Model Airplane News
July, 1941

Model Airplane News Cover for July, 1941 by Jo Kotula Curtiss XSB2C-1 Helldiver    Model Airplane News Cover for July, 1944 by Jo Kotula Curtiss XSB2C-1 Helldiver

Curtiss XSB2C-1 "Helldiver"
Model Airplane News Cover Art for July, 1941 and July, 1944
by Jo Kotula
Click to Enlarge

The experimental contract for the Helldiver was awarded by the US Navy on 15 May 1939 and the prototype XSB2C-1 first flew on 18 December 1940. From that date the Helldiver two-seat carrier-borne dive bomber was the subject of constant development.

Armor, self-sealing tanks, protected fuel and oil lines, increased armament, a lengthened fuselage and a completely new tail unit with greatly enlarged fixed and moveable surfaces were incorporated in the production SB2C-1 which first flew in June 1942. From that date until November 1943 (when the Helldiver first went into action in the Pacific theatre of war) more than 880 design changes were made, some of which were part of the Army-Navy standardisation programme to permit the production of an Army version of the Helldiver as the A-25, which later served with the Marine Corps.

 Curtiss SB2C Helldiver     Curtiss SB2C Helldiver on the cover of the March 31, 1941 issue of LIFE Magazine

Curtiss SB2C "Helldiver"
Made the cover of LIFE Magazine (March 31, 1941 issue)
Click to Enlarge

Armament consisted of four 12.7mm machine-guns in the wings and one on a hydraulic mounting in the rear cockpit. Armament changed to two 20mm cannon. The SB2C-4 and SB2C-5, more than 3,000 of which were built, were developments of the SB2C-3 with perforated wing flaps and under-wing bomb racks under the outer wings for eight 115mm rockets.

Here is a video of a restored SB2C in action.

The SB2C was on the cover of the May 31, 1941 issue of LIFE Magazine. Click here to download a ".pdf" of the article. Click Here for more information about the SB2C "Helldiver" .

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