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TBM-3E Avenger, War Eagles Air Museum

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F4-U Corsair at War Eagles Air Museum

TBM-3E Avenger data

Production dates: 1942-1945
Number built: 9,836
Wingspan: 54 feet 2 inches
Length: 39 feet 6 inches
Height: 15 feet 5 inches
Weight empty: 10,545 lbs.
Weight loaded: 18,100 lbs.
Maximum speed: 267 mph
Ceiling: 30,100
Crew: 3, a pilot and 2 gunners
Power Plant: Wright Cyclone R-2600-20
Armament: Two .50 caliber guns in wing, one .50 caliber gun in turret, one .30 caliber tail gunner
Bomb Load: Two 1,000 of bombs or one torpedo Mark 13 Mod. 2


Operation history of museum's aircraft

The museum's TBM Avenger began service with the the US Navy in 1945 assigned to Torpedo Squadron 38 until after VJ-Day. From September 1945 to February 1946 the aircraft flew with the Carrier Service 5, Naval Air Station, San Diego, California, after which it was in storage until 1948.


F4U Corsair fighter

Later reactivated in November 1952, the aircraft saw service with the Marine Corps Air Station at Cherry Point, North Carolina, until April 1954. It was then placed in long term storage at NAF Lichtfield Park, Arizona, until stricken from inventory on May 31, 1956, having been flown 1250 hours during 25 months of operational use by the US Navy.


In April 1959 it was owned and operated by an aerial sprayer by Cisco Aircraft, Inc., Lancaster, California, until being preserved for long term storage April 1977 to April 1982. It was reactivated and again used as an aerial sprayer by Stewart Aviation, Moses Lake, Washington and Northwest Warbirds, Kimberly, Idaho until purchased by John MacGuire, founder of the War Eagles Air Museum, in March 1988.


TBM Avenger in the Pacific and Atlantic Theaters

Although the Avenger was designed as a Torpedo Bomber, it became a primary offensive component of the fleet because of its versatility. Initial combat for the Avenger was at the “Battle of Midway”, the turning point in carrier warfare in the Pacific. During the battle, six TBF-1 Avengers took off from Midway Island as part of Torpedo Squadron 8. Five were shot down and the other one returned badly damaged.


Later in the Pacific Theater, the Avenger was used as a glide bomber (a shallow attack compared to dive bombing, typically a 20 to 66 degree angle from the horizontal) to attack enemy ships and to support ground forces.


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It provided anti-submarine patrol in both the Pacific and the Atlantic for the fleet and Allied ships.


As a part of the first carrier night fighter offensive in the Pacific, the TBM Avenger Operated in conjunction with a fighter as a killer-hunter team providing capability for locating enemy aircraft.


This aircraft is on display at the War Eagles Air museum in Santa Teresa, New Mexico. Photo credits: David and Paula Barnett. Article based on museum information.


Also see:
TBM Avenger - Planes of Fame
TBM Avenger - Palm Spring Air
Avengers - Naval Aviation Centennial
TBF/TBM Avenger - American Aircraft



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