The Curtiss SB2C Helldiver was a carrier-based dive bomber aircraft produced for the United States Navy during World War II. It replaced the Douglas SBD Dauntless in US Navy service. Despite its size, the SB2C was much faster than the SBD it replaced. Crew nicknames for the aircraft included the Big-Tailed Beast (or just the derogatory Beast), Two-Cee and Son-of-a-Bitch 2nd Class (after its designation and partly because of its reputation for having difficult handling characteristics). Neither pilots nor aircraft carrier skippers seemed to like it.
Delays marred its production. Built for the USAAF as the A-25 Shrike, by the time it was delivered it was no longer required. Substantial orders by the British Royal Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force were both cancelled due to the poor handling of the aircraft. Although production problems persisted throughout its combat service, it was reported that some pilots soon changed their minds about the potency of the Helldiver. The aircraft was flown through the last two years of the Pacific War with a fine combat record, due to the high training of its crews.
Source: Wikipedia, "Curtiss SB2C Helldiver", available under the CC-BY-SA License.
As Described In
Aces of the Pacific: Nicknamed "The Beast," the Curtis SB2C Helldiver had been slated to replace the Dauntless. It disappointed its crews once it reached the fleet. Hard to fly, unstable and slow, the Helldiver was at best mediocre.
1942 Pacific Air War: "Beast" is the right name for this bomber. Helldivers are plagued with handling problems. It’s often unstable, the elevators are heavy, and your forward vision is pretty poor, especially during take-off. It’s really not much better, in terms of performance, than the Dauntless, which it was designed to replace. The Helldiver has a reputation among pilots as being hard to handle. That’s true, it is, but it’s a serviceable bomber.