Sunday, February 19, 2012

TBF Avenger

TBF Avenger
C L I C K     T O     E N L A R G E

Grumman created the largest single engine plane of the war when they introduced the Avenger in 1942.  It provided the Navy with a torpedo plane that was also extensively used as a bomber.  Despite its size it was not difficult to handle due to its large wings and extensive use of hydraulics.  
Picture:  640 x 480 - Fleet Air Arm Archive

TBF Avenger
Crew:                    3 - Pilot, Bombardier, Radio Operator / Turret Gunner

Power:                  Wright 1900 hp R-2600-20 radial engine

Performance -
Max. Speed:       444 kph / 276 mph
Ceiling:                7625 m / 25,000 ft
Range:                 1609 km / 1000 miles
Climb:                  328 m / 1075 ft per minute

Weight -
Empty:                4787 kg / 10,545 lb
Max. Take Off:   8124 kg / 17,895 lb

Size -
Wingspan:         16.51 m / 54 ft 2 in
Wing Area:        45.52 sq m / 490 sq ft
Length:               12.48 m / 40 ft 11 in
Height:               5 m / 16 ft 5 in

                           2 x 12.7 mm / 0.5 in fixed forward firing machine guns, upper fuselage
                           1 x 12.7 mm / 0.5 in trainable machine gun in rear facing turret
                           1 x 7.62 mm / 0.3 in ventral machine gun facing rear
                           ordnance:  1021 kg / 2250 lb

Chief Engineer:            Bob Hall
Project Engineer:         R. Koch
Turret Designer:           Oscar Olsen
Folding Outer Wings:  Leroy Grumman

The Project Engineer R. Koch determined since the fuselage required a ventral gun operated by the bombardier there would be room for an internal bomb bay.  Besides a torpedo it could hold four 500 pound / 227 kg bombs and be used as a conventional bomber or as a dive bomber to a limited degree.  The British received several hundred of these planes under Lend Lease and used them almost exclusive in their bomber capacity.
Picture:  749 x 439 at 96 dpi - Wikipedia

Building a turret for a B-17 is relatively easy because the plane drones along in level flight.  Despite its size the Avenger relies upon maneuverability much like any other single engine combat plane.  That means the stress on the turret mount ring is often shifting.  Former GE employee Oscar Olsen was able to synchronize a number of electric motors that precisely governed torque, making for a free flowing precision gun.    
Picture:  600 x 542 at 300 dpi - Reddit

Access to the rear fuselage was through a small door aft of the starboard wing.  Crammed into an area that included the bombardier, his ventral gun and a radar scope were other various equipment, parachutes, flares, ammunition and inflatable raft.
Picture:  1050 x 750 - Images of You Studio

The Avenger was too big to fit on the hanger deck if the wings folded up in conventional fashion.  Leroy Grumman experimented with bent paper clips stuck in an eraser until he found the proper approach for folding aside the wings.  
Picture:  756 x 510 - Brian Lockett's Air and Space

These tight confines are made for nimble people feeling fit.  Retrieving someone badly wounded  who's scrunched up dead weight is a painful challenge for all and probably resulted in more than a few thrown out backs.  At least this aviator made it back to the carrier and didn't have to ditch at sea.  
Picture:  600 x 777 - Blue Jacket

Japan was aware of America's industrial potential but gambled that a quick victory would bring the United States to the negotiating table as was her experience with Russia in the early Twentieth Century.  Instead the rising Asian nation was overwhelmed with nearly 10,000 Avengers as well as thousands of other weapons of war that poured from American factories.  To Japan's horror the American population was blind and deaf to negotiation and would settle only for complete and unconditional surrender. 
Picture:  1200 x 962 at 279 dpi - Cybermodeler  

One grand, expensive battleship after another was sent to the ocean's bottom because of these cheap, unrelenting weapons from above.  It was muskets routing bows and arrows, cannons crumbling castles and machine guns mowing down the cavalry.  There is no end to the unpleasant nature of warfare.  Every attempt at finding gallantry in battle is eventually crushed with a new winner take all application of brute force.
Picture:  600 x 440 - Avions Legendaires

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