Jump to content
This site uses cookies! Learn More

This site uses cookies!

You can find a list of those cookies here: mysite.com/cookies

By continuing to use this site, you agree to allow us to store cookies on your computer. :)

detail is everything

The earliest FAA Avenger IIIs

Recommended Posts

From reading Air Britain FAA Aircraft 1939-45 and looking at previous posts, my understanding is as follows;

80 TBM-3 / TBM-3E serialled JZ635 to JZ720 delivered to the FAA in late 1944 and early 1945. US BuAer No.s indicate that the first 16 aircraft were TBM-3s and the final 64 were TBM-3Es.

This would suggest a switch to TBM-3E from JZ651, but Air Britain picture of JZ654 http://www.abpic.co.uk/photo/1228480/ shows TBM-3 characteristics – indented lower cowl flaps, stinger gun position extant, MK5 zero length rocket launchers but no underwing rack for an AN/ASP-4 radar pod. Does this mean serial allocation didn’t directly reflect BuAer No.s (i.e. earliest assigned to earliest)?

Most were delivered to S India and then some on to Australia for distribution to front line sqdns in the Pacific. A very few were used by front and second line squadrons, but service records for aircraft of this batch end in 1946, when they were returned or more likely dumped.

Earliest MKIIIs seem to have been delivered in US TSS equivalent as per MKIIs. The FAA formally adopted SBG for US supplied aircraft from August 1944. The rest delivered in Sea Blue Gloss with an ant-glare Non-spectacular Sea Blue panel in front of the cockpit. Interior colours as per MKII.

The already mentioned Air Britain picture of JZ654 with delivery number in Canada and the crown picture of JZ635 at the A&AEE on p82 of Profile Publications Profile 214 and in the book ‘The Secret Years - Flight Testing at Boscombe Down 1939-1945’, show TBM-3s in TSS. A photo seen by others of JZ681 (a TBM-3E) show it to be in SBG, so were JZ series TBM-3s delivered in TSS and TBM-3Es in SBG or wasn’t it as simple as that?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a aerial picture of Banksfield (IIRC)showing line-up after line-up of FAA aircraft, with many of them identified as TBM-3Es in SBG.

I think that when one of the BPF carriers (Implacable?) visited New Zealand just after the end of the war, it had a squadron of these aircraft, but that this was effectively the only active use of the type. The aircraft on this visit should be identifiable from FAA Aircraft 1939-45.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I`ve been looking into the Mk.III`s for quite a few years now and one observation that I have made is that many of them were reconditioned ex US Navy aircraft and the SBG finish shows definite overpainting of the US Stars and also the previous US Navy sqn/carrier markings on the fin/rudder and upper wings too,....it is something to look out for on the few available photos including the well known KE461 shown in model form below.

Some Mk.III`s were delivered to the UK and were used post war, mostly on trials duties but most went to Australia and would have replaced the Mk.II`s serving aboard the BPF Fleet Carriers if the war had not ended when the bombs were dropped. Suddenly there was no use for all of these Mk.III`s so many were dumped at sea but those units remaining in theatre for any length of time re equipped with Mk.III`s and at least a couple of squadrons went to sea with them. By the way,....a nice photo exists of an unknown Mk.III coded 372/N in Australia which has a small chequerboard marking on the fin, the last three of the serial look like 764 but it has an internal hook so must be from the JZ serial block? It could be JZ704 which was at Nowra?

From my basic research which was done quite a few years ago so my memory might not be correct, I think that the British Mk.III`s were TBM-3E`s from BuAer69140 which could be JZ651 and I have written down that from BuAer86175 the TBM-3E` had external hooks fitted, meaning that the first batch of Mk.III`s serialled JZ635-JZ720 had internal hooks but the second and subsequent batches, beginning with KE430 had external hooks? The available photos that I have seen seem to bear this out.

If it helps I`ve built a couple of models and they are attached below for info;

Trumpeter 1/32nd- 849 NAS, HMS Victorious,.....later 854 & 828 NAS`s in Australia.

1-32ndBPFAvenger3-1_zpsb3a0ff92.jpg

1-32ndBPFAvenger6-2_zpsb64f4e74.jpg

Hasegawa 1/72nd- 703 NAS, RNAS Ford, late 1940`s,.......another UK based Mk.III was JZ670/AH8X from 707 NAS,

Avenger1_zps23dbb76d.jpg

Avenger3_zpsa6cb491c.jpg

All the best

Tony

Edited by tonyot

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From FAA Aircraft 1939-45, KE461 was from a single batch of concurrent BuAer numbers so although it will have carried USN national markings it does not seem to have had any time to spend in USN squadron service.

My comments above applied to the TBM-3E.

The comparatively small number of refurbished TBF/TBM in FAA service does make an interesting subset, but only a few of them appear to have been Mk.IIIs. All of the reconditioned airframes are in the VL serial range but only three examples were traced by Ray Sturtivant, and these in the UK. VL409, 444 and 508, the last two apparently Mk.IIIs. Except for VL994 to 999, which reported to Sydney aboard HMS Reaper 9.45. The last three appear to have been Mk.IIIs. Three others, described as "elderly", were handed over to the FAA at Norfolk "possibly as GI".

This of course excludes any "bar tales" of aircraft cadged from the USN in the Pacific, but if they existed then these will not have carried serials or the FAA mods.

EDIT; Initial deliveries of the Mk.III were from TBM-3 production. As said, most of the JZ635-720 batch were TBM-3E, and it is this batch that saw limited WW2 service. I would not expect a one-to-one relationship with the BuAer serials, however sensible it may seem. The KE batch were TBM-3Es, and went to the UK. My posting above should have said that it referred to the TBM-3E, and excluded post-1945 service (as Tony shows). There will be more on these in Sturtivant's postwar volume.

EDIT2. the last edit seems to have scrambled part of the text. I think it has been restored to what I meant to say, but at least it makes more sense now.

Edited by Graham Boak

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Tony and Graham

My understanding is that those MKIIIs delivered in 1944/45 (JZ635 to JZ720, KE430 to KE479 and possibly the re-conditioned examples in part of the VL994 to VL999 range) had the FAA specific mods as per earlier versions (dome windows, observers station, British equipment etc.). A quick look at the photos of JZ691 and KE461 in Eric Brown's Wings of the Navy, shows dome windows which would seem to confirm this.

It might be that the VL range MKIIIs might not have received the mods as these were presumable refurbished USN airframes, but there is no reason why Blackburn couldn't have worked on those as well?

The 100 serialled XB296 to XB332, XB355 to XB404 and XB437 to XB479. supplied in 1953 by the US under the MDAP, were initially fitted out by Scottish Aviation with basic British equipment fitted (radios, safety equipment etc. ) but no airframe changes made as per previous wartime TBM-3E airframes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

JZ691 was an oddball in being assembled at Renfrew in 1945. The majority of the other late deliveries do not seem to have passed through the UK, and the JZ batch are not recorded at all in post-war service, although the KE range up to KE467 were. KE441 is another with the domed window.

If the dome mods etc were carried out on the production line or at least in the USA somewhere this wouldn't matter, of course, but to happen on the Eastern production line would seem to fly in the teeth of LL rules.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I understand that the FAA mods were not carried out on the production line. Martlet, Avenger, Corsair and Hellcat airframes were delivered to Blackburn Aircraft - at first in the UK but after 1942 in America - at the British Modification Centre where they were `Anglicised' before delivery to FAA.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I understand that the FAA mods were not carried out on the production line. Martlet, Avenger, Corsair and Hellcat airframes were delivered to Blackburn Aircraft - at first in the UK but after 1942 in America - at the British Modification Centre where they were `Anglicised' before delivery to FAA.

Yes that is correct, although some mods were still done in the UK after 1942..

Cheers

Tony

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...