Hobby Master 1-72 Air Power
HA0175 Douglas SBD-2 Dauntless "Battle of Midway"
BuNo 2013, flown by Major Lofton Henderson, VMSB-241, 4 June 1942
Designed as a light bomber and reconnaissance aircraft, various versions of the Dauntless served during WWII with the US Marine Corps, Army and Navy. The Douglas Dauntless was the workhorse of the US Navy in the Pacific. The Dauntless dive-bomber was the only plane to fight in every major Pacific engagement and because of the battles and the courage of the men that flew them, this plane became one of the most successful designs of WWII with 5,936 having been built in all versions.
On June 4, 1942 eleven SB2U-3 Vindicators and sixteen SBD-2 Dauntless of VMSB-241 departed Midway to attack approaching Japanese aircraft carriers. They SBDs were first to arrive on target and began to attack the carriers Kaga, Hiryu, Akagi and Soryu. The Dauntless were met by Japanese A6M2 Zeros and with Major Lofton Henderson’s SBD-2 leading the attack on the Hiryu he was the first target for the Zeros. Witnesses saw his aircraft wing burst into flames but he continued his attack. Henderson as well as gunner Pfc Lee Reininger perished.
Specifications for Douglas SBD-2 Dauntless
Crew: 2 X a pilot and a radioman-gunner
SDB-2 had increased fuel capacity but reduced again once self-sealing fuel tanks were available, along with different armament from the SBD-1 2 forward firing 0.50 caliber machine guns. Tail gunner equipped with twin 0.30 caliber machine guns. Capable of carrying a 1600 lb bomb under the fuselage, a crutch was used to swing it clear of the propeller in a dive. Capable of carrying a 650 lb bomb under each wing.
Number of SBD-2s produced: 87
Length: 32’ 1” (9.7m) Height: 13’ 7” (4.1m) Wingspan: 41’ 6” (12.6m) Wing area: 325 sq. ft (30.0 sq. m)
Empty weight: 5,652 lb. (2,564 kg) Gross weight: 10,337 lb. (4,698 kg) Maximum weight: 10,360 lb. (4,699 kg)
Engine: 1 X Wright R-1820-32 Horsepower: 1,000
Range: 1,225 miles (1,970 km) Cruise speed: 148 mph (238 km/h) (128 kt) Max speed: 256 mph (412 km/h) (222 kt) Climb rate: 1.080 ft/min. (329 m/min.) Ceiling: 27,260 ft (8,319 m)