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SB2C-4E Helldiver No. 203, VB-87, USS Ticonderoga, May 1945
General Background
The SB2C was designed to replace the SBD Dauntless. When the Helldivers were first delivered they were so poorly manufactured that some broke in half on landing and wings fell apart in a dive. Some countries cancelled orders and the USAAF never used the 900 they received. Eventually after over 800 modifications and technical changes the Helldiver went on to become one of the most effective dive-bombers of WWII. Most people referred to the plane as “The Big Tail Beast” or just “The Beast”.
The Aircraft
On January 21, 1945 USS Ticonderoga aircraft accompanied by other units, attacked Taiwan, Pescadores and Sakishima Gunto where USS Ticonderoga was badly damaged by two Japanese Kamikaze aircraft and returned to port for repairs. In May 1945 the aircraft carrier along with VB-87 returned to join the battle and on May 17, 1945 VB-87 and other squadrons struck the Marshall Islands. From May 28 until May 31, 1945 USS Ticonderoga’s aircraft took part in raids on Okinawa and the other Ryuku Islands. VB-87 was assigned to Ticonderoga from early May – September 1945.
Specifications :
General data
Manufacturer: Curtiss-Wright
Crew: 2 X 1 pilot, 1 radio operator/gunner
Length: 36 ft 9 in (11.2 m)
Wingspan: 49 ft 9 in (15.2 m)
Height: 14 ft 9 in (4.5 m)
Wing area: 422 ft² (39.2 m²)
Empty: 10,114 lb (4,588 kg)
Loaded: 13,674 lb (6,202 kg)
Max takeoff: 16,800 lb (7,600 kg)
Powerplant: 1× Wright R-2600 Cyclone radial engine, 1,900 hp (1,400 kW)
Maximum speed: 294 mph (473 km/h)
Range: 1,200 miles (1,900 km)
Service ceiling: 25,000 ft (7,600 m)
Rate of climb: 1,750 ft/min (8.9 m/s)
Armament: 2 x .50 cal (20 mm) cannon in each wing
2 x 0.30 in (7.62 mm) machine guns in the rear cockpit
Internal bay - 2,000 lb (900 kg) of bombs or 1x Mark 13-2 torpedo
Hardpoints: 500 lb (225 kg) of bombs each wing