Canadian Warplanes 3: Vultee Veangeance

Vultee Vengeance

(SDASM Photo)

RAF Vultee Vengeance, possibly at No. 1 (India) Maintenance Unit, Drigh Road, India.

The Vultee A-31 Vengeance was an American dive bomber of World War II, built by Vultee Aircraft. A modified version was designated A-35. The Vengeance was not used operationally by the United States, but was operated as a front-line aircraft by the British Royal Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, and the Indian Air Force in Southeast Asia and the Southwest Pacific.

In 1940, Vultee Aircraft started the design of a single engined dive-bomber, the Vultee Model 72 (V-72) to meet the requirements of the French Armée de l'Air. The V-72 was built with private funds and was intended for sale to foreign markets. The V-72 was a low-wing, single-engine monoplane with a closed cockpit and a crew of two. An air-cooled radial Wright Twin Cyclone GR-2600-A5B-5 engine rated at 1,600 hp (1,200 kW) powered the V-72. It was armed with both fixed forward-firing and flexible-mounted .30 in (7.62 mm) machine guns in the rear cockpit. The aircraft also carried up to 1,500 lb (680 kg) of bombs in an interior bomb bay and on external wing racks.

The Vengeance was uniquely designed to dive vertically without lift from the wing pulling the aircraft off target. To this end, it had a 0 degree angle of incidence on the wing to better align the nose of the aircraft with the target during the dive. This resulted in the aircraft cruising in a nose-up attitude, giving a poor forward view for the pilot, particularly during landing. It had an unusual, W-shaped wing planform. This resulted from an error in calculating its centre of gravity. Moving the wing back by "sweeping" the centre section was a simpler fix than re-designing the wing root. This gives the impression of an inverted gull wing when seen from an angle, when in fact the wing has a more conventional dihedral on the outer wing panels. (Wikipedia)

Eight RCAF aircrew lost their lives flying with RAF Vultee Vengeance dive bombers during the Second World War.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4625556)

Four Canadian members of a Vengeance dive bomber squadron, credited by the British Army with playing an important part in driving the Japanese from India in the recent struggles in the Imphal area, 23 September 1944

(Camden Air Museum Photo)

Vultee A-31 Vengance Mk. IA dive bomber (Serial No. A27-99), (Serial No. EZ999), DB-72, is displayed at the Camden Air Museum, New South Wales.  EZ999 was manufactured by Northrop Aircraft Inc., USA and was the last Mk. I to be built.  It was delivered to 2AD RAAF in June 1943 and was approved as free issue to the RAN in April 1948, although this order was cancelled in June 1948.  After being passed to the Department of Aircraft Production for disposal, EZ999 was issued to the Sydney Technical College, School of Aircraft Engineering for apprentice training until May 1963.  It was acquired by the then proposed Aviation Museum and stored privately until January 1965 then to the Museum.  It is the only Vultee Vengeance on display in the world.