The Douglas Dauntless dive bomber was produced in large quantities from 1940 onwards and served in the Pacific theatre until the end of WW2. Claiming with some justification to be the first US aircraft to see combat a flight of eighteen Dauntless arrived over Pearl Harbour in time to be involved in the Japanese attack - seven were lost in this action. It was the most successful carrier aircraft and made it’s major claim to fame at the Battle of Midway when three Japanese carriers were sunk in the space of six minutes. Some 5,900 examples of the many variants were built serving with both land based and carrier based units.
SBD - the category stands for scout-bomber-douglas but known by the crews as - Slow But Deadly! The Dauntless was replaced at the end of the war by the SBC2C - the Helldiver built by Curtiss - disliked by the crews it quickly became known as the ‘Son of a Bitch 2nd Class - black humour never far away from the military!
The image depicts a section of Dauntless aircraft, from VB-5 probably on the Yorktown, coming into contact with the Japanese carrier fleet prior to the Battle of Midway. Composite of aircraft photographs from Canadian airshows and skyscape from my archives.
luckybry, franken, W1ldside and 29 more