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Dive Bombing in the SBD


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https://www.worldwariiaviation.org/sbd-dauntless-dive-bomber-a-pilots-perspective/?fbclid=IwAR1rfrIsKOoWbFuo3hPg24JlUDg4SMvQt9oH9NIyQAh-kC_BMdxCfRTFD0A

 

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SBD pilot Norman “Dusty” Kleiss flew from the Enterprise. On the morning of June 4, 1942, he joined 31 other SBDs of Scouting Squadron 6 (VS-6) in one of several American attacks on the Japanese carriers. His bomb struck the Kaga’s flight deck, starting major fires that led to its sinking. Later that day, Kleiss and 23 other SBDs attacked the Hiryu. Kleiss scored a direct hit. He flew two more missions over the next two days, making a direct hit on the Mikuma. He was the only dive-bomber pilot during the battle to score three direct hits on Japanese ships. He was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions. Lieutenant Junior Grade Kleiss rose to the grade of Captain before retiring from the Navy.

 

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There is a Wikipedia article on him.  
 

I chuckled at this. “ After eleven months and not a single crash, he earned his wings on April 27, 1941.”


and.

 

On May 27, 1941, Kleiss earned his nickname when he made an unauthorized landing at Marine Corps Air Station Ewa, located on the south shores of Oahu. After serving as the tow-sleeve aircraft during a gunnery exercise, Kleiss landed his SBD in front of the tower, hoping to find a safe field to haul in the tow-sleeve. Unexpectedly, his plane's prop blast churned up a giant cloud of red dust, preventing two squadrons of Marine Corps fighter planes from landing on the runway. The tower control operator called over the radio, "Unknown dust cloud, who the hell are you?" Without responding, Kleiss took off for Naval Air Station Ford Island, hoping that no one had identified his plane. After landing, one of his squadron mates, Ensign Cleo Dobson, told Kleiss that he had seen the whole thing. Dobson joked, "Welcome aboard, Dusty!" For the remainder of his career in the Navy, Kleiss went by that nickname.[1][2]

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Kleiss

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59 minutes ago, Pat Riot, SASS #13748 said:

Silent But Deadly? :lol:

 

Sorry...couldn't help myself.

 

Kleiss is definitely a hero.:FlagAm:

 

Well, they were definitely deadly to the Japanese at Midway.

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The Dauntless dive bomber was the go to weapon in the early days of the Naval war. It's record was not eclipsed by the later SB-2C Hell Diver thAt replaced it later in the war. The contemporary torpedo bomber at the time was the TBD Devastator which was basically obsolete at the start of hostilities, it was under powered and vulnerable with no self sealing tanks. They managed to prevail at Coral Sea because the attacks were co-ordinated with the SBD's, but at Midway they went in alone and were slaughtered wholesale. At this time, there isn't an example of the TBD extant. One or two have been found under water at attack sites in the Pacific that may be recoverable. When they found the Lexington there were several on the bottom with her, but are too deep to be able to recover.:FlagAm::blush:

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Actually it was "Slow But Deadly",  Silent But Deadly refers to the  mass intake of bean burritos.

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2 minutes ago, Four-Eyed Buck,SASS #14795 said:

They were during the Guadalcanal campaign as well, Doc:FlagAm::blush:

 

Yeah, they weren't speed demons, but were faster than the TBD's:blush:

 

Yes, they were. And despite their slow speed, in the hands of the right pilot, could get the attention of a Zero. I'm thinking of Stanley "Swede" Vejtasa.

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Just now, Four-Eyed Buck,SASS #14795 said:

Defense of the Lex at Coral Sea! The SBD's were put up to augment the CAP. Swede later went over to fighters:FlagAm::blush:

 

Yep. Becoming an ace, and the only pilot to earn the Navy Cross for both dive bombing and aerial combat!

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A good friend's Dad was a rear seat gunner in a Marine SBD. He survived the war and two unscheduled swims thanks to the IJN. After he passed I got to see his 1911a1 that went swimming with him both times. Boy if a pistol could tell it's story! 

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Barrett Tillman's book on the Dauntless is really interesting.

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My stepfather was  gunner on Dive bombers during WW2. I remember him saying something about the Dauntless and SBD and SB2c? I think. Here is a pic of him sitting on the wing of an airplane that to me looks like a dive bomber. Is it and can anyone tell me which one? This is the only pic I have of him with a plane so there is not a better one.

Pete on Plane.jpg

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On 3/13/2021 at 2:22 PM, Four-Eyed Buck,SASS #14795 said:

The Dauntless dive bomber was the go to weapon in the early days of the Naval war. It's record was not eclipsed by the later SB-2C Hell Diver thAt replaced it later in the war. The contemporary torpedo bomber at the time was the TBD Devastator which was basically obsolete at the start of hostilities, it was under powered and vulnerable with no self sealing tanks. They managed to prevail at Coral Sea because the attacks were co-ordinated with the SBD's, but at Midway they went in alone and were slaughtered wholesale. At this time, there isn't an example of the TBD extant. One or two have been found under water at attack sites in the Pacific that may be recoverable. When they found the Lexington there were several on the bottom with her, but are too deep to be able to recover.:FlagAm::blush:

The sacrifice of VT-8, "Torpedo 8" (the only survivor at Midway was Ens. George Gay, who, after the war became an airline pilot for American Airlines, dying a few years ago), was not completely in vain.  In shooting down the TBD's, the Japanese CAP (Combat Air Patrol) fighters were sucked down close to the water.  By the time they were able to climb back to intercept the SBD's, it was too late!  The interesting thing about the design of the SBD was the dive flaps which had golfball-sized holes that permitted air to flow through them, resulting in a nearly constant dive speed, which made for a very efficient attack mode. This was the genius idea of Ed Heinemann at Douglas Aircraft.    

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12 minutes ago, Sedalia Dave said:

I wonder what function the sawtoothed trailing edge served?

Without looking it up, I'm guessing it was to solve some turbulence and stability issues. The SB2C had stability problems as it was being developed but was rushed into production anyway. Many pilots thought it a pig to fly as well as dangerous.

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3 hours ago, Abilene Slim SASS 81783 said:

Without looking it up, I'm guessing it was to solve some turbulence and stability issues. The SB2C had stability problems as it was being developed but was rushed into production anyway. Many pilots thought it a pig to fly as well as dangerous.

 

The Navy loved the SB2C because it could carry two 1000 lb. bombs. Pilots hated it because it was hard to fly and would drift sideways during the dive, ruining a perfect shot. The SBD may have been slow and could only carry one 1000 lb. bomb, but it was very stable and controllable in a dive.

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The SBD's from Enterprise were  particularly deadly during the November 13th(?) battle at almost the end of the Guadalcanal campaign. They really annihilated the Japanese transports trying to bring in troops for reinforcement. After they did, the troops that survived were more of a detriment than aid to the troops that were already there:FlagAm::blush:

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On 3/15/2021 at 5:31 PM, Sixgun Sheridan said:

 

The Navy loved the SB2C because it could carry two 1000 lb. bombs. Pilots hated it because it was hard to fly and would drift sideways during the dive, ruining a perfect shot. The SBD may have been slow and could only carry one 1000 lb. bomb, but it was very stable and controllable in a dive.

The SB2c was called by many of it's pilots the "S.O.B second class" because they disliked it's handling characteristics so much. It was great growing up with a WWII Navy Dad! Learning what all the Navy acronyms meant and then what the sailors said they actually meant. Two of my favorites, LST = Landing Ship Tank but actually means Large Slow Target. Or the designation for an Escort or "Jeep" carrier was CVE but really meant "Combustible, Vulnerable and Expendable" the infamous "Kaiser Coffins."

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2 hours ago, Doc X said:

The SB2c was called by many of it's pilots the "S.O.B second class" because they disliked it's handling characteristics so much. It was great growing up with a WWII Navy Dad! Learning what all the Navy acronyms meant and then what the sailors said they actually meant. Two of my favorites, LST = Landing Ship Tank but actually means Large Slow Target. Or the designation for an Escort or "Jeep" carrier was CVE but really meant "Combustible, Vulnerable and Expendable" the infamous "Kaiser Coffins."

 

See if you can find a book about the capture of the German sub U-505. It sits in Chicago. It was captured by a task force headed up a jeep carrier commander, then Captain Dan Gallery USN. He retired as a rear admiral.

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2 minutes ago, Muley Gil SASS # 57795 said:

 

See if you can find a book about the capture of the German sub U-505. It sits in Chicago. It was captured by a task force headed up a jeep carrier commander, then Captain Dan Gallery USN. He retired as a rear admiral.

Dan Gallery's Book is "U505" he also talks about it in "EightBells and All's well" both very fun reads.

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On 3/18/2021 at 10:58 PM, Muley Gil SASS # 57795 said:

 

See if you can find a book about the capture of the German sub U-505. It sits in Chicago. It was captured by a task force headed up a jeep carrier commander, then Captain Dan Gallery USN. He retired as a rear admiral.

I've read it. A very good book. Also have been through the U505 several times as well as the USS Silversides in Muskegon Michigan. Two very different boats for two different theatres of war. I'll take a "Fleet Boat" any day.

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