Armour Collection B11B932 USMC Douglas SBD3 Dauntless Dive-Bomber - Elmer Glidden, VMSB-231, Marshall Islands, 1944 (1:48 Scale)
"Immediately after coming out from the protection of the clouds the squadron was attacked again by fighter planes and heavy AA. After making my run I kept heading on for the water, and I headed on an approximate bearing home. Looking back I saw two hits and one miss that was right alongside the bow. The carrier was starting to smoke."
- Major Elmer G. Glidden, describing his involvement in the Battle of Midway, June 1942
The Dauntless was the standard shipborne dive-bomber of the US Navy from mid-1940 until November 1943, when the first Curtiss Helldivers arrived to replace it. Between 1942-43, the Dauntless was pressed into service again and again, seeing action in the Battle of the Coral Sea and the Guadalcanal campaign. It was, however, at the Battle of Midway, that the Dauntless came into its own, singlehandedly destroying four of the Imperial Japanese Navy's frontline carriers. The SBD (referred to, rather affectionately by her aircrews, as "Slow But Deadly") was gradually phased out during 1944. The June 20th, 1944 strike against the Japanese Mobile Fleet, known as the Battle of the Philippine Sea, was the last major engagement in which it was used. From 1942 to 1944, the SBD was also used by several land-based Marine Corps squadrons.
Built as a two-seat, low-wing Navy scout bomber, the Dauntless was powered by a single Wright R1820 1200-horsepower engine. It became the mainstay of the Navy's air fleet in the Pacific, suffering the lowest loss ratio of any U.S. carrier-borne aircraft. A total of 5,936 SBDs were delivered to the Navy and Marine Corps between 1940 and the end of its production, in July 1944.
This particular 1:48 scale replica of a US Marine Corps SBD3 Dauntless dive-bomber was flown by Major Elmer G. Glidden ("Iron Man").
Wingspan: 11-5/8 inches
Length: 8 inches
Historical Account: "Iron Men" - Although the squadron was aboard the USS Lexington during the attack on Pearl Harbor, the rear echelon still at Ewa suffered the loss of seven of the spare SB2U-3s which had been left behind. The squadron returned to Ewa on December 10, but one week later it was headed back to Midway, but not aboard a carrier. Fitted with an extra fuel tank and accompanied by a PBY Catalina acting as a plane guard, the squadron conducted the longest over water flight by single engine aircraft on record at that time and arrived at Midway without the loss of a single aircraft or crew. The squadron flew routine patrols and awaited the expected Japanese attack. On March 1st, 1942, while still at Midway, the squadron was split in two when VMSB-241 was created and the two squadrons operated side by side, even flying the same aircraft. Shortly thereafter, VMSB-231 was officially transferred back to Ewa, but a majority of its personnel and all of its aircraft remained at Midway.
Reorganizing at MCAS Ewa, the squadron received Douglas SBDs and was transferred to Marine Aircraft Group 23 (MAG-23). Slowly receiving new SBD-3s and pilots, the squadron was notified in July that it would be deployed for duty over seas. Along with VMF-224, the squadron constituted the rear echelon of MAG-23 and was loaded aboard the USS Kitty Hawk, an aircraft transport, the last week of August and shipped to the South Pacific. Arriving at Efate, the squadron spent the night there and the squadron's aircraft were craned over to the escort carrier USS Long Island (CVE-1). The next day, the SBD's were catapulted from the USS Long Island and flown to Espiritu Santo. After another night's layover, the flight echelon flew to Henderson Field on Guadalcanal on August 30th, 1942 arriving right before the daily air raid and becoming the second Marine scout-bomber squadron ashore. Major Leo Smith, and Captains Ruben Iden and Elmer Glidden led the squadron during the stay on Guadalcanal. Captain Iden died in combat on September 20th, a day after he assumed command. While on Guadalcanal, eleven of the squadron's twelve original SBD's were lost or rendered inoperable from August 30th through October 3rd. During this time Lieutenant Glen Loeffel was awarded the Navy Cross of heroism for his lone attack on the Japanese cruiser Furutaka on October 4th, causing substantial damage and rendering it inoperable and easy prey for sinking which eventually occurred on October 11th. VMF-231 operated on Guadalcanal as part of the Cactus Air Force from August 30 before leaving on November 2nd, 1942. They were shipped back to Naval Air Station San Diego on November 19th and then moved further north to Marine Corps Air Station El Toro in January 1943.
The squadron again deployed to the Pacific Theater and began operations bombing by-passed Japanese garrisons in the Marshall Islands on February 4th, 1944. In October of that year, they were redesignated VMBF-231 and converted to the F4U Corsair. Two months later, on December 30th, they reverted back to the name VMSB-231 and remained in the Marshalls until August 1945. During the course of World War II the squadron was credited with downing seven Japanese aircraft in air to air engagements.