Helldiver Debut at Rabaul

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.

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.

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.

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B-32 Dominator

Introduction to the Consolidated B-32 Dominator heavy bomber from the training manual: Airplane Commander Training Manual for the B-32 Dominator, AAF Manual 51-126-7, Headquarters Army Air Forces, 1945.


The B-32’s Past

The history of your B-32 Dominator starts in 1940, when the Army accepted Boeing, Martin and Consolidated Vultee designs for VHB aircraft. Martin designs were not completed, but the end results of those Boeing and Convair plans are the present B-29 and B-32 airplanes. Between the first 32 design and the airplane you’re flying today, however, is a long succession of changes.

The originally planned XB-32 was an airplane with several similarities to the present Superfortress. It had pressurization and remotely controlled turrets. It also had a double tail, wing guns and cannon, and other features which it doesn’t have today. The Army decided not to put all its eggs in one basket, but to have at first only one airplane with the new features of the 29, and to duplicate its purpose in another model of more conventional design.

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Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien / Ki-100 Book

kawasaki-ki-61-hien-fighterA new Kagero book release for November 2014 has been announced by Kagero Publishing: Monographs No. 58: Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien/Ki-100 by Leszek A. Wieliczko. The book contains 116 pages, 18 painting schemes, 105 archive photos, 19 pages A4 sheet of scale drawings, and two double A2 sheet with drawings.


SBD-3 Flying Characteristics

Basic flying characteristics of the SBD Dauntless from Pilot’s Handbook Model SBD-3, Douglas Aircraft, 1942.

Flying Characteristics

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.

Douglas SBD Dauntless

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Fighter Trio

A three-generation trio of USAF fighters — the P-51 Mustang, F-22 Raptor, and F-16 Fighting Falcon — fly over the crowd on opening day of the Joint Service Open House at Joint Base Andrews. Photograph by Petty Officer 2nd Class Clifford Davis, Navy Media Content Services, 2010.

Fighter Trio

F4U Corsair & AV-8B Harrier

A Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier and vintage F4U Corsair fly side by side over the 2012 Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point Air Show. (U.S. Dept. of Defense, Public Domain, Black Daggers at MCAS Cherry Point Air Show May 4, Photo by Lance Cpl. Scott L. Tomaszycki, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing & Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, Date: 05.04.2012)

Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier and vintage F4U Corsair

(U.S. Dept. of Defense Photo)


P-51B Mustang “Shoo Shoo Baby”

North American P-51B 'Shoo Shoo Baby' of 357th Fighter Group

North American P-51B Mustang "Shoo Shoo Baby" of the 357th Fighter Group. (U.S. Air Force Photograph)


Bf 109 E-7 Trop from Cyber-Hobby

New 1/32nd Warbirds feature poster from Cyber-Hobby: #3223 Bf 109 E-7 Trop (1/32 Warbirds)

Cyberhobby #3223 Bf 109 E-7 Trop (1/32 Warbirds)

Cyberhobby #3223 Bf 109 E-7 Trop (1/32 Warbirds)


P-47 Thunderbolt with USAAF in MTO, Asia and Pacific

New book and decal sheet release on the P-47 Thunderbolt from Kagero Publishing for June 2013: SMI LIBRARY 07: P-47 Thunderbolt with the USAAF in the MTO, Asia and Pacific by Tomasz Szlagor.

The latest release covers the service of the P-47 Thunderbolt in the Mediterranean, Asia and Pacific theaters during World War II. Details: A4 size, 96 pages, 132 black & white, 6 color photos, color profiles of 4 aircraft, decal sheet printed by Cartograf.

The book includes 1:32, 1:48 and 1:72 decals with markings for the following three planes: P-47D-28-RA (s/n 42-29091) coded ‘42’ and named Passionate Patsy, flown by Lt. Ralph Barnes of 310th FS / 58th FG; P-47D-30-RE (s/n 44-20866) coded ‘53’ and named Schmaltzie/Mercedes, flown by Lt. Frank ‘Duffy’ Middleton of 65th FS / 57th FG; and P-47N-1-RE (s/n 44-87996) coded ‘08’ and named Cheek Baby, flown by Lt. Durwood B. Williams of 333rd FS / 318th FG.

P-47 Thunderbolt with the USAAF

P-61 Escape Hatches

Location of escape hatches on the P-61 Black Widow night fighter from the Pilot Training Manual for the Black Widow, P-61, Office of Assistant Chief of Air Staff Training, Headquarters AAF.

Escape Hatches on the P-61 Black Widow Night FighterEscape Hatches

There are three escape hatches in the P-61. The top of the pilot’s compartment opens to the left when the latch above his right shoulder is released. Normally, he opens this hatch to climb over the back of his seat every time he enters and leaves the plane.

The right side of the gunner’s compartment may be unlatched and pushed out completely. This hatch should never be used except in an emergency. Neither should the RO’s escape hatch. In the early A models, the plexiglas panel over the RO’s head opens in the middle and folds outward to left and right. In later A’s and in the B model, only the port half of this panel opens. It opens out and down.

The chapter on Emergency Operations, Pages 96-105, tells you and your crew when and how to use the escape hatches. It also tells you when to resort to the entrance hatches in bailing out, and how to leave the plane through them when that becomes necessary.