The Avenger’s combat debut was at Midway in 1942. Six Avengers from Midway Island attacked the Japanese carrier strike force, but only one bullet-riddled Avenger made it home to Midway, and none of those scored hits on the Japanese ships. Despite this disappointing action at Midway, the Avenger served as the US Navy’s primary torpedo bomber, effectively interdicting enemy shipping and delivering ordnance on enemy positions throughout the Pacific.
TBM Avenger Bayou Bomber
This aircraft is depicted as Lt. (jg) Thomas C. Lupo’s Avenger at the Battle off Samar, one of the three naval battles collectively known as the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Flying from the USS Fanshaw Bay, Lupo made repeated attack runs on the IJN Yamato, one of the largest battleships in history. After Lupo expended all of his ammunition, he continued making runs on Yamato, throwing a Coke bottle and other loose articles from his aircraft at the ship’s bridge.
Type: Torpedo Bomber
Date Introduced: 1942
Manufacturer: General Motors
Number Produced: 7,500+
Crew: 3 (Pilot, Radioman/Bombardier, Gunner)
Maximum Speed: 275 miles per hour
Wingspan: 54 feet
Length: 41 feet
Cruising Speed: 150 miles per hour
Maximum Range: 1,000 miles
Engine: One Wright R-2600-20 (1,900 hp)
Maximum Ordnance Load: 2,000 lb (internal)
Armament: Three .50 caliber and one .30 caliber machine guns
Developed as a strategic bomber in the 1930s, the rugged B-17 was used in every theater in World War II, and became legendary for its ability to sustain heavy damage in battle while maintaining self-sufficient firepower.
The B-25 bomber soldiered in every theater of war, excelling in multiple roles, chiefly as a ground-attack aircraft later in the war. They gained fame in April 1942 in the daring Doolittle Raid on Tokyo.
The US Navy’s primary dive-bomber at the war’s start, the Douglas SBD Dauntless earned its reputation—and helped earn victory—at the 1942 Battle of Midway, sinking four Japanese carriers.
The F4U Corsair entered combat in 1943, and gave Allied naval aviators a winning edge against their opponents. Renowned for its speed, ruggedness, and firepower, the Corsair excelled as both a fighter and an attack aircraft in support of ground forces.
The B-24 Liberator was a powerful symbol of US industrial might, with more than 18,000 produced by the war’s end. Liberators flew faster, higher and farther than the older B-17, thanks to greater fuel capacity and an innovative low-drag wing design.