DescriptionThe 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. The A-31 remained in service with U.S. units until 1945, primarily in a target-tug role.
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.
Service with the RAAF (from RAAF Museum website).
The Vultee V72 dive-bomber was produced at a time when the German Air Force was having marked success with the Junkers Ju-87, or Stuka, dive-bomber. The American aircraft was first flown in July 1941, and large quantities were immediately ordered, as the Vengeance, for the RAF. When the US entered the war, a number of these aircraft were re-possessed and, in addition, Australia placed an order for 400. Export versions included Vengeance Mks I, II, and III (USAAF equivalent A-3l) and Mk IV (USAAF equivalent A-35).
In all, 342 Vengeance Mks I, II and IV operated with the RAAF under the following serials: A27-1 to A27-99, A27-200 to A27-321, A27-400 to A27-422, A27-500 to A27-549, A27-560 to A27-566 and A27-600 to A27-640. Although the first Vengeance A27-1 was received on 30 May 1942, substantial numbers did not arrive until April 1943, by which time the crisis for which they had been ordered, had passed.
RAAF Vengeances operated with Nos 12, 21, 23, 24 and 25 Squadrons and, after a somewhat indifferent career, the aircraft were withdrawn from operations following a bombing raid by 36 Vengeances on 8 March 1944 against Rempi village. At the time, 58 Vengeances were still to be delivered and, consequently, this balance from the original order was cancelled. Vengeances also operated with Nos 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 Communication Units, while others were used in the target-towing role and for experiments at No 1 Air Performance Unit.
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- Crew: 2 (pilot, navigator/gunner)
- 39 ft 9 in (12.12 m)
- 48 ft 0 in (14.63 m)
- 15 ft 4 in (4.67 m)
- Wing Area:
- 332 sq ft (30.84 sq m)
- Wing Loading:
- 43.1 lb/sq ft (210 kg/sq m)
- Empty Weight:
- 9,725 lb (4,411 kg)
- 14,300 lb (6,486 kg)
- 1 × Wright R-2600-A5B-5 Twin Cyclone 14 cylinder radial air-cooled engine, 1,600 hp (1,193 kW)
- Maximum speed: 275 mph (443 km/h, 239 kn) at 11,000 ft (3,350 m)
- Cruise Speed:
- 235 mph (378 km/h, 204 kn)
- 1,400 mi (2,253 km, 1,220 nmi)
- Service Ceiling:
- 22,500 ft (6,860 m)