Thursday, May 14, 2015

I Have Been Schooled

TBMs and SB2Cs dropping bombs (U.S. Navy photo)
Yesterday's post contained an error.

I know, I know. Shocking innit?

FRaVMotC Captain Steve spotted the error. Had to do with a photo caption it did. It was the photo of the SB2C Helldiver and the TBF/TBM Avenger during the VE Day Flyover celebration held on my birthday this past Friday.

Here's the photo...

The caption indicated that the Avenger replaced the Helldiver...

Ahem [cough wrong cough].

Captain Steve indicated that the Avenger was meant to replace the Dauntless. Here's how I remember things. Now that I have removed my brain housing group from my bomb bay. So to speak.

Now according to multiple sources at my fingertips (Wikipedia being one, but only one of many), the Grumman TBF Avenger was produced to replace the Douglas TBD Devastator. This guy...

TBD Devastator of VT-6 over Wake Island 1942 (U.S. Navy photo)

Which is, of course, a totally different aircraft than this one...

Curtiss SB2C Helldiver (Public Domain, unknown photographer)

So I was wrong about the Avenger replacing the Helldiver. Go figure...

It just struck me, but I've never seen an Avenger in person. (Also, how the heck did Scott the Badger figure that photo I posted was a TBM Avenger as opposed to a TBF Avenger? TBM was the designation for aircraft manufactured by General Motors whereas TBF was for those manufactured by Grumman. How could Scott tell from the ground? (I'm guessing that he got that from the website. Harumph.)

Still and all, I want to see an Avenger in person someday. Cool bird. Had a model of one as a kid. Always thought it was neat.

"TBF Avenger in Flight" by Gerry Metzler Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons (Source)

Ah, but the Dauntless and the Helldiver? The Smithsonian has fine examples of both. The Dauntless is at the Air and Space Museum on the National Mall, the Helldiver is out at Udvar-Hazy. Those I've met in person. But first one of my favorite Dauntless photos.

Douglas SBD Dive Bomber over Wake Island, 1943 Photo by Lt. Charles Kerlee, USNR

Here's the Smithsonian's Dauntless...

She seems a bit cramped with that Wildcat and that Scooter boxing her in.

Kind of makes me sad, she belongs in the air...
Nice view of the dive brakes.
And the Helldiver...

She's got a little more room than the Dauntless.

Her gunner's station seems a bit more complete as well.
Yup, she has a Hun as a neighbor (F-100).
Yes, I love aircraft.

I'll have another aviation post shortly. A fellow that our man in Louisiana (Virgil) told me about. A real aviation pioneer. As was his sister!


  1. Photos from your new camera?

    1. No, those are some old photos from my November and January trips down to DC. Mostly cell phone pics, there may be a couple of old camera pics in there as well.

      I haven't taken the training wheels off the new camera yet. It's more camera than I'm used to, that's for sure.

  2. Yeah... tell us something about your new camera.

    1. Canon PowerShot G7 X. Still learning the ropes, you will get to see some photos from it soon.

    2. Good luck with that. I am still trying to learn my (now not so new) camera. I keep running out of film.

    3. Ah! That's why I chose digital.

  3. You read my mind, Sarge. I was gonna axe was that a Hun lurking back there, sticking her starboard wing into the frame.

    This is probably worth the coin if you want a bit more detail on the Dauntless and Helldiver. Hal Buell was just another retired navy guy who lived across the street and down the block from me back in the early 80's. Used to be you couldn't swing a cat in that neighborhood without hitting a hero.

    1. And there's another book I need to get a hold of. (I'm going to need a bigger man cave!)

  4. Just to add a bit... The TBF/TBM did replace the TBD. The SBD was eventually replaced by the SB2C. But only on the big deck carriers. Escort carriers carried (usually) a single composite squadron of FM-2s and TBF/TBM. They had no SB2C.

    And a bit more- while it was apparently never used operationally, the SB2C did have the ability to carry a Mk13 torpedo in its commodious bomb bay.

    By the end of the war, the dive bomber was beginning to be seen as passe, with its role largely replaced by the F6F and F4U in the bombing role, and its scouting mission supplanted by the TBM.

    Of course, the real replacement for the SB2C was the AD series, which dispensed with a tail gunner and internal bomb bay. The AD series was also intended to conduct torpedo attacks, though the only wartime use of them torpedo bombing was against a dam in Korea.

  5. I am glad that the aircraft depicted in "TBF Avenger in Flight" by Gerry Metzler has directional arrows on it so the "aviators" can tell which way is forward and which way is up.

    1. Picking on the Navy? Hahaha!

    2. Well, even though I've never actually done it, I'm pretty sure that catapulting an aircraft off the deck of a carrier while pointed backwards, or even worse upside down, would have detrimental consequences. So, maybe the arrows have some actual usefulness.

  6. Sarge, the Avenger will be on display both on the group and in the air at The National Warplane Museum's Greatest Show on Turf air show July 11th and 12th in Geneseo, NY. It's a fantastic air show with the crowd mixed in with the performing aircraft that are all on "static" display when they aren't in the air. When it's their time to perform CAP clears the immediate area, the aircraft start, taxi, takeoff, perform, land and park in the same spot. More details can be found at

    1. Great tip Code Dad, that's not that far from Little Rhody. That is, it's drivable and I might have to seriously consider doing so!

    2. "it's drivable", So 600 miles then? Give or take...

    3. In theory. Bear in mind, I consider Little Rhody to Virginia Beach "drivable." Will I actually make the trip?

      Prolly not, considering I just burned 9 days of vacation.

  7. As a youngster in Montana, living several years in Helena and having cousins in the Bitteroot Valley, Avengers were regular fare during the fire seasons. In those days.............Gad, I can say that now......................The cousins and I saw Avengers, Catalinas, and other sundry now classic airplanes in the skies of Western Montana. I have also seen a Ford Trimotor and a Travel Air 6000 in flight. Those were used to drop the Smoke Jumpers based out of Johnson Bell Field in Missoula. In 1977, at the Open House/Air Show at NAS Corpus Christi I saw a Dauntless, Avenger and Helldiver all fly in formation. Those aircraft belonged to the Confederate Air Force.

    1. That must have been awesome.

      The cool birds I got to see as a kid were the P-2 Neptune and the C-119 "Flying Boxcar."

      Of course, those were "state of the art" when I was a lad.


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