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Douglas SBD-3 "Dauntless" BuNo 4547 of VS-2, 1942 "Battle of Coral Sea"
General Background
The Douglas “Dauntless” was the workhorse for the US Navy during the WWII. This “Slow but Deadly” dive-bomber was the only plane that had fight in every major Pacific conflicts. Although it had been considered obsolete in 1941 already, the Dauntless was used until 1944 and undertook the last major conflict in the Battle of Philippine Sea. A total of 5,936 SBDs were produced in WWII.
The Aircraft
S-12 was an SBD-3 BuNo 4547 from VS-2 on USS Lexington. On May 8th and 9th, 1942 during the Battle of the Coral Sea wearing its red and white stripes on the tail the SBD-3 of Ensign John Leppla and ARM3c John Liska managed 7 victories. Four were accredited to Leppla and three to Liska. Mid May 1942 the red and white stripes as well as the red meatballs in the National Insignia were ordered removed. In October 1942 during the Battle Of Santa Cruz John Leppla was lost while flying F4F.
Specifications :


Length: 32 ft., 8 in.
Height: 13 ft., 7 in.
Wingspan: 41ft., 6 in.
Empty: 6,345 lb.
Gross: 10,400 lb.
Powerplant: One 1,000 horsepower Wright R-1820-52 engine
 Maximum Speed: 250 M.P.H.
Maximum Range with Bomb Load: 1,345 miles
Service Ceiling: 27,100 ft.
Crew: Pilot and gunner/radio operator
Armament: Two fixed forward-firing .50-in. guns, two flexible-mounted rear-firing .30-in. guns, 1,200 lb. of ordnance