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VB-18 | The Sunday Punchers | USS Intrepid | Battle of Leyte Gulf


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VB-18 | The Sunday Punchers | USS Intrepid


Flew Curtiss SB2C-3 Helldivers. The SB2C was designed to replace the SBD Dauntless. When the Helldivers were first delivered they were so poorly manufactured that some broke in half on landing and wings fell apart in a dive. Some countries cancelled orders and the USAAF never used the 900 they received. Eventually after over 800 modifications and technical changes the Helldiver went on to become one of the most effective dive-bombers of WWII. Most people referred to the plane as ?The Big Tail Beast? or just ?The Beast?.

On October 24, 1944 a fleet of 29 Japanese warships heading toward Leyte Gulf were detected by the US Navy. The USN launched air-strike after air-strike in an attempt to stop the fleet. One of the first groups sent was VB-18 with 12 SB2C-3s from the USS Intrepid along with her Avengers and Hellcats. It took six strikes throughout the day to sink the battleship Musashi, one cruiser and damage many other ships. When the day ended VB-18 had lost five of their twelve SB2C-3s.



Embroidered on twill.




USS Intrepid | VB-18 SC2S-3 taking off.












A U.S. Navy Curtiss SB2C-3 Helldiver of Bombing Squadron 18 (VB-18) "Sunday Punchers" is maneuvered into position aboard the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid (CV-11) after returning from a combat mission during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. The aircraft has suffered battle damage on the tail from Japanese antiaircraft fire. Note cross on tail of Helldiver, the symbol for Intrepid aircraft. VB-18 operated from Intrepid during the period August-November 1944.








SC2C-3 of VB-18 on board the Intrepid during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.






VB-18 leader board.










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