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History

The Avenger was designed to succeed the TBD Devastator. This aircraft entered service in 1937 in an amount of about 130 examples.
This slow aircraft lacked armouring and self sealing fuel tanks and proved to be vulnerable during the Battle of Midway.
In 1939 the US NAVY had set up a list of demands for a new torpedo bomber. These demands resulted in Vought's XTBU-1 SeaWolf and the Grumman XTBF-1. Also because the TBF-1 was sooner available after evaluation of both prototypes, an order of 286 TBF-1 was made.
The design of the TBF was based upon the Grumman F4F Wildcat. Initially a Wright R-2600-8 rated 1700 hp was used, but this configuration proofed to be under powered.
Wright succeeded in raising the power of the this engine up to 1900 hp of the Wright R2600-20. Further Grumman attempted to lower the weight of the Avenger.
Another problem was the turret. A suitable turret proofed to be unavailable, so Grumman designed an own turret with one single .50 machine gun. Also a .30 machine gun in the radio compartment under the fuselage and one single fixed, forward firing .30 machine gun was available.
These .30 machine guns proofed to be insufficient and were replaced from the TBF-1C with two .50 machine guns, mounted in the wings.
January 1942 delivery of the TBF started and by the end of the year 64 Avengers were delivered. Several aircraft were delivered to the English Fleet Air Army, initially designated as TBF-1B. The English named the TBF-1B Tarpon I. This model differed mainly in the two blisters on both sides of the fuselage just behind the wings.
Because of the increasing demand for aircraft and Grumman was ordered to focus upon the production of the Grumman F6F Wildcat, production of the Avenger was handed over to General Motors, Eastern Aircraft Division by the end of 1942. The US Navy had designated code letter “M” to this factory, Grumman had code F”. GM delivered their first TBM-1 in November 1942.

TBF-1C/TBM-1C

This model was first delivered in 1943 and differed in having the single nose mounted .30 machine gun iin the nose with two .50 wing mounted machine guns. Other changes were the movement of the antenna more backwards. The second seat ware abandoned and replaced with radio equipment, also IFF equipment was added. Weight increased with approximately 225 kg, while the engine was the same Wright Cyclone R-2600-8 rated 1700 hp. Over 300 examples were delivered to the English as Tarpon II.

TBF-1D/TBM-1D

This model was developed as an night version, existing TBF/TBM-1C’s were modified and equipped with a pod, containing ASD-1 radar. This pod was installed under the right wing. In order to save weight the machine guns were removed.

TBM-3

As mentioned above the Avenger was in fact to large and to heavy for the Wright R-2600-8 engine. Often problems during take off occurred, while the aircraft had a full load. Grumman had tried to obtain the more powerful Wright Cyclone R-2800, which was rated 2000 hp, but all engines produced were for the Hellcat, Corsair and Thunderbolt.
Wright succeeded to develop a more powerful version of the R-2600.
May 1942 a prototype XTBF-2, a modified TBF-1 with a Wright Cyclone R-2600-10 and two other modified TBF-1’s with designation TBF-3 equipped with Wright Cyclone R-2600-20. Both engines were rated about 1900 hp. In the end it was decided to take TBF-3 in production. As GM was now producing all Avengers, this model received the designation TBM-3.
Other modifications were extra cowling flaps and an oil cowling. Internally the instrument panel was enlarged and more flattened at the top. Under the wings it was possible to ad four ‘zero-length’ rocket brackets. This model entered service in the Fleet Air Air as Tarpon III. Sub version were TBM-3P, a photo reconnaissance aircraft; TBM-3J to be used in the polar area; the TBM-3L equipped with a retractable search light and the TBM-3H, a special radar version

TBM-3D

This model was a modified TBM-3 and equipped with ASD-1 radar in a wing mounted pod.. This pod was mounted in the front of the right wing. Also the armament in the wings was removed.

TBM-3E

This model was developed to improve the performance of the heavy Avenger. The Wright Cyclone R-2600-20 could not be further improved and uprated, so research was done in order to reduce weight. A reduction of 1150 kg was achieved, by removing the gun of the radio compartment.
While this model was in production an other modification was applied. The internal arrestor hook, which was suffering corrosion, was replaced with an external one. Also a APS-4 radar in a pod under the right wing could be added.

TBM-3W

. During World war 2 the radar of the ships was unable to detect aircraft which flew below 150 m and closer than 35 km. The only solution was to move the radar to a higher location, so a good solution was to use an airborne radar system. Thanks to the development of the air borne APS-20 radar, the problem could be solved.
A TBM-3 was equipped with this radar; the machine guns were removed; the bomb compartment housed the radar equipment; the antenna was added in a radome under the fuselage; the turret was removed; radar and radio equipment was added. Also two stabilization fins were added. The first examples, XTBM-3W, made its maiden flight in august 1944.
Forty TBM-3’s were modified and early 1945 operational training started. The war ended before the TBM-3W entered operational use. The modified aircraft entered service though, because the proved to be sufficient AEW aircraft.
When the TBM-3S was developed both types were used as e team in anti submarine warfare.

TBM-3S

This model was developed because of the thread of the Soviet submarines.
Several TBM-3E’s were equipped with new electronic equipment and armament. The turret was removed and replaced was a compartment for the radar operator and parts of the canopy were covered; oxygen equipment was removed, as would be operated on lower altitudes.
An antenna was added in order to communicate with the datalink system of the TBM-3W. As offensive armament depth bombs and acoustic torpedoes could be carried.
A special version for the English was equipped with a small radar radome under the fuselage as AS-4. The TBM-3S was exported under MDAP conditions to Canada, France and the Netherlands. The canopies of these export versions differs from each other.

 

Technical information
Dimensions:
Length: 12,48 m Wingspan: 16,5 m
Height: 4,98 m Wing area: 45 m2
Weights:
Empty weight: 4793 kg Max. start weight: 8117 kg
Performances:
Max. speed: 444 km/hr Climbing speed: m/min
Cruising speed: 236 km/hr    
Range: 1625 km Service ceiling:  
Miscellaneous:
Engine type: One Pratt & Whitney R-2600-20 Twin Wasp rated 1750 hp
Crew: .
Armament: .

 

 


The RNlNAS received a total of 78 Avengers in three versions, to know 34 TBM-3S2; 24 TBM-3W2 and 20 TMB-3E/TMB-3E2. This were improved versions of the original models.
The S and W-types were the main part of the anti submarine warfare and based on the "Karel Doorman".
The TBM-3W2 was equipped with APS-20 radar.
For nightly operations the TBM-3S was equipped with a search light. Four depth bombs could be carried; further up to six sono buoys could be carried under the wing. The receiver had a retractable antenna with a length of 1.20 m. Also markers, smoke bombs, and rockets could be carried.
In 1951 the first crew were trained in the US.The first TBM-3Ws arrived in august 1953.
Due to lack of spare parts and testing equipment it was not possible to use the aircraft operational.
Also the TBM-3S-toestellen were unavailable, these were delivered in 1954.

VSQ 4 was the first squadron to receive, albeit temporarily the TBM-3W Avenger. It was based for a while aboard the "Doorman", later it was based for training purposes at air base Valkenburg.
September 1954 also squadron 2 was operational and embarked on the "Karel Doorman" in January 1955.
During 1955 the squadron was detached at the British carrier “Bulwark”, because of an overhaul and modification program of the Dutch carrier "Karel Doorman"
From October 1955 both Avenger squadrons were based on air base Valkenburg. Every now and than an exchange occurred with other NATO air bases.

To enlarge the number of Avengers, ten TBM-3E's and ten TBM-3E2's were received from the Royal Navy. These aircraft were delivered in the period January - March 1958. Four aircraft, serials U-27 till U-30, were used for spare parts and are never used.
The TBM-3's were used by all three Avenger squadrons and some were used for training purposes on the "Karel Doorman".
In 1957 squadron 1 received five TBM-3S and three TBM-3W, in 1958 four TBM-3E’s were added. The squadron used also two Harvards for instrumental training.

During 1960 the Avenger was replaced with S-2F Tracker.

 

 

 


Grumman TBM-3E1/2 Avenger
Serials2nd SerialsRAF SerialsConstr. nr.Date in serviceDate out of serviceNotes
U-20 065 XB399 53367 08-01-1958 08-02-1961 Scrapped at US
U-21 066 XB381 85899 08-01-1958 08-02-1961 Scrapped at US
U-22   XB449 86156 08-01-1958 16-12-1959 Scrapped naval air station De Kooy
U-23   XB396 53550 06-02-1958 16-12-1959 Scrapped naval air station De Kooy
U-24   XB308 53107 06-03-1958 24-10-1958 Accident
U-25 067 XB445 85549 17-03-1958 25-07-1960 Retour MAAG
U-26 068 XB447 85930 17-03-1958 25-07-1960 Retour MAAG
U-27   XB377 53557 17-03-1958 16-12-1959 Scrapped naval air station De Kooy
U-28 069 XB385 53604 19-02-1958 25-07-1960 Retour MAAG
U-29 071 XB382 53099 19-02-1958 13-01-1961 Scrapped naval air station De Kooy
U-30 070 XB379 91131 06-02-1958 08-02-1961 Scrapped at US
U-31 072 XB384 91723 19-02-1958 13-01-1961 Scrapped naval air station De Kooy
U-32 073 XB378 53142 06-02-1958 25-07-1960 Retour MAAG
U-33 074 XB369 53924 17-03-1958 11-10-1961 Scrapped
U-34 075 XB331 86174 06-03-1958 25-07-1960 Retour MAAG
U-35   XB394 53438 08-01-1958 29-04-1959 Scrapped naval air station De Kooy
U-36   XB437 91355 06-02-1958 01-05-1958 Used for spare parts
U-37   XB393 53060 19-02-1958 29-07-1958 Used for spare parts
U-38   XB401 53548 06-03-1958 01-08-1958 Used for spare parts
U-39   XB372 86235 06-03-1958 14-04-1958 Used for spare parts

 

 

Grumman TBM-3S2 Avenger
Serial2nd SerialConstr. nr.Date in serviceDate out of serviceNotes
A-1   91657 30-01-1954 15-06-1954 Accident naval air station Valkenburg
A-10 023 91569 30-01-1954 07-01-1961 Scrapped naval air station De Kooy
A-11   53651 05-02-1954 16-12-1959 Scrapped at US
A-12   85852 15-02-1954 29-08-1959 Crashed in sea from Karel Doorman
A-13 024 53722 23-02-1954 30-07-1960 Scrapped, naval air station De Kooy
A-14   53087 30-01-1954 08-09-1959 Crashed in sea from Karel Doorman
A-15 025 53756 09-10-1954 14-11-1960 Scrapped naval air station De Kooy
A-16 026 85529 07-10-1954 23-03-1961 Scrapped at US
A-17 027 91189 07-10-1954 14-10-1960 Scrapped naval air station De Kooy
A-18   91686 10-10-1954 29-03-1955 Crashed in sea from Karel Doorman
A-19   53202 28-02-1955 26-11-1957 Crashed in sea near IJmuiden.
A-2 020 53291 30-1-1954 05-05-1961 Scrapped at US
A-20 028 53212 28-02-1955 25-02-1960 Crashed in sea near Gibraltar.
A-21 029 53250 28-02-1955 12-10-1960 Crashed in sea
A-22 030 53258 28-02-1955 14-11-1960 Scrapped naval air station De Kooy
A-23 031 53640 28-02-1955 01-04-1961 Scrapped at US
A-24 032 85989 28-02-1955 28-01-1960 Crashed in sea near Katwijk.
A-25 033 53582 28-02-1955 12-05-1961 Scrapped at US
A-26 034 53646 28-02-1955 12-05-1961 Scrapped at US
A-27 035 53671 28-02-1955 07-01-1961 Scrapped naval air station De Kooy
A-28 036 53920 28-02-1955 30-07-1960 Scrapped naval air station De Kooy
A-29 037 85623 28-02-1955 07-01-1961 With drawn from use.
A-3   91476 30-01-1954 16-12-1959 Scrapped at US
A-30 038 69392 31-05-1955 12-01-1961 Scrapped naval air station De Kooy
A-31 039 85646 31-05-1955 16-12-1959 Scrapped naval air station De Kooy
A-32 040 91304 31-05-1955 30-07-1960 Scrapped naval air station De Kooy
A-33 041 91328 31-05-1955 10-01-1961 Scrapped naval air station De Kooy
A-34 042 91376 31-05-1955 07-01-1961 Scrapped naval air station De Kooy
A-4   54247 15-02-1954 17-05-1954 Crashed in sea near Egmond
A-5 021 86030 30-01-1954 15-02-1961 Scrapped at US
A-6 022 53124 06-02-1954 05-05-1961 Scrapped at US
A-7   53089 30-01-1954 18-02-1956 Crashed in sea Kanaal
A-8   53854 04-02-1954 16-12-1959 Scrapped at US
A-9   53866 23-02-1954 27-01-1959 Crashed in sea near Bermuda

 

 

Grumman TBM-3W2 Avenger
Serial2nd serialConstr. nr.Date in serviceDate out of serviceNotes
P-101   53361 29-09-1953 26-09-1954 Crashed in sea from Karel Doorman
P-102 045 85650 29-09-1953 14-11-1960 Preserved and to Anth. Fokkerschool.
In 1980 exchanged for a Fokker S-11; Machine went via Britain to USA and was restored to TBM-3E in flying condition.
P-103   85751 29-09-1953 28-10-1955 In sea, HMS Bulwark
P-104 046 85880 29-09-1953 14-04-1960 Scrapped naval air station De Kooy
P-105   86039 29-09-1953 16-12-1959 Scrapped at US
P-106 047 91456 29-09-1953 10-01-1961 Scrapped naval air station De Kooy
P-107   85490 29-09-1953 16-12-1959 Scrapped at US
P-108 048 86229 29-09-1953 30-07-1960 Scrapped naval air station De Kooy
P-109 049 53136 29-09-1953 16-12-1959 Scrapped at US
P-110 050 91738 29-09-1953 30-07-1960  
P-111 051 86188 29-09-1953 07-01-1961 Scrapped naval air station De Kooy
P-112 052 91155 29-09-1953 30-01-1960 Scrapped naval air station De Kooy
P-113 053 91296 29-09-1953 07-01-1961 Scrapped naval air station De Kooy
P-114 054 91385 29-09-1953 14-11-1960 Scrapped naval air station De Kooy
P-115 055 91403 29-09-1953 07-01-1961 Scrapped naval air station De Kooy
P-116 056 91406 29-09-1953 12-01-1961 Scrapped naval air station De Kooy
P-117 057 91423 29-09-1953 10-01-1961 Scrapped naval air station De Kooy
P-118 058 91457 29-09-1953 30-07-1960 Scrapped naval air station De Kooy
P-119 059 91458 29-09-1953 07-01-1961 Scrapped naval air station De Kooy
P-120 060 91516 01-10-1953 10-01-1961 Scrapped naval air station De Kooy
P-121 061 91476 01-10-1953 02-05-1961 Scrapped at US
P-122 062 91488 01-10-1953 02-05-1961 Scrapped at US
P-123 063 91570 01-10-1953 07-01-1961 Scrapped naval air station De Kooy
P-124 064 91713 01-10-1953 02-05-1961 Scrapped at US

 

 


1/72nd Scale

Below an overview of Avenger models available in 1/72nd scale. Most of the more or less reviewing information I have derived from Detail & Scale.

 

Note that the TBM-3W2 in use with the RNlNAS has an antenna on the rudder. Check photos of original aircraft. Note also the TMB-3S of the Dutch Navy lacks the antenna on the rudder. Check photos for further detailing.

The canopy of the TBM-3S of the RNlNAS is of the same type which was in use by the US Navy.

  • Academy/Minicraft
    • Kit 1651: TBF-1 Avenger: In fact this is a mix of a Tarpon I and a Tarpon II. The model lacks the nose mounted machine gun of the early machines and also the later machine guns in the wings. The cockpit is more like that of the TBF-1 and Tarpon I. The position of the antenna resembles that on the TBF-1C and later types. Also blister for the Tarpon are in he kit.
      In fact this kit is not suitable for a TBM-3E model of the Avenger.
  • Airfix
    • Kit `03033: TBM-3 Avenger; this is one of the oldest models of the Avenger. The kit has the famous Airfix riveting all over, so you'll need to remove these and replace it with engraved panel lines.
      The fit of the parts is reasonable. The cowling flaps resembles more the flaps of the TBM-3E than the supposed TBM-3. The YAGI antennas supplied with the kit are rather coarse and you'd better replace them with scratch built antennas.
      The interior and wheel hubs need some more detailing. The engine is quite reasonable, but can be replaced.
      The canopy is rather thick, though the framing is nice. Also wrong is the strut in the frame just on the right side of the pilot. This should be removed. Overall a quite good model.
  • Hasegawa
    • Kit 24AP34 / 2400673: TBM-3 Avenger/ TBM-3E Night Avenger: [Hasegawa also released a model of the TBM-1C/Tarpon II .]
      The bomb compartment can be opened, though you can look through the model, so you'll need to fix this.
      The small windows between the bomb compartment and radio compartment are not in the kit. The engine is also quite reasonable, you can replace it if you want.A chair for the second cockpit is available, but it doesn't belong in the TBM-3.
      The space towards the radio compartment need to be opened.
      The cabin is quite poor, so detailing is necessary. Decals for the instrument-panel are available in the kit. The YAGI antenna's you have to built of your own. Also the wrong strut is present, so remove it.
      The cowling resembles the flaps of the TBM-3E.
      To built a model of the TBM-3E remove the machine gun in the belly and remove the windows. Also correct the arrestor, which is external on the TBM-3E.
  • Airmodel
    • Kit XX: TBM-3W: Released years ago a vacu formed radome and canopy. Lots of work needs to be done with this conversion kit.
  • Falcon
    • Kit YY: a fuselage for a TBM-3W. I don't know anything about this kit.
  • MACH2
    • Kit GP.013: TBM-3W released a short run injection kit. I don't know anything about this kit.
  • HighPlanes
    • Kit 72021: TBM-3W a conversion kit meant for the Hasegawa Avenger. It is said to be the best models of the TBM-3W.
  • RVHP
    • Kit 7240 a conversion kit for a TBM-3W. I don't know anything about this kit.
  • Magna Models
    • Kit 1572: A conversion kit for a TBM-3S
  • Leading Edge
    • Kit SDP72-001: A conversion kit for three different (Canadian) Avengers such as the TBM-3S

 

Grumman TBM Avenger IMG 8706
Model of a Grumman TBM-1C, I built a Grumman TBM-3. I used the Academy kit with decals of the Dutch Decal set.
[Main difference is the engine. Further more the Academy kit is not correct, check the notes above.]

 

Grumman TBM Avenger IMG 8707

 

grumman tbm 3e2 avenger akleijn
Model of a Grumman TBM-3E Avenger, built by Adri Klein.

 

Grumman Avenger TBM3S2 AKleijn
Model of a Grumman TBM-3S2 Avenger, built by Adri Kleijn.

 

grumman tbm 3w2 avenger akleijn
Model of a Grumman TBM-3W2 Avenger, built by Adri Klein.

 

Grumman Avenger TBM3W2 Blauw AKleijn
Model of a Grumman TBM-3W2 Avenger, built by Adri Kleijn.

 

1/48th Scale

  • YY
    • Kit XX: cccc.

Modelling add-on

  • Eduard
    • Kit SS252: Detailling set for Hasegawa
    • Kit BIG7216: Detailling set for hasegawa
    • Kit E72-441: landingsflaps for Hasegawa
    • Kit E72-442: Bomb bay (for hasegawa)
    • Kit E72-252: Detailling set interior for Hasegawa
    • Kit E72-244: Detailling set for Hasegawa
    • Kit E72-245: Detailing set, Flaps and bombbay for TBM Avenger (Hasegawa kit)
    • Kit E72-079: Detailing set for TBF/TBM Avenger (Hasegawa kit)
    • Kit E72-080: Detailing set, flaps, for TBF/TBM Avenger (Hasegawa kit)
    • Kit E72-199: Update set for TBFAvenger (Hasegawa kit)
  • KMC
    • Kit KMC72-7007: Update set TBM-1C
  • Airwaves
    • Kit AC72108: Detailling set TBM Avenger
  • Neomega
    • Kit A4: Undercarriage and wheel (for Academy)
  • Aires
    • Kit 7001: Undercarriage

Decals

  • Dutch Decal
    • Set 72004:
    • Set 72018:

 

 


At delivery al aircraft were overall MidNight Blue with white serials.
The spinner was applied with the colour of the squadron, squadron 2 Red; squadron 4, blue and squadron 1, white.
The roundels were applied in six positions and a fin flash on the vertical stabilizer. The aircraft number was also applied on the cowling.

After an complete overhaul, end of the fifties als Avengers TBM-3S and TBM-3W ware sprayed in a new two tone colour scheme with dark grey upper surfaces and sky lower surfaces. Serials were applied in black and repeated on de left underside of the wing and on the front of the fuselage between the wing and the cowling.

SchemeColour nameFS-numberBS-numberHumbrolXtraColor
Standard #1Overall Glossy Sea Blue: ANA 623 15042   H181 X121
 
Standard #2Upper surfaces Extra Dark Sea Grey 16099 BS:640 H123 X5 / X376
Undersides Sky ~24424 BS:210 H90 X607

Grumman TBM-3E en TBM-3E2 Avenger

Grumman TBM3E Avenger-1-SMALL
The first colour scheme of the Grumman TBM-3E Avenger.

 

Grumman TBM3E Avenger-2-SMALL
The second colour scheme of the Grumman TBM-3E Avenger.

Grumman TBM-3S Avenger

Grumman TBM3S Avenger-1-SMALL
The first colour scheme of the Grumman TBM-3S Avenger.

 

Grumman TBM3S Avenger-2-SMALL
The second colour scheme of the Grumman TBM-3S Avenger.

 

Grumman TBM3S Avenger-3-SMALL
The third colour scheme of the Grumman TBM-3S Avenger.

Grumman TBM-3W Avenger

Grumman TBM3W Avenger-1-SMALL
The first colour scheme of the Grumman TBM-3W Avenger.

 

Grumman TBM3W Avenger-2-SMALL
The second colour scheme of the Grumman TBM-3W Avenger.

 

Grumman TBM3W Avenger-3-SMALL
The third colour scheme of the Grumman TBM-3W Avenger.

 

 


Literature.

Van Farman tot Neptune 2 Hugo Hooftman   1965 La Rivière & Voorhoeve, Zwolle
Zestig jaar Marineluchtvaartdienst in Beeld. Hugo Hooftman Pag. 118 t/m 123 1977 Uitgever: Europese Bibliotheek, Zaltbommel
Dutch Military Aviation 1945-1978 Paul A. Jackson Pag. 84 - 85 1978 Uitgever: Midland Countries Publications, Leicester
Nederlandse Marinevliegtuigen Thijs Postma & Nico Geldhof Pag. 58 1978 Uitgever: Omniboek, 's Gravenhage
70 Jaar Marine-LuchtvaartDienst Nico Geldhof Pag. 110; 129 1987 Uitgeverij Eisma b.v., Leeuwarden
Vliegen voor de Vloot; 70 jaar Marineluchtvaartdienst Harm J. Hazewinkel Pag. 44 1987 Uitgever: Rebo Produkties, Sassenheim
Aircraft Number 82 TMB/TBF Avenger in action. Charles L. Scrivner Pag. 31 - 38; 41 - 43; 46 - 47 1987 Uitgever: Squadron/Signal Publications Inc., Carrolton, Texas
Luchtvaartwereld; 6e jaargang nummer 6: Grumman TBM Avenger, Corpulente wreker Nico Geldhof Pag. 181 - 186 1989 Uitgeverij Ten Brink, Meppel
TBF & TBM Avenger Detail & Scale vol. 53 Bert kinzey Pag. 1997 Uitgever: Squadron/Signal Publications Inc., Carrolton, Texas
Camouflage en Kentekens J.Greuter e.a.   1997 Uitgeverij Bonneville, Bergen (NH)
85 Jaar Marineluchtvaartdienst in beeld Van Farman tot NH 90 Helikopter Peter Korbee Pag. 116 - 119 2002 Uitgever: Korbee MLD Promotie, Valkenburg
MIP 2003/1: Hunter-Killer Avengers in 1/48     2003 IPMS Nederland
Dutch Profile 7: De MLD Avenger TBM-3S Strike /3W Warner /3E Easy Geldhof N. / L. Boerman   2008 Dutch Profile - Zwamerdam

 

 

Websites.