The SBD Dauntless dive bomber was a mainstay of the U.S. Navy air fleet in the Pacific during World War II. The SBD was credited with the lowest loss ratio of any U.S. carrier-based aircraft in the period. A total of 5,936 SBD/A-24s was delivered between 1940 and the end of production in July 1944.
The SBD Dauntless featured "Swiss cheese" flaps — dive brakes punched with 3-inch holes. The dive brakes provided the means to achieve pinpoint accuracy by a near-vertical dive into the target, dropping the bomb, and then pulling out.
In addition to the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Army Air Forces, the Dauntless also served forces in France, New Zealand, and Mexico as well.
The first enemy ship sunk by the U.S. Navy in World II is credited to a Dauntless from the USS Enterprise. The diving Dauntless went on to destroy 18 enemy warships, including a battleship and six carriers.
Upgrade versions of the SBD were introduced starting from March 1941. It had .5O cal machine guns in the cowling. Self-sealing tanks were also added, as well as protective armor, and an upgrade 1,000 hp R-1820-52 engine for the SBD-5.