Friday, December 23, 2011

Alaska wrecks, Part 4: Wounded Banshee

Douglas A-24 Banshee 254293. The give-away distinguishing the A-24 from
the more famous SBD is the lack of a tail hook just forward of the tailwheel.
 Say "dive bomber" to many folks, and the first thought that pops into their head is "Dauntless". Say "A-24 Banshee", and you'll get a quizzical look (that name is more often associated with the McDonnell F2H jet fighter of the Korean era).

There were almost 6,000 aircraft built by Douglas in the SBD Dauntless family of aircraft, and almost a thousand of these weren't Navy dive bombers - they were delivered to the Army Air Corps as A-24 Banshees. Some A-24s remained in the inventory long enough to be redesignated after the U.S. Air Force was established, and became F-24s.

This was one of a group of A-24B-1DTs flown by the 635th BS in Alaska. The 635th was based at Amchitka Army Airfield, but it's unknown whether that is the location of our photo. Although it is difficult to be absolutely certain of the tail number in this photo, it appears to be the same aircraft as seen second from the camera in this 1943 photo on Wikimedia.

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