DOUGLAS SBD DAUNTLESS
Autore: Kev Darling
The Douglas SBD Dauntless earned itself a reputation as a great dive bomber even though its antecedents were very much of pre-war origin. Many nicknames were given to the SBD during its time in frontline service, my own personal favourite is 'slow but deadly'. The original concept was developed by Jack Northrop with some help from Ed Heinemann. The resultant aircraft, the BT-1, had quite a few faults that would be rectified when the SBD-1 ap-peared. Very much a pre-production model the remainder of this first contract was completed as the SBD-2 and had few improvements over the earlier machines. It took the appearance of the SBD-3 to create a more warlike ma-chine that incorporated self sealing fuel tanks, armour plating and improved armament. Each version thereafter showed some improvement , the final version, the SBD-6, being the best of all. The USAAF also used a version of the Dauntless, this being the A-24 Banshee. The only difference between the two models was the lack of naval equipment for carrier operation otherwise it was the same. Unfortunately by the time the SBD-6 appeared the frontline career of the Dauntless was over. However, the Dauntless and its land equivalent the Banshee had other careers with the Royal Navy, the French Air Force and Navy, Chile and Mexico.
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