Originally known as the Vultee V-72, the Vengeance was designed to make use of knowledge gained from dive bombing attacks carried out during the Spanish Civil War. An order for 700 examples, to be built by Vultee and Northrop, was placed by a British Purchasing mission in 1940.[N 1]
After production began in Downey, California, most Vengeances were built at the maker's plant in Nashville, Tennessee. Like the Stuka, the Vengeance began as a twin tail design.
Following the introduction of Lend-Lease, the USAAF ordered another 300 aircraft for the UK as the A-31, which were designated either Vengeance Mk IA (Northrop) or Vengeance Mk III (Vultee) by the RAF. In light of the vulnerability of dive bombers demonstrated during the Battle of Britain, the RAF realised that the Vengeance was unsuitable for European service, resulting in the aircraft being diverted to Burma.
Following America's entry into WW2 after the Bombing of Pearl Harbor, the USAAF commandeered 243 Vengeances in production for the UK, which entered US service as A-35s. These were followed by 99 Vultee built A-35As, with different armament and equipment, and 831 Wright R-2600-13 powered A-35Bs with increased armament. Brazil were supplied with 29 of the latter aircraft, with another 562 passed to the UK as the Vengeance Mk IV. A number were passed to the RAAF, while others were converted into target tugs as the Vengeance TT.Mk IV. Most of the US operated aircraft were also used as target tugs.
In the Far East, four RAF, two Indian and five Australian squadrons operated the Vengeance resourcefully under difficult conditions, during the period from May 1942 to July 1944. The Indian-based squadrons saw action in Burma, while the Australians made perilous attacks on New Guinea and other islands until B-24 Liberators could take over the job at higher altitude.
Source:Vultee Vengeance page of WW2 Vehicles website
- A-31: Initial production variant; later renamed A-35.
- A-35A: Machine guns replaced with .50 Browning M2s.
- A-35B: More powerful engine and improved bomb capacity.
- XA-31A: Used to test the Wright R-3350 engine for the B-29.
- XA-31B: Used to test the Wright R-3350 engine for the B-29.
- YA-31C: Used to test the Wright R-3350 engine for the B-29.
- TBV-1 Georgia: Version used by the US Navy.
- Crosby, Francis. The World Encyclopedia of Bombers.
Anness Publishing Ltd. (2013) ISBN 1 78019 205 3 Page 148
- World Aircraft Information Files Aviation Partwork. Midsummer Books Ltd. File 910 Sheet 6 (A-Z of Aircraft: V - Vought F7U Cutlass to Vultee V-72 (A-31/A-35 Vengeance)
- Aircraft of the World Card Collection Group 11 Card 34 (American Aircraft of World War II - Vultee Vengeance)