Vultee A-31 / A-35 Vengeance

1940

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Vultee A-31 / A-35 Vengeance

The Vultee Model 72 two-seat dive bomber was designed to a British specification by Vultee and was put into production by both Vultee and Northrop. When the US entered the war, the Vengeance was given the USAAF designation A-31.

Vengeance I deliveries to Britain began in 1942 and these, like later Vengeance II and Ill, were powered by the 1,192.3kW Wright R-2600-19 Cyclone radial engine. British armament and equipment consisted of four 7.7mm machine-guns in the wings and two on a flexible mounting in the rear cockpit. Eventually the USAAF ordered the Vengeance II as the A-31A but in the event received only a few for non-operational use. The RAAF also received some early Vengeance I.

The A-35 version of the Vengeance was powered by a 1,267kW Wright R-2600-13 engine and was ordered by the USAAF. The first 100 delivered retained the earlier 7.7mm guns. With four 12.7mm guns fitted they became A-35A. The A-35B was the first fully American version fitted with US equipment and six 12.7mm wing guns as standard. Eight hundred and thirty one were built: 562 were supplied to Britain as Vengeance IV, a small number were delivered to the Brazilian government, and the rest went into USAAF service.

The Vengeance was used operationally only by the RAF and the Royal Indian Air Force in the India-Burma theatre. The USAAF A-35 were mainly used as high-speed target tugs. Production of the Vengeance ceased in the autumn of 1944 after 1,528 had been built.

Vultee A-31 / A-35 Vengeance

Specification 
 MODELA-35B
 CREW2
 ENGINE1 x Wright R-2600-13 Cyclone, 1268kW
 WEIGHTS
  Take-off weight7439 kg16400 lb
  Empty weight4672 kg10300 lb
 DIMENSIONS
  Wingspan14.63 m48 ft 0 in
  Length12.12 m40 ft 9 in
  Height4.67 m15 ft 4 in
  Wing area30.84 m2331.96 sq ft
 PERFORMANCE
  Max. speed449 km/h279 mph
  Ceiling6795 m22300 ft
  Range3701 km2300 miles
 ARMAMENT6 x 12.7mm machine-guns, 900kg of bombs

3-View 
Vultee A-31 / A-35 VengeanceA three-view drawing (1388 x 1000)

Comments1-20 21-40
chris penistone, e-mail, 11.03.2017 00:12

my father now deceased was a PT instructor with the IAF from 43 to 45. His squadron was equipped with the Vultee Vengance. Clifford Penistone sadly died aged 91 but never forgot his comrades from that era. I have photographs of his time in India. Unfortunately I do not know the squadron number but I believe the aeroplanes were very active.... KOSBIs I believe were helped on at least one sortie. any help here is appreciated. CP. 2017

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capt m russell usn r, e-mail, 16.12.2016 21:55

I had the good fortune meeting flt lt james galbraith who flew vengeance in Burma after the war he became a teacher and an air training corps officer 187 Worcester sqdn he lived in comer road st johns Worcester does anyone know him pls contact me

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Peter C Smith, e-mail, 08.12.2016 20:14

I am updating my 1982 book on the Vultee Vengeance, so am on the look out for original photographs that I may be allowed to use, and (authenticated) accounts of actions. Thank you.

Peter C Smith

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Barry, 29.07.2016 13:02

This baby did get some undeserved "bad press". When initially deployed to India it took a long time to get up to operational standard. In fact after receiving it's aircraft in autumn 1942 it wasn't until April 1943 that the C.O. of 82 squadron (the first Vengeance unit) could report that he had serviceable aircraft that could be used every day. The four wing guns would overheat and jam and the rear gun mounting was just the other side of inadequate. Coupled to this there was constant oil leaks, faulty piston rings and problematic electric fuel pumps with which to be contended. However, at the end of the day it was a very accurate bomber and suffered a low attrition rate whilst fighting the Japanese, possibly helped by the lack of fighter opposition. Of all the bombers serving in the far East the Liberator enjoyed 50% accuracy, the Mitchell 60% but the unwanted Vengeance achieved 100%.

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Peter Herlihen, e-mail, 14.05.2016 10:47

My uncle, William Pedersen, was a photographer with 12 squadron RAAF witch flew Vengeance from Batchelor in the Northern Territory Australia. There are some photos in the Australian War Memorial.

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Klaatu83, e-mail, 23.04.2014 22:54

The Vengeance was ordered by the British in reply to the success of Germany's Junkers Ju-87 Stuka dive bombers early in World War II. However, by the time the Vengeance became available, the idea of using large, singe-engine, two-seat dive bombers had been discredited, and the Vengeance had become largely redundant. Consequently, they were relegated to service in Burma and New Guinea, mainly with the Indian Air Force and RAAF. The U.S. Army Air Force did not use them at all, and the AAF designations A-31 and A-35 were applied to aircraft that were really slated for lend-lease to the British or Australians.

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Neil Kershler, e-mail, 13.01.2014 00:59

There is a Vengeance in a private collection just outside Sydney Australia (Narellan). On a visit to the US Air Force Museum at Dayton some years back they told me that they were very interested in acquiring the aircraft. The only other example, they told me , was in Perth Western Australia.

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David Parcell, e-mail, 13.04.2012 21:59

My father flew the Vengeance for the RAF in India during the war. I have a few pictures of some in flight, e-mail if interested.
David

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Tim Holliday, e-mail, 20.09.2011 18:08

My Uncle "Sandy" Morrison of Perth, Western Australia was a backseater with the RAAF during WWII. I know very little of his time in service but survived the war.

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barry mayner, e-mail, 04.08.2011 16:16

I have a picture of FD108 Vengeance 111 in RAF markings (no unit code), does anyone have any references to this aircraft. The picture shows the aircraft armed with gunners machine gun so may be in India /burma. Dakota in background, second picture front view with grouncrew on aircraft. Possibly type c'ish hangar also in background
Barry Mayner

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piers beeland, e-mail, 17.06.2011 16:22

Trying to ascertain involvement of father-in-law, Sidney Staton, RAF, who worked with a, in his words, flight of Vultee Vengeances in Burma. Beyond that, he isn't saying much. Before Burma he served in UK, various locations, recalling 214 Sq'n also some time in Nova Scotia.
Can anyone help me?

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charlie ness, e-mail, 26.11.2010 08:18

Nice article, but I do wish the writer would use the proper names for the guns, in this case 0.303 and 0.50. They were made by Browning,and that's what Browning called them .
There are many photos of Vengeance in RAF service, in the 84 Sqn Museum (if it still exists). It was used by 45,82,84 and 110 as a bomber in the far east and by at least 5 squadrons in England as a target tug. I remember a very involved discussion of it in Salalah (Oman) in '66 with 3-4 RAF personnel on 84 and an American oilman who had flown them in USN. -Remembered then to be a very tough,capable aircraft.

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Almont Baltzer, e-mail, 27.10.2010 04:40

Anyone having photos of the Vultee Vengeance in the RAF please contact me

mCheers
Almont Baltzer

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Sara Mosher, e-mail, 26.06.2009 17:31

My father Ken Mosher was a WOp /Air Gunner with 110 Hyderabad Squadron. I'm in contact with Edward Helliwell, another pilot Reg Duncan and relatives of others who flew with the squadron. Learning much and always looking for more information on the squadron and the Vultee Vengeance! Thanks for this page!

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Edward Helliwell, e-mail, 28.10.2008 21:29

I flew Vengeances with 110 Squadron and found it stable and easy to fly. The accuracy of bomb placement was amazing, we often had to hit one end of a bridge; at the battle of Kohima the target was two adjacent sides of the tennis court, the other two being occupied by our troops. I do remember one catching fire though at start up!

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Richard Miller, e-mail, 29.05.2008 18:32

There was a Vultee aircraft plant and airport (Now "queen city" airport, on Lehigh Street) built near Allentown, PA during the war, in the early 1940s. Little was advertised about it, of course. However, rumor has it they never produced a single plane. Does anyone know anything about that operation?

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David Foster, e-mail, 10.02.2008 12:08

The Veangence was used operationally by the RAAF, as Paul's note implies. Not just by the RAF and RIAF.
A very accurate dive bomber, it was loved by the army but out of favour with air forces who preferred fighter-bombers that were far less accurate. The correct use of this aircraft could've saved a lot of Australian and US soldiers lives in New Guinea.

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Bill Cole, 23.01.2008 11:29

There is a color photo of a woman building a Vengeance in 1943 at the following url.

www.flickr.com /photos /library_of_congress /2179038448 /in /set-72157603671370361 /

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c.taylor, e-mail, 28.11.2007 16:09

My Grandfather, Bill Simpson was an aircraft engine fitter in Burma during the war and I remember him telling me that the Vengeance was a bl**dy awful aircraft! I remember him saying that the pilot had to press a whole assortment buttons instantaneously to start the engine and that if he did not do this correctly the engine would quite often burst into flames. He said this happened so often that every time one was started up blokes had to stand around it with fire extinguishers just in case!

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Paul Eden, e-mail, 05.11.2007 12:06

My Uncle Charles McAllister died when his RAAF Vengeance went down in New Guinea on 24 Feb 1944 after a bombing raid at Alexishafen. His plane was A27-276 which Pacificwrecks believed was found in 1997 but is yet to be validated by Australian government. I am interested in any information on the Vengeance model as my research paints a picture of a very unreliable aircraft which was prone to engine failure particularly due to overheating in the tropics.

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1-20 21-40

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