Although the P-40 and the Bf 109 both joined the air war over North Africa at nearly the same time in early 1941, the venerable German fighter was already fully sorted with a combat career dating back to 1937 in Spain, while the American fighter was making its combat debut in the hands of the RAF's Desert Air Force. Both aircraft were low-wing designs powered by a single liquid-cooled engine of roughly the same output, but there the similarities ended. The Bf 109 was small and agile, capable of operating at high altitudes. The P-40's weight and engine limited it to middle-altitude operations, but it was more manoeuvrable than the Bf 109 and extremely capable in the fighter-bomber role. In typical encounters, Bf 109 pilots would climb above a formation of P-40s and then dive into battle, seeking to maintain the initiative and a speed advantage. The P-40 pilots would respond by trying to turn into the attack. The tide turned in the autumn of 1942, by which time USAAF P-40 squadrons had joined the fight in time for the final Allied push from El Alamein and the Operation Torch landings in Morocco.
"...a great book for the scale modeler and history buff alike." -Perry Downen, IPMS/USA
"Osprey has scored another success with this title. Mr. Molesworth’s knowledge and presentation, plus the wonderful art by Messrs. Laurier and Hector, presents you with an excellent comparison of these two antagonists of the Mediterranean air war. I definitely recommend this book." -Frederick Boucher, Aeroscale