Hobby Master 1-72 Air Power
HA2212 SB2C-4E Helldiver No. 210, VB-84, USS Bunker Hill, Tokyo Raids,
February 1945

The SB2C Helldiver was commonly referred to as “The Beast” because of its size and rather poor handling characteristics. Even with new variants and upgrades the Helldiver never received the credit and respect it deserved. The most produced variant was the “4” with the SB2C-4E equipped with an AN/APS-4 radar pod mounted under the starboard wing for air search. It flew faster and further than the Avenger, except for range it beat the SBD in every category. Its cruising speed was only 2 mph slower than the famous Hellcat.

On February 16 1945 as part of a 116 ship task force USS Bunker Hill was anchored 60 miles off shore from Japan and began launching its Helldivers and other aircraft against airfields and engine factories around Tokyo. Hopefully this would distract the enemy and make it impossible for Japan to send aircraft to repel the US Marine landing on Iwo Jima on February 19th. These strikes lasted seven days and destroyed 500 enemy aircraft as well as factories and several ships. The US lost 88 aircraft of which two were Helldivers from VB-84.

Specifications for the Curtiss SB2C-4E Helldiver
First flight – 18/12/1940
Crew – 2 X Pilot and Radio Operator/Gunner
Special Equipment – 1 X AN/APS-4 radar housed in a pod under the right wing.
Length – 36.7ft (11.18m) Wingspan – 49.7ft (15.16m) Height – 13.2ft (4.01m)
Engine – 1 X Wright R-2600-2- Cyclone / 1900hp (1,417kW) Speed – Cruise / 158mph (254km/h) (137kts) Maximum Speed – 295mph (475km/h) (256kts) Rate Of Climb – 1,800ft/min (548m/min) Service Ceiling – 29,100ft (8,869m) Range – 1,165miles (1,876km)
Empty – 1,057lbs (7535kg) Maximum Take Off – 16,616lbs (7,537kg)
2 X 20mm fixed wing cannon or 4 X 0.50 caliber fixed wing machine guns 2 X 0.30 caliber rear cockpit machine guns or 1 X 0.50 caliber flexible rear cockpit machine gun
Bomb Load- 1 X torpedo or 1,000 pounds of bombs in the bay or 4 X depth charges Also capable of carry an additional 1,000 pounds of bombs or 8 X 5inch rockets under the wings.