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United States' Grumman TBF/TBM Avenger torpedo bomber

Photos

Grumman TBF-1 Avenger torpedo bomber:
United States' Grumman TBF-1 Avenger torpedo bomber
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook
Grumman TBF-1 Avenger torpedo bomber:
United States' Grumman TBF-1 Avenger torpedo bomber
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook
HMS Shah escort aircraft carrier with an Avenger being outfitted with a Mk XI aerial depth charge:
Great Britain's HMS Shah Escort Aircraft Carrier with an Avenger being outfitted with a Mk XI aerial depth charge
Imperial War Museum A 27853
Grumman XTBF-1 Avenger torpedo bomber prototype:
United States' Grumman XTBF-1 Avenger torpedo bomber prototype
Grumman TGM Avenger torpedo bomber:
United States' Grumman TBM Avenger torpedo bomber

Design

On April 8, 1940, both Grumman (XTBF-1) and Chance Vought (XTBU-1) were asked to construct prototypes of a carrier based torpedo plane. The aircraft was to replaced the TBD Devastator and carry the torpedo inside the aircraft. Grumman had more experience at building Naval aircraft and their design won out.

Bomb bay

The bomb bay doors were hydraulically operated by the pilot or the bomb aimer.

Undercarriage

The main and rear wheels all retracted. The tail hook was electrically operated.

Wings

The wings were folded hydraulically. The Avenger was the first Naval plane to be an all metal low wing aircraft.

Prototype

The XTBF-1 prototype was first flown on August 1, 1941.

Production

Before the first prototype flew an order for 286 had been placed. An order for 1,600 was placed in January 1942.

The TBF-1 first flew in January 1942.

General Motors Eastern Aircraft starting building the TBMs in November 1942. Grumman stopped production in December 1943.

  • Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation: 2,290, 2,291, 2,293
    • Grumman TBF-1: 1,525, 2,290
    • Grumman TBF-1C: 764
    • 1942: 646
    • 1943: 1,645
  • General Motors Eastern Aircraft: 7,046, 7,543, 7,546
    • Grumman TBM-1: 550, 2,882
    • Grumman TBM-1C: 2,332
    • Grumman TBM-3 / TBF-3: 4,664
    • 1942: 3
    • 1943: 1,109
    • 1944: 3,481
    • 1945: 2,953
  • 9,336, 9,836, 9,839
    • Manufacturer: Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, Eastern Aircraft Division of General Motors
    • Manufacturing location: Bethpage, New York
    • Production: January 3, 1942 - 1945

Variants

  • Grumman XTBF-1: Prototype.
  • Grumman XTBF-2: Prototype. Constructed in early 1942.
  • Grumman XTBF-3: Prototype. Had R-2600-20 engine.
  • Grumman XTBF-4: Prototype. Had stronger wing.
  • Grumman TBF-1: First appeared in January 1942.
  • Grumman TBM-1: Produced by General Motors.
  • Grumman TBF-1B, Avenger Mk I: Sent to United Kingdom.
  • Grumman TBF-1C: Two .50 cal machine guns/ 20 mm cannons in wings.
  • Grumman TBM-1C: Two .50 cal machine guns installed in wings.
  • Grumman TBF-1CP: Photo reconnaissance.
  • Grumman TBF-1D: Had ASV radar installed.
  • Grumman TBF-1E: Had ASV radar installed.
  • Grumman TBF-1L: Had a search light installed in the bomb bay.
  • Grumman TBF-2: Never constructed as war ended.
  • Grumman TBM-3: Produced by General Motors (Eastern Division). Had R-2600-20 engines. Stronger wings for rockets or radar.
  • Grumman TBM-3P: Camera equipped.
  • Grumman TBM-3H: Had search radar.
  • Grumman TBM-3W: After World War II. Had search radar. The radar was located in a special housing in the belly.
  • Grumman TBM-3R: After World War II. Had seating for seven.

Usage

The Avengers were used by Britain, New Zealand, and the United States.

TBF Avengers either destroyed or shared in the destruction of 42 U-boats.

High velocity aircraft rockets (HVARs) were first used by the Avenger in January 1944.

The TBF Avenger was in use with the United States Navy until 1954.

First Unit at Midway

The VT-8 received its first TBF-1s in May 1942. These were later used at the Battle of Midway.

They were stationed on the USS Hornet, and five of the six never returned.
They were assigned to the VT-8, of the USS Hornet, but they were assigned to Midway Island during the battle. Four of the six didn't return from battle.

United States

Former US President George Bush was the youngest naval aviator when he flew in combat.

Replacements

Starting in early 1944 the TBMs were replacing the TBFs.

United Kingdom

Initially called the Tarpon, but was later changed to the Avenger.

Thirty three squadrons were equipped with the Avenger in the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm.

921 / 958 were delivered to the United Kingdom. 395 TBF-1Bs and 526 TBM-3Bs.

New Zealand

New Zealand received 60 / 63.

After World War II

The Avenger was used by Canada, France, Holland, Japan, New Zealand, and Uraguay.

The last Avenger was withdrawn from service in 1962.

Specifications

  Grumman TBF/TBM Avenger
Type Carrier based torpedo bomber
Crew 3
Engine (Type) Wright R-2600-8
OR Wright R-2600-20 Double Cyclone
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling  
HP 8: 1,700
20: 1,900
Propeller blades 3
Fuel capacity  
Dimensions  
Span 54' 2"
16.51 m
Length 40'
12.19 m
Height 16' 5"
5.06 m
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty 10,080 lb
4,572 kg
Loaded 15,906 lb
7,215 kg
Performance  
Speed  
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament  
  Grumman TBF-1 Avenger
Type Carrier based torpedo bomber, Torpedo
Crew 3
Pilot, radio operator, rear gunner
Engine (Type) Wright R-2600-8 Cyclone piston
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling Air
HP 1,700, 1,850
Propeller blades 3
Fuel capacity 330 gallons
1,248 liters
Dimensions  
Span 54', 54' 2"
Length 40', 41'
Height 16' 5"
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty 10,534 lb
4,788 kg
Loaded 15,905 lb, 17,327 lb
7,786 kg
Performance  
Speed 275 mph
Speed @ 12,000' /
3,658 m
271 mph
436 kph
Speed @ 15,000' /
5,030 m
270 mph
436 kph
Cruising speed 145 mph
233 kph
Climb 1,425'/minute, 1,430'/minute
435 m/minute, 436 m/minute
Service ceiling 22,400'
6,827 m, 6,830 m
Range 1,100 miles, 1,215 miles, 1,350 miles
1,778 km, 1,955 km
Armament 3: MG
Nose 2: 0.3" MG
2: 12.7 mm MG
Rear turret 12.7 mm MG
Dorsal 1: 0.5" MG
Ventral position 2: 0.3" MG
7.62 mm MG
Bombs 1,600 lb, 2,000 lb
726 kg, 907 kg
OR  
Torpedo 1
1: 21", 1: 22"
  Grumman TBF-3 Avenger
Type  
Crew  
Engine (Type)  
Cylinders  
Cooling  
HP  
Propeller blades  
Fuel capacity  
Dimensions  
Span 54' 2"
16.51 m
Length 40'
12.19 m
Height 16' 5"
5.06 m
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Performance  
Speed  
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament  
  Grumman TBM-1 Avenger
Type  
Crew  
Engine (Type)  
Cylinders  
Cooling  
HP  
Propeller blades  
Fuel capacity  
Dimensions  
Span  
Length  
Height  
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Performance  
Speed  
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament  
Nose 2: 0.3" MG
Dorsal 1: 0.5" MG
Ventral position 2: 0.3" MG
Bombs 1,600 lb
726 kg
OR  
Torpedo 1: 22"
  Grumman TBM-1C Avenger
Type Torpedo bomber
Crew 3
Engine (Type) Wright R-2600-8
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling  
HP 1,700
Propeller blades 3 constant speed
Fuel capacity  
Dimensions  
Span 54' 2"
Length 40'
Height  
Wing area 490 ft2
Weight  
Empty 10,555 lb
Loaded 17,364 lb
Performance  
Speed @ 12,000' 257 mph
Cruising speed 153 mph
Climb  
Service ceiling 21,400'
Range - loaded 1,105 miles
Range - max 2,335 miles
Armament  
Nose 2: 0.3" MG
1: .30 cal MG
Dorsal 1: 0.5" MG
1: .50 cal MG
Ventral position 1: .30 cal MG
2: 0.3" MG
Outer wings 2: 0.5" MG
2: .50 cal MG
Under wings 8: 60 lb rockets
8: 27 kg rockets
Bombs 2,000 lb
907 kg
OR  
Torpedo 1
1: 22"
  Grumman TBM-3 Avenger
Type  
Crew  
Engine (Type) R-2600-20
Cylinders  
Cooling  
HP 1,900
Propeller blades  
Fuel capacity  
Dimensions  
Span  
Length 40' 11.5"
12.48 m
Height  
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty 10,545 lb
4,783 kg
Loaded 17,895 lb
8,117 kg
Performance  
Speed  
Speed @ 16,500' /
5,030 m
 
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament  
Forward firing  
Nose 2: 0.3" MG
Rear turret  
Dorsal 1: 0.5" MG
Ventral position 2: 0.3" MG
Outer wings 2: 0.5" MG
Under wings 8: 60 lb rockets
8: 27 kg rockets
Bombs 2,000 lb
907 kg
OR  
Torpedo 1: 22"
  Grumman TBM-3E Avenger
Type Carrier based torpedo bomber
Crew 3
Engine (Type) Wright R-2600-20 piston
Cylinders Radial
Cooling  
HP 1,900
Propeller blades  
Fuel capacity  
Dimensions  
Span 54' 2"
16.51 m
Length 40' 11.5"
12.48 m
Height 15' 5"
4.7 m
Wing area 490 ft2
45.52 m2
Weight  
Empty 10,545 lb
4,783 kg
Loaded 17,895 lb
8,117 kg
Performance  
Speed  
Speed @ 16,500' /
5,030 m
276 mph
444 kph
Cruising speed  
Climb 2,060'/minute
628 m/minute
Service ceiling 30,100'
9,175 m
Range 1,010 miles
1,625 km
Armament  
Forward firing 2: 12.7 mm
Dorsal 1: 12.7 mm
Ventral position 1: 7.62 mm
Bombs 2,000 lb
907 kg
OR  
Torpedo 1

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  3. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  4. TBF/TBM Avenger Units of World War 2, Barrett Tillman, 1999
  5. World War II Airplanes Volume 2, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  6. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
  7. American Attack Aircraft Since 1926, E. R. Johnson, 2012
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