dauntless sdb or helldiver.

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by starling, May 19, 2008.

  1. starling

    starling Member

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    hello ladies and gents,which one would you prefer.why was the dauntless replaced.cheers,lee.
     
  2. Waynos

    Waynos Active Member

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    I prefer the Dauntless, much prettier. The Helldiver may have been effective but it looked like a pig, IMHO of course.

    Wasn't it also said by USN crews that its designation, SB2C, stood for 'Son of a Bitch 2nd Class'?
     
  3. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    The Dauntless was obsolete by the time the war started, although it was used until the end by a few squadrons. The Helldiver was 50mph faster and could not only carry bombs but could also carry torpedoes. Even though it was much faster, it was still under powered.
     
  4. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    We used the Dauntless in the RNZAF from 1943-1944,seeing combat in the Pacific campaign.
    One site mentions that the Dauntless squadron (No.25) was disbanded in May 1944, as " Despite its many sterling qualities, the SBD was a pre-war design and was no longer regarded as a front-line aircraft." The pilots were transferred to RNZAF Corsair units, and the aircraft went on to perform training duties in NZ, before being sold off in 1948.
    The Planes of Fame museum's example is ex-RNZAF (NZ5062)
     
  5. starling

    starling Member

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    but in the dive bomber role these a/c were made for,was the helldiver better,could it carry a larger load.yours,lee.
     
  6. buzzard

    buzzard Member

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    The SBD may have been 'obsolete', but it was still a better AC than the 'Beast'. The Helldiver was a dog in every sense of the word. Too large to operate off the smaller carriers (Unlike the equally large and complex TBF), despised by its crews, and offering little real advantage over the SBD, it was the result of a flawed and out-dated design philosphy, as is demonstrated both by it's premature retirement in '47, and the design of its successor, the justly famed single-seat AD Skyraider. Not to mention that the USAAF ordered close to a thousand (8-900?) of them, yet never saw fit to use them in combat (At least I don't think so) The Royal Navy also tested and rejected it, citing its handling as 'appalling'. This from the first Navy to operate the Corsair off of carriers...

    That the Helldiver made a big contrbution to the Pacific War, is more a reflection of the overwhelming superiority of the USN fighters, than it is of the quality of the AC. Its best quality was its sheer quantity.

    JL
     
  7. starling

    starling Member

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    yes,i have read accounts of soldiers liking the dauntless,s ruggedness and accuracy when giving ground support.yours,starling.
     
  8. Negative Creep

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    Tough one, but I'd go for the Helldiver. It wasn't as easy to fly or as pretty, but it was faster and stood more of a chance against enemy fighters
     
  9. trackend

    trackend Active Member

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    I go with the SBD, it had one of (if not) the best shipping tonnage kills of any plane in WW2 its closest rival in shipping successes being the Swordfish.
     
  10. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    According to my notes, the Helldiver only had a 250lb advantage, which isn't all that much.


    That I have to agree with. The only thing wrong with the SBD was time was against it.

    Dont know if it was premature. The entire concept of a dive bomber only hung around for about 10 years. I don't think it was the model that caused it's retirement, but an outdated job. Yes, the SkyRaider was designed as a dive bomber/torpedo plane, but it's official type is an attack plane.

    Besides, there were many fantastic planes that were retired in 1945/46/47 when they were only in production for a couple years. So a short service life doesn't mean it was a lemon. Besides, I don't think it was all that bad since they produced over 7000 of them.
     
  11. JoeB

    JoeB Member

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    1. That's a frequently expressed conventional wisdom but the reality was at least a little more complicated. Some pilots liked the SB2C (examples in autobiography: Don Engen, later Korean War F9F pilot, test pilot, eventual head of the National Air and Space Museum) even some who'd also flown the SBD in combat (example: Harold Buell, another later F9F pilot in his book "Dauntless Helldivers"). Both agreed however the SB2C was a handful for less capable and experienced pilots, that seems without doubt.

    Statistically rather than anecdotally, the SB2C's all-war operational loss rate on combat sorties from carriers was 1.2% (almost all in '44-45) v .24% for the SBD in '44 but the SBD's all war rate was closer, .8%; part of the 1944 difference would be length of experience with the a/c (the TBF/M all war rate was also .8%). The SB2C also had a higher loss rate v AA 1.7% v .6%, that's in 1944 only to ensure apples v apples Japanese AA effectiveness (the TBF's rate was 1.8% ). USN attack a/c losses to enemy fighters were neglible in the SB2C's period of operation; there's no reliable evidence on which to compare the two planes in that respect.

    Offensively, SB2C's delivered .58 tons/sortie from carriers, SBD's .42 . Also though the SB2C had the weight/space to carry the bigger more advanced later war radars, in 1945 SB2C units did radar bombing. I don't know of a stats breakdown of claimed, let alone actual, sinkings by a/c type. But, even without the exact figures at hand no doubt SB2C's sank more tonnage than SBD's if counting both merchant and warship, just from the basic situation of the war: large numbers of rampaging carrier groups in Philippines, East and South China Sea's, around Japan etc. in late '44-45 turkey shooting enemy shipping left and right, and the divebomber by then was exclusively the SB2C.
    The stats source is "Naval Aviation Combat Statistics".

    The TBF/M was the ideal airplane for the main missions of CVE attack planes. SBD's were only used in a few cases in CVE air groups early in the war. That's not really a point for or against either divebomber.

    2. To be fair though the SBD had a generally poor reputation in the USAAF too (as the A-24). It had a few successes but from the 1942 USAAF perspective it was just too vulnerable to Japanese fighters, and after one formation was nearly wiped out in New Guinea in July of that year it was basically withdrawn from areas where enemy fighters might be encountered. The USAAF was never sold on the dedicated divebomber concept.

    Joe
     
  12. buzzard

    buzzard Member

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    Good post, Joe. Certainly far more even-handed than my own.Still, I'm stickin' to my guns...;)

    From a cost/benefit analyisis standpoint, the SB2C was the clear loser. For a minimal gain in combat performance, the price was too high. Yes, the USN needed a replacement for the SBD, but the Helldiver was an inherently flawed substitute, despite the numerous attempts to address its faults. But the Navy was stuck with it and had no choice but to try to patch it up as best they could. And as soon as they could get rid of it, they did...Thorlifter's protestation that many capable combat a/c were also prematurely retired, fails to take into account that the early post-war USN, due to the unforgiving nature of carrier flight operations, was unwilling to discard its proven prop jobs until the new jets had matured into practical weapons. So while they kept the versatile Corsair and Avenger in production, the third member of their offensive striking force was discarded as soon as the WWII-designed Skyraider became available.

    Given the marginal combat advantage of the SB2C over the SBD, and the fact that Helldiver was, for all practical purposes, as vulnerable to fighter attack as the SBD, I believe that the expensive, difficult to maintain, and ill-handling product of the incompetently managed CW company, can be fairly regarded as a failure. An upgraded SBD would have achieved the same results for much less, both in treasure and in blood.

    I don't know much about the effectiveness of SB2C radar-aimed bombing operations, so I'll give you that one. Still, I suspect that in the overall picture, it didn't make much of a difference. But that's just uninformed opinion ;)

    The validity of dive-bombing per se is not really relevant. Both were dive-bombers, and besides, neither was unable to use other bombing tactics.

    JL
     
  13. fly boy

    fly boy Member

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    it had a bigger payload but looks and pilot interveiws i would go for SBD
     
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