Douglas SBD Dauntless

The Douglas SBD Dauntless was a naval dive bomber made by Douglas during World War II. The SBD was the main dive bomber of the United States Navy from mid-1940 until late 1943, when it was supplanted, although not entirely replaced, by the SB2C Helldiver. The U.S. Army had its own version of the SBD, known as the A-24 Banshee, which lacked the tail hook used for carrier landings, and a pneumatic tire replaced the solid tail wheel; the Banshee was used by the Army in the early stages of the war. The USAAF used 948 of the 5,937 Dauntlesses built. 

The SBD was involved in combat from the first day of the Pacific War, as Dauntlesses arriving at Hawaii from USS Enterprise were caught in the Pearl Harbor attack. Dauntless dive bombers were decisive at the Battle of Midway. During the war in the Pacific, the strengths and weaknesses of the SBD became evident. Although the Dauntless design was already reaching obsolescence by 1941, the SBD was used until 1944 when the Douglas SBD Dauntless undertook its last major action during the Battle of the Philippine Sea. 

Douglas SBD Dauntless
Class Aircraft
Type Bomber
Manufacturer Douglas Aircraft Company
Origin United States of America
Country Name Origin Year
United States of America 1940
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Chile View
France View
Mexico 1940 1959 View
Morocco View
United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain) View
United States of America 1940 1959 View
New Zealand View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Douglas Aircraft Company 5936 View

Role Dive bomber
Scout plane
National origin United States
Manufacturer Douglas Aircraft
Designer Ed Heinemann
First flight 1 May 1940
Introduction 1940
Retired 1959 (Mexico)
Primary users United States Navy
United States Marine Corps
Free French Air Force
Produced 1940–1944
Number built 5936
Developed from Northrop BT

General characteristics

  • Crew: Two
  • Length: 33 ft 1 in (10.08 m)
  • Wingspan: 41 ft 6 in (12.65 m)
  • Height: 13 ft 7 in (4.14 m)
  • Wing area: 325 ft (30.19 m)
  • Empty weight: 6,404 lb (2,905 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 10,676 lb (4,843 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 10,700 lb (4,853 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 x Wright R-1820-60 radial engine, 1,200 hp (895 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 255 mph (410.38 km/h)
  • Range: 773 mi (1243.8 km)
  • Service ceiling 25,530 ft (7,780 m)
  • Rate of climb: 1,700 ft/min (8.6 m/s)
  • Wing loading: 32.8 lb/ft (160.4 kg/m)
  • Power/mass: 0.11 hp/lb (0.18 kW/kg)


  • 2 x 0.50 cal (12.7 mm) forward-firing machine guns in engine cowling
  • 1 x 0.30 cal (7.62 mm) flexible-mounted machine guns in rear (later versions fitted with 2 x machine guns of the same caliber)
  • 2,250 lb (1,020 kg) of bombs

End notes