Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
Canadian Warplanes 5: The Post War Piston Era, General Motors (Grumman) TBM-3E Avenger

General Motors (Grumman) TBM-3E Avenger

Data current to 24 Nov 2019.

(RCN Photo courtesy of the Shearwater Aviation Museum)

General Motors (Grumman) TBM-3E Avenger AS 3M, RCN (Serial No. 53908), 389.  This Avenger is equipped with a long tubular magnetic anomaly detector (MAD) boom along the portside lower rear fuselage.

The Grumman TBF Avenger (designated TBM for aircraft manufactured by General Motors) is an American torpedo bomber which entered U.S. service in 1942.  One of the primary postwar users of the Avenger was the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), which obtained 125 former US Navy TBM-3E Avengers from 1950 to 1952 to replace the Faireyfly aircraft in service at that time.  These Avengers were delivered at a time when the RCN was shifting its primary focus to anti-submarine warfare (ASW), and the aircraft was rapidly becoming obsolete as an attack platform.  Consequently, 98 of the RCN Avengers were fitted with an extensive number of novel ASW modifications, including radar, electronic countermeasures (ECM) equipment, and sonobuoys, and the upper ball turret was replaced with a sloping glass canopy that was better suited for observation duties.  The modified Avengers were designated AS 3.  A number of these aircraft were later fitted with a large magnetic anomaly detector (MAD) boom on the rear left side of the fuselage and were redesignated AS 3M.  However, RCN leaders soon realized the Avenger's shortcomings as an ASW aircraft, and in 1954 they elected to replace the AS 3 with the Grumman S-2 Tracker (built in Canada by de Havilland and designated CS2F), which offered longer range, greater load-carrying capacity for electronics and armament, and a second engine, a great safety benefit when flying long-range ASW patrols over frigid North Atlantic waters.  As delivery of the new license-built CS2F Trackers began in 1957, the Avengers were shifted to training duties, and were officially retired in July 1960.  (Shearwater Aviation Museum)

(RCN Photo courtesy of the Shearwater Aviation Museum)

General Motors (Grumman) TBM-3E Avenger AS 3, formation flight, Royal Canadian Navy. 

 (RCN Photo courtesy of the Shearwater Aviation Museum)

General Motors (Grumman) TBM-3E Avenger AS 3, Royal Canadian Navy.  

(RCN Photo courtesy of the Shearwater Aviation Museum)

General Motors (Grumman) TBM-3E Avenger AS 3, formation flight, Royal Canadian Navy. 

 (Author Photo)

General Motors (Grumman) TBM-3E Avenger AS 3, ABG, Canadian Warplane Heritage, lost in a fire in 1993, shown here at the Toronto Island Airport ca. 1978.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photos, MIKAN No. 4951377)

General Motors (Grumman) TBM-3E Avenger AS 3, ca 1957. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photos, MIKAN No. 4821508)

General Motors (Grumman) TBM-3E Avenger AS 3, RCN, ca 1957.

(Library and Archives Canada Photos, MIKAN No. 4820891)

General Motors (Grumman) TBM-3E Avenger AS 3,  USN (Serial No. Bu. 85685), RCN (Serial No. 53488), coded NAVY-348, Shearwater, Nova Scotia, ca 1957. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4820890)

General Motors (Grumman) TBM-3E Avenger AS 3,  USN (Serial No. Bu. 85685), RCN (Serial No. 53488), coded NAVY-348, Shearwater, Nova Scotia, ca 1957. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photos, MIKAN No. 48208944)

General Motors (Grumman) TBM-3E Avenger AS 3, USN (Serial No. Bu. 85685), RCN 685, ca 1957. 

(RCN Photo courtesy of the Shearwater Aviation Museum)

General Motors (Grumman) TBM-3E Avenger AS 3M, RCN (Serial No. 53908), 389. 

(RCN Photo courtesy of the Shearwater Aviation Museum)

General Motors (Grumman) TBM-3E Avenger AS 3M, RCN (Serial No. 53908), 389. 

 (RCN Photo courtesy of the Shearwater Aviation Museum)

General Motors (Grumman) TBM-3E Avenger AS 3M, RCN (Serial No. 53908), 389. over the Halifax Citadel. 

(USN Photo)

General Motors (Grumman) TBM-3E Avenger AS 3, RCN (Serial No. 53241), on the flight deck of HMCS Magnificent (CVL 21), circa 1953.

 (USN Photo)

General Motors (Grumman) TBM-3E Avenger AS 3, RCN (Serial No. 86233), ABB, flying over HMCS Magnificent (CVL 21), circa 1953. 

(USN Photo)

General Motors (Grumman) TBM-3E Avenger AS 3, RCN (Serial No. 86233), ABB, flying over HMCS Magnificent (CVL 21), circa 1953. 

(DND Photo via Mike Kaehler)

General Motors (Grumman) TBM-3E Avenger AS 3W2, RCN Serial No. 53782). 

(DND Photo via Mike Kaehler)

General Motors (Grumman) TBM-3E Avenger AS 3W2, RCN Serial No. 53782), being armed with rockets. 

 (USN Photo)

Grumman Avenger AS.3 aircraft on the flight deck of the Canadian aircraft carrier HMCS Magnificent (CVL 21), circa 1953. In September 1953 the carriers USS Wasp (CVA-18), USS Bennington (CVA-20) and HMCS Magnificent conducted the exercise "Mariner" in the North Atlantic. On the afternoon of 23 September 1953, with 42 planes aloft, the carriers were completely sogged in by fog. After Vice Admiral T.S. Combs and Rear Admiral H.H. Goodwin had ordered to ditch all planes near the submarine USS Redfin (SSR-272) at 1620 hrs, however, the fog lifted and all planes could be recovered safely with only minimum fuel remaining. This was then called the "Mariner Miracle".

 (USN Photo)

Grumman Avenger AS.3 aircraft on the flight deck of the Canadian aircraft carrier HMCS Magnificent (CVL 21), circa 1953. 

 (Author Photos)

General Motors (Grumman) TBM-3 Avenger (Serial No. 85861/TFD), Shearwater Aviation Museum, Nova Scotia.

 (Author Photo)

General Motors (Grumman) TBM-3E Avenger (Serial No. 53610), C-FIMR.  Aircraft No. 23.  Flown to the Shearwater Aviation Museum on 26 July 2012.