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Douglas A-24 Banshee Dive Bomber Aircraft (1941)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 3/15/2010

The Douglas A-24 Banshee was the United States Army version of the Naval Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bomber series with a few changes.

The Douglas A-24 "Banshee" dive bomber fit the requirement of the United States Army for a capable dive bomber-type aircraft. After witnessing successes of this type by Germany throughout its European offensives, the US Army convinced itself of the need and utilized the existing Douglas SBD-3 Dauntless dive bomber platform already in use with the United States Navy. The US Army type came into service with the designation of A-24 and would see limited use - and success - in the Pacific Theater. In essence, the Banshee was a land-based form of the Douglas SBD Dauntless series of carrier-borne dive bombers.

Design of the A-24 followed along the same lines as the SBD series. The stubby fuselage was fitted with low-wing monoplane wings. A three-bladed propeller was affixed to a Wright piston engine. The A-24 was crewed by two personnel, a pilot and a rear cockpit gunner, and could field a variety of torpedo and bombs on three external stores consisting of a centerline mount and two underwing mounts. Defensive armament was helped out by a flexible twin 7.62mm machine (.30 caliber) gun array in the rear cockpit. Offensive armament was a pair of 12.7mm (.50 caliber) machine guns fixed into the nose.

The A-24 had a poor service record when compared to her naval counterpart. The system was shipped to the Philippines in an attempt to bolster American defenses on the island chain but swift Japanese movement on that front forced the A-24's to be diverted to Australia. Prior to their fielding, the A-24 partook of what was known as the "Louisiana Maneuvers", to which the systems were subjected to vast amounts of training for pilots and crew. As a result, the systems were shipped still in this worn out condition, making it all the way to Australia. Once there, it was up to the ground crews (most of them Australian) to rework the system back into fighting shape. With a little ingenuity, the A-24 was serviceable again, though even the slight modifications could not improve the performance detriments of the design as a whole.

The A-24 performed poorly when used, subjected to the best fighters the Japanese could field. Poor combat performance ultimately relegated the A-24 attack system to pilot training indefinitely while still others were used in the towed target role for gunnery practice. The A-24 appeared in three marks (A-24, A-24A and the A-24B), all based on the progressive SBD Dauntless variants (SBD-3, SBD-4 and the SBD-5).

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Specifications for the
Douglas A-24 Banshee
Dive Bomber Aircraft

Focus Model: Douglas A-24A Banshee
Country of Origin: United States
Manufacturer: Douglas Aircraft Corporation - USA
Initial Year of Service: 1941
Production: 52

Crew: 2

Length: 32.81 ft (10 m)
Width: 41.60 ft (12.68 m)
Height: 12.11ft (3.69 m)
Weight (Empty): 5,523 lb (2,505 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 10,199 lb (4,626 kg)

Powerplant: 1 x Wright R-1820-52 engine generating 1,000hp.

Maximum Speed: 250 mph (402kmh; 217 kts)
Maximum Range: 949 miles (1,528km)
Service Ceiling: 26,001 ft (7,925 m; 4.9 miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 0 feet-per-minute (0 m/min)

Hardpoints: 3
Armament Suite:
2 x 12.7mm machine guns in nose
2 x 7.62mm machine guns in flexible mounting in rear cokcpit position

Up to 1,200lbs of external ordnance (centerline and underwing positions)

SBD-3 "Dauntless" - Base Douglas dive bomber model on which the A-24 Army variant is based on.

A-24 "Banshee" - US Army variant based on the USN SBD-3 model.

A-24A "Banshee" - US Army variant based on the USN SBD-4 model.

A-24B "Banshee" - US Army variant based on the USN SBD-5 model.

the United States of America