The Dauntless in Battle

...from Pen & Sword

Title: The Dauntless in Battle
Author: Peter C. Smith
Publisher: Pen & Sword
ISBN: 978-1-52670-460-3

This new book from author Peter C. Smith is a very detailed account of the combat history of this famous US dive bomber. It starts with some background to the Dauntless coming into service with the US Navy, but it doesn't go into the very detailed development story, this one keeps a clear focus on the combat history of the type.
It start right at the outset of the war, when some scouting aircraft from the USS Enterprise were directed to a ground landing on Oahu, but where they arrived to find themselves caught up with the Japanese aircraft attacking Pearl Harbour. So, it really does start at the beginning. The remainder of the 9 chapters moves chronologically through the story, with the Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1943; the famous Battle of Midway; Derailing the Tokyo Express supply line; Two Carrier Duels. Then a slight change as it moves to include the story of the Dauntless in action with a New Zealand 25 Dive Bomber squadron that flew them, 'Kiwis at Bougainville 1944'. Then Vindication at the Philippine Sea and finally switching to the USMC use of the Dauntless, also in the Philippines, 1944-45. The Marines very successfully operated the aircraft in flying close-support dive bombing missions close to the front line troops, a task which hadn't always been reliably done by others.
Throughout the book there are plenty of tables, listing aircraft and crew on specific missions, and detailed descriptions of those missions, and the fate of many of the crews. It was replaced in US Navy service before the end of the war but I still picked up on a number of details, including a reminder that it was one of the few US carrier based aircraft not to have a wing fold mechanism. A well focussed account and lots of fine detail on both the aircraft and the crews who flew them in action.
Thanks to Pen & Sword for the review copy.