flagwav.gif (12532 bytes)

SBD Dauntless

anchor.gif (1701 bytes)


Whats New!

O.B. Wiseman


Battle of Midway


Muster List

Duty at Sea

Commissioning Photos

Underway Photos

Armament Photots

Equator Photos

Aboard Ship Photos

Misc-1 Photos

Misc-2 Photos

Crews by Years Index

Last Chapter


Destroyer Escorts

wbsbd5.jpg (11542 bytes)


The distress call for voice radio, for vessels and people in serious trouble at sea. The term was made official by an international telecommunications conference in 1948, and is an anglicizing of the French "m'aidez," (help me).

The Dauntless

The right plane at the right time. That's what the "Slow But Deadly" SBD Dauntless was. When the US Navy was forced to go to war it did so in an aircraft that was considered by many to be obsolete. By the end of the war this "obsolete" plane was responsible for sinking more enemy ships than any other aircraft in the US inventory.

The first version of the Dauntless was the dash one and was found to be unsuitable for Navy service. As was Navy tradition, these first 50 aircraft were destroyed on the gound at Pearl Harbor. The most produced versions were the improved dash three and dash five aircraft. These planes ranged from the skies over the Coral Sea to the final victory flight over the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay and are now recognized as treasured museum pieces.

The SBD Dauntless was a two-place, low-wing Navy scout bomber, powered by a single Wright R1820, 1200-horsepower engine. The Dauntless became a mainstay of the Navy's air fleet in the Pacific, with the lowest loss ration of any U.S. carrier aircraft. A total of 5,936 SBDs were delivered between first delivery in 1940 and the end of production in July 1944.

The Dauntless was the standard shipborne dive-bomber of the US Navy from mid-1940 until November 1943, when the first Curtiss Helldivers arrived to replace it. The SBD was gradually phased out during 1944, and the June 20 strike against the Japanese Mobile Fleet - in the Battle of the Philippine Sea - was therefore its last major action. In 1942-43, in the Battle of the Coral Sea, in the bitter Guadalcanal campaign and - most of all - at the decisive Battle of Midway, the Dauntless did more than any other aircraft to turn the tide of the Pacific War. At Midway it wrecked all four Japanese carriers, and later in the battle sank a heavy cruiser and severely damaged another. From 1942 to 1944, in addition to its shipboard service, the SBD saw much action with the Marine Corps flying from island bases.

In the Guadalcanal Campaign the Dauntless - operating from US carriers and from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal itself - took a huge toll of Japanese shipping.
It sank the carrier Ryujo in the battle of the Eastern Solomons, and damaged three other Japanese carriers at Eastern Solomons and in the Battle of Santa Cruz. In the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal SBDs sank the heavy cruiser Kinugasa and, in company with TBD Avengers, sank nine Japanese transports

The Dauntless was older and slower than its Japanese opposite number, the Aichi D3A2 "Val" - but the SBD was far more resistant to battle damage, and its flying qualities perfectly suited it to its role. In particular - as Dauntless pilots testified - it was very steady in a dive. When the more modern and powerful Helldiver went into action alongside the SBD it was soon realized - particularly at Philippine Sea - that the new aircraft was inferior to the Dauntless. However, the Helldiver was already well into large-scale production, and it was too late to reverse the decision that it should supplant the SBD.

z15dauntlss.jpg (15286 bytes)


Type: Two-seat carrier-based and land-based dive-bomber

Dimensions: Length 33' 0"; span 41' 6"; height 12' 11".

Weight (typical): Empty 6,535 lb, loaded 9519-10,700

Engine: One 1,000 hp Wright (R-1820-32 or R-1820-52) or 1,200 hp (R-1820-60 or R-1820-66) Cyclone 9-cylinder radial.

Performance (SBD-5): Maximum speed 252 mph, initial climb 1,500 feet per minute, service ceiling 24,300 feet

Range: As dive-bomber 456 miles - as scout-bomber 773 miles.

Armament (later versions): One 1000lb or 500lb bomb under fuselage
Two 250lb or 100 lb bombs under wings
Two fixed forward-firing 0.5-inch Browning machine-guns in nose
Twin manually-aimed 0.3-inch Browning machine-guns in rear cockpit


sbd_rear.jpg (15909 bytes)

Rear Cockpit of Dauntless This would be radioman Grant Ulysses Dawn

SBD_side.jpg (8780 bytes)

Side veiw of Dauntless.

SBDfrnt2.jpg (28360 bytes)

Pilot's Seat

SBDfront.jpg (31596 bytes)


At the Battle of Midway US naval aircraft, spearheaded byDauntlessdive-bombers,destroyed four Japanese carriers, one cruiser and 250 Japanese aircraft, for the loss of one US carrier the USS Yorktown, one destroyer the USS Hammenn and 150 aircraft. This battle turned the tide of war against the Japanese in the Pacific.



a6mzero.jpg (7676 bytes)


More than 400 A6M2 and A6M3 (clipped-wing) Zeros had been delivered by the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor. They had unprecedented range for a small aircraft, and their unrivalled maneuverability and powerful armament gave them superiority over every opponent. This was startlingly demonstrated in the Japanese carrier raid on Ceylon, in which they out-turned opposing Hurricanes, aircraft which until then had themselves been regarded as outstandingly maneuverable and exceptional dogfighters.

Nonetheless, in the great carrier battles of Coral Sea and Midway in May and June1942, where the Zero encountered some of the US Navy's finest pilots flying F4F Wildcats, the weaknesses of the Japanese fighter began to show. The A6M's lack of self-sealing fuel tanks and armour, added to the general lightness of its contruction, made it unusually vulnerable to battle-damage. At Midway many pilots were lost aboard the four Japanese carriers, which were set ablaze by the US dive-bombers. In the protracted and bitter Guadalcanal campaign losses of aircrew mounted, and as the quality of Japanese pilots correspondingly declined Allied aircraft achieved increasing success against the Zero. When more modern US aircraft, notably the F6F Hellcat and F4U Corsair, appeared in the combat areas in 1943 the A6M found itself outclassed.

The mainstay of the Imperial Japanese forces for the duration of the War, the "Zeke" ran circles around anything the allies could bring to bear against it in the early years. Lightly built and carrying no armor,its pilots relied on extraordinary maneuverability to defeat their opponents.Warbirds models three A6M variants. New to version 1.11 is the Model 21. It’s even lighter than the others and carries less armament (only 60 rounds for each of its cannons), but should prove to be the most maneuverable of the three. Primary Guns: A6M2: 2x 7.7mm MG (680 RPG) Second Guns: A6M2: 2x 20mm Cannon (60 RPG)

Bombs: 2 (100 lb.)Rockets: 0 


Type: Single-seat Fighter Powerplant: One Nakajima NK1C Sakae 12,950 H.P. Radial Piston Performance:

Max Speed: 332 Mph @ 14,930 Ft.
Initial Climb Rate: 19,685 Ft in 7 Minutes
Service Ceiling: 32,810 Ft.
Range: 1,930 Miles Weights: Empty: 3,704 Lbs
Max. Takeoff: 5,313 Lbs. Dimensions: Wingspan: 39' 4 1/2"
Length: 29' 9" Height: 10'

Armament: Two Wing-mounted 20 mm Guns and Two Nose-mounted 7.7 mm Guns

with provisions for Two 132 Lb. or 551 Lb Bombs


If you have any questions and/or comments, please drop me a note!