P-40 Warhawk Aces of the MTO, Osprey Aircraft of the Aces Series no. 43, by Carl Molesworth. Osprey Publishing (http://www.ospreypublishing. com/index.shtml), Elms Court, Chapel Way, Botley, Oxford OX2 9LP, United Kingdom, 2002, 96 pages, $18.95.
Osprey Publishing has done it again. Adding to perhaps the best series of military aviation books to hit the streets in recent years, Osprey has produced yet another excellent study that details aces and aircraft from a specific area. Carl Molesworth, an expert on the P-40 and its pilots, has written several books on this subject and is currently at work on his third book for Osprey-it will cover P-40 pilots in the Pacific; his first Osprey book dealt with P-40 aces of the China-Burma-India theater. P-40 Warhawk Aces is an excellent volume although a more appropriate title may have been American P-40 Warhawk Aces. Several Desert Air Force (DAF) fighter squadrons (South African, Australian, Canadian, and British) had success using the P-40 in the Mediterranean theater of operations (MTO) before the Americans arrived, but this book focuses on the American pilots of the 33d, 57th, 79th, 324th, and 325th Fighter Groups, the earliest of which did not arrive in-theater until late 1942.
The successes of the P-47s and P-51s that came into service later in the war tend to overshadow the story of the P-40. Most people do not realize that when the first operational American units arrived in North Africa in September 1942, the pilots of Ninth Air Force and Twelfth Air Force entered combat against German and Italian units with the only aircraft available at the time-the venerable P-40. …