily armed Curtiss fighter to deadly effect. Finnish aces like Eino Koskinen, Aaro Kiljunen and Kalevi Tervoa likewise exploited the Hawk 75's strengths to help down 190 Russian aircraft between 1941 and 1944. Interestingly enough the P-36 Hawk was one of the few warbirds to fly for AND against the Allies in WWII!

Authors Persyn, Stenman and Thomas do a nice of tracing the Hawk's combat career in various air forces and conflicts. Many first-hand combat accounts liven up the text as do some 80 photographs and eight pages of color profiles of P-36s/Hawk 75s/Mohawks by Mark Styling.

P-36 HAWK ACES OF WORLD WAR 2 is a wonderful addition to the 'Aircraft of the Aces' series. It sheds light on a little-known but very effective warbird that saw service around the global in various air forces and is a good read to boot. Recommended.

NB. If several pilots helped down an e/a, the l'Armee de l'Air did not divide the credit for the kill but gave a full victory credit to each pilot!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ira Kepford on July 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
`P-36 Hawk aces' is one of the best Osprey books I've read (other than John Weal and George Mellingers' books). I was very pleased with the amount of information the book offered.

The book starts with the French early in the war, battling the Germans, then taking sides with them, then fighting them again. Then the book explains about the Finnish and their unmatched victory-to-death ratio (other than the Germans), then a brief overview on the Americans at Pearl Harbor then finally the British battling against the Japanese. I was surprised that the elderly P-36 could hold its own against the Bf-109s, LaGG-3's (other than speed) and Ki-43s. The Mohawk would even come out on top in some battles!

I thought the all the authors did a wonderful job explaining about the obsolete plane that still held its own against the new fighters of WWII.
In all a well put together book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bill Hensler VINE VOICE on November 30, 2009
Format: Paperback
The P-36 was the aircraft that preceded the more famous P-40. What I liked about this book is it gave a fair write up of the aircraft. Also, it gave some very good information about the follow up P-40, such as that aircraft weighed a full 3/4 ton heavier than the initial P-36. I always knew the P-40 was a dog in combat, its speed sort of kept it out of trouble. The P-36 was generally nimble enough to avoid the worst of the fray.

This book gives little tid-bits of information that I love. Did you know the P-36 was at least as maneuverable as the KI-43 "Oscar"? When the USAF was busy getting rid of the P-36 the US Marine Corps was flying the dreadful Brewster Buffalo. At least the P-36 would have given the Marines at Midway a good fighting chance.

Anyway, I was sort of amazed at how well the book has positive things written about the P-36. Now, the aircraft does have some debits. First, it had poor armor. Second, it was somewhat pokey in the European theater. Last, it does not have a good punch. The .30 caliber machine guns just were not up to the European cannon armed aircraft. This problem could have been solved by giving more .50 calibers to the P-36. Then one French ace noticed the more lightly armed P-36 aircraft have better maneuverability.

This book is broken down into four parts. First there is a general write up on the P-36. Second, the reader is given the French story on the P-36. Honestly, I had no idea the P-36 was so highly successful against the Luftwaffe. Indeed, while the ME-109E has speed over the P-36 (about 50 MPH) it does not turn at all as well as the P-36. Furthermore, the P-36 is more than a match for the ME-109D of the "Phony War" period of 1939 to 1940.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Foley on March 19, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
By in large Osprey's "Aircraft of the Aces" is a great series of books and this one is no exception, though it might be considered more valuable than some since there is so little written about it's subject to be found elsewhere.

The authors do a wonderful job covering all the plane's and its pilot's fields of endeavor, with my favorite parts concerning combat over Finland and Pearl Harbor... the latter being very short obviously, as it was the P-36's one day of combat in U.S. colors.

I dare say that one would have to be quite an expert indeed to read this book and not learn at least a few tidbits of information. And therein lies my enjoyment with this series in general and this book in particular... if you're looking for some long, scholarly, in-depth tome covering every aspect of the P-36's development, deployment, servicing and operation, this isn't it. If instead you'd like some well written, light reading about a mostly forgotten airplane (usually overshadowed by its inline-engined offspring) and the valiant young men who flew it into harm's way you will enjoy this book!
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