The Navy's newest and most deadly aerial weapon, the Grumman Avenger torpedo bomber, lived up to its name at the first opportunity in the Midway Island Naval battle, for planes of this type were credited with a large portion of the success of this action.
This new craft, manufactured by the Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, fires regulation torpedoes from low altitudes at close range where marksmanship is most accurate. Carrying the torpedo entirely enclosed within the fuselage, the Avenger is one of the largest planes to operate from aircraft carriers and is much more heavily armed than any of its predecessors.
In general appearance it is very similar to the Grumman Wildcat, the type in which Lieut Comdr Edward O'Hare shot down six Japanese craft in a singl engagement. Also a mid-wing monoplane, the Avenger might easily be take for a Wildcat at a distance, its lines giving no indication of its large crew and load carrying capacity. Credited with close-to-fighter performance, the Avenger's unusual maneuverability also helps conceal its mission.
Design studies of high performance torpedo planes have been under way at Grumman for several years. Sensing the trend of Naval strategy, and in cooperation with the Bureau of Aeronautics, the company last year began construction. So confident were officials of the results that a production program was inaugurated simultaneously with flight testing of the first plane. The schedule was carried out quietly and, as a result, several Navy squadrons are already equipped and steady production has been established.
This article was originally published in the July, 1942, issue of Aviation magazine, vol 41, no 7, p 90.
The original article includes 4 captioned photos.
Photos credited to Grumman Aircraft.