SBD DauntlessItem Number: 1132
Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bomber model. Designed as light bomber and reconnaissance aircraft, Dauntless monoplanes served during the war with the US Marine Corps, the Army and the Navy, production not finally coming to an end until 1944, by which time nearly 6,000 had been built. Their first real test came on 7 May 1942, when the US aircraft carriers USS Lexington and USS Yorktown faced three Japanese carriers in the Battle of the Coral Sea. During the battle, which lasted two days and was the first naval battle in which victory was decided by aircraft alone, Dauntless dive-bombers fought well alongside other US aircraft. Each side lost one carrier (the Japanese carrier Shoho being sunk by Dauntless and Devastator bombers), but the US had stopped the Japanese ships from supporting an invasion of Port Moresby, New Guinea, and the proposed air assault on Australia.
Next came the great Battle of Midway in June, again between United States and Japanese ships. This time US naval aircraft, spearheaded by Dauntless dive-bombers, destroyed four Japanese carriers, a cruiser and 250 aircraft, for the loss of one US carrier, a destroyer and 150 aircraft. This battle turned the tide of war against the Japanese in the Pacific.
Dauntless aircraft accounted for many Japanese aircraft shot down in air-to-air combat, and finished their wartime career as antisubmarine bombers and as attack aircraft, carrying depth charges and rocket projectiles respectively.
Mahogany Wood. Scale: 1/32. Wingspan 15 1/2 inches, Length 12 1/2 inches.