TBD over Japanese Held Wake Island 1942
The Douglas TBD Devastator was an American built torpedo bomber of the United States Navy (USN). When it first flew in 1934 it was the Navy’s’ most advanced aircraft. By the time the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, it was outdated.
The Devastator did perform well in early battles. The “Battle of Midway” was a total disaster for the TBD. There were 41 TBD Devastators along with SBD Dauntless dive bombers with F4F Wildcat fighter support from the USS Enterprise, USS Hornet, and USS Yorktown sent to attack the 4 Japanese aircraft carriers and their support ships.
The outdated TBD’s were sitting ducks as the Japanese Zeros pounced on the from upon high and the ships from the Japanese task force made mincemeat of the Devastators with their anti-aircraft guns.
There were 41 TBDs sent out to attack the enemy carriers only 6 returned to their home ships. Thirty-five aircraft and crews were lost. The remaining Devastators in the USN inventory were taken out of service after the battle and replaced with the Grumman TBF Avengers.