YOU TUBE – TBM Avenger
40 ft. 11 in
54 ft. 2 in.
2- .30, 3- .50 cal.
Prior to the start of the U.S. involvement in World War II, Grumman Aircraft answered a call to produce a new U.S. Navy carrier based torpedo bomber. We are told that the TBM Avenger went from design in March of 1941 to its first flight in August of 1941, just five months later. The designation TBM is for Torpedo Bomber built by General Motors. Avenger aircraft made by Grumman were designated TBF.
It was the largest single engine airplane in service at the start of WW II. Pilots called the TBM Avenger “Turkey” due to its homely looks, yet they liked it for its ruggedness.
The three person crew of the TBM Avenger consists of a pilot, turret gunner, and navigator. Just behind the wing on the right side of the aircraft is a door to the rear fuselage. The area generally holds equipment, flares, ammunition, and parachutes. The navigator has a folding seat from which he could man a .30 cal. machine gun in the dorsal of the aircraft, facing rearward, or face forward to perform other duties, including aiming for medium altitude level bombing. The cockpit is large with excellent visibility for the pilot.
Legend has it that the TBM Avenger was named for avenging the Dec. 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In actuality, it had already been named in October of 1941, two months prior to the attack. However, the Avenger certainly lived up to its name.
The TBM Avenger first saw action in mid-1942 after which it participated in virtually every major action in the Pacific. Unfortunately, only six Avenger aircraft were deployed to Midway when the Japanese attacked. Five of the aircraft were downed, and the one that returned to base was no longer flyable. The Avenger is credited with the sinking of the Japanese battleships Hiei, Musahi, Yamato, the aircraft carrier Ryujo, up to 32 enemy submarines, more than 60 warships, and countless other shipping.
The TBM Avenger was the first single engine U.S. Navy aircraft that carried the deadly Mark 13 torpedo along with bombs, depth charges, and rockets. It is the first U.S. Navy aircraft to be equipped with a power operated gun turret.
The Avenger torpedo bomber was also used by the U.S.M.C., and numerous U.S. allies, including the Canadian Navy, and the Royal Navy.
The Royal Navy received some 402 Avenger aircraft under “Lend Lease”. They were first called Tarpon, but eventually were renamed Avenger. The first Avenger Squadron, No. 832, was based on board the HMS Victorious starting in February of 1943.
Avenger TBM-3 aircraft, designated Avenger Mk II, were delivered to the Royal Navy in April of 1944. Avenger torpedo bombers remained in Royal Navy service through 1947. Anti-submarine versions of the Avenger, with the British designation AS Mk IV and AS Mk V, were deployed by the Royal Navy in 1953. The aircraft were eventually sold to the French Navy in 1958.
The Royal Canadian Navy dispatched TBM Avenger aircraft for anti-submarine warfare beginning in 1951. Eight Avenger aircraft with the Royal Canadian Air Force were used for Airborne Early Warning beginning in 1955.
In 1945 New Zealand acquired two squadrons of TBM Avenger aircraft. Some were used in a program for increasing crop yields in Japan by the aerial spraying of fertilizer. Other aircraft were used for target towing, while the remainder operated from South Pacific island bases as bombers. During 1947 TBM Avenger aircraft were used by New Zealand for aerial seed sowing and fertilizing. The auxiliary fuel tank of the aircraft was converted into a hopper. Between its bomb bay and hopper, the aircraft carried a total of 2,240 lbs. of fertilizer.
When World War II ended, a number of TBM Avenger aircraft were enlisted as air tankers. Their ability to maneuver and dive at relatively slow speeds with heavy loads made them particularly suited to the task. Most were converted to be equipped with a 600 gallon retardant tank.
Avenger air tankers continued in operation in the U. S. until 1973 when they started being replaced by more modern airplanes. To date some of the air tankers continue to operate in Canada.
A total of 7,546 TBM Avenger aircraft by General Motors were produced under license. Grumman manufactured an additional 2,290 TBF Avenger aircraft.
The TBM Avenger built by Errol Wilson has a wingspan of 124 in. Errol powers it with a Quadra 200 engine. All up weight is 55 lbs.
The TBM Avenger by Skyshark comes as a kit. Wingspan is 72 in. It is 1/9 scale and has an all up weight of 12 lbs. Skyshark recommends two stroke engines in the .60 to .89 range.
TBM Avenger – crop sprayer