Source: Naval Aviation Museum.
Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor
Ray Panko (Ray@Panko.com)
- Half the aircraft on U.S. carriers were Dauntlesses in the first year of the war
- On scouting missions, 18 SBDs flew in pairs, searching a 90-degree pie slice of the ocean. If they found the enemy, they would radio a report and, if feasible, attack with 500-lb. bombs.
- On bombing missions, a squadron of Dauntlesses conducted high-precision/high-risk dive-bombing attacks, plunging almost vertically and releasing bombs at low levels. In the critical first year of the war, SBDs sank or helped sink six carriers, one battleship, three cruisers, one submarine, and 14 transports. This was nearly 30 percent of the total tonnage of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s prewar fleet.
- In air combat, SBDs had a kill ratio of 3.2 to 1. During the Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942, pilot Lt. John Leppla got four kills and his gunner, John Liska, three. The next day,...