History of the Curtis A-25A “Shrike”
WASP Pilot Helen Wyatt Snapp
Artwork and Research is by Sir Ernie Hamilton Boyette
$40.00 Poster print autographed by WASP Pilot, Helen Snapp
$14.95 Un-Signed Poster.
Famous American Aircraft; Curtiss A-25A “Shrike”
3rd Target Towing Squadron, Liberty Field, Fort Stewart, Georgia
WASP Pilot, Helen Wyatt Snapp
The A-25A was developed from the Navy version of the Curtiss SB2C dive bomber for the Army Air Corp. The success of the German Stuka during the first two years of the war in Europe convinced the Army that they too needed a precision dive bomber. The first production models flew on September 29, 1942. By this time the Stuka and other dive bombers in general in Europe had fallen out of favor. Both the Japanese and the U.S. Navy required the use of the dive bomber but in land battles other attack methods were developed.
The A-25 was a large and heavy aircraft 36 feet 9 inches long with a wing-span of 49 feet, 9 inches. Powered with a radial engine built by Wright, the Cyclone R-2600 produced 1,900hp and a speed of 294mph. Since the Army did not need a dive-bomber they converted many of the A-25 bombers to training and target towing duties. For anti-aircraft gunners to gain experience in their training an aircraft towing a target for the gunners to shoot at was flown. The gunners would fire live rounds at the towed-target gaining experience for combat in either Europe or in the Pacific.
The first tow-target pilots were men but with the incursion of women aviators into the Air Corp know as the WASP they soon took over the duties of towing the targets for gunner training. Helen Snapp was one of the WASP pilots that flew the above Curtis A-25 named “Kathie M”.
In February 1943 Helen received an invitation to join a group of women pilots to help the Army Air Corp. Helen’s past training qualified her for a chance to personally help in the war effort. Her first assignment was Avenger Field, Sweetwater, Texas for training. After graduating she was sent to Camp Davis, North Carolina. Here Helen was trained to pull targets for anti-aircraft practice. She also helped in search light training, radar operations and strafing exercise. Her final assignment was at Liberty Field, Fort Stewart, Georgia. At Fort Stewart, Helen found herself pulling targets for 18, 19 and 20 year old recruits who were firing live ammunition at her while trying to hit the target.
This is the original painting that the print was published from. Painting for sale. 2×4 feet, $3,000.00
Third Target Towing Squadron