An atmospheric color photograph of an Avenger making an arrested landing aboard an escort carrier as plane handlers rush to release the arresting wire and move the aircraft forward. The large yellow “buzz numbers” indicate a training aircraft. The national insignia carry the red border which was only authorized from 28JUN43 to 14AUG43.
A similar photograph showing the buzz number carried on the starboard wing. Also note where the national insignia further outboard on the wing has been painted over in accordance with directives. On the yardarm the ship is displaying the two black ball dayshapes which indicate that she is restricted in her ability to maneuver while conducting flight operations. Escorting ships quickly learn to keep a close watch on aircraft carriers as they will often alter course to steer into the wind with little or no notice.
As American wartime production became sufficient to meet the needs of the front-line units, older aircraft were rotated back to the States, often to be used in training commands. This Avenger shows heavy fading and wear to the Blue Gray over Light Gray camouflage along with areas where the paint has been touched up.
This perspective shows details of the wing fold and landing gear. The interior of the wing fold is finished in the upper surface color Blue Gray, the landing gear is finished in the under surface color Light Gray.
Carrier aircraft often displayed small numbers in various locations to help crews in identifying specific airframes when the side numbers were not easily visible. This aircraft carries the number “7” on the cowl sides and wing leading edges. Interestingly, this does not appear to correspond to the aircraft’s buzz number on the wing upper surface.
A sailor ties off an Avenger at the landing gear attachment point. The decks of U.S. aircraft carriers were provided with slotted steel strips to anchor the lines, one of which is faintly visible in the lower left-hand corner of this photograph. As soon as the aircraft was spotted on the deck the wheels were chocked and it was secured with lines or chains – aircraft could easily roll of the deck of a ship underway.
A fine view of the Avenger’s Wright R-2600-8 powerplant. The engine was rated at 1,700 horse power. The Avenger was the heaviest single-engine aircraft to serve during WWII with a maximum weight of 13,667 pounds – just 400 pounds more than the P-47 Thunderbolt. (NASM, Rudy Arnold Collection)
The Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm was a major user of the Avenger, taking over one thousand aircraft into service. In FAA service it was called the Tarpon until 01JAN44 when the American name was adopted. These 846 Squadron Tarpon are shown on a training flight in the U.S. in late 1943, they would be assigned to the escort carrier HMS Ravager.
The FAA also operated the Avenger in the Pacific. This obviously staged photograph gives us a good look at the uniforms of both the flight and ground crews which differ little from their American counterparts. Note the upper wing roundel which has minimized the white area and eliminated the red altogether to reduce the possibility of confusion with Japanese markings.
A yellow-nosed torpedo is wheeled into position. Red has also been removed from the Avenger’s fin flash. Friendly fire incidents remain a problem to this day in spite of precautions to minimize their likelihood.
Part I here: