A-31/35 Vengeance-The Forgotten Warrior


“Vengeance Mk.II Dive Bomber Frog” by Cocardes is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Whenever people talk about dive-bombers, specially made planes that is capable of go up to very high attitude and then dive down at high speed towards a ground target and then drop their payload (usually a bomb), we often would think of certain dive-bombers like the German Junker Ju 87 (more famously known as the Stuka) or the American SBD Dauntless. Both of these dive-bombers were famous mainly because of public views, like the Dauntless in the Pacific campaign against the Japanese and the Stuka dive-bomber in the German campaign of gaining territory.          But there is a American-designed-and-built, but used by the RAF (Royal Air Force, the air force of UK) dive-bomber that have great features (a few even better than the ones that was used by the 2 dive-bomber listed above). It’s name is the Vengeance, and this is its story.


The Vengeance is built by a (also not so famous) American company called Vultee Aircraft Corporation (which is still active today and is now known as Convair Aircraft after it merged with the company Consolidated). The Vengeance was built as the V-72 when the French air force ask for a single-engine, monoplane, dive-bomber with 2 crew member at the start of World War 2. France ordered about 300 aircrafts, but, Germany pop in and taken France in June 1940 have obviously put a stop to that. Vultee now have a problem because they didn’t know what to do with the supply of V-72 sitting in their hangers, but luckily, at the same time the British armed forces were impressed by the German Stuka dive-bombers and they were in the need for a dive-bomber of their own. So, the British Purchasing Commission were on the search for any good dive-bombers, and the two met. And on July 3, 1940, the RAF ordered about 200 V-72s, with a extra 100 in December. In order to sent the aircraft over to UK as soon, as they can, Northrop Aircraft, before they merged with Grumman, and another company called Stinson helped building these (in total about) 300 aircraft. The aircraft (officially designated as A-31) made it’s first flight in June of 1941. Also in the same year, the A-31 (and the modified version, A-35) were to UK under the Lend-Lease program.


The A-31 Vengeance is 49 feet and 9 inches (12.12 meters) long, 15 feet and 4 inches (4.67 meters) , tall, and is 48 feet (14.63 meters) wide from wingtip to wingtip. It’s weights is 14,300 pounds when fully loaded. It is powered by a Wright R-2600-A5B-5 Twin Cyclone air-cooled engine that can produce up to 1,600 horsepower. It’s full speed is about 275 mph (443 kph). The highest it can go is about 22,500 feet (6,860 meters).It can go as far as 2300 miles (3701 km).It is operated by 2 men, a pilot and a navigator/rear gunner; It was armed with six 7.62 (0.30 cal.) machine guns (4 in the wings and 2 in the rear).

Design features

Everything about the Vengeance screams of dive-bombing or long distance. The materials that was used to built the Vengeance were very tough and was able to withstand the dramatic change of attitude. It’s got a engine that won’t overheat very quickly and won’t suck up gas really quickly. And to for the comforts of the 2 crew members, each Vengeance were equipped with a pair of “Relieve Tubes” in case one of them needs to go take care of their business. It’s greatest feature is it’s pair of wings, it’s called Crank Wings*. It goes like this: Starting from the wing root (the point where the wing attaches to the airplane’s body) to the middle point of the wing, it weeps back. But starting from the middle point of the wing to the wing tip, it sweeps forward. This may looks pretty strange, but , tests have shown, it is the best type of wings to use for dive-bombing. The German Stukas also used this type of wings as well.

Combat Records

The UK put the Vengeance into service as soon as they have gotten them. Most of them served in the North African campaign (itself is also not very famous when compared to other campaign). Where they destroyed almost countless of ground targets like ammo dumps, airfields, bunkers, anti-aircraft guns/FLAK cannon emplacements, and many more. When UK have receive enough Vengeance, they pass them around to commonwealth states like India, Australia, and New Zealand. Where they also bring back sweet victories in the South-east Asia campaign, along with that other countries such as Brazil, Free French, and USA have all used Vengeance.

The Vengeance vs. the SBD Dauntless

The Vengeance, in some way, were actually better than that of the famous Dauntless.


Vengeance: six 7.62 machine guns

Dauntless: two 12.5 machine guns and two 7.62 machine guns


Vengeance: 2300 miles

Dauntless: 771 miles


Vengeance: 1500 pounds total

Dauntless: 2240 pounds total


Vengeance: 279 miles per hour

Dauntless: 254 miles per hour


The Vengeance vs. the Stuka

The vengeance were also not that inferior compare to that of the Stuka


Junker Ju 87: four 7.92 machine guns, 2 3.7 mm cannon

Vengeance: six 7.62 machine gun


Junker Ju 87: 370 miles per hour

Vengeance: 279 miles per hour


Junker Ju 87: 1320 pounds

Vengeance: 1500 pounds


Junker Ju: 752 miles

Vengeance: 2300 miles

Surviving Aircraft

After World War 2 have ended, all the nations starts to replace and retire many of the of their WW2 war machines. The Vengeance were vey quickly pulled out of British services (even though they have been using this from 1941, the British War Department believe that the Vengeance is outdated). 2 aircraft examples still exists, both in Australia. One of them, code-named A27-99, is in the Camden Museum of Aviation in Narellan, New South Wales, Australia. While the other one, code-named A24-247, is owned by the Historic Aircraft Restoration Society in Australia.

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*In case you don’t understand what I was trying to explain, here is a link to a graph picture