Thursday, November 6, 2014

Fire From the Sky: The SBD Dauntless Dive Bomber

The Dauntless Dive bomber was used extensively by American air forces in the Pacific Theatre in World War II. Along with a good array of machine guns, it carried one 500-pound bomb. (That's a quarter of a ton!)

The pilot of the Dauntless would fly at a high altitude, then preform a nose-dive drop toward it's target before releasing the bomb strait at it. Hence it's name, "dive bomber". Both sides had dive bombers, the Japanese favorite being the Aichi D3A "Val" dive bomber, used extensively in the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Dauntless, unlike many other early American planes, could effectively match what the Japanese could throw at it, many thanks to it's rearward-mounted machine gun.

"Bombs away!" The Dauntless saw extensive service in the battle of Guadalcanal and Midway, America's first land and sea victories against the Japanese Imperial forces in 1942.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Vietnam: The NVA

The North Vietnamese regular Army soldier (NVA)
During the Vietnam conflict, the American and South Vietnamese armies fought two forces. One was the infamous civilian militia, the Viet Cong, but they also had to contend with a more official force, the North Vietnamese Army. Supplied largely by the Soviet Union and People's Republic of China, the North Vietnamese Army--or NVA--first clashed with American Air Cavalry at the battle of Ia Drang Valley in 1965.
The NVA didn't wear black like their VC counterparts, but rather, military issue khaki uniforms. They wore both pith helmets and bamboo leaf cone hats, too well suited to the climate to discard.

The Vietcong and NVA could fight side-by-side, like the militia and Continental Army during the American Revolution.
The NVA and VC used similar weapons, but the NVA were better equipped, usually carrying Chinese-made SKS rifles and Soviet AK-47's, as seen here.