Light Bombers

Photograph of Ki-30 "Ann" aircraft

U.S. Navy. Via Francillon (1979)

Light bombers carried a relatively light bomb load but were suitable for tactical missions requiring rapid response and flexibility. Most were single engine aircraft with a crew of two or three. Dive bombers specialized in accurate attacks with bombs against high-valued land or naval targets. Torpedo bombers, as the name implies, were naval aircraft specializing in delivering torpedoes against shipping, but they could also be employed as horizontal bombers against ground targets. A few light bombers, particularly in Japanese service, were capable neither of carrying torpedoes nor of maintaining the steep dives characteristic of dive bombers. These are listed below.

In addition to the other qualities desirable in a light bomber, a carrier bomber had to have a low enough landing speed to operate off a short flight deck, enough resistance to corrosion to endure salt air, and a sturdy undercarriage for hard landings on flight decks. These requirements did not constrain carrier bomber design as severely as they did carrier fighter design. In fact, it was rare for land-based light bombers to be as successful as carrier bombers. As Bergerud (2000) points out, ships are valuable targets, and a combat attrition rate that is acceptable when attacking shipping may not be acceptable for ground support missions. The land-based version of the Dauntless (known as the A-24) was a failure, while the Dauntless itself was a resounding success.

Japanese light bombers

Ki-30 "Ann"

Ki-32 "Mary"

Ki-48 "Lily"

Ki-51 "Sonia"

Ki-102 "Randy"


Bergerud (2000)

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