Grumman TBF/TBM Avenger
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Main US Torpedo Bomber in the Pacific - Avenger
Grumman TBF-1 Avenger dropping a torpedo. Aircraft is from squadron VT-4. U.S. Navy Naval Aviation News August 1978.
From 1942 to 1945, the Grumman Avenger was the main torpedo bomber used in the Pacific during World War II. A navy aircraft, it was both carrier and land based.
Crew & Armament
With a crew of three, the pilot, bombardier-gunner, and radio operator-gunner, the improved TBF-1C version was equipped with two wing-mounted .50 caliber machine guns, a .50 caliber in the rear turret, and one .30 caliber machine gun ventral machine guns. The deep fuselage allowed an internal bomb bay in which the Avenger could carry a bomb load of up to 2,000 lb. of bombs, torpedoes or rockets in various combinations.
TBM Avenger leaving the escort carrier USS Makin Island. U.S. Navy photo.
Retractable Landing Gear
Landing gear on the Avenger was fully retractable, including the tailwheel. The forward landing gear, on oleo legs which reduced bounce, raised in an outward direction into a recess in the underside of the wings. Designed with a three-bladed variable-pitch propeller, the TBF was powered by a Wright R-2600-8 Cyclone radial engine.
Avenger in Combat
First used in combat in 1942. The first six TBF Avenger torpedo bombers arrived at Midway just in time to suffer five combat loses in the battle on June 5th, 1942. TBF Avengers were the torpedo bombers later involved with the sinking of many enemy ships and submarines, including the Japanese battleship Hiei and the super battleships Yamato and Musashi.
George Bush in his aircraft. US Navy photo.
With the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, need for the aircraft grew urgent and Eastern Aircraft Division of General Motors became a second source of Avengers which would be designated TBM. In all, Eastern produced 7,546 of the total 9,836 Avengers built.
During WWII, the Avenger saw combat in both the Atlantic and the Pacific theaters, with some serving in the British Navy and New Zealand Air Force.
Famous TBF Avenger Airmen and Incidents
Famous TBF Avenger airman included future President George H. W. Bush (a pilot), and actor Paul Newman (a rear gunner). Unfortunately, the TBF Avenger is perhaps most famous for an incident shortly after World War Two in which training Flight 19, consisting of five TBF Avengers disappeared over the Bermuda Triangle on December 5, 1945. The Avenger remained in service until 1954.
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Other items on our site
|TBF Avenger - Planes of Fame Air Museum
TMB Avenger - Palm Springs Air Museum
Avengers - Naval Aviation Centennial
TBM-3E Avenger - War Eagles Air Museum
* TBF/TBM Avenger facts
|Manufacturer||Grumman, General Motors|
|United States Navy
Royal Canadian Navy
Royal New Zealand AF
|Cruising speed||153 mph|
|Max. speed||278 mph|
|Altitude||22260 feet service ceiling|
|* Numbers are approximate|