Grumman (General Motors) TBM-1c Avenger

From late 1942 to the end of the War, Grumman’s Avenger was the main strike aircraft used by US aircraft carriers.


After the jump, a brief look at this important type.

At the start of World War Two the Navy’s standard torpedo bomber was the Douglass TBD Devastator, which was obviously obsolete and in need of replacement.  The Avenger was already in the pipeline, and by June of 1942 was being assigned to carrier squadrons.  Its combat debut at the Battle of Midway was inauspicious, when five out of six Avengers were lost.  But that was clearly a case of a poor tactical situation, and the outgoing Devastators suffered even worse.


The Avenger was powerful, fast and carried a large payload.  That meant not only torpedoes (the “T” in its designation, so theoretically its main purpose) but a conventional bomb load as well.  It was deployed with every carrier squadron by the end of July 1942.  It also had excellent low speed handling, and with its folding wings could use very little hanger space; which led to it being adopted for the much smaller escort carriers (AKA “baby flat tops”) too.

The navy had required a powered turret for a single .50 for this generation of both torpedo and dive bombers.  Grumman was the only manufacturer who figured out how to do it without going grossly over weight.

The navy had required a powered turret for a single .50 for this generation of both torpedo and dive bombers. Grumman was the only manufacturer who figured out how to do it without going grossly over weight.


Demand for the type was great enough that the Navy ordered it mass produced by General Motors as well as Grumman (General Motors production eventually superseding Grumman) .  This example is a General Motors built aircraft assigned to Composite Squadron 76 of the escort carrier “USS Petrof Bay” (CVE-80).  Escort carriers had “Composite Squadrons” because with only about 30 planes on board the whole air group of fighters and bombers was no bigger than a single squadron on a fleet carrier. The Shamrock on the tail identifies the ship.

This is the Accurate Miniatures kit with Aeromaster Decals. I loved doing the huge area of glass and interior.  It was a lot of masking, but it leaves things more visible than most wartime types.


About atcDave

I'm 5o-something years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I was an air traffic controller for 33 years and recently retired; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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4 Responses to Grumman (General Motors) TBM-1c Avenger

  1. Theresa says:

    I knew Grumman built these planes but I did not know GM did as well.

    • atcDave says:

      The funny thing is, even though the the engineering specs of a TBF-1c and a TBM-1c are identical; Grumman and General Motors applied different colors in places. Especially interior/primer sorts of colors. So even apart from knowing the exact variant, I need to know the manufacturer in order to build the model!

  2. atcDave says:

    I wanted to add a personal/professional comment. Many years ago we had a fly-in event at the airport I work at, and an Avenger was among the historic aircraft present. When the time came to leave, the Avenger pilot wanted to have some fun doing low passes. Well I also had a Cessna 152 up in the pattern at the time. Dang. The Avenger may not be a fast plane compared to a lot of other warbirds, but sequencing him with a Cessna 152 that crossed the threshold at about 40 kts wasn’t easy! That monster of a bomber with its 2000 hp R-2600 was eating that Cessna alive. It was fun watching two such dissimilar types try to play nice together.

  3. Pingback: Douglass TBD-1 Devastator | Plane Dave

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