Spotter's Quiz No 12
Torpedo Bombers

Page 72
89 Grumman Avenger

Most versatile of all torpedo bombers in wide service, the Grumman TBF has been the scourge of Japanese sea power in the Pacific; also operated as pursuit plane at Midway. Powered by 1,850-hp Wright radial engine, it has top speed of about 275 mph at 7,500 feet, cruising speed of 215 mph. Service ceiling is estimated at 20,000 feet and range about 1,350 miles. The Avenger has wing span of 54' 2", is 41' long.

Wing is mid cantilever type, straight flat center section, taper, sweep-back, dihedral outboard.

Engine has radial cowling, short, thick nose, propeller set very low, straight bottom, tapered top.

Fuselage is broad, streamlined, straight bottom line, sharp indent forward of tail skid.

Tail is monoplane type, high, broad, with squared top, high tailplane with square tips.

Squared Mid-Wing and Tail

90 Douglas Devastator

Officially designated the TBD-1, the Devastator is the only current combat type to finish its military life without modification. The 125 Devastators ordered by the Navy in 1938 were developed from the XT3D-1. Powered by 825-hp Wright radial engine, it has top speed of 192 mph, cruising speed of 180 mph, range of 435 miles, and ceiling of 19,700 feet. Wing span is 50', length 35' 6".

Wing is low cantilever type, equal sweep-back and taper, round tips, slight dihedral.

Engine has radial cowling with long nose, straight top-line, tapered bottom line.

Fuselage is long, slender, with long canopy, pronounced wing fillets, semi-retracting wheels.

Tail is monoplane type, triangular fin, semi-wasp rudder, tailplane has sharp sweep-back, taper.

Equitaper. Sweep-Back Wing

91 Aichi T-99

Originally used for light bombing, the Aichi 99 is now sewing the Jap navy as a torpedo bomber, as revealed by recent news pictures from the Pacific war theaters. Powered by 1,050-hp Kinsei, it has maximum speed of 240 mph at 13,000 feet. Extremely light, it has service ceiling of 29,500 feet with full load, 32,000-foot ceiling on short-range operations. Range varies from 875 to 1,165 miles depending on load.

Wing is low cantilever type with straight center section, sweep-back, elliptical trailing edge.

Fuselage is long, slender, with short, low canopy directly above wing.

Engine has radial cowling, straight top-line, curved bottom line, small frontal area.

Tail is monoplane type, high triangular fin and rudder, swept-back stabilizers, straight elevators.

Triangular Tail

92 Fairey Swordfish

One of the oldest and slowest planes in service, the Swordfish is credited with major role in last year's sinking of the Bismarck. Powered by a 690-hp Bristol radial engine, this ancient biplane has speed of only 154 mph, cruising speed of 131 mph. It has ceiling of 19,250 feet, range of 746 miles, carries two guns and one 18" torpedo. Span is 45' 6", length is 36' 4".

Wings are staggered biplane type, dihedral on top wing outer panels, entire wings swept-back.

Engine has thick radial cowling, short nose, with curved top and bottom lines.

Fuselage is long, round, with straight top-line, tapered bottom line, broad plan.

Tail is monoplane type, almost round, elevators are wider than stabilizers.

Biplane. Round Tail

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93 Karigane MK-II

Developed from the fast-flying Kamakaze which once flew 9,900 miles from Tokyo to London in 94½ hours, the Karigane is nominally a light bomber but is now appearing with externally slung torpedoes. Powered by 800-hp Kinsei radial engine, it has top speed of 310 mph but cruises at only 200 mph when carrying a torpedo. Normal range is about 1,400 miles. It has span of 39' 5", is 27' 11" long.

Wing is low cantilever type, straight leading edge, sharp taper, very broad center section.

Engine has radial cowling wider than nose, broad which extends only slightly forward of wing.

Fuselage is short, extremely wide, with sides tapering sharply inward at tail.

Tail is monoplane type, very narrow triangular fin, straight rudder, swept-back tailplane far back.

Straight Leading Edge

94 Heinkel He-115K-2

Widely exported before the war, continuously produced for Luftwaffe use, the Heinkel 115 is world's best seaplane torpedo plane. Powered by two 880-hp BMW radial engines developing maximum speed of 217 mph at 11,000 feet, range of 1,300 miles at 186 mph, and service ceiling of 21,320 feet. It carries four guns, two of which fire backward from nacelles. Wing span is 75' 10".

Wing is high mid cantilever type, straight center section and trailing edge, sweep-back, dihedral.

Engines have radial cowlings extending slightly forward from wing, tapering to trailing edge.

Fuselage is long and narrow, transparent nose extends far forward, long canopy.

Tail is monoplane type, narrow triangular fin, straight rudder, squared top.

Two Engines. High Midwing

95 Fairey Albacore

Larger and somewhat newer than the Swordfish, the Albacore is still an obsolescent type when compared with most torpedo bombers. Powered by 1,060-hp Bristol radial engine, it has maximum speed of 190 mph at 6,500 feet, cruising speed in excess of 150 mph, service ceiling of 20,000 feet, and range of about 700 miles. It has a wing span of 50', is 39', 10" long, carries two machine guns and one 21" torpedo.

Wings are broad, straight, with rounded tips, marked cutaway on top wing above canopy.

Engine has radial cowling with long, clean nose tapered equally on top and bottom.

Fuselage is broad and round, tapering top and bottom aft of long transparent canopy.

Tail is monoplane type with broad, low triangular fin and rudder, slender tailplane far forward.

Biplane, Enclosed Canopy

96 Northrop N3PB-1

Designed and built by John K Northrop, a leader in all-metal military aircraft design for many years, the Northrop N3PB is in limited service with the Norwegians serving with the RAF. Powered by 950-hp Wright radial it has maximum speed of 220 mph, excellent cruising speed of 217 mph at 16,400 feet, range of 1,000 miles, service ceiling of 24,000 feet. It has a wing span of 48' 11", is 36' long.

Wing low cantilever type, straight center section, dihedral, taper, sweep-back outboard.

Engine has radial cowling, long, streamlined nose, straight top-1ine, curved bottom line.

Fuselage is round, curving from wing to tail on bottom, long canopy extends aft of wing.

Tail is monoplane type, high semi-wasp design with swept-back, elliptical tailplane far forward.

Wide Pontoon Supports

This "Spotter's Quiz" column was originally published in the December, 1942, "Complete Spotter's Guide" issue of Air News magazine, vol 3, no 8, pp 69, 72-73.
The original Quiz includes 16 photos and 8 three-view silhouettes, 2 photos and 1 three-view for each type listed.
Photos credited to Rudy Arnold, US Navy, US Army Air Corps, British Combine, Wide World, David Cooke, Northrop.