The U.S. Army Air Force had its own version of the Douglas SBD Dauntless, called the A-24 Banshee. It lacked the tail hook used for carrier landings, and a pneumatic tire replaced the solid tail wheel. First assigned to the 27th Bombardment Group (Light) at Hunter Field, Georgia, A-24s flew in the Louisiana maneuvers of September 1941. There were three versions of the Banshee (A-24, A-24A and A-24B) flown by the Army to a very minor degree in the early stages of the war.

Douglas A-24 Banshee. WRG# 0021578
Douglas A-24-DE Banshee/41-15780, converted to A-24A prototype in 1943.
[Source: USAF Photo via Mark Allen Collection]

The U.S. Army Air Forces sent 52 A-24 Banshees in crates to the Philippines in the fall of 1941 to equip the 27th Bombardment Group, whose personnel were sent separately. However, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, these bombers were diverted to Australia and the 27th BG fought on the Bataan Peninsula as infantry. While in Australia the aircraft were reassembled for flight to the Philippines but their missing parts, including solenoids, trigger motors and gun mounts delayed their shipment. Plagued with mechanical problems, the A-24s were diverted to the 91st Bombardment Squadron and designated for assignment to Java Island instead.

Referring to themselves as "Blue Rock Clay Pigeons", the 91st BS attacked the enemy harbor and airbase at Bali and damaged or sank numerous ships around Java. After the Japanese downed two A-24s and damaged three so badly that they could no longer fly, the 91st received orders to evacuate Java in early March.

Douglas A-24 Banshee. WRG# 0021580
Douglas A-24B Banshee.
[Source: USAF Photo via Mark Allen Collection]

The A-24s remaining in Australia were assigned to the 8th Bombardment Squadron of 3d Bombardment Group, to defend New Guinea. On 26 July 1942, seven A-24s attacked a convoy off Bun, but only one survived: the Japanese shot down five of them and damaged the sixth so badly that it did not make it back to base. Regarded by many pilots as too slow, short ranged and poorly armed, the remaining A-24s were relegated to non-combat missions. In the U.S., the A-24s became training aircraft or towed targets for aerial gunnery training. The more powerful A-24B was used later against the Japanese forces in the Gilbert Islands.

Douglas A-24 Banshee. WRG# 0021579
A-24B-5-DT Banshee/42-54459 of the 531st Fighter Squadron taxis on December 13, 1943.
This was the first A-24B to arrive on Makin in the Gilbert Island Chain.

[Source: USAF Photo]