TBF Avenger - History

TBF Avenger - History

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The Avenger was first used in the battle of midway.None of the torpedo laden aircraft that took off on June 4, 1942 returnedthat day. The Avenger however stayed in service until 1952. A total of 9,830were built.

Grumman TBF Revealed in Amazing Seabed Images

Seventy-seven years after it plunged into the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean, the wreckage of a Grumman TBF Avenger has been revealed in fantastic detail by the RV Petrel.

In 1999 the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory located the site of the downed plane and determined that it may be the location of three US servicemen that have been missing since 1942.

(Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego/RV Petrel/Vulcan Inc./Project Recover)

Technical experts attached to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, along with those from Project Recover, working off the private research vessel the RV Petrel, used the latest and most sophisticated technology to create the marvellous images of the wreck site.

The research vessel, RV Petrel, is owned by Vulcan Inc., an organization dedicated to research that was established by the late Paul Allen, one of the co-founders of Microsoft.

(Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego/RV Petrel/Vulcan Inc./Project Recover)

This organization has a project running, Project Recover, that is dedicated to harnessing the latest and most modern technology to locate the remains of US servicemen and women that are still missing in action from the Second World War.

(Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego/RV Petrel/Vulcan Inc./Project Recover)

A statement released by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego stated that on 11 October 1942, three Grumman TBF Avenger aircraft collided whilst on a training mission.

The three planes were all attached to Squadron VT-3 and based at the Naval Air Station Kaneohe, now known as the Marine Corps Base Hawaii.

The statement went on to say that according to the accident report, two of the three aircraft crashed into the sea immediately, killing all six crew members.

The crew of the third aircraft managed to bail out and were rescued. The remains of the six crew members killed were never recovered.

(Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego/RV Petrel/Vulcan Inc./Project Recover)

The images indicate that the remains of the plane are lying at a depth of around 330 feet, and the engine has been found to be some 164 feet from the fuselage.

The statement from the Scripps Institute states that the type of aircraft seen in the image, along with the location, and the manner in which the wreckage is distributed around the site are all consistent with the loss of the two Grumman TBF Avengers from Squadron VT-3 that were lost on the 11 October, 1942.

The images do not show the tail of the aircraft and are too indistinct to state categorically which of the missing plane this is.

Experts revealed the plane wreck in new detail. (Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego/RV Petrel/Vulcan Inc./Project Recover)

The information and images will all be handed over to the POW/MIA Accounting Agency of the US Department of Defense. This agency is responsible for the recovery and identification of the remains of US servicemen and women.

This is not the first discovery with which the RV Petrel has been involved. The technical staff aboard the vessel recently located the wrecks of two Japanese aircraft carriers.

The two carriers, the Kaga and the Akagi were both sunk 77 years ago during the Battle of Midway.

The director of subsea operations for Vulcan Inc., Robert Kraft, said in a statement that the discovery of the Grumman TBF Avenger was a great end to their Midway Survey project. Squadron VT-3 was one of three torpedo squadrons that fought in the Battle of Midway, while assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown.

In other projects run in 2019, the technical experts aboard the RV Petrel discovered the wreck of the USS Wasp in the Coral Sea.

This WWII aircraft carrier was sunk on the 15 September 1942 after being hit by three torpedoes fired from the Japanese submarine I-19.

The explosions destroyed her power and water mains systems, so the crew was unable to contain the fires, and she was abandoned and scuttled due to the damage caused by the blaze.

In another project run during 2019, the crew aboard the RV Petrel discovered the Imperial Navy ship Hiei, a battleship that was sunk on the 14 November 1942 in the waters off the Solomon Islands.

Sadly, Paul Allen did not live to see all of these fabulous finds as he passed away in October 2018 from complications caused by non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

His foresight in creating Vulcan Inc. and the use of RV Petrel will ensure that he has left a legacy.

TBF Avenger - History

During assembly, you create various sub-assemblies such as an impressive engine, interiors and the gun turret. It all adds up to a very nice representation of the Avenger. Thankfully, most parts have a pretty good fit and this should not stop any modeller on making this nice Avenger in this large scale!

This particular model will be converted into a TBM-3W Warner AEW variant, an Avenger for Airborne Early Warning with a large radar. I opted to create a couple of masters for the parts and duplicate them in resin.

NOTE: the radar fairing could also be used for a Skyraider AEW conversion in 1/32 scale as they were similar.

. .

More details later.

Let’s look first briefly at the type’s history.

The Grumman’s TBF Avenger was one of the most successful naval aircraft of the second world war and was also deployed by various air arms after the war. First flown in 1941, various versions were produced. All the versions have their own typical characteristics and external differences. Almost 10,000 planes were eventually built.

One of the famous Grumman Avenger versions was the TBM-3W “Warner”. In the Second World War it was realised that detecting attacking aircraft, particularly flying at low level, required the use and installment of radar in a flying aircraft. The MIT in the United States started experiments as early as 1942 and the result was the S-band APS-20 radar. The Avenger was a logical choice as airframe as it had enough room inside to accommodate the bulky equipment. So the TBM-3W became the world’s first AEW aircraft. The radar had a range of about 100 km. All armor, guns in the wings, gun turret and bombing systems were deleted and the radar was installed below the fuselage in a fiberglass radome. Other equipment were VHF radio sets, and even a primitive IFF. To improve stability, four small fins were fitted on the stabilizer. The radar operator was situated in the lower rear fuselage and below a new back fairing that replaced the “glass house” with the pilot up front.

The prototype TBM-3W flew August 5, 1944. Although envisaged for fleet protection, particularly from Kamikaze attacks, the war ended before Warners were operationally deployed. After the Second World War in 1946 the US Navy put the Warner planes into service. The TBM-3W2 was a version with an updated APS-20 radar. They served with the US Navy until the mid fifties when they were replaced by the Grumman Guardian and Douglas AD Skyraider.
The Warner was also exported to various countries, including The Netherlands, Canada, France and Japan.

Data TBM-3W: Wright Cyclone R2600 14 cylinder engine with 1900 hp take-off power empty weight about 4850 kg, max take-off weight about 7600 kg, cruise speed 240 km/hr, max speed about 420 km/hr span 16,52 m, length 12,48 m.

Warners could have different rear doors (large or small), tail hook configurations (inside or external), antenna layouts and various rear window options. Check photographs for your particular plane to model.

The Royal Dutch naval air service (MLD) used the Warner from September 1953 till May 1961. These Warners appeared in various colour schemes. Within the Dutch MLD two main schemes were used:
(1) Overall Gloss Sea Blue FS25042 (similar to US Navy scheme)
(2) Extra Dark Sea Grey upper surfaces with Sky lower surfaces (similar to British FAA scheme).

I was interested in a model of the Dutch Fleet Air Arm (MLD: Marine Luchtvaart Dienst) as they also used the TBM-3W Warner after the war in various roles. Details vary between MLD Warners, depending on the period and particular plane, so study pictures when you can.

What conversion work is necessary and what is the most logical sequence to follow?

The TBM3-3W has a couple of specific characteristics:

[A] large radar dome
[B] faired belly fairing
[C] closed upper rear back
[D] no armament
[E] internal or external tail arrestor hook
[F] antennas
[G] four smaller fins on stabilizer

Starting the Warner kit build.

The modelling a model of the TBM-3W Warner requires adding a radar, a changed lower fuselage belly profile, changed rear back profile and additional fins.

These parts were home made with resin, after making masters, rubber moulds and a lot of work. Masters were made using drawings, looking at pictures through various angles and also smaller models in 1/48 and 1/72 scale.

Resin parts

SAFETY first: when cutting and sanding resin parts, use hand gloves to avoid skin irritation, plenty of water and a face mask to avoid inhaling resin dust.

Do you want to attempt modelling a Warner in this 1/32 scale yourself, look for my home made conversion set here at the INFORMATION & ORDER PAGE

This modelling report will briefly describe the modifications done to the Trumpeter model.
Numbered sections (x) denotes the conversion re-numbered step, the [Tx] the related Trumpeter instructions step number.

As the weight of the resin parts is high, also a metal Avenger gearleg set from G-Factor was purchased for additional strength. They also provide the rear tail wheel strut.

(Also Scale Aircraft Conversions set 32009 can be purchased for the two main gear metal legs)

(1) Preparation
The first step is to do the major saw work on the two fuselage halves for the re-profiled belly section. This needs a straight cut with a razor saw on each fuselage halve, a ten minute job.

The result.

The next thing that might be done is to enlarge the right rear fuselage crew entry door if desired. This depends on the particular Warner to be modelled as also Warner were seen with the standard Avenger door. So this optional.

Next step was continueing with the model as usual with all models.

(2-5) [ T1 to T4 ]

The Wright Cyclone R-2600 engine is accurately portrayed in the kit and assembled. Some details were added like electrical lines from stretched sprue. I had the impression that there are too many parts D27 and how the piping runs is a bit tricky. You won't see a lot of the engine in the dark cowling.

The engine was later on sprayed black with dark metallic cylinder heads.
In step 4, the engine was NOT yet fitted on the bulkhead but set aside.

The accessoiries pack with oiltank can be assembled as well, but also can be left out as hardly anything is seen of it. I left them out.

(6-10) [T5-T8]
The interior build is simplified for the Warner as a lot of the interior is not needed. The rear interior details are left out as well as the whole turret assembly. No particular info was found on how the TBM-3W interior should exactly look like, so it may not be completely accurate for this model. But who will know and see it?

Assemble the pilot interior as per kit. The rear bulkhead parts #F2, H10, G68, G70 are not needed.

The engine was as noted NOT yet fitted to the bulkhead. Dryfit the fuselage further for checking.

Also a small area at the rear (wedge shape) was removed to have a better fit of the resin back fairing.

(11-12) [T10, T11]
Assembly of the forward interior

(13) Radar operator area
When the rear crew entry door is left open, it may be worthwhile to suggest a simple radar operator station. This can be done using some parts in the kit although the exact lay-out is not known. However, not a lot of it will be seen anyway.
Some suggestions are seen here.

(14) [T23] Major interior
The bomb/torpedo bay also needs none of the details for the Warner. The floor is retained for strength and support for the pilot cockpit interior.
This deals with the instrument panel and cockpit interiors and was simply assembled. The model is well detailed. Also paint at this stage.

(15) [T28 ] tail wheel
The tail leg was assembled, but without the forward bulkhead #B10 and no gun (see note on radar operator interior).

(16) [T29 ]
The arrestor hook on the TBM-3W Warner as on other Avenger variants can be internally or externally fitted.
I used the tailhook #H18 only for an external hook. The moulded ridge on the kit parts was sanded flat below the aft fuselage.
A tiny fairing below the aft fuselage from a piece of plastic will be installed as well.

(17-18-19) [T33] Radar operator interior
Some parts were fitted now

Now both fuselage halves were merged. Depending on the arrestor tailhook configuration, include the internal hook when desired.



At the radar operator station, some additional bits were also added and painted. The interiors is probably coloured "interior green".
( HUMBROL Authentic HD5 paint, or green Xtracolor X117 or Humbrol 151 enamel can be used. )


Note the enlarged door (optional)

(20-21) Belly area and Radar dome
The resin belly part and radardome are moulded in such a way that sanding is minimal. You will need some work on filling the airbubble holes in the resin as noted before. However, lots and lots of filling the tiny air bubble holes is required. Most of this filling work was done at this stage.

The main resin parts are seen here, with the interior areas painted interior green.

The radar will fit without a lot of effort, it was simple pushed into the belly part recess hole.
First do a dry fit, making sure it is symmetrical. Some limited sanding may be needed here. When OK, it was superglued in place and the gap between the belly part and the radar were filled as well and sanded.

(a dry fit seen above )
The belly plus radar was set in place in the lower fuselage (that already has some cuts in the beginning for the Warner fitting).

Also close the gap between the radar/belly at forward area with card and putty. Sand smooth.

On some Warner planes, rear windows #K1, K2, K26, K27 may vary. Fit and/or fill/paint over as needed for your particular plane. Making a new larger door from plastic card may be needed, depending on the desired large or small door configuration.

Grumman TBF/TBM Avenger

Grumman Iron Works was a nickname for the company that designed the Avenger. Grumman created shipboard aircraft that were sturdy, heavy and tough. When it replaced the inadequate Douglas TBD Devastator as the US Navy's torpedo bomber in the Pacific, the Grumman Avenger had the strength and power to do the job.

However, as Grumman was busy fulfilling large orders for fighters, the job of constructing the bulk of the Avenger order was subcontracted to the Eastern Aircraft Division of the General Motors Corporation.

Despite a poor start at the 1942 Battle of Midway, the Avenger performed superbly through to the end of the war and in addition to torpedo bombing, took on other roles including close air support of ground troops.

The Avenger was pleasant to fly, although spinning was prohibited. When flown with determination by a strong pilot, it could almost turn like a fighter, hence its single and later twin, forward-firing gun armament. Britain (921 aircraft) and New Zealand (63) also used Avengers during the war. Canada, France, Japan and Netherlands employed it after 1945.

Grumman's portly TBF Avenger (built by Eastern Aircraft as the TBM) was the most important American torpedo-bomber of World War II. Big, noisy and powerful, the Avenger flew from carrier decks and spanned vast Pacific distances to attack the Japanese Navy with its torpedo or bombs. The Avenger had staying power, with many Allied nations using the type long after the war. US Navy Avengers were still on hand for transport duty in the Korean War.

George H. W. Bush, The TBF Avenger, And The USS San Jacinto

Jan 11, 2009 #1 2009-01-11T20:51

George Herbert Walker Bush became one of the youngest U.S. Navy aviators, if not the youngest, when he received his Wings of Gold on June 9, 1943, three days short of his 19th birthday. Trained to fly torpedo bombers, Bush served a combat cruise from May to November 1944. Throughout the war, he logged 1,228 flying hours, made 126 carrier landings, and flew 58 combat missions. In this thread, I will post some of the more notable of those missions.

But first, some notes about the Grumman TBF Avenger and the USS San Jacinto:

The TBF first flew on August 1, 1941. The design that led to the Avenger had been ordered by the Navy on the assumption, which was to prove correct, that 900 HS, as in the Douglas TBD Devastator, would not suffice to propel a torpedo bomber with heavy load. This time, the Navy wanted it all: higher speed, greater payload, better range, greater firepower than the Devastator. Special consideration was to be given to a powered gun turret firing aft. The Navy's hopes were not easy to fulfill, and Grumman quite obviously was not aiming at good looks when it presented the Avenger around the turn of years 1940/1941 to the Navy. It was, as pilots would call it later, a "turkey". Grumman had designed a plane typical for the firm. It was unique only in a few details -- it had a weapons bay holding a torpedo or an amount of bombs equal to the torpedo's weight. It had a tunnel gun behind the weapons bay, and a electrically powered turret above the tunnel gun.

But besides that, it looked very much like a F4F, so much so that another of the bomber's nicknames was "the pregnant Wildcat." It had a large engine and huge squared wings. And another component was equal to the F4Fs outfit, the wing-folding mechanism. Hydraulically moving, the wings would turn vertically until the surfaces would look forward, then fold back to end up parallel to the fuselage. The Navy happily accepted the design, which also received, in addition to the 12.7mm in the turret and 7.7mm in the tunnel, a 7.7mm to fire forward through the propeller, for flak suppression.

The first TBF-1 left the production lines in Bethpage in time to fly for the first time on January 3rd 1942. Quick production resulted in quick training, the first squadron to be equipped with the new plane being VT-8. As a response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the new Grumman torpedo bomber was christened the Avenger.

Early in 1942, the heavy cruiser USS Houston went missing in the Far West Pacific. It would not be until after the end of the war that America would learn that she was sunk in Sunda Strait off Java. The citizens of Houston, Texas began a bond drive to replace the ship that had been named after their city. The patriotism of the people eventually raised double the money needed to build a new cruiser, and the extra money was contributed to the construction of another ship.

On October 26, 1942, this ship was laid down as a light cruiser to be named Newark, but plans were quickly changed as the demand for aircraft carriers in this new war became apparent. While still on the ways, the hull was converted to a light aircraft carrier. After briefly carrying the name Reprisal, the name was again changed to the name chosen by the citizens of Houston for the second ship they were funding. The San Jacinto was named in honor of the battle that took place there on April 21, 1836, when General Sam Houston's small army of Texans, outnumbered almost two to one, defeated the Mexican dictator Santa Ana to preserve the independence of the Texas Republic.

Rushed to completion, the 11,000 ton light carrier was launched on September 26, 1943, and commissioned as CVL-30 on December 15, 1943. The ninth ship of the Independence class, she was 618 feet long and 71 feet wide. She had sixteen 40mm and forty 20mm anti-aircraft guns and could carry 45 airplanes. The San Jac as she became known sailed for the Pacific in time to participate in the invasion of the Marianas Islands. With her went Air Group 51 and Ensign George H. W. Bush.

TBF Avenger - History

Plane Details

Plane: TBM-3E Avenger
Manufacturer: General Motors
Service Dates: 1942-1954
Bureau Number
: 53726

General Motors TBM-3E Avenger History:

The Grumman TBF Avenger (designated TBM for aircraft manufactured by General Motors) is an American torpedo bomber developed for the United States Navy and Marine Corps. The Avenger entered U.S. service in 1942, and first saw action during the Battle of Midway. Grumman began to slowly phase out production of the Avenger to produce F6F Hellcat fighters, and the Eastern Aircraft Division of General Motors took over production, with these aircraft being designated TBM.

Starting in mid-1944, the TBM-3 began production (with a more powerful power plant and wing hardpoints for drop tanks and rockets).

The Avenger was used by a number of Marine Corps squadrons, both on land and from a number of dedicated aircraft carriers. The first to enter combat was VMSB-131 which reached Henderson Field with its TBF-1s just in time to take part in the last major Japanese offensive.
The Marine Avengers achieved their first major success during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal in mid-November 1942. At this point VMSB-131 was operating alongside VT-10 (normally based on the Enterprise) and VT-8. On 13 November all three squadrons took part in a series of attacks on the Japanese battleship Hiei, claiming ten torpedo hits from twenty-six launched, and sinking the battleship. Another success came on the next day when aircraft from VT-10 and VMSB-131 sank the cruiser Kinugasa. There were rare examples of Marine Corps Avengers making torpedo attacks – most of the time they used bombs and rockets to support the Marines or depth charges and rockets while on anti-submarine patrols.

One year after VMSB-131 made its debut on Guadalcanal, VMTB-143, 232 and 233 took part in the fighting on Bougainville, operating from Torokina air strip. The same three units then took part in the prolonged series of attacks on the Japanese airfields and harbor at Rabaul, allowing that strong Japanese base to be neutralized and leapfrogged.

In July 1944 VMTB-131 and VMTB-242 took part in the fighting in the Mariana Islands, providing air support of Guam and Tinian. In August 1944 VMTB-134 took part in the invasion of Peleliu, operating from airfields that were virtually on the front line.
In March 1945 VMTB-242 was still based on Tinian, but the war had moved on to Iwo Jima. The squadron took off to make the 800 mile trip to Iwo Jima, planning to land on the island if an airstrip had been secured or on a nearby carrier if not. They were eventually able to land on the island, providing air support for the ground troops. At the end of the campaign they flew anti-submarine patrols from the island, then returned to Tinian.

Four aircraft carriers operated with Marine Corps squadrons embarked. USS Block Island carried VMTB-233 during the battle of Okinawa and for attacks on the Ryukyu Islands. USS Gilbert Island had VMTB-143 during the Okinawa campaign and then took part in the attack on Balikpapan. USS Vella Gulf had VMTB-234, operating in the Central Pacific and attacking Pagan and Rota. USS Cape Gloucester operated VMTB-132 in the East China Sea.

The Marine Corps utilized the Avenger in the Korean War as a utility aircraft with Headquarters Squadrons 22 and 33 (1950-1953).

TBM-3E (BuNo 53726) was accepted by the U.S. Navy on June 16, 1945. On June 1, 1946 it was assigned to the aircraft pool at NAS San Diego CA. In September 1946 it was transferred to the island of Oahu, Territory of Hawaii, and assigned to the aircraft pool at NAS Ford Island, and then NAS Barbers Point. After an overhaul period in San Diego it was assigned to NAS Norfolk and then the Naval Aviation Reserve Training Unit (NARTU) at NAF Anacostia, Washington DC. In late 1949 it was refurbished at NAS Corpus Christi, TX. It spent the next two years in storage at Litchfield Park, AZ. It was pulled out of storage to support the surge in pilot training during the Korean War. In 1952 it served at the NARTU at NAS Birmingham, AL before heading to Carrier Qualification Training Unit FOUR (CQTU-4) and Basic Training Unit THREE (BTU-3) at Naval Air Auxiliary Field Barin Field, AL. In 1954 this aircraft returned to Litchfield Park for storage and was stricken from Navy inventory in April 1962. It was purchased by Marsh Aviation in 1963 and converted to an air tanker. In 1965 it was sold to Reeder Aviation and was used for the Spruce Budworm aerial spray program in Newfoundland and New Brunswick Canada. In 1987 this aircraft was purchased by Northwest Warbirds Inc. in Twin Falls, Idaho. In 1988 it was purchased by the National Museum of the Marine Corps and displayed at MCAS El Toro. In 1999 it moved to its current location at MCAS Miramar. It is painted in the colors of VMBT-132 when in July 1945 it was deployed in the escort carrier USS Cape Gloucester (CVE-109) and participated in the battle of Okinawa


Manufacturer:General Motors Corporation
Type: Torpedo Bomber
Accommodations: Pilot, gunner and radar operator
Power Plant: 1 Wright R-2600-20 Cyclone
Horsepower: 1,900 hp
Length: 39 ft,2 in
Wing Span: 54 ft 2 in
Height: 16 ft, 5 in
Max Speed: 430 kts (470 mph)
Rate of climb: 2,060 ft/min
Ceiling: 23,40019 ft
Range: 982 nm (1,036 mi)
Guns: 2 × 7.62mm machine guns
1 x12.7 mm machine gun
Bombs (internal bomb bay): 1 × Mk XIII Torpedo


Naval Edit

The roles of Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas (CINCPOA) and Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet (CINCPAC), were both exercised by Admiral Chester W. Nimitz from his headquarters at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Since the "Big Blue Fleet" was at this time under the command of Admiral Raymond Spruance aboard his flagship USS Indianapolis, the force was designated Fifth Fleet. (It had been Third Fleet until Spruance relieved Admiral William Halsey in January, as part of the "alternating command" system).

The ships and troops of Operation Iceberg were under direct operational command of Rear Admiral Richmond Kelly Turner aboard amphibious command ship Eldorado.

Ground troops Edit

Son of a Confederate army general, Lt. Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr. was one of four US lieutenant generals to die during World War II, but the only one to die by enemy action. On 18 June, Buckner was visiting a forward observation post when a Japanese artillery shell struck a coral outcropping, fragments of which struck Buckner in the chest. Command of Tenth Army passed to Marine Maj. Gen. Roy S. Geiger.
United States Tenth Army (Lt. Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr. (KIA))

Joint Expeditionary Force (Task Force 51) Edit

Vice Admiral Richmond Kelly Turner in amphibious command ship Eldorado

Western Islands Attack Group (Task Group 51.1)

Northern Attack Force (Task Force 53) Edit

Rear Admiral Lawrence F. Reifsnider in amphibious command ship Panamint
Embarking III Amphibious Corps (Maj. Gen. Roy S. Geiger, USMC)

Transport Group "Able" (Task Group 53.1) Commodore H.B. Knowles Embarking 6th Marine Division (Maj. Gen. Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr., USMC) Transport Division 34 6 attack transports: Cambria, Marvin H. McIntyre, Adair, Gage, Noble, Gilliam 2 attack cargos: Sheliak, Hydrus Transport Division 35 5 attack transports: Clay, Leon, George Clymer, Arthur Middleton, Catron 2 attack cargos: Caswell, Devosa Transport Division 36 5 attack transports: Monrovia, Wayne, Sumter, Menifee, Fuller 3 attack cargos: Aquarius, Circe, Casa Grande 1 vehicle landing ship: Catskill Transport Group "Baker" (Task Group 53.2) Commodore J. G. Moyer Embarking 1st Marine Division (Maj. Gen. Pedro A. del Valle, USMC) Transport Division 52 8 attack transports: Burleigh, McCracken, Thomas Jefferson, Charles Carroll, Barnett, Andromeda, Cepheus, Oak Hill 1 vehicle landing ship: Monitor Transport Division 53 5 attack transports: Marathon, Rawlins, Renville, New Kent, Burleson 2 attack cargos: Centaurus, Arcturus Transport Division 54 5 attack transports: Dade, Magoffin, Navarro, Effingham, Joseph T. Dickman 3 attack cargos: Betelgeuse, Procyon, White Marsh Northern Tractor Flotilla (Task Group 53.3) Capt. J. S. Laidlaw Tractor Group "Able": 16 LSTs carrying 6 LCTs, 22 pontoon barges and 6 pontoon causeways 7 LSMs Tractor Group "Baker": 16 LSTs carrying 10 LCTs, 16 pontoon barges and 6 pontoon causeways Tractor Group "Charlie": 14 LSTs carrying 20 pontoon barges 8 LSMs Northern Control Group: 18 submarine chasers (4 steel hull, 9 wooden hull, 5 sweeper type), Northern Beach Party Northern Attack Force Screen (Task Group 53.6) Captain J. H. Wellings

Southern Attack Force (Task Force 55) Edit

Rear Admiral John L. Hall in amphibious command ship Teton
Embarking XXIV Army Corps (Maj. Gen. John R. Hodge)

Transport Group "Dog" (Task Group 55.1) Commodore M.O. Carlson Embarking 7th Infantry ("Bayonet") Division (Maj. Gen. Archibald V. Arnold, USA) Transport Division 37 4 attack transports: Harris, Lamar, Sheridan, Pierce 1 attack cargo: Algorab Transport Division 38 4 attack transports: Barnstable, Elmore, Alpine, Lycoming 1 attack cargo: Alshain 1 landing ship dock: Epping Forest Transport Division 39 4 attack transports: Custer, Freestone, Kittson, Baxter 2 attack cargos: Algol, Arneb Transport Division 13 4 attack transports: Appling, Butte, Audrain, Laurens 2 attack cargos: Aurelia, Corvus 1 vehicle landing ship: Ozark Tractor Group "Dog" 16 LSTs, 12 LSMs, 2 LCIs Tractor Group "Fox" 14 LSTs carrying LCTs and pontoon barges, 10 LSMs Transport Group "Easy" (Task Group 55.2) Commodore C.G. Richardson Embarking 96th Infantry ("Deadeye") Division (Maj. Gen. James L. Bradley, USA) Transport Division 40 4 attack transports: Mendocino, Sarasota, Haskell, Oconto 2 attack cargos: Capricornus, Chara 1 landing ship dock: Lindenwald Transport Division 41 4 attack transports: Olmstead, La Porte, Fond du Lac, Banner 2 attack cargos: Diphda, Uvalde Transport Division 42 4 attack transports: Neshoba, Oxford, Latimer, Edgecombe 1 attack cargo: Virgo 1 landing ship dock: Gunston Hall Transport Division 14 4 attack transports: Allendale, Meriwether, Menard, Kenton 1 attack cargo: Achernar Tractor Group "Easy": 23 LSTs, 5 LSMs Beach Party "Easy", Southern Beach Party 15 submarine chasers: 4 steel hull, 7 wooden hull, 4 sweeper type 17 LCS(L)s, 6 LSM(R)s Screen (Task Group 55.6) Captain E.W. Young 13 destroyers 4 Allen M. Sumner-class (6 x 5-in. main battery): Hyman, Purdy, Wadsworth, Putnam 9 Fletcher-class (5 x 5-in. main battery): Anthony, Bache, Bush, [d] Mullany, Bennett, Hudson, Beale, Ammen, Rooks 6 destroyer escorts 2 Evarts-class (3 x 3-in. main battery): Crouter, Carlson, 2 Buckley-class (3 x 3-in. main battery): Damon M. Cummings, Vammen 1 Cannon-class (3 x 3-in. main battery): O'Neill 1 John C. Butler-class (2 x 5-in. main battery): Walter C. Wann 1 destroyer transport Sims Southern Defense Group (Task Group 55.7) Commander B.T. Zelenka 1 Evarts-class destroyer escort: Manlove 1 destroyer transport: Stringham 34 LSTs, 14 LSMs, 6 motor minesweepers, 2 LCIs 1 oil storage ship: Grumium

Expeditionary Troops (Task Force 56) Edit

Northern Landing Area III Amphibious Corps (Embarked in Task Force 53) Maj. Gen. Roy S. Geiger, USMC Left beaches: 6th Marine Division (Maj. Gen. Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr., USMC) Right beaches: 1st Marine Division (Maj. Gen. Pedro A. del Valle, USMC) Southern Landing Area XXIV Army Corps (Embarked in Task Force 55) Maj. Gen. John R. Hodge, USA Left beaches: 7th Infantry ("Bayonet") Division (Maj. Gen. Archibald V. Arnold, USA) Right beaches: 96th Infantry ("Deadeye") Division (Maj. Gen. James L. Bradley, USA) Landed L+8: 27th Infantry ("New York") Division (Maj. Gen. George W. Griner, Jr., USA) Western Islands Landed L+26: 77th Infantry ("Statue of Liberty") Division and one Marine BLT (Maj. Gen. Andrew D. Bruce, USA)

Grumman TBF-1 Avenger

  • VMSB-131 Black 9
    1942 World War 2»Guadalcanal Campaign - Guadalcanal
    FS35189 FS36440
US Navy (1794-now)
  • VT-8 Black 8-T-I / BuNo00380 (Ens. A.K. Ernest / AMM3c J.D. Manning / ARM H. Ferrier)
    June 1942 World War 2»Battle of Midway - Midway
    FS35189 FS36440
  • VT-8 @ USS Saratoga (CV-3) White 64
    1942 World War 2»Pacific War
    FS35189 FS36440

Box contents

Plastic sprue (Light gray) , Plastic sprue (Clear) , Plastic sprue (Light gray) , Decalsheet (waterslide) (Multi-colored) , Instructions (Paper) (Multi-colored)

For Sale: An Airworthy Grumman Avenger – A WWII Torpedo Bomber

This is a Grumman Avenger, or more correctly this is a 1945 Grumman TBM-3E Avenger, that’s being offered for sale for $495,000 USD – the best part is that it’s 100% airworthy and ready to keep flying.

The Avenger was first unveiled to the public on the 7th of December 1941, a date that had been chosen with no inkling that it would mark the day of the Pearl Harbor Attack in Hawaii. Prior to its unveiling the new torpedo bomber had been called the Grumman TBF however the name “Avenger” was quickly added after the events of Pearl Harbor for obvious reasons, and the aircraft would certainly live up to its name.

It would quickly become the most successful torpedo bomber of the Second World War, it was also the heaviest single engine aircraft of the war, and the sight of an Avenger would send a chill down the spine of Axis mariners the world over – from the South Pacific to the North Atlantic.

Grumman engineers designed the TBF Avenger to replace the Douglas TBD Devastator torpedo bomber, two prototypes were ordered in 1940 and they first flew in 1941. By this time it was clear that the wars in Europe and Asia were likely to engulf the United States and the country was already supplying arms to Allied forces.

The Avenger was designed by Leroy Grumman himself, he developed an aircraft design that would accommodate a crew of three including the pilot, a turret gunner, and a third man who would fill radioman/bombardier/ventral gunner duties as required.

The key to the success of the Avenger was its large bomb bay that was capable of carrying a Bliss-Leavitt Mark 13 torpedo – powerful enough to sink any submarine in the world and many ships. When not carrying a torpedo the aircraft could also be equipped with a single 2,000 kb bomb, or a maximum of four 500 lb bombs.

Above Video: A detailed look at the Avenger with the Military Aviation History YouTube channel.

The TBF Avenger was powered by the twin-row Wright R-2600 Twin Cyclone 14-cylinder radial capable of 1,700 hp to 1,900+ hp. This engine was used in a number of aircraft during the war including the B-25 Mitchell, A-20 Havoc, PBM Mariner, and SB2C Helldiver. Over 50,000 were built and a fair number remain in service today in both functional warbirds and museum pieces.

Interestingly future-President George H. W. Bush was an Avenger pilot, in fact he was the youngest American naval aviator at the time at the age of just 19. Famous actor and racing car driver Paul Newman was also an Avenger airman, he wasn’t accepted into flight school as he was color blind so he became a rear gunner instead.

Over the course of WWII Avengers would be responsible for the sinking of at least 30 enemy submarines, they shared the credit for sinking the super-battleships Yamato and Musashi, and they became an airborne nightmare for U-boat crews in the Atlantic.

Almost 10,000 examples of the Grumman Avenger were built during the war across a slew of variants modified to perform certain tasks. Today there are still a number of them in airworthiness condition around the world including the one you see here.

With an asking price of $495,000 USD this aircraft won’t be within budget for many, however there is a large community of warbird enthusiasts worldwide so it’s unlikely to remain available for long.

This aircraft was never used as a dive bomber, or as a crop duster or fire bomber as so many were. Instead it was deployed as a radar operator trainer, it has a rare (empty) APS-4 radar pod on the right wing which would have been functional and capable of providing those on the ground with invaluable information about enemy movements and positions.

It’s currently listed with 3,615 total time since new (TTSN) and its Wright R-2600-20 engine has 680 hours on the clock since the last major overhaul (SMOH).

If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can click here to visit the listing on Platinum Fighter Sales.

Images courtesy of Platinum Fighter Sales

Ben has had his work featured on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the official Pinterest blog, the official eBay Motors blog, BuzzFeed, and many more.

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prepared by Forest Garner

The US Navy ordered the prototype of the world's first monoplane torpedo bomber, the Douglas TBD Devastator, in 1934. First flown the following year, production delivery of this advanced aircraft started in 1937. Powered by an early 850 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp, the TBD-1 was capable of 206 mph. However, aviation technology was changing quickly, and by 1939 the Navy recognized that improved performance was needed. On 25 March of that year the Navy asked contractors to respond to a requirement for an advanced torpedo plane. This decision was fortunate, as by 1942 the TBD would be obsolete.

The 25 March requirements included a maximum speed of 300 mph, a range of at least 1,000 miles while carrying a torpedo, a ceiling of at least 30,000 feet, a take off run in combat trim of not more than 325 feet into a 25-knot wind, and a stalling speed with a torpedo of no more than 70 mph. Additionally, it was required that the torpedo, or bombs, must be carried internally. In response, the Navy received 13 design proposals from six manufacturers. By 3 November, 1939, the Navy had focused on two of these designs one from Vought powered by the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp, and one from Grumman powered by the Wright R-2600. Although the Navy announced its intention to order each design, it took six months for the contracts to be awarded.

Grumman received the order for two examples of the XTBF-1 on 8 April, 1940. This was a mid-wing cantilever design with a crew of three. Externally, it looked like Grumman's F4F Wildcat, but with a bigger belly. The TBF was designed from the start with folding wings, with the folding mechanism patterned after that developed for the Martlet II and F4F-4 Wildcat. Armament consisted of one synchronized "50 caliber" (12.7mm) Browning machine gun in the upper engine cowling firing through the propeller, another 50 caliber weapon firing from a small turret at the aft end of the long canopy, and a ventral flexible 30 caliber (7.62mm) machine gun firing rearwards from a position just aft of the long weapons bay. The weapons bay was large enough to hold four 500-pound bombs, or one 22.4-inch 2,000 pound Mark 13 torpedo. Provision was made for carrying the Norden bombsight, but Avenger pilots found this to be less accurate than other aiming techniques.

The US Navy placed some urgency in replacing the TBD, as an order was placed for 285 TBF-1 aircraft and one TBF-2 on 30 December, 1940, more than seven months before the prototype XTBF-1 was ready for flight tests. The two sub-types differed in that the TBF-1 was to be powered by the two-speed single-stage R-2600-8, while the TBF-2 was to be powered by the single-speed two-stage R-2600-10.

The prototype flew on 7 August, 1941. Several significant problems were identified, but were quickly solved. Development of the TBF was not greatly affected when the first prototype crashed after catching fire in flight on 28 November, 1941, as the second prototype was nearly ready by that time.

The first production TBF-1 was completed on 3 January, 1942. The TBF-1 had a span of just over 54 ft (17 ft with wings folded), a length of 40 ft, weighed 10,080 pounds empty, 13,667 pounds loaded, and 15,905 pound maximum. Powered by a 1,600 hp Wright R-2600-8, the TBF-1 reached a maximum speed of 271 mph at 12,000 ft, although it cruised at a leisurely 145 mph. Internal fuel capacity was 335 gallons, giving a range (with torpedo) of 1,215 miles.

Grumman assembled 1,524 examples of the TBF-1, while the Eastern Aircraft Division of General Motors built 550 of the virtually identical TBM-1.

The designation TBF-1B applied to 402 aircraft built for the Royal Navy, which the British initially called Tarpon T.R. Mark I, but later called Avenger T.R. Mark I. British Avengers were sometimes modified to British specification by Blackburn Aircraft, including the installation British oxygen systems and gunsights.

The TBF-1C deleted the nose-mounted machine gun and, instead, mounted one 50 caliber weapon in each wing. This variant was plumbed to carry up to 391 gallons of additional fuel in auxiliary fuel tanks. Grumman built 764, while GM built 2,332 of their virtually identical TBM-1C.

The TBF-1D was a modification of the TBF-1 fitting the ASD or ASB radar for locating surfaced submarines or surface ships.

The first of two XTBF-3 prototypes flew on 20 June, 1943. This aircraft featured the 1,900 hp Wright R-2600-20 engine in an attempt to restore performance lost through increased operational weight in later TBF-1 variants. However, no production TBF-3 was built by Grumman. To allow Grumman's factory to focus on production of the critically important F6F Hellcat, production of Avengers was completely in the hands of the Eastern Aircraft Division of General Motors, which fabricated portions of the aircraft in several cities, and performed final assembly in Trenton, New Jersey. GM built 4,657 of this variant, called the TBM-3, between April 1944 and August 1945.

There were at least 15 variants of the TBM-3, including many modified to carry various types of surface search radar or airborne early warning radar.

In its first combat action at Midway on 4 June, 1942, the TBF faired badly. Six TBF-1 aircraft attacked the Japanese Kido Butai (Striking force) of four fleet aircraft carriers with a powerful screen. Five Avengers were shot down, and the sixth, badly damaged, barely made it back to Midway Island. This attack, like most that day, achieved nothing. However, Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bombers made successful attacks later that day, inflicting fatal damage on all four Japanese carriers.

In subsequent clashes with the Japanese Navy, the Avenger was hampered by the ineffectiveness of its primary weapon, the Mark 13 torpedo. The generally poor manufacture of this weapon was a serious problem, but was overshadowed by its many design flaws. It was slow, and too fragile for release speeds greater than 130mph (increased later in the war). While this slow release speed made the TBF vulnerable to antiaircraft fire, pilots were thankful that the Avenger was a tough aircraft, like all Grumman aircraft of that era. This, and poor Japanese antiaircraft gunnery, saved many American pilots. Later, the Mark 13 torpedo was improved by installing a "pickle barrel" housing around the nose of the torpedo to allow much faster drops. The warhead, initially 401 pounds of TNT, was increased to 600 pounds of the much more potent Torpex in 1943. With the later, more effective, variants of the Mark 13, Avengers played the primary role in sinking the huge battleships Yamato and Musashi, and several Japanese aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, and other warships.

Service in the Atlantic Ocean

In the Atlantic, the Avenger was the obvious choice for use aboard British and American escort carriers in screening convoys and hunting down U-boats. Avengers would sight surfaced U-boats, and swoop down on them in a glide bombing approach, releasing multiple 250-pound, 325-pound, or (most often) 500-pound depth bombs. If the U-boat put up accurate flak, the Avenger pilot might choose to circle out of range wait for other aircraft to assist. Grumman Wildcat fighters, with either four or six heavy machine guns, were often effective at subduing the U-boat's flak battery so that the Avengers could more safely make their attacks. Later the Avenger's arsenal included rockets for use on surfaced U-boats and, after mid-1943, a super-secret anti-submarine homing torpedo known as the Mark 24 Fido (also called Zombie). Various versions of the Avenger were fitted with radar for finding submarines or surface ships, with sonobuoys to track submerged submarines, and with flares and searchlights for illuminating potential targets at night. Avengers were known to carry combinations of these devices, such as two 500-pound depth bombs, one Fido, radar, flares, and sonobuoys.

American escort carrier air groups sank, or assisted in sinking, 35 submarines in the Atlantic. Most, perhaps all, of these kills must have been made by Avengers. To this total must be added the achievements of British Avengers. Additionally, Avengers flew anti-submarine patrols from land bases, and laid mines.

In all, 9,839 Avengers were assembled, including 2,293 TBFs built by Grumman and 7,546 TBMs built by Eastern Aircraft (General Motors). After the war, they faded from service more gradually than most aircraft of the era, serving useful roles into mid-1950s.

U-boats sunk by this aircraft type (Avenger)

Sep U-589 +,

May U-569, Jun U-217, U-118, Jul U-487 +, U-160, U-509, U-67,
U-527, U-43, Aug U-117 +, U-664 +, U-525 +, U-185, U-847 +, Oct U-422 +,
U-460 +, U-402, U-378 +, U-220 +, U-584, Dec U-172 +, U-850 +,

Jan U-544 +, Mar U-575 +, U-801 +, U-1059 +, Apr U-288 +, U-515 +, U-68 +, May
U-66 +, Jun U-860 +, Jul U-543 +, Aug U-1229 +,

May U-711 +,

35 U-boats lost to Avenger aircraft. + means that the Avenger shared the credit for the sinking.


  • Francillion, R. J. (1989) "Grumman Aircraft since 1929"
    Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD.
  • Gunston, W. (1986) "American Warplanes"
    Crescent Books, New York, NY.

Selected media links


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