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  • Most aviation enthusiasts assume that the Curtiss P-40N, like General Douglas MacArthur's "Old Soldier", just faded away after the end of World War II. This was most certainly not the case as far as the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army Air Force was concerned. As the Japanese began leaving their former Dutch conquests in 1945, they left behind a motley collection of combat aircraft, some of which were appropriated and flown by the Indonesian insurgents, who were determined to get the Dutch out of their islands so they could become an independent country, in accordance with the postwar trend of ending European colonialism in that part of the world. The Dutch, predictably, fought to maintain what had been their colony for over 100 years, and the resulting conflict, which ended about 1950 when the Dutch finally evacuated all but the western half of New Guinea, (That withdrawal occurred about 1962) involved a small amount of air action, mainly using the P-40N's in the ground attack role.

    The Dutch had been using Curtiss P-40N's primarily for close support duties against the bypassed Japanese forces in the islands, and postwar, although the subsequent acquisition of Ex-RAF Spitfire Mk. IX's, ex-Royal Navy Fairey Firefly Mk. 1's, and USAAF P-51D's did not result in the end of service for the Curtiss fighters. The P-40N's were virtually worn out in use, and the RNEIAAF even acquired more of them from USAAF surplus stocks during the campaign.
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