SB2U Vindicator - Atlantic Operations

At the time of the Pearl Harbor attack, December 7, 1941, the Atlantic-based fleet carriers USS Ranger (CV-4), USS Wasp (CV-7) AND USS Yorktown (CV-5) were all engaged in either normal training missions or anti-submarine operations.

The USS Ranger had two Vindicator scouting squadrons: VS-41, equipped with fourteen SB2U-1ís and two SB2U-2ís; and VS-42, with twelve SB2U-1ís and four SB2U-2ís. The USS Wasp had two Vindicator scouting squadrons: VS-71 with seven SB2U-1ís, ten SB2U-2ís, and three TBD-1ís and VS-72 with sixteen SB2Uís. USS Yorktown carried no Vindicators since VB-3 had been re-equipped with the Douglas SBD-3 Dauntless.

Immediately after the Pearl Harbor attack, USS Yorktown was ordered to the Pacific, arriving at Pearl Harbor during January of 1942. During April of 1942, USS Wasp joined Force W that was headed for Gibraltar with a deck load of RAF Spitfire fighters to be delivered to the British outpost at Malta in the Mediterranean.  Just prior to joining the Royal Navy task force, her SB2Uís (along with the rest of her air group) were offloaded at Hatson Royal Navy Air Station. As a result of this, the Vindicator was not to see action with the USS Wasp while the ship operated in the Atlantic.  USS Ranger had been deemed too small for Pacific operations and remained in the Atlantic for most of the war. She operated her SB2U squadrons on convoy escort and anti-submarine missions until the summer of 1942. When USS Ranger went into combat off North Africa in November of 1942 as part of operation TORCH, all the Vindicators were gone, having been replaced by the SBD Dauntless. Several Vindicators operated from land bases in the North Atlantic as convoy protection. One problem that arose was starting under winter conditions in Greenland. Several procedures were tried in an attempt to improve starting, but in the end none of the procedures proved to be acceptable.

    One of the procedures attempted in Greenland to improve starting under winter conditions that was discontinued after several misfires yanked the sailors toward the airplane.


More SB2U:

Atlantic Operations
Combat at Midway
Phase Out