Hobby Master HA0204 USN Douglas SBD-3 Dauntless Dive-Bomber - Ensign John Leppla & ARM3c John Liska, VS-2, USS Lexington (CV-2), Battle of the Coral Sea, May 4th-8th, 1942 (1:32 Scale)
''Scratch one flattop!''
- Lieutenant Commander Robert E. Dixson, in charge of dive bombers aboard the carrier Lexington at the Battle of the Coral Sea, May 1942. He planted one of a dozen bombs that, with seven torpedoes, sank the Japanese carrier Shoho.
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 1:32 scale replica of a US Navy SBD-3 Dauntless dive-bomber was flown by Ensign John Leppla & ARM3c John Liska, who were attached to VS-2, then embarked upon the USS Lexington (CV-2), which saw action at the Battle of the Coral Sea, fought between May 4th-8th, 1942. Only 500 pieces produced.
Wingspan: 15.75 inches
Length: 12.4 inches
Release Date: November 2010
Historical Account: "Capital Offense" - The Battle of the Coral Sea, fought during May 4-8, 1942, was a major naval battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II between the Imperial Japanese Navy and Allied naval and air forces from the United States (U.S.) and Australia. The battle was the first fleet action in which aircraft carriers engaged each other. It was also the first naval battle in history in which neither side's ships sighted or fired directly upon the other.
In an attempt to strengthen their defensive positioning for their empire in the South Pacific, Imperial Japanese forces decided to invade and occupy Port Moresby in New Guinea and Tulagi in the southeastern Solomon Islands. The plan to accomplish this, called Operation MO, involved several major units of Japan's Combined Fleet, including two fleet carriers and a light carrier to provide air cover for the invasion fleets, under the overall command of Shigeyoshi Inoue. The U.S. learned of the Japanese plan through signals intelligence and sent two United States Navy carrier task forces and a joint Australian-American cruiser force, under the overall command of Admiral Frank J. Fletcher, to oppose the Japanese offensive.
On 3 and 4 May, Japanese forces successfully invaded and occupied Tulagi, although several of their supporting warships were surprised and sunk or damaged by aircraft from the U.S. fleet carrier Yorktown. Now aware of the presence of U.S. carriers in the area, the Japanese fleet carriers entered the Coral Sea with the intention of finding and destroying the Allied naval forces.
Beginning May 7th, the carrier forces from the two sides exchanged airstrikes over two consecutive days. The first day, the U.S. sank the Japanese light carrier Shoho, while the Japanese sank a U.S. destroyer and heavily damaged a fleet oiler (which was later scuttled). The next day, the Japanese fleet carrier Shokaku was heavily damaged, the U.S. fleet carrier Lexington was scuttled as a result of critical damage, and the Yorktown was damaged. With both sides having suffered heavy losses in aircraft and carriers damaged or sunk, the two fleets disengaged and retired from the battle area. Because of the loss of carrier air cover, Inoue recalled the Port Moresby invasion fleet, intending to try again later.
Although a tactical victory for the Japanese in terms of ships sunk, the battle would prove to be a strategic victory for the Allies for several reasons. Japanese expansion, seemingly unstoppable until then, had been turned back for the first time. More importantly, the Japanese fleet carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku one damaged and the other with a depleted aircraft complement were unable to participate in the Battle of Midway, which took place the following month, ensuring a rough parity in aircraft between the two adversaries and contributing significantly to the U.S. victory in that battle. The severe losses in carriers at Midway prevented the Japanese from reattempting to invade Port Moresby from the ocean. Two months later, the Allies took advantage of Japan's resulting strategic vulnerability in the South Pacific and launched the Guadalcanal Campaign that, along with the New Guinea Campaign, eventually broke Japanese defenses in the South Pacific and was a significant contributing factor to Japan's ultimate defeat in World War II.