Excerpt from All About Sharks: A Complete Guide to the World’s Most Misunderstood Predator (Nov. 2017):
The American Curtiss P-40 Warhawk airplane was a workhorse aircraft in World War II, particularly in the Pacific Theatre, where, flying out of China, they consistently battled against Japanese aircraft designed better for dogfights.
Looking for every advantage possible, P-40 pilots began painting the nose of their planes to look like tiger sharks because a rumor had been circulated that Japanese soldiers were deathly afraid of sharks.
The painted planes became famous for their aerial accomplishments against the Japanese and the Chinese soon dubbed the planes “Flying Tigers” instead of “Flying Tiger Sharks” due, in part, to the fact that tigers are revered in China.
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