Let's talk about SBDs

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You fight with what you have, not with what you want. The SBDs were used as eyes in the skies because, as said before, that's all they had.
At Coral Sea they put some F4F's down with the TBD's on the strikes on the IJN. They lost no TBD's but lost all the Wildcats that were covering them. At Midway Yorktown did the same thing but Enterprise and Hornet both put the F4F's upstairs with the SBD's and they provided no escort and shot down no Zeros. When the Enterprise and Yorktown's SBD's and TBD's found the IJN fleet the only escort they had were Thatch's few F4F's down with the TBD's.
There has not been much written about the Coral Sea battle, probably not 10% of what has been published about Midway. But the Dogfights video claims that the SBDs were sent out to intercept Kate torpedo planes. Okay, between a Kate and an SBD, I'll bet on the SBD getting the Kate unless it involves a long chase.

Lundstrom supports the basic story here.

But instead of Kates they found Zeros. And most of the SBDs just flew like dive bombers, except for one guy who actually flew his like a fighter.

Vejtasa and Leppla are two that come to mind at the Battle of Coral Sea.

Yeah, I couldn't remember the latter's name, thanks. I think Swede put in claims for two downed and one probable, iirc. He's also the only USN pilot to be awarded the Navy Cross for combats in both bombers and fighters.
Leppla actually made Ace with his VS-2 SBD-3, his first kill was during the Battle of Coral Sea, during his dive on the Shoho.
The SBD ahead of him came under attack by an A6M and he gently skidded his Dauntless and opened fire, destroying the Zero. He then skidded back on target and unloaded his bomb.
In his return leg to the Lexington, he caught an A6M off guard and downed it.

The following day, the Lexington sent up VS-2 and VB-2 to help defend the fleet and Leppla downed three out of the eleven attacking Japanese shot down in that attack.

Sadly, Leppla was shot down the following October, listed as MIA.
Of the four groups aboard a carrier early on (VF, VT, VB and VS), the Scouting group (VS) was most often used as supplemental CAP.
The SBD filled both VB and VS roles, but the Navy tended to put the more experienced crews in the Scouting group.

The two groups had different training, the VS got more air to air combat, ship recognition and navigation training, the VB got more dive bombing training.

They ended up eliminating the VS squadrons, I think so as to add more fighters, by ~1943.

When we were going through the operational history of the air war in the Pacific in a long thread on here (I think the Pedestal one) I was struck by how effective the VS scouts were in dive bombing attacks. Pairs or quartets of SBD scouts, with the smaller 500 lb bombs loaded, would spot IJN ships, report their positions, and then dive in to attack. Quite often they got hits, and even with the small bombs, telling hits. Probably in part due to the element of surprise. But I came away even more impressed with the training standards and morale of the USN. That was a really brave kind of move, especially if IJN carriers were around.
I think dive bombers, due to their overall maneuverability and ability to take hard turns, and maybe due to being strongly built in order to take high-G pullouts, had a bit better odds in air to air combat than other light bomber types. And better than you would think based on their defensive armament and speed. Most did have forward guns too, and the SBD had those two 12.7mm in the nose.

Ju-87s famously got wrecked in the Battle of Britain, largely by Hurricanes, but I think that was in part because they were trying to fly them in big formations. In North Africa and the Med, they used different tactics - when they were attacked, they would split up and start making sharp turns, and dive away sometimes emitting smoke to confuse their attackers. Losses were surprisingly low, in fact it seemed with Ju-87s they often overclaimed a lot, probably fooled by the smoke generating technique. Later Ju -87s had a pair of 20mm guns, and were sometimes used to attack Allied seaplanes etc.

Around New Guinea, D3A Vals were used in kind of a scout / fighter role as well, attacking and sometimes shooting down Allied scouts and light bombers, and they proved to be a bit harder (at least on some occasions) than one might think for fighters to shoot down. Again, I think this is due to maneuverability, as well as being a big, strongly built plane.

The Skua also had a kind of 'emergency fighter' role for a while, and proved able to shoot down German bombers on a couple of occasions IIRC.

Reading through Shores Bloody Shambles III right now, the Vengeance seemed to be surprisingly resilient to losses in combat in Burma.

The A-36 (don't dare call it "Apache", apparently!) was able to perform accurate dive bombing missions in an extremely dangerous environment in Italy, and probably had a better survival rate than any of the fighter bombers. Maybe not quite as well in Burma.

The curious thing about SBDs is that, the extra training really seemed to matter, because Army A-24s did not do well and sometimes got slaughtered, which is what abruptly shortened their career both in the Pacific and (with the Free French) in the MTO.
One thing I know the USN pilots did a lot in the Pacific was they got very good at taking advantage of the numerous squalls and storms and cloud formations that were always popping up around there. Many aircrews lives were saved by being able to duck into a cloud to hide.
I agree that there were much overclaiming with Ju 87s, especially in the North Africa, sometimes more than 7 times over the real losses. So Stuka's reputation as a easy picking is at least partly misleading. And after all the first kill during the WW2 was made by a Ju 87 pilot, the victim was a Polish P-11 fighter.

Skua should have made some kills, after all it was a dual purpose dive-bomber/fighter. Skua pilots seems to have shot down 23 German planes during the 1940 Norwegian Campaign.
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Then by 1943 though Stuka losses started to increase a lot, resulting in their being partly phased out in the MTO and replaced with Fw 190. I think that was a big problem for the Germans because the Stukas were so accurate.
I think this is basically what happened to all of the prominent dive bombers in the war, they just ended up too slow to deal with late war AAA and fighters, and with the exception of the A-36, they all had to be pulled out of the line eventually.

The A-36 could operate in that higher threat environment, but they started having wing failures due to the stress of dive-bombing pull-outs, so they just reverted to the use of regular fighter bombers.
Then by 1943 though Stuka losses started to increase a lot, resulting in their being partly phased out in the MTO and replaced with Fw 190. I think that was a big problem for the Germans because the Stukas were so accurate.
Yes and somehow the claim accuracy with Ju 87s of RAF and Commonwealth pilots got clearly better during the Tunisia Campaign

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