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Arthur Neslen 6 January Mitchel, Hosted by The World Bank, There were three versions of the Banshee A, AA and AB flown by the army to a very minor degree in the early stages of the war. Most U. Navy SBDs flew from their aircraft carriers , which did not operate in close cooperation with the rest of the fleet. SBDs were also used for anti-torpedo combat air patrols CAP and these scored several victories against Japanese aircraft trying to attack Lexington and Yorktown.
Their relatively heavy gun armament with two forward-firing. SBD pilot Stanley "Swede" Vejtasa was attacked by three A6M2 Zero fighters; he shot down two of them and cut off the wing of the third in a head-on pass with his wingtip. They also caught two straggling heavy cruisers of the Midway bombardment group of four, heavily damaging them, with Mikuma eventually sinking.
Instead, its pilots resorted to the slower but easier glide bombing technique.
This led to many of the SBDs being shot down when they became vulnerable during their glide, although one survivor from these attacks is now on display at the National Naval Aviation Museum and is the last surviving aircraft to fly in the battle. On the other hand, the carrier-borne squadrons were effective, especially when they were escorted by their Grumman F4F Wildcat teammates. SBDs attacked Japanese shipping throughout the campaign, and proved lethal to Japanese shipping that failed to clear the slot by daylight.
Three other Japanese carriers were damaged during the six-month campaign.
Douglas SBD Dauntless
While the American strength was dive bombing, the Japanese stressed their Nakajima B5N 2 "Kate" torpedo bombers , which had caused the bulk of the damage during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. By the U. During the Battle of the Philippine Sea in June , a long range twilight strike was made against the retreating Japanese fleet, at or beyond the limit of the attacking airplanes' combat radius.
The force had about twenty minutes of daylight over their targets before attempting the long return in the dark. Of the aircraft, only made it back. Twenty were lost to enemy action in the attack, while 80 more were lost when one by one they expended their fuel and had to ditch into the sea. The Battle of the Philippine Sea was the last major engagement where SBDs made up a significant part of the carrier-borne bomber force.
SBD Dauntless | World War Photos
Marine squadrons continued to fly SBDs until the end of the war. Although the Curtiss Helldiver had a more powerful engine, a higher maximum speed and could carry nearly a thousand pounds more in bomb load, many of the dive bomber pilots preferred the SBD, which was lighter and had better low-speed handling characteristics, critical for carrier landings.
The Dauntless was one of the most important aircraft in the Pacific War , sinking more enemy shipping in the War in the Pacific than any other Allied bomber. In addition, Barrett Tillman, in his book on the Dauntless, claims that it has a "plus" score against enemy aircraft, meaning it was credited with more victories over enemy planes than losses due to enemy action. This is considered to be a rare event for a nominal "bomber". A total of 5, SBDs were produced during the War. The Navy placed emphasis on the heavier, faster, and longer-ranged SB2C. Its battle record shows that in addition to six Japanese carriers, 14 enemy cruisers had been sunk, along with six destroyers , 15 transports or cargo ships and scores of various lesser craft.
Army Air Forces sent 52 A Banshees in crates to the Philippines in the fall of to equip the 27th Bombardment Group, whose personnel were sent separately.
However, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor , these bombers were diverted to Australia and the 27th BG fought on the Bataan Peninsula as infantry. While in Australia the aircraft were reassembled for flight to the Philippines but their missing parts, including solenoids, trigger motors and gun mounts delayed their shipment. Plagued with mechanical problems, the As were diverted to the 91st Bombardment Squadron and designated for assignment to Java Island instead. Referring to themselves as "Blue Rock Clay Pigeons", the 91st BS attacked the enemy harbor and airbase at Bali and damaged or sank numerous ships around Java.
After the Japanese downed two As and damaged three so badly that they could no longer fly, the 91st received orders to evacuate Java in early March. On 26 July , seven As attacked a convoy off Buna , but only one survived: the Japanese shot down five of them and damaged the sixth so badly that it did not make it back to base.
Regarded by many pilots as too slow, short ranged and poorly armed, the remaining As were relegated to non-combat missions. In the U. The ABs were then withdrawn from combat. The AB U. The B model was similar to the previous A model but had a more powerful engine than either the A or AA. As a result, AB could fly slightly faster and higher than the earlier models.
The AB lacked the small air intake on the top of the engine cowling present on the earlier models and that is an easy way to distinguish the B model. The USAF established a new designation system for its aircraft, eliminating the "A-for-Attack" category, through The twin-engined "A" versions were redesignated as bombers, with another Douglas Aircraft design, the A Invader becoming the B Invader. Most of the single-engined "A" aircraft were either classified as fighters, or scrapped. As a result, the Banshee was called the F Banshee, although this aircraft was scrapped in A total of Dauntlesses were ordered by the French Navy , but with the fall of France in the spring of that production batch was diverted to the U.
Navy, which ordered more. They were used as trainers and close-support aircraft. This squadron flew from North Africa to recently liberated Toulouse to support Allied and French resistance troops. Later, the unit was assigned to support attacks on cities occupied by the Germans on the French Atlantic coast. French Navy Dauntlesses were based in Cognac at the end of In late during one operation in the Indochina War, Flotille 4F flew missions and dropped 65 tons of bombs. By , the French Navy removed the Dauntless from combat status although the type was still flown as a trainer through For surviving aircraft, hyphenated numbers are original U.
Army Air Forces, as the A Banshee. Design an. At the time, Northrop was a subsidiary of the Douglas Aircraft Company. Design and development The design of the initial version began in One BT-1 was modified with a fixed tricycle landing gear and was the first such aircraft to land on an aircraft carrier. A small number had been delivered before the end of the war, but none saw combat.
It had a laminar flow gull-wing, and unusually for a carrier-based aircraft of the time, a tricycle undercarriage. Look up dauntless in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. It was founded in by Donald Wills Douglas Sr. McDonnell Douglas later merged with Boeing in In , the U.
Army Air Service was interested in carrying out a mission to circumnavigate the Earth for the first time by aircraft, a program called "World Flight". The dive brakes are extended and are visible behind the wings. A dive bomber is a bomber aircraft that dives directly at its targets in order to provide greater accuracy for the bomb it drops.
Diving towards the target simplifies the bomb's trajectory and allows the pilot to keep visual contact throughout the bomb run. This allows attacks on point targets and ships, which were difficult to attack with conventional level bombers, even en masse. Glide bombing is a similar technique using shallower dive angles that does not require a sharp pull-up after dropping the bombs. This can be performed by larger aircraft and fighter bombers but does not confer the same level of accuracy as a steep dive from a dedicated aircraft. Definition A dive bomber dives at a steep angle, normally between 45 and 60 degrees or even up to a near vertical dive of 80 degrees with the Junkers Ju 87, and thus requires an abrupt pull-up after dropping its bombs.
This puts great strains on both p. Crew nicknames for the aircraft included the Big-Tailed Beast or just the derogatory Beast, Two-Cee, and Son-of-a-Bitch 2nd Class after its designation and partly because of its reputation for having difficult handling characteristics. Poor handling of the aircraft was another factor that hampered its service introductions; both the British Royal Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force cancelled substantial orders. Ordered in , it first flew in and entered service in At that point, it was the most advanced aircraft flying for the Navy and possibly for any navy in the world.
However, the fast pace of aircraft development quickly caught up with it, and by the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor the TBD was already outdated.