CURTISS SB2C HELLDIVER


SB2C-4E of VB6 in 1945

The Curtiss SB2C Helldiver was the US Navy's principal dive bomber during the latter part of WWII.

First entering combat at Rabaul in November 1943, by the middle of 1944 it had completely replaced its predecessor,the Douglas SBD Dauntless, aboard the fast carriers. Following the Marianas operation in June and July 1944 SB2C squadrons participated in the advance through the western Pacific, via the Palaus and Philippines, to Okinawa and the Japanese home islands.Post-WWII, Helldivers continued to serve in USN carrier bombing/attack squadrons until early 1949.

Foreign use of the aircraft included employment by the Greek Air Force in that country's civil war of 1949, and carrier operations over Indochina by the French Navy from 1951 to 1954. In the early fifties it also saw service with France, Italy and Portugal for anti-submarine warfare.

This website is dedicated to all those who designed, built, flew and maintained the '2C', and especially to Roland W. Holmes, SB2C Project Engineer & Chief Field Engineer, Curtiss-Wright, Columbus


April 2005

Some sad news is the death in March of Captain Willard L. Nyburg, who served with VA5A/VA54 from July 1947 to January 1949, and was CO for a brief period in 1948. He had over 1000hrs in the SB2C. Later in his career he flew the AD with VC33 and VA175, and in 1966/7 commanded the carrier Kearsarge.

Two new squadron histories, those for VB13 and VMSB244, have recently been added.

February 2006

I have just had to remove a name from the memoriam page as it has been pointed out to me that ARM1c O.B. Rasmussen,who was an SB2C rearseatmen with VB85 in WWII, in fact survived. On 14 July 1945, while attacking a train near Muroran, Hokkaido in bad weather, his SB2C-4 crashed. The pilot, Lt(jg) H.E. Eagleston, was killed but Rasmussen managed to evade capture until mid-September, well after VJ-day. There is a book about his exploits, "Chippewa Chief in WWII" by D.J. Norton

Any other additions or corrections for this page will be gratefully received and I am also prepared to try and answer questions about Helldiver losses.

April 2007

Histories of VB87 and the two USS Midway squadrons, VB74/VA1B and VT74/VA2B, have now been added.

June 2007

Additions have been made to the Logbooks and Comments pages

Owing to the proliferation of spam messages the Guestbook is now moderated so that I can preview each one to make sure it is genuine.

May 2008

1)  Some sad news is the death in March of R.Adm. Martin D. Carmody. "Big Red", as he was known, was X.O. of VB14 during its combat cruise on Wasp in 1944;  he later commanded VB98, the West Coast replacement training squadron. Carmody was one of the Navy's top strike leaders of WWII.
An obituary notice includes a message to his former VB8 squadron mates: "He wanted then to know that they have his deepest respect and admiration and he will be there to welcome them to that carrier in the sky".

2)  On 9 October 1945, returning from the Nimitz parade in Washington D.C., an SB2C-4E (82966) of VB97 based at NAS Grosse Ile crashed near Waterford, PA, killing the crew, Ens. F.Z. Campbell and ARM3c G.A. Cohlmia. A memorial was erected at the site and photos can be seen at the following link:

SB2C Memorial

(with thanks to John Motto)

March 2009

If any relatives of former Helldiver pilots or crewmen are trying to discover more about their operational service I shall be pleased to try and assist.

On account of some entries going missing and others being cut short, I have removed the old Guestbook and substituted a new one in the hope that it will prove more reliable. Please feel free to leave your comments.

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This website was last updated on 7 March 2009

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This website was originated in April 2004 by George Kernahan

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