The Douglas SBD Dauntless arrived in service in the months just preceding America’s entry into World War II. The first such aircraft were being shipped out to the USMC units just as the Japanese Task Force arrived in position to launch their attack on Pearl Harbor, while those Dauntless embarked aboard the American aircraft carriers of the Pacific Fleet became among the very first casualties of that surprise attack. Very quickly the Dauntless established herself as a highly accurate naval bomber at sea. However, when the Army Air Force operated the type in the Dutch East Indies they took heavy losses. The US Navy and Marine flyers fared quite differently. The Royal New Zealand Air Force also formed a squadron with this aircraft that fought at Bougainville with distinction. The Dauntless continued to fight a sea until right up to 1944 and then carried on with the Marine Corps to provide the American Army with close air support in their conquest of the Philippines. The Dauntless also served with the French Air Force and Navy in North Africa, Europe and, post-war, in Vietnam.
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