The Vultee Vengeance In Battle

The Vultee Vengeance is one of the lesser known aircraft in RAF service during WWII. This dive bomber was acquired from the US by the British Purchasing Commission in the darkest days of the war and played an important role later in the Far East in support of the Chindits special forces – Highly Recommended


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NAME: The Vultee Vengeance In Battle 
FILE: R2921
AUTHOR: Peter C Smith
PUBLISHER: Pen and Sword
BINDING: hard back
PAGES: 324
PRICE: £25.00
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWII, World War II, World War 2, World War Two, Second World 
War, US weapons supplies, British Purchasing Commission, Battle of France, Fall 
of France, Battle of Britain, Middle East, Far East, dive bomber, close support, 
Chindits, precision bombing

ISBN: 1-52670-456-0

IMAGE: B2921.jpg
BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/y3swy889
LINKS:  
DESCRIPTION: The Vultee Vengeance is one of the lesser known aircraft in RAF 
service during WWII. This dive bomber was acquired from the US by the 
British Purchasing Commission  in the darkest days of the war and played an 
important role later in the Far East in support of the Chindits special forces   –  
Highly Recommended

The RAF claim to have developed dive bombing in 1917, but at that time there was 
no RAF. The RNAS was formed a month before the start of World War One, 
restoring control of naval aviation to the Royal Navy, but it was based on earlier 
RN efforts to establish naval aviation in support of the Fleet. The first officers to 
learn to fly in 1911 became the fathers of British naval aviation and their first tasks 
were to consider all of the productive roles that could be performed by aircraft at sea. 
In 1914, RNAS squadrons were sent to France to fly alongside the Army's RFC and 
French aviators. 

Exactly which of these aviation pioneers really invented dive bombing is debatable, 
although the RNAS was developing the technique as early as 1914, but to destroy
German Zeppelins. At that time, the few aircraft armed with machine guns had yet 
to be equipped with incendiary ammunition and were therefore largely ineffective 
against rigid airships. However, it was found that bombs could be effective and the 
RNAS already had bomb racks and remote bomb releases, where Army machines 
relied on a second crew member to lean over the side and manually release small 
bombs and hand grenades. The RNAS crews soon discovered that a diving attack 
on an airship was the most effective tactic, holding release of the bombs until very 
close to the moving target. This resulted in an RNAS pilot bringing down a Zeppelin 
in 1914 by bombing it as it flew over Belgium. The tactic was also found to be 
effective against ground targets, particularly when facing anti-aircraft fire.

After WWI, many new air forces began to develop an enthusiasm with dive 
bombing, particularly in Germany and the US, although the RAF largely lost 
interest. The between wars period was in many ways a period of lost opportunity 
because the RAF held the monopoly on warplanes, receive poor investment from 
the politicians along with the Royal Navy and the Army, and also proved resistant 
to new technologies. In 1938 the RN once more regained control of naval aviation, 
with the exception of long range maritime patrol aircraft, and began to power ahead,
 making up for lost time. The RAF was also engaged in a desperate programme of 
catch-up, being seriously behind with obsolete technology and tactics. Money was 
a problem but there was also a built-in headwind from the RAF preoccupation with 
strategic bombing, but also finally realising that it had to make up lost ground with 
new monoplane fighters.

By 1940, the RAF was still concentrating funds and attention  on building fighters 
and developing the medium and heavy bombers required for strategic bombing. It 
was effectively without either a dive bomber, or tactics to employ dive bombing at 
a time when the Germans were demonstrating graphically how effective dive 
bombers and armour, working together, could be in punching through large military 
formations and rolling them up. Dive bombers were added to the list of aircraft types 
the British Purchasing Commission was tasked in buying from the US.

The Vultee Vengeance was already obsolescent in 1940, but a major step forward 
for the RAF. It received little publicity in British service because the European 
Theatre concentrated on the battle between German and British fighters in the Battle 
of Britain and then in the British fighter sweeps across Belgium and France, and 
on the rapidly expanding area bombing duties for medium and heavy bombers, 
flying deep into Germany in increasingly large formations. The natural role for dive 
bombers was a low priority for the RAF but the Royal Navy had a very effective 
Skua dive bomber that was also surprisingly effective as a fighter. The logical 
deployment for the Vultee was to North Africa and the Far East, both distant 
battlegrounds and where obsolescent aircraft still had a chance of success.

The author has traced the history of the Vultee in RAF service and particularly in 
its successful use against the Japanese in Burma, where it and the Hurricane were 
used in the ground support role. In Europe, the Mosquito and Tornado became the 
popular ground support aircraft with their cannon and rocket armament, proving 
specially effective against German heavy tanks and other road vehicles. In Burma, 
the Vultee was still equal to the task.

The well-researched text is supported with some good supportive illustration, 
making this an interesting account with good insights.