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Question about SBD Dauntless in the Pacific


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#1 TD-Tommy776

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 01:55 AM

I have been trying to determine how late into the War the Army Air Force used the SBD Dauntless. I recall reading somewhere that in early 1945 only Marine Aviation units were still using them, but I haven't been able to find that source again. That is why I am putting the question to you folks:

How late into WW2 did the various US military branches (AAF, Marines, Navy) use the Dauntless for combat missions? Keep in mind that I am interested in the PTO, not the ETO even though that would also be interesting to know. :D

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#2 LRusso216

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 03:14 AM

It looks as though the Dauntless was used through the end of the war. Check these websites:
Douglas SBD Dauntless Carrier-Borne Dive Bomber - History, Specs and Pictures - Military Aircraft
Boeing: History -- Products - Douglas SBD Dauntless Dive Bomber
According to the Boeing site, the end of production was not until July of 1944. That leads me to believe that they continued to be used for the next year.

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#3 Slipdigit

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 03:40 AM

This article says the last Marine squadrons were folded up 1 Aug 1945.

France used them until 1949.

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#4 PzJgr

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 02:55 PM

I could be wrong but I believe the Army Air Force was not a big supporter of the dive bomber. If they possessed them, I have not read where they were used in the war. As the war progressed, they turned to the fighter bomber (P-47) but left the bombing to the level bombers.
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#5 formerjughead

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 07:48 PM

[quote name='TD-Tommy776']I have been trying to determine how late into the War the Army Air Force used the SBD Dauntless. I recall reading somewhere that in early 1945 only Marine Aviation units were still using them, but I haven't been able to find that source again. That is why I am putting the question to you folks:

How late into WW2 did the various US military branches (AAF, Marines, Navy) use the Dauntless for combat missions? Keep in mind that I am interested in the PTO, not the ETO even though that would also be interesting to know. :D[/QUOTE]

[quote]
United States Army Air Forces Posted Image
A-24B taxiing at Makin Island.


The United States Army Air Forces sent 52 A-24 Banshees in crates to the Philippine Islands in fall 1941 to equip the 27th Bombardment Group, whose personnel arrived separately. However with the early December attack on Pearl Harbor, these aircraft were diverted to Australia and the 27th BG fought on Bataan as infantry. While in Australia, these aircraft were reassembled for flight to the Philippines, but missing parts including solenoids, trigger motors, and gun mounts delayed shipment. Plagued with mechanical problems the A-24s were diverted to the 91st Bombardment Squadron and designated for assignment to Java instead. Referring to themselves as "Blue Rock Clay Pigeons", the 91st attacked the enemy harbor and airbase at Bali and damaged or sank numerous ships around Java[citation needed]. After the Japanese shot down two A-24s and damaged three so badly they could no longer fly, the 91st received orders to evacuate Java in early March, ending a brief but valiant effort.
The Banshees left in Australia were assigned to the 8th Bombardment Squadron of 3d Bombardment Group, to defend New Guinea. On 26 July 1942, seven A-24s 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, too short-ranged and too poorly armed, the remaining A-24s were relegated to non-combat missions. In the U.S., the A-24s became training aircraft or towed targets for aerial gunnery training. The more powerful A-24B was used later against the Japanese forces in the Gilbert Islands.[2] (http://en.wikipedia....Army_Air_Forces)
[/qoute]

Edited by formerjughead, 22 July 2012 - 01:57 AM.


#6 muscogeemike

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 01:36 AM

[quote name='formerjughead'][quote]United States Army Air ForcesPosted Image Posted Image
A-24B taxiing at Makin Island.


The United States Army Air Forces sent 52 A-24 Banshees in crates to the Philippine Islands in fall 1941 to equip the 27th Bombardment Group, whose personnel arrived separately. However with the early December attack on Pearl Harbor, these aircraft were diverted to Australia and the 27th BG fought on Bataan as infantry. While in Australia, these aircraft were reassembled for flight to the Philippines, but missing parts including solenoids, trigger motors, and gun mounts delayed shipment. Plagued with mechanical problems the A-24s were diverted to the 91st Bombardment Squadron and designated for assignment to Java instead. Referring to themselves as "Blue Rock Clay Pigeons", the 91st attacked the enemy harbor and airbase at Bali and damaged or sank numerous ships around Java[citation needed]. After the Japanese shot down two A-24s and damaged three so badly they could no longer fly, the 91st received orders to evacuate Java in early March, ending a brief but valiant effort.
The Banshees left in Australia were assigned to the 8th Bombardment Squadron of 3d Bombardment Group, to defend New Guinea. On 26 July 1942, seven A-24s 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, too short-ranged and too poorly armed, the remaining A-24s were relegated to non-combat missions. In the U.S., the A-24s became training aircraft or towed targets for aerial gunnery training. The more powerful A-24B was used later against the Japanese forces in the Gilbert Islands.[2] (http://en.wikipedia....Army_Air_Forces)
[/qoute][/quote]

Thanks for this posting - I wasn’t aware that any USAAF Aircraft, with US crews, were used in Java.
The Army also took delivery of some Curtiss Helldivers, designated them A-25’s, but I don’t think any of them made it into combat.

#7 TD-Tommy776

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 01:50 AM

Thanks guys! Looks like I get to do more reading. :hypnotize:

And I finally remembered the reference I mentioned. Of course, it was on HyperWar:

Nevertheless, the dive bombers of the two Marine aircraft groups on Luzon performed creditably during the early phase of their employment on the island. The use of the Douglas Dauntless dive bombers by the Marines was unique in at least one respect, for the Marine squadrons were the only units still flying that type of aircraft during this phase of the war. The Army had discontinued use of dive bombers as early as 1942, and during the summer of 1944 the Navy had turned to more heavily armed and faster aircraft. Despite the valiant service the dive bomber had rendered for Marine aviation from Midway to Bougainville, due to the accuracy obtained with the aircraft in pinpointing targets, the SBD was rapidly becoming obsolete. This was due particularly to its limited combat radius of only 450 miles. The Luzon campaign was to become its swan song and the plane was scheduled for retirement at the end of the Philippines campaign. But Marine aviators in their outmoded aircraft were to have one more chance to show what they could do with the dive bombers in which they had so carefully trained in the Solomons. The opportunity was not long in coming.


History of US Marine Corps Operations in World War II - Chapt. 3, Page 342

Freedom is precious and many gave their lives for it. It is the duty of the future generation
to remember that sacrifice, and offer some sacrifice for themselves if Freedom is threatened.

Cecil Earl Workman, WWII Veteran, "L" Co., 129th Inf. Regt., 37th Inf. Div.


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PFC Glenn W. Halvorson

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