Aviation of World War II

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SBD-5/6 "Dauntless"

Light Bomber and Reconnaissance Aircraft


SBD-5 Dauntless

SBD-5. The SBD-5 variant finally got what Downtless needed most - a more powerful engine. The aircraft was equipped with a Wright R-1820-60 Cyclone with a capacity of 1200 hp, but due to the increased weight of the equipment, the maximum speed increased by only 11 km / h, and the cruising speed even slightly decreased. External differences from older models boiled down to the absence of a carburetor air intake, a reduction in the hood flaps and a transfer of the engine cooling slot. The archaic telescopic sight was replaced with a new reflex sight. Suspension points were mounted on the wings for a pair of 58-gallon (219 L) drop tanks, which brought the reconnaissance range to 1,340 nautical miles (2,483 km).

The aircraft was produced in the amount of 2,965 cars (registration numbers from 10807 to 11066, from 28059 to 29213, from 35922 to 36421, from 36433 to 36932 and from 54050 to 54599) from February 1943 to April 1944. Douglas also produced 615 vehicles for the army under the designation A-24V (serial numbers 42-54285 to 54899). Sixty A-24Bs were later deemed redundant for the army and turned over to the navy, which reassigned them, presumably, to the air divisions of the Marine Corps.

SBD-5 entered the front in large numbers, quickly replacing old Dountless modifications during 1943. He was already in service with the strike divisions of the fleet when the carrier forces resumed offensive operations in the second half of 1943. It was planned in 1943 to replace the Downtless with the SB2C Helldiver in parts of the first line, but delays in Helldiver production forced the Dountless to remain at the front for the whole of 1943 and early 1944. During 1944, Curtiss SB2C Helldiver quickly succeeded Dountless in the naval service. No more flying from the decks of aircraft carriers. The Downtless moved to their base airfields, where they continued to increase their combat score and enemy losses.

SBD-6. The latest version of Downtless, outwardly indistinguishable from the SBD-5, but received an even more powerful Wright R-1820-66 Cyclone engine - 1350 hp. became SBD-6. However, the maximum speed increased to 421.5 km/h was still clearly insufficient and too far from the needs of the fleet in 1943. Instead of non-metallic self-tightening fuel tanks, metal ones with a self-tightening layer appeared.

Only 450 cars were produced (reg. numbers from 54600 to 55049) before production was finally phased out. By the time deliveries began (March 18, 1944), the SBD-6 was deemed completely obsolete and all "sixths" were sent to the Coast Defense divisions, training bomber units, used as target towing vehicles or as auxiliary vehicles.

SBD-6 'Dauntless' Specification
Crew 2
Length 10.06m (33 ft 0 in)
Wingspan 12.65m (41 ft 6 in)
Wing area 30.19m² (325 ft²)
Height 3.94m (12 ft 11 in)
Empty weight 2,964kg (6,335 lb)
Maximum takeoff weight 4,318kg (9,519 lb)
Wright 9-cylinder radial, air cooled R-1820-66 Cyclone
hp/kW 1,350/1007
Speed maximum 410 km/h (255 mph)
at altitude 4267 m (14,000 ft)
Service ceiling 7,680 m (25,200 ft)
Service range 1,244 km (773 miles)
Two forward firing 2 x 12.7 mm (.50 in) machine guns
Two on flexible mounts 7.62 mm (.30 in) machine guns
Under-fuselage mount for up to 726 kg (1,600 lb)
Carried on the wing 295 kg (650 lb)
Photo Description
Drawing SBD Modifications

Drawing SBD Modifications

SBD-6 BuNo-54606

The SBD-6 BuNo-54606 with R-1820-66 engine.

XSBD-6 No. 28830 at 1944, June 22

The XSBD-6 No. 28830 at Patuxent River at 1944, June 22.


  • "Encyclopedia of military engineering" /Aerospace Publising/
  • "American warplanes of World War II" /under cor. David Donald/
  • "aviAMaster" /#7, 8 Grigoriy Minskiy/