Hobbymaster 1/72nd scale HA1219 Grumman TBM-3 Avenger White 86 of VC-88, USS Saginaw Bay, March 1945. Buy now online at Flying Tigers.
Just prior to the start of WW II the USN started to look for a replacement for their ageing Douglas Devastator. Grumman made a presentation of a prototype labeled as XTBF-1 that impressed the USN and they placed an order to purchase. The plane was perfect for the Navy needs, a huge rotary engine that was enclosed in a barrel like fuselage to cut down on drag, and with some increase in the fuselage and wing lengths would accommodate a three-man crew. Production on what was now officially known as the TBF/TBM Avenger and would come to receive the affectionate name of “The Turkey” from the pilots that flew them began in 1941 with first delivery just in time for the Battle of Midway in June 1942. What started out as a carrier borne torpedo bomber soon turned into a close-support bomber, a patrol aircraft and even a trainer.
From January 1945 until March 1945 the USS Saginaw Bay provided air cover for the invasion of Iwo Jima and VC-88 lost one TBM-3. March 1, 1945 the 5th Fleet begins its raids on the Ryukyu Islands in preparation for the major assault on Okinawa. On March 24, 1945, one day before the start of the invasion USS Saginaw Bay arrived on station off Okinawa and provided air support to the invading forces with VC-88 losing one TBM-3. USS Saginaw Bay left for the U.S. on April 29, 1945.