Details of the combat debut of the U.S. Navy’s Curtiss SB2C Helldiver dive bomber at the Battle of Rabaul from Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin, February 1944.
HELLDIVER The Navy’s New Dive Bomber Makes Debut In Smash at Rabaul
The Navy’s newest air weapon, the Curtiss Helldiver (SB2C), is in action. With the Vought Corsair (F4U) and Grumman Hellcat (F6F) fighters and the Grumman Avenger (TBF) torpedo bomber, it completes, to date, the Navy’s war-born aerial attack team. All four planes incorporate the lessons of modern warfare taught by battle experience since Pearl Harbor.
A fifth Navy combat plane placed in service since America entered the war is the Ventura (PV) patrol bomber.
Helldivers on a carrier roll forward to take off. Official U.S. Navy photographs.
In its first combat action, the 11 November raid on Rabaul, the Helldiver–bigger and heavier than any dive bomber previously used by our armed forces–accounted for the bulk of the extensive toll taken of Jap shipping.
A report on net tenders from Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin, August 1944.
Horned Toads Net Tenders Shield Allied Ships From Enemy Submarines
Those odd-looking “horned” craft you may have seen operating around harbors or fleet anchorages are playing an important part in the constant campaign against enemy submarines and other torpedo carriers.
Stern view of tender as she hauls the net, with its flotation buoys, along her wake.
They are the Navy’s ANs–sometimes called “Bulls” or “Horned Toads,” because of the twin permanent booms which form their prows–and their job is to lay and tend the steel nets which close off ports and shield anchored warships against underwater attack.
Closeup of tender’s prow shows horns used as booms for lifting net.
Two types of nets are used–one designed to ensnare a sub or to warn of its presence, the other to stop a torpedo. Some nets are more than two miles long and extend from the surface of the water to the bottom. Net layer crews are called upon to repair breaks in sections after overly strong currents or storms have ripped holes in the heavy mesh.
Gulls on MK II buoy watch as net tender prepares to move new section into position.
ANs come in two sizes–one, carrying a crew of 44, is 152 feet long; the other, with a complement of 52, is 195 feet overall. Both are Diesel-electric driven.
Completely mended, the torpedo net now maintains its protection of ships anchored in distance.
Most of the tenders operate at advance bases. Others protect U.S. ports. Despite their diminutive size and specialized duties, ANs can fight, too. One of them shot down a Zero at Pearl Harbor and another got two Japanese planes at Tulagi.
Basic flying characteristics of the SBD Dauntless from Pilot’s Handbook Model SBD-3, Douglas Aircraft, 1942.
The model SBD-3 airplane is a single engine, low wing, monoplane, designed for dive bombing or scouting operations from either shore stations or aircraft carriers. This airplane performs all ground and flight maneuvers with the normal characteristics of its type. As a land plane, this airplane will take off from the ground or carrier deck with or without the aid of a catapult, and will land on an ordinary landing field with or without landing flaps, or on a carrier deck in an arresting gear. Dive bombing maneuvers may be made with or without the use of the diving flaps.