Hobby Master HA1217 USN Grumman TBM-3E Avenger Torpedo Plane - VT-17, USS Hornet (CV-8), April 1945 (1:72 Scale)
"Why should we have a navy at all? There are no enemies for it to fight except apparently the Army Air Force."
- General Carl Spaatz, Commander of the US 8th Army Air Force, after WWII
The Grumman TBF Avenger (designated TBM for aircraft manufactured by General Motors) was an American torpedo bomber, developed initially for the United States Navy and Marine Corps and used by a large number of air forces around the world. It entered service in 1942, and began major use during the Battle of Midway.
The Avenger had a large bomb bay, allowing for one Bliss-Leavitt Mark 13 torpedo, a single 2000 lb (900 kg) bomb, or up to four 500 lb (230 kg) bombs. Torpedoes were generally abandoned after Midway and were not carried again regularly until after June of 1944, when improvements mandated their use again. By that time, it was rare for American aircraft to encounter enemy shipping at sea and the Avenger was primarily employed as a ground support weapon. The plane had overall ruggedness and stability, and pilots say it flew like a truck, for better or worse. With a 30,000 foot (10,000 m) ceiling and a fully-loaded range of 1,000 miles (1,600 km), it was better than any previous American torpedo plane, and better than its chief opponent, the then obsolete Japanese Nakajima B5N "Kate".
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a USN TBM-3E Avenger torpedo plane that was attached to VT-17, then embarked upon the USS Hornet during April 1945.
Wingspan: 10 inches
Length: 8 inches
Release Date: December 2011
Historical Account: "Fist of the Fleet" - VT-17, the "Fist of the Fleet", was formed on January 1st, 1943 and joined the USS Hornet in February 1945. On April 7th, 1945, four torpedoes from VT-17 TBMs were the first to strike the giant battleship Yamato. They also sank one of the escorting destroyers; the engagement resulted in the loss of 2 TBMs. The first wave of attacks began at 12:37 and the massive explosion that shattered Yamato occurred at 14:23. Of the Yamatos 2,332 crew members 2,055 were lost.