SkyMax Models SM8005 USN Douglas TBD-1 Devastator Torpedo Plane - 6-T-4, VT-6, USS Enterprise (CV-6), March 1941 (1:72 Scale)
"Advance against the Japanese in the Pacific, bypassing as many strongly-held enemy islands as possible, only landing to fight it out on islands needed to build air bases to support the next landing."
- Strategy advanced by General Douglas MacArthur at the start of hostilities in the PTO
The Douglas TBD Devastator was a torpedo bomber of the United States Navy, ordered in 1934, first flying in 1935 and entering service in 1937. At that point, it was the most advanced aircraft flying for the USN and possibly for any navy in the world. However, the fast pace of aircraft development caught up with it, and by the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor the TBD was already outdated. It performed well in some early battles, but in the Battle of Midway the Devastators launched against the Japanese fleet were almost totally wiped out. The type was immediately withdrawn from front line service, replaced by the Grumman TBF Avenger.
The TBD Devastator marked a large number of "firsts" for the U.S. Navy. It was the first widely-used carrier-based monoplane as well as the first all-metal naval aircraft, the first with a totally enclosed cockpit, the first with hydraulically folding wings; it is fair to say that the TBD was revolutionary. A semi-retractable undercarriage was fitted, with the wheels designed to protrude 10 in (250 mm) below the wings to permit a "wheels-up" landing with only minimal damage.
A crew of three was normally carried beneath a large "greenhouse" canopy almost half the length of the aircraft. The pilot sat up front; a rear gunner/radio operator took the rearmost seat, while the bombardier occupied the middle seat. During a bombing run, the bombardier lay prone, sliding into position under the pilot to sight through a window in the bottom of the fuselage, using the Norden Bombsight. The offensive armament that he targeted would be either a single Bliss-Leavitt Mark 13 aerial torpedo or a single 1,000 lb (454 kg) bomb. Defensive armament consisted of either a .30 caliber or .50 caliber (12.7 mm) machine gun firing forwards, and a .30 caliber machine gun for the rear gunner.
The powerplant was a Pratt & Whitney R-1830-64 Twin Wasp radial engine of 900 hp (671 kW). A total of 129 of the type were purchased by the U.S. Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics (BuAer), equipping the carriers USS Saratoga, USS Enterprise, USS Lexington, USS Wasp, USS Hornet, USS Yorktown and USS Ranger.
The U.S. Navy became aware by about 1940 that the TBD had become outclassed by the fighters and bombers of other nations and a replacement (the TBF Avenger) was in the works, but it was not in service yet when the United States entered World War II. By then, training attrition had reduced their numbers to just over 100 aircraft. The Devastator had become a death trap for its crews: slow and poorly maneuverable, with light defensive weaponry and poor armor relative to the weapons of the time. Its speed on a glide-bombing approach was a mere 200 mph (322 km/h), making it easy prey for fighters and defensive guns alike. The aerial torpedo could not even be released at speeds above 115 mph (185 km/h). The U.S. Navy assigned popular names to its aircraft in late 1941, and the TBD became the Devastator.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a USN Douglas TBD-1 Devastator torpedo plane that was attached to VT-6, then embarked upon the USS Enterprise (CV-6), during March 1941.
Wingspan: 8-1/4 inches
Length: 5-3/4 inches
Release Date: April 2012
Historical Account: "The Big E" - CV-6 Enterprise, known quite affectionately as The "Big E", was the sixth aircraft carrier of the United States Navy and the seventh US Navy ship of that name. She was a Yorktown class aircraft carrier, launched in 1936, and one of only three American carriers commissioned prior to World War II that survived the entirety of the war (the others were Saratoga and Ranger). She was the only ship outside of the British Royal Navy to earn the highest award of the British Admiralty Pennant, and participated in nearly every major engagement of the war against Japan, including the Battle of Midway, the Battle of the Eastern Solomons, the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, various other air-sea actions during the Battle of Guadalcanal, the Battle of the Philippine Sea, and the Battle of Leyte Gulf, as well as participating in the "Doolittle Raid" on Tokyo. Enterprise has the distinction of earning 20 battle stars, the most for any US warship in World War II, and was clearly the most important and most centrally-involved of all of them as well. Some have even labeled her the most glorious and honored ship in all of United States Naval history, rivaled only perhaps by the 18th-century frigate USS Constitution.