The SBD-5 in Aces High II
Engine performance is poor with a climb rate around 1,600ft/minute and a top speed of around 261mph at 14K. This means a long climb and transit time to target. Considering the nature of CV ack you will need almost all of the 14K in order to get in a good dive when dropping your bomb anyway as below about 7K the ack will be lethal to slow moving target. Range is good with 79 minutes of flight time available so it probably is not necessary to take full internal fuel.
Aces High II Performance Charts
Firepower is weak in almost every way. Defensive weapons are limited to a pair of forward firing .50's and a twin .30 cal in the rear. The forward guns are actually pretty good but I wouldn't use them except in a last ditch effort or to try and scare someone who is intent on Head-On attacking you. The rear .30 cal is not very effective and highly obstructed by the tail so your arc of defensive fire is poor. Enemies tend to be able to avoid most of the rear-gunner fire until they are so close that they need only a brief second of fire to seriously damage your plane. The bomb load is very disappointing at a single 1000lb bomb on the centerline and two 100lb'rs on the wings, much less than most more survivable attack planes.
Maneuverability is reasonable though not good. Tangling with fighters is not really an option as the SBD is pretty unmaneuverable. If you can build up a little bit of speed in a dive you may have a chance to maneuver, otherwise you are going to have to rely on fancy flying, slow speed overshoots, and whatever your rear-gunner can do to keep the enemy honest.
Fighting in the SBD-5
The best advice is to bring along friends in fighters to help you out. The SBD is just too vulnerable if caught alone and in most cases enemies will press home attacks immediately. It's the same old situation where as soon as an enemy sees you he will disengage from his current target and look to pounce on you as an easier target. I wouldn't recommend using the SBD to penetrate enemy aircover unless absolutely necessary. Try and get someone to act as rear-gunner so you can maneuver while they shoot. This might actually buy you enough time that a rear-gunner can damage or discourage an attacker. Don't turn continuously but try rolls and energy conserving maneuvers. Also look for every overshoot possibility that you can get because the forward guns on the SBD are a pair of 50's, which can give anyone who pops out infront of you a very rude surprise.
Fighting against the SBD-5
You are not going to have to be overly creative when attacking an SBD and pretty much any technique is likely to work fairly well. Coming in from a low 6 position will help avoid the fire of the rear-gunner so is advisable. The twin .30 calibre rear guns can be effective at damaging your aircraft if given enough time to land lots of hits. You need to respect them, but not really fear them. Try and get in close and land a lot of hits quickly as the SBD is fairly tough and can sometimes take a pretty good hit before it breaks up.
Be careful of the SBD's bite though, especially from the front where it packs a pair of 50s. Anything with 50's can hurt you and with a pair up front you could get caught taking some serious hits if you aren't careful. Watch for potential overshoot situations carefully and avoid them. Since the SBD tends to be so slow you can often find yourself overshoot it at even low speeds. The SBD also have dive brakes which can be deployed to further slow the aircraft and maybe force you into overshoots. If you overshoot, try and get out of gun range quickly or go very nose high and put the SDB into a steep climb, something it is terrible at.
The only other note is about SBD's in general. Like the Japanese Val, the TBM, and a couple of other very vulnerable planes, the SBD tends to attract a lot of attention quickly and it almost becomes a race to see who can get there for the kill first. Some pilots will totally forget what they were doing and immediately dive for the SBD. You need to be careful that you don't killshooter yourself by accident on some other friendly aircraft who is racing you for the kill.
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