History Of Dive Bombing

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There is a weapon that can strike many hundreds of miles from its launching point. It has devastating accuracy, with an error margin for stationary targets measured in tens of feet. It was this weapon-- plentiful, cheap, and reliable-- that may have brought about a new epoch of naval warfare. Surely the weapon of reference is the cruise missile-- precise, long ranged, and paradigm shifting in naval combat. However, while all those statements do apply to the cruise missile, they also apply to an older, less glorious instrument of war-- the dive bomber.
During the one major war in which dive bombing was extensively employed, it provided a novel combination of destructive power and precision, enabling its use in various roles-- interdiction,
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Planes nimble enough to conduct those incredibly steep dives, but stable and sturdy enough to maintain control in those high-g situations and not disintegrate mid-flight. Dive-bombing was a role first delegated to light bombers, fighter aircraft, and scout planes. Light bombers had the requisite long range and useful ordinance payload of a successful dive bomber, but their flight characteristics led much to be desired. They could only perform shallow dives at slower speeds compared to scout or fighter aircraft, reducing accuracy and presenting a much easier target for hostile gunners. Fighter aircraft had excellent handling characteristics, but could not carry payloads of any useful utility without compromising their ability as fighter aircraft. Additionally, their range was significantly lacking compared to the other options. Scout aircraft possessed a long range, generally amiable handling characteristics, and no specific constraints which modifications for dive bombing would harm. Thus scout bombers slowly evolved into purpose-built dive bombers. Perforated dive brakes were added for better control during their near-vertical bombing runs. Airframes were strengthened to accommodate the stresses of diving at nearly 400 miles per hour and pulling up with enough force to cause a pilot to black out. A swinging trapeze that lofted the bomb clear of the propeller became commonplace. Furthermore, as the state of aviation generally advanced with techniques such as metal monocoque construction, monoplane design, forced-induction engines, and the general improvement of power plants, larger bomb loads and longer ranges with higher performance ceilings became more easily attainable. By the time of increasing global hostilities in the late 1930s, three planes

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