Hobby Master HA0111 USN Douglas SBD-2 Dauntless Dive-Bomber - VB-2, USS Lexington (CV-2), 1941 (1:72 Scale)
"Why should we have a navy at all? There are no enemies for it to fight except apparently the Army Air Force."
- General Carl Spaatz, Commander of the US 8th Army Air Force, after WWII
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 front line 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 1:72 scale replica of a US Navy SBD2 Dauntless dive-bomber was flown by VB-2 embarked upon the USS Lexington.
Wingspan: 6.5 inches
Length: 5 inches
Release Date: June 2006
Historical Account "The Gray Lady" - Several ships in the US Navy have born the name Lexington. The fourth such ship, USS Lexington (CV-2), nicknamed the "Gray Lady" or "Lady Lex", was the second aircraft carrier to serve in the United States Navy.
She was originally designated CC-1 and laid down as a battle cruiser 8 January 1921 by Fore River Shipbuilding Company, Quincy, Massachusetts, authorized to be completed as an aircraft carrier on July 1st, 1922, launched October 3rd, 1925, sponsored by Mrs. Theodore Douglas Robinson (wife of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy), and commissioned December 14th, 1927, Captain Albert W. Marshall in command.
On May 7th, 1942, search planes reported contact with a Japanese carrier task force, and Lexington's air group flew an eminently successful mission against it, sinking light carrier Shoho. Later that day, 12 bombers and 15 torpedo planes from still-unlocated heavy carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku were intercepted by fighter groups from Lexington and Yorktown, who shot down nine enemy aircraft.
On the morning of the 8th, a Lexington plane located the Shokaku group; a strike was immediately launched from the American carriers, and the Japanese carrier was heavily damaged.
The enemy penetrated to the American carriers at 11:00, and 20 minutes later Lexington was struck by a torpedo to port. Seconds later, a second torpedo hit to port directly abreast the bridge. At the same time, she took three bomb hits from enemy dive bombers, producing a 7 degree list to port and several raging fires. By 13:00 her skilled damage control parties had brought the fires under control and returned the ship to even keel; making 25 knots, she was ready to recover her air group. Then suddenly Lexington was shaken by a tremendous explosion, caused by the ignition of gasoline vapors below, and again fire raged out of control. At 15:58 Captain Frederick Carl Sherman, fearing for the safety of men working below, secured salvage operations, and ordered all hands to the flight deck. At 17:01, he ordered, "abandon ship," and the orderly disembarkation began. Men going over the side into the warm water were almost immediately picked up by nearby cruisers and destroyers. Admiral Aubrey Wray Fitch and his staff transferred to cruiser Minneapolis; Captain Sherman and his executive officer, Commander Morton T. Seligman ensured all their men were safe, then were the last to leave.
Lexington blazed on, flames shooting hundreds of feet into the air. Destroyer Phelps closed to within 1500 yards of the ship then fired two torpedoes into her hull; with one last heavy explosion, Lexington sank at 19:56.