Book Review
The Dauntless in Battle
The Dauntless in Battle
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by: Fay Baker [ AWESOME_ODP ]


The following introduction is taken from the Pen and Sword website:
The Douglas SBD Dauntless, a monoplane dive-bomber designed by Ed Heinemann for the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps, 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 adopted the type (as the Banshee) they lacked the Navy’s expertise at this method of attack and the hastily-deployed units that tried to stem the tide of enemy victory in the Dutch East Indies were overwhelmed and took heavy losses, which gave the USAAC the excuse to abandon the type.

The US Navy and Marine flyers fared quite differently. In the early raids on Japanese-held islands - and in 1942 at the naval battles of the Coral Sea and Midway, Eastern Solomons and elsewhere - she proved herself a key and decisive instrument to first halt and then turn the die against Japanese expansion. The SBD (nicknamed ‘Slow But Deadly’) fought ashore the bitter fighting a Guadalcanal and the subsequent Solomon Island campaigns working from both shore and carrier bases.

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.


This offering from Pen and Sword is written by Peter C Smith, and provided as a hard back book containing 240 pages of heavy matt paper with a small photographic section in the centre of the book. Peter C Smith, has produced a number of titles covering aircraft of World War II, and seems to have a great interest in dive bombers.

The Contents of this title are as follows:
A Note of Aircraft Names
List of Tables
Maps and Inserts
List of Illustrations
Chapter 1 Origins
Chapter 2 Opening rounds 1941-42
Chapter 3 Battle of the Coral Sea May 1942
Chapter 4 Battle of Midway
Chapter 5 Derailing the Tokyo Express
Chapter 6 Two Carrier Duels
Chapter 7 Kiwis at Bougainville 1944
Chapter 8 Vindication at the Philippines Sea
Chapter 9 US Marine Corps - Dauntless in the Philippines 1944-45
Appendix 1 The Emperor’s New Clothes
Glossary of Acronyms

This hard back offering written by Peter C Smith, does not so much tell the story of the Dauntless dive bomber, but tells of the story of the actions in which it took part. The text is a mixture of the authors own words, and the words of those who flew the aircraft. The book provides information of what aircraft were on what ships and who the crews were that manned those aircraft. The story of the battles is provided in blow by blow accounts, and so makes for informative reading.

The text is written in an informative manner, which can make it a little dry to read in places, but it does enable the information to be absorbed. Due to the amount of information the author has to provide the reader, the method chosen is probably the best approach. I also particularly liked the segments taken from the people who flew the Dauntless in battle. The period photographs in this book are limited, but they have been well chosen for the clarity of view; the one thing I would say about the photographs is that I would have liked to see more informative captions.


This offering from Pen and Sword, authored by Peter C Smith provides an informative look at the Dauntless in action. The writing style is a little dry due to having to get a lot of informational data through to the reader, but this is lifted by the addition of text from what I believe are pilots notes. The only real weakness in the title is that the images provided could have been improved upon via the addition of more informative captions.
Fay Baker takes a look at a recent title from Pen and Sword titled 'The Dauntless in Battle'.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 9781526704603
  Suggested Retail: £19.99
  PUBLISHED: Apr 01, 2020
  NATIONALITY: United States

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Copyright ©2021 text by Fay Baker [ AWESOME_ODP ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.