Vought SB2U Vindicator (1936)

USN aviation US NavyUSN Dive Bomber (1936)

The USN dive bomber in 1940

Two cantilever monoplan dive bombers were in service in USN carriers in December 1941: The Vought Vindicator and Douglas Dauntless. If the latter gained an immortal fame at Midway, the first faded into obscurity as one of the least appealing planes of the USN ever put into service. Despite of this, it carried great hopes and was ordered as soon as it was available by the French and British, but was so disappointing it was soon completely replaced by the Dauntless for USN carrier service, while the Fleet Air Arm discarded these in 1942 despite having no real alternative available. Why it was so ?

SB2U-3 of VS-1-1 S-16
SB2U-3 of VS-1-1 S-16 from the Charles Daniels Photo Collection album "US Army Aircraft." San Diego museum

Initial development

The dive bomber idea was not new, it has been pioneered already in WW1, and during the early interwar, famous American pilot Billy Mitchell showed that even capital ships would be sunk by aviation. In fact, Mitchell started to test dive bombing on spotting Salmson 2 planes in 1917 and planned with the French the Salmson 4 as a ground attack aircraft and dive bomber, but the war ended before it could be delivered. In 1919 also, USMC pilot Lt. L. H. Sanderson mounted a rifle in front of the windshield of his Curtiss JN-4 and dive bombed to cover an assault on Haiti. Soon, he trained pilots on the Atlantic coast with dive bombing techniques which were used in Nicaragua. Mitchell soon favored one of the first carrier-borne aircraft, the Curtiss F8C Falcon (1925), to be sturdy enough to be used as an impromptu dive bomber, which became the modified ground-based USMC "Helldiver" first of the name.

Vought_XSB3U-1_NACA_1938 The alternative biplane XSB3U-1
In 1934, the USN BuAer (Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics) issued a requirement for a carrier-born "Scout Bomber". Six bidding companies were reviewed on the base of a two-part specification, a monoplane and a biplane. Vought answered on both categories. They will be funded and ended as prototype, the XSB2U-1 and XSB3U-1. The latter, the biplane, was considered as a backup towards U.S. Navy's known reluctance for modern designs.

SB2U-1 tested at NACA wind tunnel facility, 24 Sept. 1937
SB2U-1 tested at NACA wind tunnel facility, 24 Sept. 1937


The XSB2U-1 was of cantilever monoplan, meaning having low-wing configuration, and retractable tailwheel landing gear. The pilot and tail gunner sat tandem inside a long "greenhouse" type canopy running for 1/3 of the total lenght of the plane. It was roomy enough for a middle third member of the crew, ideally a radio. Construction of the fuselage called for steel tube, covered with aluminum panels, while the aft part, starting at the end of the canopy was made in wooden longerons covered with fabric. The cantilever wing was of all-metal and had foldable parts. The XSB2U-1 was give a Pratt & Whitney R-1535 Twin-Wasp Junior radial engine, which drove two-blade, constant-speed propeller. The idea behind was to use it as a dive brake. Vought's propeller braking innovative system was not however successful in its effect. By default of wing brakes, US Navy Vindicators pilots used to just lower their undercarriage as a kind od speed brake, and used shallower angles. In this dive bombing role, the Vindicator carried underbelly a single 1,000 lb (450 kg) bomb. It was released by using a swinging trapeze in order to clear off the propeller. The wings were sturdy enough to accomodate four racks, to carry smaller bombs, for a maximum bomb payload of 1,500 lb (680 kg).

Vought XSB2U-2 Vindicator (BuNo. 1326)
Vought XSB2U-2 Vindicator (BuNo. 1326) used for diving tests at Langley Research Center, National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), at Hampton, Virginia (USA) in February 1939.

Competition and production

The competition pitted the Vought SB2U against the Brewster XSBA-1, Curtiss XSBC-3, Great Lakes XB2G-1, Grumman XSBF-1 and Northrop XBT-1. The Great Lakes and Grumman prototypes were eliminated but the others received greenlights for pre-production. The modified XSB2U-1 prototype was authorized for production on 15 October 1934, which started on 15 April 1936. The prototype, fitted with a 750hp R-1535-78 engine, was evaluated by the Navy on 2 July 1936, under the serial BuNo 9725. However it crashed on 20 August 1936, was repaired and nevertheless trials were completed, leading to further orders, 56 SB2U-1s on 26 October 1936, 58 SB2U-2 on 6 October 1938.

SB2U-3 floatplane version prototype, NAN-7-62 1937
SB2U-3 floatplane version prototype, NAN-7-62 1937

SB2U-1: 54 built, using the 825hp R-1535-96 engine instead of the prototype's Wright 750hp R-1535-78 engine. For the rest, externally similar to the prototype.
SB2U-2: 58 built, minor equipment changed.
SB2U-3: 57 built, this was the heavily modified longer-range scout bomber, with a conventional wheeled undercarriage. It was also developed as a floatplane version. The increased range was obtained by having in addition to the fuselage fuel tank, integral wing tanks. To compensate for the balance, the tail span was increased. It also had the improved 825hp R-1535-102 engine, crew armor and two 0.5in guns, but this made it heavier. The prototype XSB2U-3 flew in February 1939 in land and float configuration. In the end, 57 SB2U-3s were ordered on 25 September 1939 chiefly for the US Marine Corps, while the floatplane never led to a production. In 1939, with the war starting in Europe, the British and French soon ordered more (see later).

Vought V156F-3: The French export version, 40 built for the French Navy. They were intended to be used on the carrier Béarn at first but they operated in the end from bases in Britanny, and were nearly all destroyed on the ground. Some were painted in navy blue, other were camouflaged to be of some use in the interior (notably bombing bridges and other targets). V-156B-1: 50 built. The British version, called in British service Chesapeake Mark I. Identical to the SB2U-3 and powered by a 750hp R-1535-SB4-G engine for use by the fleet air arm.
So all in all, 260 examples all combined were produced with the export versions. A single one is now preserved at the National Naval Aviation Museum, NAS Pensacola, Florida.

The Vindicator in service

The predecessor of the Vindicator was the Curtiss XF-11C-2, renamed F11C-2 Hawk. This is not the version showed here but the previous one fitted with fixed landing gear. It carried a single 1215 kg (474 lb) bomb under its fuselage hardpoint and small bombs under each lower wing.

The Vindicator was delivered from December 1937. The first US Navy unit was VB-3, with four planes operational aboard the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga. They advantageously replaced the Curtiss BFC-2 biplane. Soon, they arrived too on the USS Lexington, Ranger, and Wasp and became a familiar sight during the 1937-40 manoeuvers. They were in turne gradually replaced by the Dauntless. There was also a squadron, VMSB-231, present at Pearl Harbor when the attack came. The seven Vindicators were parked in the open at Ewa Field, bombed, strafed and all seven were burnt. The last carrier to deploy them was Air Group Nine on USS Charger (AVG-30) which trained pilots for the USS Essex, pending commission. They were trained before transitioned to the Douglas SBD Dauntless in December 1942.

SB2U-2 VB-9 preserved at the NMNA
SB2U-2 VB-9 preserved at the NMNA (National Museum of Naval Aviation) Pensacola, Florida (USA), photographed in 1999, still in flying conditions.

The US Marine Corps also used the Vindicator: VMSB-131 and VMSB-241 were in fact were the only squadrons using the SB2U-3, starting in March 1941, and as later as September 1943. VMSB-241's in fact were the only ones of this type to ever saw combat at Midway in June 1942. However the plane had many detractors, most airmen by 1942 derided them, most often by comparison with the Dauntless for example, and even so with the Curtiss Helldiver. They were nicknamed "vibrators" or "wind indicators", somewhat underpowered and inaccurate in dive bombing, but their main default was just a generation gap. They were obsolete in December 1941. There was however one recipient of the Medal of Honor which used this plane to attack the Japanese cruiser Mikuma on 5 June 1942: Captain Richard E. Fleming, and the award was posthumously awarded...

In May-June 1940, the Vindicator also saw combat in Europe: The French purchased 40 V-156-F to the company, incorporated changes and specific equipment to the metric system. Deliveries started in July 1939, and crews were trained for carrier operation intended for the Béarn, but in September, it was decided to sent them to the escadrilles AB 1 and AB 3 based ashore. The Battle of France dealt heavy losses to these units, as they tried to destroy bridges and German ground targets, heavily defended by FLAK in the first weeks of May, and also provided air cover during the Evacuation of Dunkirk. They were heavy preys for the me 109, and some of AB 3 also engaged and possibly even sink an Italian submarine off Albenga. The few V-156F still in flying condition were phased out and later broken up under the armistice conditions. In total, the French ordered 90 of them. A first batch 40, delivered in time, and a second batch of 50 ordered in March 1940, which arrived too late.

SB2U-3 burnt at Ewa airfield Pearl Harbor, 7 december 1941
SB2U-3 burnt at Ewa airfield Pearl Harbor, 7 december 1941

Delivery of the second batch were initially planned from March 1941 and after the armistice, this batch was taken over by the British government. The plane was renamed V-156B-1 and alterted again to the imperial system. The Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm had it renamed Chesapeake Mark I. Other modifications consisted in an additional fuel tank, additional armor and a heavier gun armament, as it was fitted with four rifle caliber machine guns instead of the single puny French forward-firing Darne machine gun. 14 Chesapeake planes arrived at the 811 Naval Air Squadron by 14 July 1941 (based in Lee-on-Solent). The squadron was soon renamed "cheesecake". It was deployed for anti-submarine patrols, but were later re-affected on the escort carrier HMS Archer. In October however British pilots sent reports about the Chesapeake's numerous issues, and it appeared they were too underpowered notably for light carrier use, more so when carrying a heavy bomb payload. Therefore, they were withdrawn from 811 Squadron by November 1941 and versed to training while the squadron received the Fairey Swordfish instead.

Vought SB2U of USS Wasp parked on its deck, CV-7, Casco Bay in Maine, 25 March 1942
Vought SB2U of USS Wasp parked on its deck, CV-7, Casco Bay in Maine, 25 March 1942.

A bad reputation:

The Vindicator mostly succeeded in vindicating its pilots. It was outdated, in fact completely obsolete by December 1941, and accumulated problems all along its service life. This started early on, when the prototypes were tested at the flight test facility, at Naval Air Station (NAS) Anacostia in Washington DC. During one flight, the flotation gear (designed for when the plane was about to a ditch at sea) inflated in flight. Flapping bags damaged the wings but the plane managed to land, suffering arresting gear damage. Reports however were rather flattering, due to the novel package this monoplan was: Innovation such as the braced wing and tail structures, very efficient airfoil, wing flaps, retractable landing gear, constant speed controllable propeller and a highly developed NACA engine cowling were all praised by the evaluation team in 1936. When deployed in exercises in 1937 they made a sensation in the press for their modern look and long range. After another accident, the flotation gear activation switch was underlined as poorly placed. A plane that had them inflated nearly crashed out of control. The pilot recovered and nevertheless stated the Vindicator “a very forgiving and easy aircraft to fly.” The same pilot however recognized it was unfit for dive bombing, as it was not trimmed properly, its flight path was just not the one aimed at initially, and bombs missed, until the pilots were aware of this and planned an adapted trajectory for accuracy.

SB2U from USS Ranger as part of the Convoy WS-12 bound to Cape Town, South Africa, 1941

It was suggested wrinkling of the wing surfaces, but later, Rear Admiral Paul R. Norby, USNR just recalled the trajectory might be corrected by lowering the landing gear. The Dauntless in 1940 had large perforated flaps on the wings and dived precisely. At first, the SB2U took part of the Neutrality Patrols, reporting and tracking air, surface, or underwater threats, and performed well in these tasks. By the fall of 1941, 136 SB2U were in service, with 7 scouting and Marine scout bombing squadrons. The SBD Dauntless in fact started replacing the Vindicator in late 940 to early 1941, succeeding in Navy bombing squadrons. The now land-based Vindicators saw however plenty of combat, notably as VMSB 241 fell on the IJN at the Battle of Midway. It was now painfully evident like the TBD Devastator with torpedo squadrons, the SB2U was now outdated. That's when it seemed violent manoeuvres when diving and the resources wrapped the aft fuselage cover clean off. Mechanics, which after each mission had to patch these with bands of tape ended calling them “Wind Indicators”. Between the worn-out conditions of the planes and young pilots not accustomed to dive bombing, instructions were given during training to glide bombing before the battle. Summary training alternated with dull anti-submarine patrols.

The SB2U-3 Vindicator, the last type in service, was however a sturdy plane: As recalled by its pilot the Second Lieutenant Daniel Cummings on 4 June 1942, after dropping a bomb on what he believed to be a destroyer from 2,000 feets in a glide-bombing attack, he was chased off by a multitude of Zeros and his gunner was quickly killed while his plane was riddled with bullets and literally "shot under him". But its survived, in the end, by hiding in the clouds and making the trip top friendly lines, his instruments destroyed and controls frozen, ditching out of gas to be picked up by a PT-boat. After 1942, it seems most existing planes were used for instruction, or just scrapped for their metal value. None was in any active frontline unit by 1943.

SB2U taking off from Midway in June 1942
SB2U taking off from Midway in June 1942

The British used it for longer, but pilots did not appreciated the Chesapeake more. The Fleet Air Arm received the first 50 (former French order) under the ordnance name Vought-Sikorsky V-156-B1 by October 1940. They were sent to 37MU Burtonwood for evaluation and fighter tactics testing at Worthy Down in October 1941, then fighter tactics with FDU. The squadrons AL908 to 786 (in Crail) received them by June 1941. The complete order delivered in August 1941 at Boscombe Down, second-line squadrons (786, 778, 770) in turn received it. They were based respectively at Lee, Arbroath, Donistbristle, Strabane and Crail. The 811 squadron (14 Chesapeake I by July 1941) was frontline. Pilots soon found the Chesapeake inadequate for its intended role as carrier-borne torpedo-bomber reconnaissance. It was too underpowered to take off from an escort carrier, and even from generally smaller British fleet carriers decks. They were all replaced by Swordfish Mark IIs in November 1941, on HMS Biter in 1942. The last Chesapeake in Royal Navy service was AL911, 770 Fleet Requirement squadron. It was listed at Dunino, and used for instruction until June 1944. In all, the Chesapeake served with the 768, 770, 771, 772, 776, 778, 781, 784, 786 and 811 Naval Air Squadrons.

SB2U-1 of VB-3, CV-3, 1938
SB2U-1 of VB-3, CV-3, 1938

SB2U-2/3 Specifications

Dimensions:Length: 33 ft 11 3⁄4 in (10.357 m), Wingspan: 41 ft 10 7⁄8 in (12.773 m), Height: 14 ft 3 in (4.34 m) (tail down, propeller vertical), wing area: 305.3 sq ft (28.36 m2)
Weights:Empty weight: 5,634 lb (2,556 kg), Gross weight: 7,474 lb (3,390 kg), Max takeoff weight: 9,421 lb (4,273 kg)
Crew:2: Pilot, Gunner
Propulsion:Pratt & Whitney R-1535-02 Twin Wasp Jr 14-cylinder two-row air-cooled radial engine, 825 hp (615 kW) max take off
Fuel cap.:370 US gal (310 imp gal; 1,400 L) internal fuel
Propeller:2-bladed Hamilton Standard constant-speed propeller, 11 ft 0 in (3.35 m) diameter
Top speed:211 kn (243 mph, 391 km/h) at 9,500 ft (2,900 m)
Cruise speed:132 kn (152 mph, 245 km/h) (range cruise)
Range:970 nmi (1,120 mi, 1,800 km) (main and wing center-section tanks only), 1,000 lb (450 kg) bombload
Service ceiling:23,600 ft (7,200 m)
Rate of climb:1,070 ft/min (5.4 m/s)
Time to altitude:17.5 min to 15,000 ft (4,600 m)
Ferry Range2,130 nmi (2,450 mi, 3,940 km) (max internal and external fuel)
Armament-single forward firing 0.50 in (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine gun in starboard wing -single 0.50 in (12.7 mm) machine gun in flexible mount in rear cockpit -one 1,000 lb (450 kg) or 500 pounds (230 kg) bomb under fuselage -two 100 lb (45 kg) and 8 × 30 lb (14 kg) bombs under wings
Armor10 mm plane behind the pilot's seat

Src/Read more:
Brown, Eric, CBE, DCS, AFC, RN. with William Green and Gordon Swanborough. "Vought Chesapeake". Wings of the Navy, Flying Allied Carrier Aircraft of World War Two. Jane's 1980
Doll, Tom. SB2U Vindicator in Action (Aircraft No. 122). Carrollton, Texas: Squadron/Signal Publications Inc.
Green, William and Gordon Swanborough. "The Annals of Sugar Baker Two Uncle". Air Enthusiast, Eight, October 1978
Mondey, David. The Hamlyn Concise Guide to American Aircraft of World War II. London: Chancellor Press
Taylor, John W.R. "SB2U Vindicator". Combat Aircraft of the World from 1909 to the Present.
Thetford, Owen. British Naval Aircraft since 1912. London:Putnam, Fourth edition, 1978.
Wixey, Ken. "'Flying Fuel Cans': Vought's SB2U Vindicator". Air Enthusiast, No. 86, March/April 2000. Stamford

Gallery of models:

The XSB2U-1 prototype in 1936

The only floatplane version, alternative prototype of the SB2U-3 in 1938. Colors are prospective
The only floatplane version, alternative prototype of the SB2U-3 in 1938. Colors are prospective

SB2U-1 onboard CV3 USS Saratoga, 1939
SB2U-1 onboard CV3 USS Saratoga, 1939

SB2U-2 of Sqn. Commander VB USS Lexington, 1939

SB2U-2 onboard USS Yorktown, Squadron Commander, 1939
SB2U-2 onboard USS Yorktown, Squadron Commander, 1939

SB2U-3 North Island, Caifornia 1940, test camouflage scheme No4

SB2U-2 of VS72 onboard USS wasp, circa 1940

SB2U-1 of Air Group Commander USS Ranger 1940
SB2U-1 of Air Group Commander USS Ranger 1940

SB2U-3 of VS41 onboard USS Ranger, 1941
SB2U-3 of VS41 onboard USS Ranger, 1941

SB2U-2 of VS42 onboard CV4 USS Ranger circa early 1941
SB2U-2 of VS42 onboard CV4 USS Ranger circa early 1941

Vought SB2U-2 of VS9 onboard ACV30 USS Charger, circa 1942

SB2U-3 of VMSB-231 at Ewa airfield, Hawaii, 7 December 1941
SB2U-3 of VMSB-231 at Ewa airfield, Hawaii, 7 December 1941

SB2U-3 Vindicator Buno 2045, Lt. Marmande VMSV-241, Midway Island, June 1942
SB2U-3 Vindicator Buno 2045, Lt. Marmande VMSV-241, Midway Island, June 1942

Vought V-156F
French Marine Vought V-156F-3 Escadrille AB-1, January 1940

Vought V-156F
French V-156F Hyeres, summer 1940

SB2U Vindicator at Midway, May 1942
SB2U-2 Vindicator, Scouting 9 (VS-9)USS Charger AVG-30, waiting for USS Essex to be commissioned 1942

V-156B-1 Chesaspeake Mark.I
V-156B-1 Chesaspeake Mark.I 811 Sqn, FAA 1942

British fleet air arm V-156B-1 771
British fleet air arm V-156B-1 771 Sqn. RNAS, Twatt circa 1943

Vought-Sikorsky SB2U-1 “Vindicator” (Bu# 0740), Scouting Bombing Plane, over San Joaquin Valley, California, June 28, 1938. Note, the “Tophatters” squadron insignia. U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. (2016/02/02). - National Museum of the U.S. Navy

Surviving SB2U, Naval Air Museum, photo by Rob Bixby from Jacksonville, FL, USA (cc)

SB2Us filmed in formation in 1941 over Hawaii

Vought SB2U of VS-42 in flight over USS Ranger CV-4 on 4 December 1941
Vought SB2U of VS-42 in flight over USS Ranger CV-4 on 4 December 1941

SB2U-3 of VMSB-241 filmed by John Ford taking off from Midway

Naval History

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Folgore class (1887)
Partenope class (1889)
Giovanni Bausan (1883)
Etna class (1885)
Dogali (1885)
Piemonte (1888)
Staffeta (1876)
Rapido (1876)
Barbarigo class (1879)
Messagero (1885)
Archimede class (1887)
Guardiano class GB (1874)
Scilla class GB (1874)
Provana class GB (1884)
Curtatone class GB (1887)
Castore class GB (1888)

Imperial Japanese navy 1898 Nihhon Kaigun German Navy 1898 Kaiserliches Marine
Russian Imperial Navy 1898 Russkiy Flot
Marina do Peru Marina Do Peru

Swedish Navy 1898 Svenska Marinen Norwegian Navy 1898 Søværnet
Royal Navy 1898 Royal Navy
HMS Hotspur (1870)
HMS Glatton (1871)
Devastation classs (1871)
Cyclops class (1871)
HMS Rupert (1874)
Neptune class (1874)
HMS Dreadnought (1875)
HMS Inflexible (1876)
Agamemnon class (1879)
Conqueror class (1881)
Colossus class (1882)
Admiral class (1882)
Trafalgar class (1887)
Victoria class (1890)
Royal Sovereign class (1891)
Centurion class (1892)
HMS Renown (1895)

HMS Shannon (1875)
Nelson class (1876)
Iris class (1877)
Leander class (1882)
Imperieuse class (1883)
Mersey class (1885)
Surprise class (1885)
Scout class (1885)
Archer class (1885)
Orlando class (1886)
Medea class (1888)
Barracouta class (1889)
Barham class (1889)
Pearl class (1889)

Spanish Navy 1898 Armada 1898
Ironclad Pelayo (1887)

Infanta Maria Teresa class (1890)
Emperador Carlos V (1895)
Cristobal Colon (1897)
Princesa de Asturias (1896)
Aragon class (1879)
Velasco class (1881)
Isla de Luzon (1886)
Alfonso XII class (1887)
Reina Regentes class (1887)

Destructor class (1886)
Temerario class (1891)
TGunboat Filipinas (1892)
De Molina class (1896)
Furor class (1896)
Audaz class (1897)
Spanish TBs (1878-87)
Fernando class gunboats (1875)
Concha class gunboats (1883)

US Navy 1898 1898 US Navy
USS Maine (1889)
USS Texas (1892)
Indiana class (1893)
USS Iowa (1896)

Amphitrite class (1876)
USS Puritan (1882)
USS Monterey (1891)

Atlanta class (1884)
USS Chicago (1885)
USS Charleston (1888)
USS Baltimore (1888)
USS Philadelphia (1889)
USS San Francisco (1889)
USS Newark (1890)
USS New York (1891)
USS Olympia (1892)
Cincinatti class (1892)
Montgomery class (1893)
Columbia class (1893)
USS Brooklyn (1895)

USS Vesuvius (1888)
USS Katahdin (1893)
USN Torpedo Boats (1886-1901)
GB USS Dolphin (1884)
Yorktown class GB (1888)
GB USS Petrel (1888)
GB USS Bancroft (1892)
Machias class GB (1891)
GB USS Nashville (1895)
Wilmington class GB (1895)
Annapolis class GB (1896)
Wheeling class GB (1897)
Small gunboats (1886-95)
St Louis class AMC (1894)
Harvard class AMC (1888)
USN Armoured Merchant Cruisers
USN Armed Yachts


☉ Entente Fleets

British ww1 Royal Navy
WW1 British Battleships
Majestic class (1894)
Canopus class (1897)
Formidable class (1898)
London class (1899)
Duncan class (1901)
King Edward VII class (1903)
Swiftsure class (1903)
Lord Nelson class (1906)
HMS Dreadnought (1906)
Bellorophon class (1907)
St Vincent class (1908)
HMS Neptune (1909)
Colossus class (1910)
Orion class (1911)
King George V class (1911)
Iron Duke class (1912)
Queen Elizabeth class (1913)
HMS Canada (1913)
HMS Agincourt (1913)
HMS Erin (1915)
Revenge class (1915)
B3 class (1918)

WW1 British Battlecruisers
Invincible class (1907)
Indefatigable class (1909)
Lion class (1910)
HMS Tiger (1913)
Renown class (1916)
Courageous class (1916)
G3 class (1918)

ww1 British cruisers
Blake class (1889)
Edgar class (1890)
Powerful class (1895)
Diadem class (1896)
Cressy class (1900)
Drake class (1901)
Monmouth class (1901)
Devonshire class (1903)
Duke of Edinburgh class (1904)
Warrior class (1905)
Minotaur class (1906)
Hawkins class (1917)

Apollo class (1890)
Astraea class (1893)
Eclipse class (1894)
Arrogant class (1896)
Pelorus class (1896)
Highflyer class (1898)
Gem class (1903)
Adventure class (1904)
Forward class (1904)
Pathfinder class (1904)
Sentinel class (1904)
Boadicea class (1908)
Blonde class (1910)
Active class (1911)
'Town' class (1909-1913)
Arethusa class (1913)
'C' class series (1914-1922)
'D' class (1918)
'E' class (1918)

WW1 British Seaplane Carriers
HMS Ark Royal (1914)
HMS Campania (1893)
HMS Argus (1917)
HMS Furious (1917)
HMS Vindictive (1918)
HMS Hermes (1919)

WW1 British Destroyers
River class (1903)
Cricket class (1906)
Tribal class (1907)
HMS Swift (1907)
Beagle class (1909)
Acorn class (1910)
Acheron class (1911)
Acasta class (1912)
Laforey class (1913)
M/repeat M class (1914)
Faulknor class FL (1914)
T class (1915)
Parker class FL (1916)
R/mod R class (1916)
V class (1917)
V class FL (1917)
Shakespeare class FL (1917)
Scott class FL (1917)
W/mod W class (1917)
S class (1918)

WW1 British Torpedo Boats
125ft series (1885)
140ft series (1892)
160ft series (1901)
27-knotters (1894)
30-knotters (1896)
33-knotters (1896)

WW1 British Submarines
Nordenfelt Submarines (1885)
Flower class sloops
British Gunboats of WWI
British P-Boats (1915)
Kil class (1917)
British ww1 Minesweepers
Z-Whaler class patrol crafts
British ww1 CMB
British ww1 Auxiliaries

✠ Central Empires

⚑ Neutral Countries

Bulgarian Navy Bulgaria
Danish Navy 1914 Denmark
Greek Royal Navy Greece

Dutch Empire Navy 1914 Netherlands
Norwegian Navy 1914 Norway

Portuguese navy 1914 Portugal

Romanian Navy 1914 Romania
Spanish Armada Spain Swedish Navy 1914 Sweden


✪ Allied ww2 Fleets

US ww2 US Navy
WW2 American Battleships
Wyoming class (1911)
New York class (1912)
Nevada class (1914)
Pennsylvania class (1915)
New Mexico class (1917)
Tennessee Class (1919)
Colorado class (1921)
North Carolina class (1940)
South Dakota class (1941)
Iowa class (1942)
Montana class (cancelled)

WW2 American Cruisers
Omaha class cruisers (1920)
Pensacola class heavy Cruisers (1928)
Northampton class heavy cruisers (1929)
Portland class heavy cruisers (1931)
New Orleans class cruisers (1933)
Brooklyn class cruisers (1936)
USS Wichita (1937)
Atlanta class light cruisers (1941)
Cleveland class light Cruisers (1942)
Baltimore class heavy cruisers (1942)
Alaska class heavy cruisers (1944)

WW2 USN Aircraft Carriers
USS Langley (1920)
Lexington class CVs (1927)
USS Ranger (CV-4)
USS Wasp (CV-7)
Yorktown class aircraft carriers (1936)
Long Island class (1940)
Independence class CVs (1942)
Essex class CVs (1942)
Bogue class CVEs (1942)
Sangamon class CVEs (1942)
Casablanca class CVEs (1943)
Commencement Bay class CVEs (1944)
Midway class CVs (1945)
Saipan class CVs (1945)

WW2 American destroyers
Wickes class (1918)
Clemson class (1920)
Farragut class (1934)
Porter class (1935)
Mahan class (1935)
Gridley class (1936)
Bagley class (1936)
Somers class (1937)
Benham class (1938)
Sims class (1938)
Benson class (1939)
Fletcher class (1942)
Sumner class (1943)
Gearing class (1945)

GMT Evarts class (1942)
TE Buckley class (1943)
TEV/WGT Rudderow classs (1943)
DET/FMR Cannon class
Asheville/Tacoma class

WW2 American Submarines
Barracuda class
USS Argonaut
Narwhal class
USS Dolphin
Cachalot class
Porpoise class
Shark class
Perch class
Salmon class
Sargo class
Tambor class
Mackerel class
Gato Class

USS Terror (1941)
Raven class Mnsp (1940)
Admirable class Mnsp (1942)
Eagle class sub chasers (1918)
PC class sub chasers
SC class sub chasers
PCS class sub chasers
YMS class Mot. Mnsp
ww2 US gunboats
ww2 US seaplane tenders
USS Curtiss ST (1940)
Currituck class ST
Tangier class ST
Barnegat class ST

US Coat Guardships
Lake class
Northland class
Treasury class
Owasco class
Wind class
Algonquin class
Thetis class
Active class

US Amphibious ships & crafts
US Amphibious Operations
Doyen class AT
Harris class AT
Dickman class AT
Bayfield class AT
Windsor class AT
Ormsby class AT
Funston class AT
Sumter class AT
Haskell class AT
Andromeda class AT
Gilliam class AT
APD-1 class LT
APD-37 class LT
LSV class LS
LSD class LS
Landing Ship Tank
LSM class LS
LSM(R) class SS
LCV class LC
LCVP class LC
LCM(3) class LC
LCP(L) class LC
LCP(R) class SC
LCL(L)(3) class FSC
LCS(S) class FSC
British ww2 Royal Navy

WW2 British Battleships
Queen Elisabeth class (1913)
Revenge class (1915)
Nelson class (1925)
King Georges V class (1939)
Lion class (Started)
HMS Vanguard (1944)
Renown class (1916)
HMS Hood (1920)

WW2 British Cruisers
British C class cruisers (1914-1922)
Hawkins class cruisers (1917)
British D class cruisers (1918)
Enterprise class cruisers (1919)
HMS Adventure (1924)
County class cruisers (1926)
York class cruisers (1929)
Surrey class cruisers (project)
Leander class cruisers (1931)
Arethusa class cruisers (1934)
Perth class cruisers (1934)
Town class cruisers (1936)
Dido class cruisers (1939)
Abdiel class cruisers (1939)
Fiji class cruisers (1941)
Bellona class cruisers (1942)
Swiftsure class cruisers (1943)
Tiger class cruisers (1944)

WW2 British Aircraft Carriers
Courageous class aircraft carriers (1928)
HMS Ark Royal (1937)
HMS Eagle (1918)
HMS Furious (1917)
HMS Hermes (1919)
Illustrious class (1939)
HMS Indomitable (1940)
Implacable class (1942)
Malta class (project)
HMS Unicorn (1941)
Colossus class (1943)
Majestic class (1944)
Centaur class (started 1944)

HMS Archer (1939)
HMS Argus (1917)
Avenger class (1940)
Attacker class (1941)
HMS Audacity (1941)
HMS Activity (1941)
HMS Pretoria Castle (1941)
Ameer class (1942)
Merchant Aircraft Carriers (1942)
Vindex class (1943)

WW2 British Destroyers
Shakespeare class (1917)
Scott class (1818)
V class (1917)
S class (1918)
W class (1918)
A/B class (1926)
C/D class (1931)
G/H/I class (1935)
Tribal class (1937)
J/K/N class (1938)
Hunt class DE (1939)
L/M class (1940)
O/P class (1942)
Q/R class (1942)
S/T/U//V/W class (1942)
Z/ca class (1943)
Ch/Co/Cr class (1944)
Battle class (1945)
Weapon class (1945)

WW2 British submarines
L9 class (1918)
HMS X1 (1923)
Oberon class (1926)
Parthian class (1929)
Rainbow class (1930)
Thames class (1932)
Swordfish class (1932)
HMS Porpoise (1932)
Grampus class (1935)
Shark class (1934)
Triton class (1937)
Undine class (1937)
U class (1940)
S class (1941)
T class (1941)
X-Craft midget (1942)
A class (1944)

WW2 British Amphibious Ships and Landing Crafts
LSI(L) class
LSI(M/S) class
LSI(H) class
LSS class
LSG class
LSC class
Boxer class LST

LST(2) class
LST(3) class
LSH(L) class
LSF classes (all)
LCI(S) class
LCS(L2) class
LCT(I) class
LCT(2) class
LCT(R) class
LCT(3) class
LCT(4) class
LCT(8) class
LCT(4) class
LCG(L)(4) class
LCG(M)(1) class

British ww2 Landing Crafts

WW2 British MTB/gunboats.
WW2 British MTBs
MTB-1 class (1936)
MTB-24 class (1939)
MTB-41 class (1940)
MTB-424 class (1944)
MTB-601 class (1942)
MA/SB class (1938)
MTB-412 class (1942)
MGB 6 class (1939)
MGB-47 class (1940)
MGB 321 (1941)
MGB 501 class (1942)
MGB 511 class (1944)
MGB 601 class (1942)
MGB 2001 class (1943)

WW2 British Gunboats

Denny class (1941)
Fairmile A (1940)
Fairmile B (1940)
HDML class (1940)

WW2 British Sloops
Bridgewater class (2090)
Hastings class (1930)
Shoreham class (1930)
Grimsby class (1934)
Bittern class (1937)
Egret class (1938)
Black Swan class (1939)

WW2 British Frigates
River class (1943)
Loch class (1944)
Bay class (1944)

WW2 British Corvettes
Kingfisher class (1935)
Shearwater class (1939)
Flower class (1940)
Mod. Flower class (1942)
Castle class (1943)

WW2 British Misc.
WW2 British Monitors
Roberts class monitors (1941)
Halcyon class minesweepers (1933)
Bangor class minesweepers (1940)
Bathurst class minesweepers (1940)
Algerine class minesweepers (1941)
Motor Minesweepers (1937)
ww2 British ASW trawlers
Basset class trawlers (1935)
Tree class trawlers (1939)
HMS Albatross seaplane carrier
WW2 British river gunboats

HMS Guardian netlayer
HMS Protector netlayer
HMS Plover coastal mines.
Medway class sub depot ships
HMS Resource fleet repair
HMS Woolwhich DD depot ship
HMS Tyne DD depot ship
Maidstone class sub depot ships
HmS Adamant sub depot ship

Athene class aircraft transport
British ww2 AMCs
British ww2 OBVs
British ww2 ABVs
British ww2 Convoy Escorts
British ww2 APVs
British ww2 SSVs
British ww2 SGAVs
British ww2 Auxiliary Mines.
British ww2 CAAAVs
British ww2 Paddle Mines.
British ww2 MDVs
British ww2 Auxiliary Minelayers
British ww2 armed yachts

✙ Axis ww2 Fleets

Japan ww2 Imperial Japanese Navy
WW2 Japanese Battleships
Kongō class Fast Battleships (1912)
Fuso class battleships (1915)
Ise class battleships (1917)
Nagato class Battleships (1919)
Yamato class Battleships (1941)
B41 class Battleships (project)

WW2 Japanese cruisers
Tenryū class cruisers (1918)
Kuma class cruisers (1919)
Nagara class (1920)
Sendai class Cruisers (1923)
IJN Yūbari (1923)
Furutaka class Cruisers (1925)
Aoba class heavy cruisers (1926)
Nachi class Cruisers (1927)
Takao class cruisers (1930)
Mogami class cruisers (1932)
Tone class cruisers (1937)
Katori class cruisers (1939)
Agano class cruisers (1941)
Oyodo (1943)

Seaplane & Aircraft Carriers
IJN Hōshō (1921)
IJN Akagi (1925)
IJN Kaga (1927)
IJN Ryujo (1931)
IJN Soryu (1935)
IJN Hiryu (1937)
Shokaku class (1937)
Zuiho class (1936) comp.40
Ruyho (1933) comp.42
Junyo class (1941)
IJN Taiho (1943)
Chitose class (comp. 1943)
IJN Shinano (1944)
Unryu class (1944)
IJN Ibuki (1942)

Taiyo class (1940)
IJN Kaiyo (1938)
IJN Shinyo (1934)

Notoro (1920)
Kamoi (1922)
Chitose class (1936)
Mizuho (1938)
Nisshin (1939)

IJN Aux. Seaplane tenders
Akistushima (1941)
Shimane Maru class (1944)
Yamashiro Maru class (1944)

Imperial Japanese Navy Aviation

WW2 Japanese Destroyers
Mutsuki class (1925)
Fubuki class (1927)
Akatsuki class (1932)
Hatsuharu class (1932)
Shiratsuyu class (1935)
Asashio class (1936)
Kagero class (1938)
Yugumo class (1941)
Akitsuki class (1941)
IJN Shimakaze (1942)

WW2 Japanese Submarines
KD1 class (1921)
Koryu class
Kaiten class
Kairyu class
IJN Midget subs

WW2 Japanese Amphibious ships/Crafts
Shinshu Maru class (1935)
Akistu Maru class (1941)
Kumano Maru class (1944)
SS class LS (1942)
T1 class LS (1944)
T101 class LS (1944)
T103 class LS (1944)
Shohatsu class LC (1941)
Chuhatsu class LC (1942)
Moku Daihatsu class (1942)
Toku Daihatsu class (1944)

WW2 Japanese minelayers
IJN Armed Merchant Cruisers
WW2 Japanese Escorts
Tomozuru class (1933)
Otori class (1935)
Matsu class (1944)
Tachibana class (1944)
Ioshima class (1944)
WW2 Japanese Sub-chasers
WW2 Japanese MLs
Shinyo class SB

⚑ Neutral

Armada de Argentina Argentinian Navy

Rivadavia class Battleships
Cruiser La Argentina
Veinticinco de Mayo class cruisers
Argentinian Destroyers
Santa Fe class sub. Bouchard class minesweepers King class patrol vessels

Marinha do Brasil Brazilian Navy

Minas Gerais class Battleships (1912)
Cruiser Bahia
Brazilian Destroyers
Humaita class sub.
Tupi class sub.

Armada de Chile Armada de Chile

Almirante Latorre class battleships
Cruiser Esmeralda (1896)
Cruiser Chacabuco (1911)
Chilean DDs
Fresia class subs
Capitan O’Brien class subs

Søværnet Danish Navy

Niels Juel
Danish ww2 Torpedo-Boats Danish ww2 submarines Danish ww2 minelayer/sweepers

Merivoimat Finnish Navy

Coastal BB Ilmarinen
Finnish ww2 submarines
Finnish ww2 minelayers

Nautiko Hellenon Hellenic Navy

Greek ww2 Destroyers
Greek ww2 submarines
Greek ww2 minelayers

Marynarka Vojenna Polish Navy

Polish ww2 Destroyers
Polish ww2 cruisers
Polish ww2 minelayer/sweepers

Portuguese navy ww2 Portuguese Navy

Douro class DDs
Delfim class sub
Velho class gb
Albuquerque class gb
Nunes class sloops

Romanian Navy Romanian Navy

Romanian ww2 Destroyers
Romanian ww2 Submarines

Royal Norwegian Navy Sjøforsvaret

Norwegian ww2 Torpedo-Boats

Spanish Armada Spanish Armada

España class Battleships
Blas de Lezo class cruisers
Canarias class cruisers
Cervera class cruisers
Cruiser Navarra
Spanish Destroyers
Spanish Submarines
Dedalo seaplane tender
Spanish Gunboats
Spanish Minelayers

Svenska Marinen Svenska Marinen

Gustav V class CBBs (1918)
Interwar Swedish CBB projects

Tre Kronor class (1943)
Gotland (1933)
Fylgia (1905)

Ehrernskjold class DDs (1926)
Psilander class DDs (1926)
Klas Horn class DDs (1931)
Romulus class DDs (1934)
Göteborg class DDs (1935)
Mode class DDs (1942)
Visby class DDs (1942)
Öland class DDs (1945)

Swedish ww2 TBs
Swedish ww2 Submarines
Swedish ww2 Minelayers
Swedish ww2 MTBs
Swedish ww2 Patrol Vessels
Swedish ww2 Minesweepers

Türk Donanmasi Turkish Navy

Turkish ww2 Destroyers
Turkish ww2 submarines

Royal Yugoslav Navy Royal Yugoslav Navy

Dubrovnik class DDs
Beograd class DDs
Hrabi class subs

Royal Thai Navy Royal Thai Navy

Taksin class
Ratanakosindra class
Sri Ayuthia class
Puket class
Tachin class
Sinsamudar class sub

minor navies Minor Navies

naval aviation Naval Aviation
Latest entries

USN aviation
Boeing model 2/3/5 (1916)
Aeromarine 39 (1917)
Curtiss VE-7 (1918)
Aeromarine 40 (1919)
Douglas DT (1921)
Naval Aircraft Factory PT (1922)
Loening OL (1923)
Huff-Daland TW-5 (1923)
Martin MO (1924)
Consolidated NY (1926)
Vought FU (1927)
Vought O2U Corsair (1928)
Berliner-Joyce OJ (1931)
Curtiss SOC seagull (1934)
Grumman F3F (1935)
Northrop BT-1 (1935) Vultee V-11 (1935)
Grumman J2F Duck (1936)
Curtiss SBC Helldiver (1936)
Vought SB2U Vindicator (1936)
Brewster F2A Buffalo (1937)
Douglas TBD Devastator (1937)
Vought Kingfisher (1938)
Curtiss SO3C Seamew (1939)
Cessna AT-17 Bobcat (1939)
Douglas SBD Dauntless (1939) Grumman F4F Wildcat (1940)
Northrop N-3PB Nomad (1941)
Brewster SB2A Buccaneer (1941)
Grumman TBF/TBM Avenger (1941)
Consolidated TBY Sea Wolf (1941)
Grumman F6F Hellcat (1942)
Vought F4U Corsair (1942)
Curtiss SB2C Helldiver (1942)
Curtiss SC Seahawk (1944)
Douglas BTD Destroyer (1944)
Grumman F7F Tigercat (1943)
Grumman F8F Bearcat (1944)

Curtiss H (1917)
Curtiss F5L (1918)
Curtiss NC (1919)
Curtiss NC4 (1918)
Naval Aircraft Factory PN (1925)
Douglas T2D (1927)
Consolidated P2Y (1929)
Hall PH (1929)
Douglas PD (1929)
Douglas Dolphin (1931)
General Aviation PJ (1933)
Consolidated PBY Catalina (1935)
Fleetwings Sea Bird (1936)
Sikorsky VS-44 (1937)
Grumman G-21 Goose (1937)
Consolidated PB2Y Coronado (1937)
Beechcraft M18 (1937)
Sikorsky JRS (1938)
Boeing 314 Clipper (1938)
Martin PBM Mariner (1939)
Grumman G-44 Wigeon (1940)
Martin Mars (1943)
Goodyear GA-2 Duck (1944)
Edo Ose (1946)
Hugues Hercules (1947)

Japanese WW2 naval aviation
Mitsubishi 1MF
Mitsubishi A5M
Nakajima A4N
Mitsubishi A6M "zeke"

Mitsubishi B1M
Aichi D3A Navy Type 99 "Val" (1940)
Aichi B7A Ryusei "Grace" (1942)
Mitsubishi B5M (1937)
Nakajima B5N "Kate" (1937)
Nakajima B6N "Jill" (1941)
Yokosuka B4Y "Jean" (1935)
Yokosuka D4Y "Judy" (1942)
Yokosuka MXY-7 "Baka" (1944)
Mitsubishi G3M "Nell" (1935)
Mitsubishi G4M "Betty" (1941)
Yokosuka P1Y1 "Frances" (1943)

Aichi M6A1-K Nanzan (1943)
Kyushu K10W1 "Oak" (1941)
Kyushu K11W1 Shiragiku (1942)
Kyushu Q1W1-K "Lorna" (1943)
Mitsubishi K3M "Pine" (1930)
Yokosuka K5Y1 "Willow" (1933)
Yokosuka MXY-7K-1 "Kai" (1944)
Yokosuka MXY-8 Akigusa

Nakajima E4N
Nakajima E14Y
Nakajima E8N "Dave"
Mitsubishi F1M "pete"
Kawanishi E7K
Kawanishi H6K
Kawanishi E11K
Kawanishi K6K
Kawanishi K8K
Kawanishi E15K Shiun
Kawanishi H8K "Emily"
Kawanishi N1K1 "Rex"

Italian WW2 air arm
CANT Z.501 Gabbiano
CANT Z.506 Airone
Fiat RS.14
IMAM Ro.43
IMAM Ro.44
Macchi M5

British Fleet Air Arm
Carrier planes
Fairey IIIF (1927)
Fairey Swordfish (1934)

Fairey Flycatcher (1922)
Supermarine Southampton (1925)
Blackburn Iris (1926)
Hawker Osprey (1930)
Short Rangoon (1930)
Short Valetta (1930)
Fairey Seal (1930)
Supermarine Scapa (1935)
Supermarine Stranraer (1936)
Supermarine Walrus (1936)
Fairey Seafox (1936)
Short Sunderland (1937)
Saro Lerwick (1940)
Short Shetland (1944)

The Cold War

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