A-24 Banshee US ARMY, 1942 Java

A-24 Banshee US ARMY, 1942 Java

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General Background
The Douglas “Dauntless” was the workhorse for the US Navy during the WWII. This “Slow but Deadly” dive-bomber was the only plane that had fight in every major Pacific conflicts. Although it had been considered obsolete in 1941 already, the Dauntless was used until 1944 and undertook the last major conflict in the Battle of Philippine Sea. A total of 5,936 SBDs were produced in WWII.

The Aircraft
In 1940, after the amazing success of the German Stuka dive bombers in Poland, the U.S. Army Air Corps ordered 78 of the U.S. Navy’s Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bomber, designating it as the A-24. Fifty-four went to Australia, where in 1942 they had a less-than-glorious combat record flying against Japanese targets in Java and New Guinea. The A-24s were regarded as “too slow, too short-ranged, and too poorly armed.” They were relegated to non-combat missions after five of seven airplanes were lost and one was badly damaged on a mission over Buna, New Guinea.

Manufacturer: Douglas Aircraft Company
Crew: Pilot and gunner/radio operator

Length: 32 ft., 8 in.
Height: 13 ft., 7 in.
Wingspan: 41ft., 6 in.

Empty: 6,345 lb.
Gross: 10,400 lb.

Powerplant: One 1,000 horsepower Wright R-1820-52
Maximum Speed: 250 M.P.H.
Maximum Range with Bomb Load: 1,345 miles
Service Ceiling: 27,100 ft.
Armament: Two fixed forward-firing .50-in. guns,
Two flexible-mounted rear-firing .30-in. guns,1,200 lb. of ordnance