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SBD-2 Dauntless Major Lofton Henderson, VMSB-241, 4 June 1942 

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Hobby Master 1:72 HA0175
SBD-2 Dauntless Major Lofton Henderson, VMSB-241, 4 June 1942
World War II

Historical Note:


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 Performance 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)

Info: SBD-2 Dauntless Major Lofton Henderson, VMSB-241, 4 June 1942

Product Videos

Douglas Slow But Deadly SBD Dauntless (14:22)
Get your free trial of MagellanTV here: https://try.magellantv.com/darkskies. It's an exclusive offer for our viewers: a month-long trial, FREE. MagellanTV is a new kind of streaming service run by filmmakers with 3,000+ documentaries! It was August 7, 1942. The US and the Empire of the Rising Sun were at war. The Battle of Midway confirmed the American's growing strength and the Japanese willingness to fight to the bitter end. Petty Officer Saburo Sakai and his squad of Zero fighters had planned a surprise attack on the US fleet that was on its way to support the amphibious assaults at Guadalcanal and the surrounding islands. The Legendary Japanese Zero still reigned supreme in the Pacific. America was left trying to figure out how to create an aircraft that was up to the challenge of picking up a fight, toe to toe, with the agile and lethal Zero. As Saburo Sakai and his squad approached Tulagi from above, his wingman spotted a lone group of American aircraft beneath them. The Japanese decided to attack. A swift move from behind would be enough to create havoc in the American formation. They wrongly assumed the enemy they were up against were US Grumman F4F fighters, an aircraft with no copilot. But they were in for a surprise… As the Zero formation approached rapidly from behind at full throttle, Sakai realized he had committed a terrible mistake. At 100 yards from the targets, he quickly realized he was not fighting against fighters, but something worse... dive bombers with defensive armament. But it was too late to abort. A second later, the American formation opened fire from each bomber's tail gunner's position. The 30 caliber Browning machine guns tore apart the Japanese Zeros. The hunters scattered. As Sakai's cockpit exploded and he ejected, he had ample time to contemplate his error. He would live to remember the moment. The Zeros had picked a fight with a formation of US Douglas SBD Dauntlesses... otherwise known as Slow But Deadly… --- Join Dark Skies as we explore the world of aviation with cinematic short documentaries featuring the biggest and fastest airplanes ever built, top-secret military projects, and classified missions with hidden untold true stories. Including US, German, and Soviet warplanes, along with aircraft developments that took place during World War I, World War 2, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, the Gulf War, and special operations mission in between. As images and footage of actual events are not always available, Dark Skies sometimes utilizes similar historical images and footage for dramatic effect and soundtracks for emotional impact. We do our best to keep it as visually accurate as possible. All content on Dark Skies is researched, produced, and presented in historical context for educational purposes. We are history enthusiasts and are not always experts in some areas, so please don't hesitate to reach out to us with corrections, additional information, or new ideas.
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