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Grumman TBF "Avenger"

The military role of the Grumman TBF, (Torpedo,Bomber, Fighter) was to supplement the role of the dive-bomber such as the Douglas "Dauntless." Constructed in Grumman fashion, its iron structure and portly frame earned it he name the "Turkey, " Pregnant Beast" or the "Flying Bath Tub." Characterize by its slow cruising speed of 145 mph and its good handing at low altitude, the "Avenger" delivered a single torpedo or 2,000 lb payload of munitions. As a fighter aircraft, maneuverability was marginal, it had minimal armament of a single .30 caliber in the nose (updated later to (2) .50 caliber) and (2) .50 caliber machine guns one, placed in its rear turret and other in the lower rear quarter.

Despite the seeming undesirable qualities, the Navy's interest in this torpedo-bomber included its hydraulically operated folding wings, catapult attachment and arresting hook. As a carrier based aircraft, the folding wings allowed rapid storage and the take-off and landing systems were essential to operations on board. In addition, the TBF had massive retractable landing wheels, a flush metal fuselage covering and reliability being considered unbreakable. The fuselage housed all systems including the radio, radar and illuminated torpedo-bomb sight.


First flown as the XTBF-1 on August 1, 1941 a total of 9,800 "Avengers" would be built by Grumman and General Motors by end of the war. Manufactured in 20 different variants the "Avenger" saw early service in the Pacific Ocean, fighting in the Battle of Midway in June 1942 part of the historical aerial assault upon the Japanese Navy. Usage in the Atlantic fleet was not as extensive. Operated with a crew of 3, the Pilot, the Radioman in the rear turret as a Gunner and a Bombardier-Gunner "stuffed" into the lower rear. Pilots found the single 1,700 hp engine a pleasure to fly.





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Christy Butler **** www.shoeboxphotos.net **** **** butts@bcn.net