Curtiss Model H75A

The Curtiss Model H75A was the main export version of the P-36/ Hawk 75, and saw extensive service with the French Armée de l'Air in 1940, as well as serving with the RAF and SAAF as the Mohawk, and in China, Argentina, Norway, the Netherlands and Finland.

The Model H75A could be powered by either the Wright Cyclone or Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp, and could carry whichever combination of guns the purchaser desired (two in the nose and two in the wings was standard). It was slower and less manoeuvrable than the Bf 109E, which became its main opponent, but was more rugged and more manoeuvrable, and held its own in 1940.

Curtiss H75A-1

Curtiss Hawk 75A-1 No.35
Curtiss Hawk 75A-1 No.35

The first 100 aircraft ordered for France were the model H75A-1. This was powered by a 1,050hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830-SC3G engine, and armed with four French 7.5mm machine guns, two in the nose and one in each wing. They had French equipment, including throttles that worked in the opposite direction to standard practise elsewhere, with forward reducing power and back increasing it. Deliveries started in December 1938. Most of the surviving aircraft moved to Africa in June 1940, although some escaped to Britain where they became the Mohawk I.

Curtiss H75A-2

The second 100 aircraft ordered by France were the model H75A-2. These were powered by the 1,050hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830-S1C3G and carried two extra wing guns, for a total of six. Deliveries began in May 1939. Those aircraft that escaped to Britain became Mohawk IIs.

Curtiss H75A-3

The third French order was for 135 Model H75A-3s. These carried the same guns as the A-2, but were powered by the 1,200hp R-1830-S1C3G engine. Deliveries began in February 1940, but only sixty reached France. Others reached Morocco, while twenty were taken over by the RAF as the Mohawk III.

Curtiss H75A-4

The fourth French order was for 795 Model H75A-4s. These were powered by the 1,200hp Wright R-1820-G205A Cyclone engine, and were armed with the same six guns as the A2 and A3. The new engine was contained in a short-chord cowl with a slightly greater diameter than on the R-1830 and no engine cowling flaps. Only six reached France. Four were lost at sea, 23 went to Martinique, where they sat out the war. The remaining 251 went straight from the factory to the RAF, where they were given British equipment and the designation Mohawk IV.

Curtiss H75A-5

The Cyclone-powered Model H75A-5 was to have been assembled in China by the Central Aircraft Manufacturing Company from kits produced by Curtiss. One complete aircraft was built by Curtiss to act as a model, and this and some of the kits did reach China. Soon after this the company moved to Bangalore, India, where it was renamed the Hindustan Aircraft Ltd. At least six A-5s were built in Bangalore, and taken over by the RAF where they became Mohawk IVs.

Curtiss H75A-6

Twenty-four H75A-6s were ordered by Norway, with deliveries beginning in February 1940. This model was powered by the 1,200hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830-S1C3G Twin Wasp and was armed with four 7.9mm Browning machine guns. Not all of the aircraft had been delivered when the Germans invaded. Some of the aircraft that had arrived were captured, and were later sold to Finland.

Curtiss H75A-7

The Netherlands ordered twenty H75A-7s, powered by Cyclone engines. None reached the Netherlands before the German invasion, and instead they went to the Dutch East Indies, arriving from May 1940. The H75A-7s saw heavy fighting against the Japanese early in 1942.

Curtiss H75A-8

Just before the German invasion Norway placed a second order for Hawks, this time for thirty-six H75A-8s. These were to be powered by 1,200hp R-1820-G205A Cyclone engines, and armed with two 12.7mm nose guns and two 7.9mm wing guns. None reached Norway. In February 1941 six were later given to the Free Norwegian Forces in Canada, while the remaining thirty were taken over by the US Army and given the designation P-36G.

Engine: Wright R-1820-G205A Cyclone
Power: 1,200hp
Crew: 1
Wing span: 37ft 0in
Length: 28ft 6in
Height: 9ft 3in
Empty Weight: 4,675lb
Gross Weight: 5,880lb
Max Speed:  322mph at 15,200ft
Cruising Speed: 261mph
Service Ceiling: 32,350ft
Range: 650 miles
Armament: Four 0.30in and two 0.50in machine guns

Curtiss H75A-9

Ten H75A-9s were ordered by Persia. These were powered by Wright R-1820-G205A engines. They reached Persia, but were still in their crates when the British occupied Persia. They were completed by the British and served with the RAF in India as Mohawk IVs.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (21 December 2009), Curtiss Model H75A , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_curtiss_model_H75A.html

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