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Thread: Question: Kittyhawk I gunsight?

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    Default Question: Kittyhawk I gunsight?

    Hi all

    Just a quick question: would an RAF Kittyhawk I from early 1942 be fitted with the US gunsight (an N-2A model, I think it was), or would it have had a British replacement fitted instead?

    Regards

    Simon

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    Default

    Simon,
    Not quite the right answer, but the following tale may give some insight. The RNZAF in New Zealand in April 1942 received brand new P-40E-1s (Lend-Lease orders diverted). So far as I know they were not fitted with American gunsights as the RAF did not like these sights so these aircraft were generally shipped direct to the RAF who had their own supply system and would fit British reflector sights of latest pattern "in theatre". The RNZAF seems to have been shipped such British sights, but no graticles, so had to use the fitted "Rig and bead" sights until the graticles arrived a few months later. When the RNZAF took over P-40E-1s from the USAAF's 68th Pursuit Squadron in Tonga in late October 1942 they were disgusted to find them equipped with standard American reflector sights (N-3A?) and demanded equivalent British sights from Air HQ, but were told they had to persevere with the American ones as no more British ones were available in New Zealand, and nor were they likely to be. So far as I know, the RNZAF went through the rest of the Pacific war using standard American sights. So make of this what you will! And while on the subject of British equipment in American aircraft at this time, could anybody please explain why RAF Kittyhawks in the Western Desert always seemed to be equipped with British ASI pitot heads under their wingtip instead of the standard American heated pitots with which they were fitted at the factory? Was there something inherently wrong with the American units when operated under desert conditions? Incidentally RNZAF P-40E-1s were also shipped with the standard SCR-274N command radio sets (R/T to the RAF!) presumably because the British aircraft inustry was by this time barely capable of equipping British-built aircraft for the RAF, let alone the flood of American lend-lease types, whereas the American radio industry was working up to true mass production.
    David D

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    Thanks Dave. At the risk of thread creep, your post helps explain some puzzling entries in the 135 Squadron RCAF diary for mid 1944. They received P-40Ns as replacements for Canadian built Hurricanes at that time. There are a few entries about trying to fit Hurricane gun sights on the newly received P-40s, without success. Getting back to Simon's question, some of these P-40s were diversions from RAF orders, and had been with the RCAF since late 1943.
    Last edited by Bill Walker; 17th March 2011 at 23:15.

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    Default Kittyhawk I gunsight and other information

    Hi guys

    Just a quick one here, the initial British aircraft were ordered and delivered without certain equipment (I'll find the correct document tonight to confirm if the Gunsight was one of these items ).

    The Aircraft the RAF received in late 1941 were all British ordered and paid for aircraft (and as such did not have a P-40 designation). These aircraft, as David points out, had the standard British ASI, not the US heated versions, and is one of the main methods (there are a few) of telling a British ordered Kittyhawk I from a P-40E-1 in photos of desert aircraft (apart from seeing the serial number).

    IRT the radio, the way the P-40's were moved around by the lend Lease/USAAC (later USAAF) the fitting of radios was a must...aircraft allocated to the RAF ended up going all over the shop including being taken back by the USAAF. Also the aircraft were completed as a complete airframe. The gunsite issue I think stems from the RAF using a different type and these would have been removed from the aircraft at the Depot before shipment (and as the early RNZAF/RCAF/SAAF/RAAF were all from the British allocation this would have been completed before forwarding the aircraft).

    Buz

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    Default Kittyhawk Gunsite

    As promised I looked up the Document concerned and it states that Tomahawk and Kittyhawk aircraft were to be delivered without Appendix "A" equipment.

    Appendix A consisted of:

    Safety Harness
    Night Flying equipment
    Machine Gun Sights
    Oxygen cylinders
    I.F.F
    Radio Sets

    Buz

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    Default Thanks everyone!

    Thanks to all those who have replied and cleared up my query, it's very much appreciated.

    Regards

    Simon

    (PS - thanks for the reply over at the other forum too Buz!)

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