Douglas TBD Devastator "1935"

The Douglas TBD Devastator was an American torpedo bomber of the United States Navy. Ordered in 1934, it first flew in 1935 and entered service in 1937.

Douglas B-66 Destroyer "1954"

RoleTorpedo bomber
National originUnited States
ManufacturerDouglas Aircraft Company
First flight15 April 1935
Introduction3 August 1937
Retired1942 (from active service)
1944 (completely)
Primary userUnited States Navy
Number built130



Douglas TBD Devastator "1933"

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Douglas TBD Devastator "

The Douglas TBD Devastator was an American torpedo bomber of the United States Navy. Ordered in 1934, it first flew in 1935 and entered service in 1937. At that point, it was the most advanced aircraft flying for the Navy and possibly for any navy in the world. However, the fast pace of aircraft development quickly caught up with it, and by the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor the TBD was already outdated.

The Devastator performed well in early battles but earned notoriety for a catastrophic performance during the Battle of Midway in which 41 Devastators recorded zero torpedo hits with only six surviving to return to their carriers. Vastly outclassed in both speed and maneuverability by the Mitsubishi Zero fighters they faced, most of the force was wiped out with little consequence except to distract the Zeros from the SBD Dauntless dive bombers that sank four carriers and a heavy cruiser. Although much of the Devastator’s dismal performance was later attributed to the many well-documented defects in the US Mark 13 torpedo, the aircraft was withdrawn from frontline service after Midway, being replaced by the Grumman TBF Avenger.

Devastador Design

The Douglas XTBD-1 was ordered on 30 June 1934 after being one of the winners of a US Navy competition for new bombers to operate from its aircraft carriers.[1] Other aircraft also ordered for production as a result of the competition included the Brewster SBA, the Vought SB2U Vindicator, and the Northrop BT-1, the last of which would evolve into the Douglas SBD Dauntless.[2] The Great Lakes XB2G, Great Lakes XTBG, Grumman XSBF, Hall XPTBH and Vought XSB3U were also tendered to the specification but were not developed beyond prototype status.[2]

The XTBD Devastator flew for the first time on 15 April 1935 while marking a number of “firsts” for the US Navy.[3] It was the first American carrier-based monoplane to be widely used, the first all-metal naval aircraft, the first with a completely enclosed cockpit, the first with power-actuated (hydraulically) folding wings.[4] A semi-retractable landing gear was fitted, with the wheels protruding 10 in (250 mm) below the wings to potentially limit damage to the aircraft in a “wheels-up” landing. A crew of three was normally carried beneath a large “greenhouse” canopy almost half the length of the aircraft.

    •  United States
      • United States Navy]
        • VT-2 used 58 Devastators between December 1937 and May 1942.
        • VT-3 used 71 Devastators between October 1937 and June 1942. They starred in the 1941 movie Dive Bomber.[32]
        • VT-4 used nine Devastators between December 1941 and September 1942.


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Douglas TBD Devastador (1935)

There are no surviving aircraft in museums or private collections, nor are there any currently under restoration.[25] However, below are eleven underwater aircraft that are known to exist and are the closest to a complete airframe.[33] It is not known if anyone will recover and restore these aircraft, as there has been no news on the discovery off San Diego since 2011.[34] Note that these aircraft exist in varying degrees of intactness due to circumstances of their loss and subsequent saltwater corrosion. For example, the pair at Jaluit, a shallow warm-water atoll, have reef creatures growing on their exteriors; several of those lost at Coral Sea have broken wings and fuselages due to avgas explosions and their free-fall to the deep sea floor.


  • Crew: 3: (Pilot, Torpedo Officer/Navigator)
    .Length: 35 ft 0 in (10.67 m)
  • Wingspan: 50 ft 0 in (15.24 m)
  • Height: 15 ft 1 in (4.60 m)
  • Empty weight: 5,600 lb (2,540 kg)
  • Gross weight: 9,289 lb (4,213 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 10,194 lb (4,624 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney R-1830-64 Twin Wasp 14-cylinder two-row air-cooled radial piston engine, 900 hp (670 kW)

Maximum speed: 206 mph (332 km/h, 179 kn) at 8,000 ft (2,400 m)

Cruise speed: 128 mph (206 km/h, 111 kn)

Range: 435 mi (700 km, 378 nmi) with Mark 13 torpedo or


1 × forward-firing 0.30 in (7.62 mm) Browning machine gun or 0.50 in (12.7 mm) Browning machine gun

1 × 0.30 in (7.62 mm) machine gun in rear cockpit


1 × Mark 13 torpedo or

1 × 1,000 lb (450 kg) bomb or

2 × 500 lb (230 kg) bombs or

12 × 100 lb (45 kg) bombs

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On September 19, 2019, the USS Midway Museum acquired a 1:1 scale replica used in the World War II movie, Midway. The plane was donated from Lionsgate following the conclusion of filming and will become an exhibit on USS Midway (CV-41)'s hangar.[

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