The Dauntless was slow, underpowered and had insufficient defensive armament, by late 1941, the U.S. Navy considered it obsolete, even though it had been in service for only a year. Despite this the SBD participated in every major battle of the war in the Pacific and was responsible for ending Japanese expansion in the Pacific at the Battle of Midway. First entering service in 1940 the Dauntless served with the U.S. Navy, Marines Corps, and with the Army Air Forces as well as with several foreign militaries. The SBD can maintain stable dives of up to seventy degrees allowing very accurate bombing. The Navy planned to replace the Dauntless with the Curtiss SB2C Helldiver in 1944, but once both aircraft were in service side-by-side the SBD proved to be superior to its replacement and remained in use through the end of the war.
The U.S. Army made limited use of the Dauntless as the A-24 Banshee. The Army’s combat experience with the plane was not as successful as the Navy’s. This was primarily due to a lack of training in high angle dive bombing. After mid-1942 it was mainly used as a trainer or in lower risk combat areas of the Pacific where it was used to harass bypassed Japanese bases and shipping.
United States Army Air Forces, 1945
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