Aircraft Data Sheet

for SBD-1 Bu. No. 1612


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. The SBD was gradually phased out during 1944, and the 20 June 1944 strike against the Japanese Mobile Fleet in the Battle of the Philippine Sea was therefore its last major action as a carrier-borne aircraft.
     In 1942-43,  at the Battle of the Coral Sea,  in the bitter Guadalcanal campaign and most of all in the decisive Battle of Midway, the Dauntless did more than any other aircraft to turn the tide of the Pacific War.  At Midway on 4 June 1942 it wrecked all four Japanese carriers, and later in the battle sank a heavy cruiser and severely damaged another.  From 1942 through to 1945,  in addition to its shipboard service,  the SBD saw intensive use with the US Marine Corps,  flying from island bases.
     It was in the great carrier battles of the Coral Sea and Midway that the SBD became a legend when it was credited with severely damaging one carrier and helping sink another (Shoho) during the former encounter and sinking four carriers during the latter. The Midway success not only broke the back of Japanese naval carrier aviation, but also represented the turning point of the Pacific campaign. Service feats by the SBDs throughout World War II are nothing less than amazing - shooting down 138 planes and sinking 300,000 tons of enemy shipping while losing less than 100 to enemy fire (the lowest loss rate of any aircraft of the entire war).     
Ordered by the Navy in 1939, the first SBD "Dauntless" dive bombers produced by Douglas Aircraft Company were delivered to the U.S. Marine Corps and to carrier units in 1940. Some were also produced for the Army as the A-24 "Banshee". Of the 5,396 built, only a few remain today.

Click on a picture to see larger version.





Remarks: This aircraft arrived at the restoration facility on 7 January 2005.  The objective is fully restore this aircraft and place it on exhibit on the Midway sometime in 2009.

Nicknames: Barge, Slow But Deadly, Speedy D

This aircraft was in storage at NMNA Pensacola until it was transported to San Diego.  Prior to that, it had been submerged in Lake Michigan, most likely the victim of a training accident during WW II.  Bu. No. 1612 is the 17th production SBD.  Read additional information about this aircraft's history and restoration.

To learn how aircraft ended up on the bottom of Lake Michigan and their recovery from the lake many years later, click here and here.

Read a Naval Aviation News article about another early Dauntless, Bu. No. 2106.  The images of this article were provided by Troy Prince,

A PRELIMINARY ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL DOCUMENTATION OF DOUGLAS SBD-2 DAUNTLESS BuNo 2106, MIDWAY MADNESS by Richard K. Wills documents the history of another Dauntless recovered from Lake Michigan.  Click here to download this pdf document. (Requires Adobe Reader.)


This aircraft is on loan from the National Museum of Naval Aviation. 



Page updated on 30 November 2007