How It Feels To Dive-Bomb In a Dauntless SBD

How It Feels To Dive-Bomb In a Dauntless SBD | World War Wings Videos

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The Slow But Deadly Dauntless

U.S. Navy Douglas SBD-3 “Dauntless” dive bombers from scouting squadron VS-8 from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-8) approaching the burning Japanese heavy cruiser Mikuma to make the third set of attacks on her, during the Battle of Midway, 6 June 1942.| Palm dogg / Public Domain
When you think of the SBD Dauntless, you might think of the Battle of Midway. The 1942 battle was probably the Dauntless’ biggest claim to fame during WWII.
Four Navy squadrons of Navy SBD dive bombers took out five Japanese carriers and one heavy cruiser. A second heavy cruise was badly damaged. This combined with other actions in the Pacific made the Dauntless a successful superstar –  it sunk more ships in the Pacific than any other Allied bomber. It also had more victories over enemy planes than losses which was a rare success story for a dive-bomber. Go Dauntless!

Diving In An SBD-3 Dauntless

U.S. Navy Douglas SBD-2/-3 Dauntless dive bombers of Scouting Squadron Six (VS-6) peeling off for a practice attack in 1941. | United States, Office of War Information, Overseas Picture Division, Washington Division / Public Domain

So what does it feel like to dive in one? You’ll never truly know unless you actually do it, but we did find a video that simulates it pretty well. Even an animation from a game can still raise the hairs on your arms.

U.S. Navy Douglas SBD-3 Dauntless dive bombers of bombing squadron VB-6 in flight in 1942. | US Navy / Public Domain
The sound is especially thrilling. It’s taken from old war movies and may not be the most authentic, but is at least from a propeller plane. As the air pushes against the force of the plane’s engine and the pitch climbs higher and higher as the altitude meter drops, you might even start to lean back in your seat a little bit too.
Check it out in the video below and let us know what you think!

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