Overview of Dauntless vs. Val vs. Stuka (dive bomber)
During the 1930s, three countries, Germany, Japan, and the United States began to study at dive bombing as an effective weapon. Dive bombing had been tried during World War I by the British and the U.S. Army Air Service, and their experience was that it wasn’t worth the effort.
However, both the Imperial Japanese and the United States Navy saw dive bombing as an effective ship-killing weapon. The U.S. Marine Corps and the German Luftwaffe saw it as an effective close-air support tactic.
In the 1920s and early 1930s, as airplanes evolved from biplanes to monoplanes, it became evident that new technology needed to be developed to enable effective dive bombing. Germany, Japan, and the U.S. all began to design new dive bombers. Germany’s Ju-87 was tested in combat during the Spanish Civil War. Japan created the Aichi D3A2 which we gave the code name Val, and the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps developed the Douglas SBD Dauntless.
This video takes the viewer through the different technologies and the tactical requirements that drove the design of these three dive bombers that were in front-line service on September 1st, 1939 and were still flying in combat when the war in the Pacific ended when Japan signed the surrender documents on the deck of the U.S.S. Missouri (BB-63) on September 2nd, 1945.
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