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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
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.5,7 The aircraft was to replaced the TBD Devastator and carry the torpedo inside the aircraft.7 Grumman had more experience at building Naval aircraft and their design won out.5,7

Bomb bay

The bomb bay doors were hydraulically operated by the pilot or the bomb aimer.1

Undercarriage

The main and rear wheels all retracted.1 The tail hook was electrically operated.1

Wings

The wings were folded hydraulically.1 The Avenger was the first Naval plane to be an all metal low wing aircraft.5

Prototype

The XTBF-1 prototype was first flown on August 1, 1941.2,3,5,7

Production

Before the first prototype flew an order for 286 had been placed.2,7 An order for 1,600 was placed in January 1942.7

The TBF-1 first flew in January 1942.3

General Motors Eastern Aircraft starting building the TBMs in November 1942.3,5,7 Grumman stopped production in December 1943.3

  • Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation5: 2,2907, 2,2914, 2,2931,3
    • Grumman TBF-1: 1,5253, 2,2902
    • Grumman TBF-1C: 7643
    • 1942: 6464
    • 1943: 1,6454
  • General Motors Eastern Aircraft1,3: 7,0467, 7,5433, 7,5461,4
    • Grumman TBM-1: 5503, 2,8822
    • Grumman TBM-1C: 2,3323
    • Grumman TBM-3 / TBF-35: 4,6642,3,5
    • 1942: 34
    • 1943: 1,1094
    • 1944: 3,4814
    • 1945: 2,9534
  • 9,3367, 9,8363,5, 9,8391
    • Manufacturer: Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation7, Eastern Aircraft Division of General Motors7
    • Manufacturing location: Bethpage, New York7
    • Production: January 3, 1942 - 19455

Variants

  • Grumman XTBF-1: Prototype.2,7
  • Grumman XTBF-2: Prototype.3 Constructed in early 1942.5
  • Grumman XTBF-3: Prototype.3 Had R-2600-20 engine.3
  • Grumman XTBF-4: Prototype.5,7 Had stronger wing.5,9
  • Grumman TBF-1: First appeared in January 1942.2
  • Grumman TBM-1: Produced by General Motors.2
  • Grumman TBF-1B, Avenger Mk I: Sent to United Kingdom.2
  • Grumman TBF-1C: Two .50 cal machine guns7 / 20 mm cannons in wings.2,3
  • Grumman TBM-1C: Two .50 cal machine guns installed in wings.7
  • Grumman TBF-1CP: Photo reconnaissance.3,7
  • Grumman TBF-1D: Had ASV radar installed.2,3,7
  • Grumman TBF-1E: Had ASV radar installed.2,3
  • Grumman TBF-1L: Had a search light installed in the bomb bay.2,3,7
  • Grumman TBF-2: Never constructed as war ended.7
  • Grumman TBM-3: Produced by General Motors (Eastern Division).2,3 Had R-2600-20 engines.2,3,7 Stronger wings for rockets or radar.3
  • Grumman TBM-3P: Camera equipped.2,7
  • Grumman TBM-3H: Had search radar.2,5,7
  • Grumman TBM-3W: After World War II.7 Had search radar.5,7 The radar was located in a special housing in the belly.5
  • Grumman TBM-3R: After World War II.7 Had seating for seven.7

Usage

The Avengers were used by Britain, New Zealand, and the United States.3

TBF Avengers either destroyed or shared in the destruction of 42 U-boats.1

High velocity aircraft rockets (HVARs) were first used by the Avenger in January 1944.1

The TBF Avenger was in use with the United States Navy until 1954.2

First Unit at Midway

The VT-8 received its first TBF-1s in May 1942.2,7 These were later used at the Battle of Midway.1,2,3,5,6

They were stationed on the USS Hornet, and five of the six never returned1,2,6.5
They were assigned to the VT-8, of the USS Hornet, but they were assigned to Midway Island during the battle.7 Four of the six didn't return from battle.7

United States

Former US President George Bush was the youngest naval aviator when he flew in combat.1

Replacements

Starting in early 1944 the TBMs were replacing the TBFs.7

United Kingdom

Initially called the Tarpon, but was later changed to the Avenger.1

Thirty three squadrons were equipped with the Avenger in the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm.1

921 / 9585 were delivered to the United Kingdom.1 395 TBF-1Bs and 526 TBM-3Bs.2

New Zealand

New Zealand received 605 / 63.1,2

After World War II

The Avenger was used by Canada, France, Holland, Japan, New Zealand, and Uraguay.5

The last Avenger was withdrawn from service in 1962.5

Specifications

  Grumman TBF/TBM Avenger
Type Carrier based torpedo bomber3
Crew 33
Engine (Type) Wright R-2600-83
OR Wright R-2600-20 Double Cyclone3
Cylinders Radial 143
Cooling  
HP 8: 1,7003
20: 1,9003
Propeller blades 33
Fuel capacity  
Dimensions  
Span 54' 2"3
16.51 m3
Length 40'3
12.19 m3
Height 16' 5"3
5.06 m3
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty 10,080 lb3
4,572 kg3
Loaded 15,906 lb3
7,215 kg3
Performance  
Speed  
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament  
  Grumman TBF-1 Avenger
Type Carrier based torpedo bomber1, Torpedo5,6
Crew 31,5
Pilot, radio operator, rear gunner1
Engine (Type) Wright R-2600-8 Cyclone piston1,5
Cylinders Radial 141,5
Cooling Air5
HP 1,7001,5, 1,8506
Propeller blades 31
Fuel capacity 330 gallons1
1,248 liters1
Dimensions  
Span 54'6, 54' 2"5
Length 40'5, 41'6
Height 16' 5"5
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty 10,534 lb1
4,788 kg1
Loaded 15,905 lb5, 17,327 lb1
7,786 kg1
Performance  
Speed 275 mph6
Speed @ 12,000' /
3,658 m
271 mph3,5
436 kph3
Speed @ 15,000' /
5,030 m
270 mph1
436 kph1
Cruising speed 145 mph3
233 kph3
Climb 1,425'/minute1, 1,430'/minute3
435 m/minute1, 436 m/minute3
Service ceiling 22,400'1,3,5
6,827 m3, 6,830 m1
Range 1,100 miles1, 1,215 miles3,5, 1,350 miles6
1,778 km1, 1,955 km3
Armament 3: MG5
Nose 2: 0.3" MG3
2: 12.7 mm MG1
Rear turret 12.7 mm MG1
Dorsal 1: 0.5" MG3
Ventral position 2: 0.3" MG3
7.62 mm MG1
Bombs 1,600 lb3,5, 2,000 lb1,6
726 kg3, 907 kg1
OR  
Torpedo 11
1: 21"6, 1: 22"3
  Grumman TBF-3 Avenger
Type  
Crew  
Engine (Type)  
Cylinders  
Cooling  
HP  
Propeller blades  
Fuel capacity  
Dimensions  
Span 54' 2"3
16.51 m3
Length 40'3
12.19 m3
Height 16' 5"3
5.06 m3
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" MG3
Dorsal 1: 0.5" MG3
Ventral position 2: 0.3" MG3
Bombs 1,600 lb3
726 kg3
OR  
Torpedo 1: 22"3
  Grumman TBM-1C Avenger
Type Torpedo bomber7
Crew 37
Engine (Type) Wright R-2600-87
Cylinders Radial 147
Cooling  
HP 1,7007
Propeller blades 3 constant speed7
Fuel capacity  
Dimensions  
Span 54' 2"7
Length 40'7
Height  
Wing area 490 ft2 7
Weight  
Empty 10,555 lb7
Loaded 17,364 lb7
Performance  
Speed @ 12,000' 257 mph7
Cruising speed 153 mph7
Climb  
Service ceiling 21,400'7
Range - loaded 1,105 miles7
Range - max 2,335 miles7
Armament  
Nose 2: 0.3" MG3
1: .30 cal MG7
Dorsal 1: 0.5" MG3
1: .50 cal MG7
Ventral position 1: .30 cal MG7
2: 0.3" MG3
Outer wings 2: 0.5" MG3
2: .50 cal MG7
Under wings 8: 60 lb rockets3
8: 27 kg rockets3
Bombs 2,000 lb3,7
907 kg3
OR  
Torpedo 17
1: 22"3
  Grumman TBM-3 Avenger
Type  
Crew  
Engine (Type) R-2600-207
Cylinders  
Cooling  
HP 1,9007
Propeller blades  
Fuel capacity  
Dimensions  
Span  
Length 40' 11.5"3
12.48 m3
Height  
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty 10,545 lb3
4,783 kg3
Loaded 17,895 lb3
8,117 kg3
Performance  
Speed  
Speed @ 16,500' /
5,030 m
 
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament  
Forward firing  
Nose 2: 0.3" MG3
Rear turret  
Dorsal 1: 0.5" MG3
Ventral position 2: 0.3" MG3
Outer wings 2: 0.5" MG3
Under wings 8: 60 lb rockets3
8: 27 kg rockets3
Bombs 2,000 lb3
907 kg3
OR  
Torpedo 1: 22"3
  Grumman TBM-3E Avenger
Type Carrier based torpedo bomber2
Crew 32
Engine (Type) Wright R-2600-20 piston2
Cylinders Radial2
Cooling  
HP 1,9002
Propeller blades  
Fuel capacity  
Dimensions  
Span 54' 2"2
16.51 m2
Length 40' 11.5"2
12.48 m2
Height 15' 5"2
4.7 m2
Wing area 490 ft2 2
45.52 m2 2
Weight  
Empty 10,545 lb2
4,783 kg2
Loaded 17,895 lb2
8,117 kg2
Performance  
Speed  
Speed @ 16,500' /
5,030 m
276 mph2
444 kph2
Cruising speed  
Climb 2,060'/minute2
628 m/minute2
Service ceiling 30,100'2
9,175 m2
Range 1,010 miles2
1,625 km2
Armament  
Forward firing 2: 12.7 mm2
Dorsal 1: 12.7 mm2
Ventral position 1: 7.62 mm2
Bombs 2,000 lb2
907 kg2
OR  
Torpedo 12

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
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site