Vought SB2U Vindicator Color Photographs Part II

A fine study of a U.S. Marine Corps SB2U-3 Vindicator assigned to VMS-131 in the overall Light Gray scheme in use from 30DEC40 through 20AUG41, when the upper surface color was changed to Blue Gray. (NASM, Rudy Arnold archives)


A clear, if somewhat dusty, view of the undersides showing several details. The Vindicator was designed to carry floats for water operations if needed. (NASM, Rudy Arnold archives)


A Marine VMS-131 Vindicator in flight. The bomb displacement gear under the fuselage was designed to swing the bomb clear of the propeller arc in a dive. Under the wings are practice bomb dispensers. (NASM, Rudy Arnold archives)


Several details of the Vindicator’s construction are visible in this view. The aft fuselage and outer wing panels were fabric-covered. The arrangement of the gunner’s canopy sections when stowed forward is also visible. (NASM, Rudy Arnold archives)


A section of Marine Vindicators in flight. U.S. Navy and Marine squadrons were organized into six sections of three aircraft for a total of eighteen aircraft. (NASM, Rudy Arnold archives)


An SB2U-1 Vindicator in the overall Light Gray scheme in flight. (NASM, Hans Groenhoff archives)


The only combat engagements using the Vindicator by U.S. forces were flown by the Marines of VMSB-241 during the Battle of Midway. John Ford filmed these aircraft in color for his documentary of the battle, three screenshots are presented here. White 2 returned from the 4 June mission, but was lost with her crew CAPT Richard E. Fleming and PFC George A. Toms during the 5 June strike against the Japanese cruiser Mikuma. CAPT Fleming flew during all three of VMSB-241s missions during the battle and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions.


Aircraft numbered “1” would traditionally be flown by the squadron commander, in this instance that would be the leader of the SB2U-3 unit, MAJ Benjamin W. Norris and his gunner, PFC Arthur B. Whittington. If that is the case then both the crews in this screenshot did not survive, as Norris and Whittington were lost on the evening mission which failed to locate the Japanese fleet. White 3, crewed by 2LT Kenneth O. Campion and PVT Anthony J. Maday, did not return from the first strike.


White 6 and White 9 are shown taking off from Midway. White 6 was flown by 2LT James H. Marmande and PFC Edby M. Colvin and was lost during the first Midway mission. The unusual fuselage striping seen on these aircraft was actually four-inch medical tape, doped onto the fuselage fabric as a field-expedient repair. 

More screen captures and analysis of VMSB-241 Vindicators are presented in an earlier post here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2018/11/25/the-sb2u-3-vindicators-of-vmsb-241-during-the-battle-of-midway/