Some types are familiar to us, almost. One such “almost” could be the export versions of the Hawk 75, a type the US Army Air Force called “P-36”.
After the jump, a look at a more obscure fighter.
In the late 1930s Curtiss was selling their Hawk 75 to a number of foreign customers. The French placed an order, and when war broke out it would be the only modern fighter program that had delivered on time.
But orders came slow. So Curtiss developed a low cost version, that did away with the retractable landing gear. This was not only cheaper, it was more rugged for unimproved airfields, and simplified maintenance. Several countries placed orders for this version, Argentina, China, Peru and Siam.
Like many smaller countries, Siam has an interesting and confusing history through the war years. In addition to older American and British types, Siam was modernizing with American and Japanese aircraft. Politically, there was long standing tensions between Siam and the French in Indochina (modern Laos, Cambodia, Viet Nam); Siam would try to press territorial claims against the French while trying not to antagonize the British or Japanese. But they still found time to change their name to Thailand in 1939.
In early 1941, Thai forces moved in to Indochina to settle those long standing territorial issues; perhaps they felt the French would be a push over after their performance against the Germans the year before. But the French did fight, in a war that had a few oddities. Like Thai Hawk 75s escorting Ki-30 bombers that had been sourced from Japan. Or Thai Hawk 75s fighting French Hawk 75s. This war did not last long, Japan negotiated a peace treaty.
When Japan attacked British forces in Asia, they demanded passage through Thailand. The Thais refused, which led to a Japanese invasion and a quick surrender. Thailand fought for both sides in the war. Officially an ally of Japan, there was also a significant and active anti-Japanese resistance movement. When the atomic bombs were dropped, the Thai government was deposed and its treaties with Japan declared “illegal”.
This state of affairs meant that in just a few years, Thai Hawk 75s were used against France, Japan, Britain and the United States.
This is the Hobbycraft kit. I think it looks about right in outline and it fit well, but as is typical of this brand, it is very simple in detail. I would very much like to see a more modern tool of this airplane.
Up Next: Sturmgeschutz III