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Technical Specifications
Mono-seat Fighter  with low wings
Date first flight
November 1938
Wing Area
Empty Weight
Max. Takeoff Weight
2680 Kg 
Cruising Speed
410 km/h. 
Maximum Speed
487 km/h
Climbing Speed
Service ceilling
1 Pilot
1 Radial engine Pratt & Withney R1820 Twin Wasp SCG of 1050ch in take-off
4 machine-guns FN of 7.5mm in the wings



335 Curtiss H75 have been delivered by the United States since the date of the first flight of a French Curtiss H75 in November 1938.

They are divided into:

  • 100 Curtiss H75 A-1
  • 100 Curtiss H75 A-2
  • 135 Curtiss H75 A-3
  • 81 Curtiss H75 A-4, of which only 22 to 24 aircraft were delivered in metropolitan France before the Armistice

To date , out of 416 aircraft delivered, 341 are listed in the list below :



At the end of 1937, it became evident that the French aeronautical industry was not in a position to supply the Air Force with the modern fighters it so badly needed. The specifications of the "V" plan seemed utopian, and it was therefore logically towards foreign countries that the Air Ministry turned to try to make up for the delay.. Steps in Europe resulted in the purchase of unsatisfactory aircraft such as the Koolhoven FK58 Dutch, but only the United States seemed to be able to meet our need. Unofficial negotiations began at the end of 1937 to acquire several hundred modern fighters.

At that time the Curtiss P36 had just been ousted by the Seversky P-35 in the USAAC equipment contest. The Curtiss P36 becomes Curtiss H75 for export, which will be chosen by the French services. The negotiations were rather lengthy: the price of the Curtiss H75 was indeed very high in comparison with the national productions such as the Morane MS406 or Bloch MB152, but the tensions in Europe left little choice to the French emissaries ... A first contract for the purchase of 100 Curtiss H75 A1 (see "Version") was signed in May 1938. After testing by French pilots in Buffalo, the first Curtiss H75 A1, brought back to French standards, are dismantled in France December 1938. They were directly purchased routed to the plant of Bourges in charge of assembly. The situation in Europe is deteriorating after the Munich crisis, and new negotiations are being launched with the United States to acquire new aircraft. The Curtiss H81 was chosen as the curtiss P40, but the delivery delays of the Allison engines of this version led to the choice of the Curtiss H75 A2, an improved version of the H75 equipped with a motor and an armament more powerful. A new order of 100 machines has passed ..

In September 1939, the entire order was honored, and the first fighter Group were equipped as of March 1939 : GC I / 5, GC II / 5, GC I / 4,. After the declaration of War, in September 39, France again turns to the United States for a third command. The context is however more difficult with a France now in war, the United States now neutral, and a unit price of Curtiss H75 even higher ... An order is finally passed for the supply of 530 Curtiss H75 A3, and 100 new Curtiss H81 (P40) now available. The first Curtiss H75 A3 arrives in France in March 1940. Only part of the order can arrive in time on the national territory: a part sinks at sea, the rest is diverted to the West Indies to be stored, or Casablanca in Morocco. As for the H75 A4 version, less than a dozen aircraft arrive in France, too late to take part in the fighting.

At the signature of the Armistice, all the Fighter Groups equipped with Curtiss H75 take refuge in North Africa. TThere are about 186 aircraft, while 45 others stayed in metropolitan France.The GC I / 4, GC I / 5 and GC II / 5 were kept in the Vichy Air Force, based in Rabat, Casablanca and Morocco respectively. These groups had to face the allied planes during the regrettable case "Mers El Kebir", and raids of retaliation that followed. After the rallying to the French Free Forces, the Curtiss H75 aging finish their career in the schools of fighter, or in secondary missions.

The final outcome of the use of the Curtiss H75 during the Frances campaign is 275 sures victories and 96 likely for the loss of 35 pilots. Some pilots will win numerous victories aboard this aircraft, such as Edmond Marin la Meslee, the Aces of the French Aces with his 16 victories..

This aircraft was appreciated by its pilots for its ease of piloting, its large cokpit, and its general stability which made it a good platform of shooting. On the other hand, its armament was far too weak: 4 machine guns of 7.5mm, 6 for the last versions, and its engine, although reliable and robust, was not powerful enough. Its protection was perfectible, including unprotected tanks.



Curtiss H75 A1
The Curtiss H75 A-1 is similar to the P36 A used by the United States. They are powered by a 1050 hp Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp R-1830 SCG engine on take-off. They are realigned with French equipment: collimator, radio. The throttle is set to the French standard, to the left of the pilot, and of course all instruments are graduated in metric units. The arming consists of 4 Browning 7.5mm machine guns: 2 in the wings and 2 on the engine hood
Curtiss H75 A2
On the Curtiss H75 A-2, the rear part of the Fuselage has been reinforced. It receives a TWIN WASP engine (SC3G), more powerful than its predecessor. The armament is completed by two additional machine guns in the wings. This modification was implemented starting from No. 141, and subsequently installed on previously exited aircraft. 100 Curtiss H75 A-2 are ordered and numbered from No. 101
Curtiss H75 A3

The Curtiss H75 A-3 is ordered in the United States during a French mission in August 1939. This model is equipped with a 1200 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp SICG3G engine. The numbering of the series begins at No. 201. The first units were taken into account by the Air Force in June 1940. When the Armistice was requested, some Curtiss H75 sank on board the ships which were transporting them to France. Others are diverted to the West Indies, while some thirty aircraft are landed in Casablanca, Morocco.

Curtiss H75 A4
The Curtiss H75 A-4 arrived too late to be used in combat. Only a few examples are delivered before the armistice. It is equipped with a Wright Cyclone R-1820-G205A engine of 1200 hp on take-off. This engine required a change in the shape of the hood



1) _ Editions LELA PRESSECollection "Histoire de l'Aviation"
- No22 : "Les Curtiss H75
de l'Armée de l'Air"
De Lionel PERSYN


2) _ Editions DOCAVIA:
- No22 :"Curtiss Hawk 75"


3) _ Editions LELA PRESSE Collection "Les Ailes de la Gloire"
- No4 :"Le Curtiss Hawk H75"

4) _ Le Fana de l'Aviation : "Hors série No 34"
- "Curtiss H-75 au Combat"

5) _ Profil Publication :
- No80 :"The Curtiss Hawk H75"
De Peter M. BOWERS

6) _ Mushroom Model Publications :
-" Curtiss Hawk H-75 in French Service"
De Lionel PERSYN


Photos Album


Drawing 3 views


- Book : Aviation History Collection No22 : "Les Curtiss H75 de l'Armée de l'Air" De Lionel PERSYN - Editions LELA Presse
- ...