Grumman TBF Avenger
Destined to become one of the best shipborne torpedo-bombers of the war, the Grumman TBF-Avenger first saw combat during the great Battle of Midway. The XTBF-1 prototype was first flown on 1 August 1941 after an order for 286 aircraft had already been placed. The first TBF-1 aircraft appeared in January 1942 and VT-8 ('Torpedo-Eight') received its first aircraft during the following May. On 4 June six .of VT-8's aircraft were launched at the height of the Battle of Midway, but only one returned - and this with one dead gunner and the other wounded. Despite this inauspicious start, production was accelerating as General Motors undertook production in addition to Grumman, producing the TBM-1 version. Sub-variants included the TBF-1C with two 20-mm cannon in the wings, the TBF-IB which was supplied to the UK under Lend-Lease, the TBF-ID and TBF-IE with ASV radar, and the TBF-1L with a searchlight in the bomb bay. Production of the TBF-1 and TBM-1, as well as sub-variants, were 2,290 and 2,882 respectively.
General Motors (Eastern Divison) went on to produce 4,664 TBM-3 aircraft with R-2600-20 engines, and the sub-variants corresponded with those of the TBF-Is. The UK received 395 TBF-IBs and 526 TBM-3Bs, and New Zealand 63. The TBM-3P cameraequipped aircraft and the TBM-3H with search radar were the final wartime versions, although the Avenger went on to serve with the US Navy until 1954.
Specification Grumman (General Motors) TBM-3E Avenger
Type: three-crew carrierborne torpedo-bomber
Powerplant: one 1416.8-kW (1,900-hp) Wright R-2600-20 radial piston engine
Performance: maximum speed 44 km/h (276 mph) at 5029 m (16,500 ft); initial climb rate 628 m(2,060 ft) per minute;
service ceiling 9174 m (30,100 ft); range 1625 km (1,010 miles)
Weights: empty 4783 kg (10,545 lb); maximum take-off 8117 kg (17,895 lb)
Dimensions: span 16.51 m (54 ft 2 in); ength 12.48 m (40 ft 11.5 in); height 4.70 m(15 ft 5 in); wingarea45.52 m2 (490.0 sq ft)
Armament: two fixed forward-firing 2.7-mm(0.5-in)guns, one 12.7-mm (0.5-in) gun in dorsal turret and one 7.62-mm (0.3-in) gun in ventral position,
plus an offensive load of up to 907 kg (2,000 lb) of bombs, or one torpedo, in weapons bay