- Delivered: November 24, 1942
- USS Enterprise, NAS San Diego, CA, Puuene, Barbers Point, HI and Ford Island, HI, Noema, USS Saratoga, VF-12 Henderson Field, Guadalcanal.
- Strikes on Kolombagra Island, Naura and Rabaul
- Stricken: July 31, 1945
Built to replace the obsolete TBD Devastator, the TBF torpedo bomber was produced by Grumman. TBM’s were licensed by Grumman and produced by General Motors, to allow Grumman to concentrate on building the F6F Hellcat.
The TBF was used primarily for anti-sub patrols, bombing missions and rocket-firing strike aircraft. Note the dorsal turret which was operated by the radio/gunner.
The first TBF’s flew across the Pacific and arrived just in time for the Battle of Midway June 4, 1942. Able to sink a Japanese ship with as little as three hits, the Yamato and Musashi battleships were two of its later victims. President George Herbert Walker Bush flew TBMs during his tour of duty in WW II.
The Avenger remained in service with the Navy until 1954. After this time the threat from new-generation deep-dive nuclear subs created a need for more specialized aircraft.
This Avenger was a MGM movie prop before it was acquired by Yanks on August 18, 1980. During restoration of this TBF, Japanese 27 mm bullets were found in the tail. Only two -1’s are known to exist today.