Curtiss SBC Helldiver Color Pictures Part 1

SBC_Helldiver_HG_01
A beautiful in-flight shot of Curtiss SBC-4 Helldiver BuNo 1813 of the New York Naval Air Reserve, 1940.  The aircraft displays the red cowling and fuselage band of a Squadron Leader.  (National Air and Space Museum Archives, Hans Groenhoff Photo Collection)
SBC4_RudyArnold_01
BuNo 1815 is aircraft number three of the first section, as identified by the Insignia Red lower cowling.  Only the Section Leader’s aircraft carried the fuselage band in the section color.  The tails of the section’s first and second aircraft are just visible in this picture.  (National Air and Space Museum Archives, Rudy Arnold Photo Collection)
SBC4_RudyArnold_02
The entire first section in flight.  The Helldivers here are BuNo 1813 (Number One), BuNo 1814 (Number Two) and BuNo 1815 (Number Three). (National Air and Space Museum Archives, Rudy Arnold Photo Collection)
SBC4_RudyArnold_04
Navy Squadrons were composed of eighteen aircraft organized into six sections of three.  The sections were identified by color.  Section colors were Insignia Red, Insignia White, Insignia Blue, Black, Willow Green, and Insignia Yellow. (National Air and Space Museum Archives, Rudy Arnold Photo Collection)
SBC4_RudyArnold_03
Some sources state that the U.S. Navy did not possess belly tanks at the beginning of the Second World War, but it is not at all uncommon to see pictures of dive bombers with auxiliary tanks mounted on the centerline during the Yellow Wings era. (National Air and Space Museum Archives, Rudy Arnold Photo Collection)
SBC4_RudyArnold_07
Sailors receive instruction on the .30 caliber defensive armament of the SBC-4.  This photo gives a good view of the fuselage decking aft of the rear cockpit, which is collapsed to allow the gunner a clear firing arc.  The collapsible section was known as a “turtledeck” or “turtleback”. (National Air and Space Museum Archives, Rudy Arnold Photo Collection)
SBC4_RudyArnold_08
Another view which shows the gun to better advantage.  The complex front sight was designed to compensate for windage.  Note the brown framing on the sliding canopy section. (National Air and Space Museum Archives, Rudy Arnold Photo Collection)
SBC4_RudyArnold_09
Two sailors loading practice bombs into panniers mounted on the wing bomb racks.  The practice bomb dispensers are commonly seen on wing racks of various types of naval aircraft of the period. (National Air and Space Museum Archives, Rudy Arnold Photo Collection)
SBC_LIFE_01
SBC-3 BuNo 0517 of “Scouting Six” spotted on the deck of the USS Enterprise (CV-6).  Enterprise’s air wing was identified by the Insignia Blue tail surfaces, her radio call sign was “Blue Base”.  (LIFE Magazine)
SBC_LIFE_02
The SBC-3 BuNo 0524 of the VS-6 Third Section leader has come to grief alongside Enterprise’s island.  The landing gear has collapsed and the propeller is bent. (LIFE Magazine)
SBC_LIFE_03
A fine shot of BuNo 0542 on the deck of the Enterprise.  The U.S. carriers would have their Mahogany stained decks and yellow markings painted over in the months preceding Pearl Harbor, by the time the war started they were stained with Deck Blue. (LIFE Magazine)
SBC-3_Helldiver_DiveBomberMovie
A screen capture from the Warner Brothers movie “Dive Bomber” staring Fred MacMurray and Errol Flynn.  The film is noteworthy for its color footage of several USN aircraft types.  The shift from the Yellow Wings markings to the overall Light Gray camouflage seems to have escaped the producers as shots of both finishes are intermixed throughout the film.

Part II here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2020/03/25/curtiss-sbc-helldiver-color-pictures-part-2/

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