The oft-maligned Curtiss SB2C Helldiver, second Curtiss plane to have that nickname, became operational in 1943, taking over duties previously assigned to the Douglas SBD Dauntless. Big and with a reputation for poor handling, it never had the reputation of its predecessor.

In July, 1945, Industrial Aviation magazine published a Design Analysis article [ HTML ]. Included in the article was a ledger-sized color phantom rendering which formed the basis for the wallpaper images included here.

I worked with a man who had been a Machinist's Mate on the Yorktown (CV-10), the first carrier to get the Helldiver. Reminiscing one day — he had found out I was a WWII buff — he mentioned that by the time the Yorktown reached the Panama Canal they had written up over 400 "squawks" on the planes. The Wikipedia article says that the Navy wouldn't accept the plane until over 880 changes had been incorporated. Since the Yorktown received SB2C-1s, one would presume that they had most of those changes already. But in time of war, that may not have been the case.

The Army equivalent was the A-25 Shrike. By the time the plane became operational, there was no longer a place in the USAAF for a dedicated dive bomber, so the planes were primarily relegated to training service.

The Helldiver was never a favored plane during the war and so got relatively little coverage.
Other drawings