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Quick Facts:

Engine:    1200hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830-86

                Twin Wasp, 14-cylinder radial

Weight:    Empty 4649 lbs, Max 7950 lbs.

Wing Span:   38ft. 0 in.

Length:    28ft. 9in.

Height:   9ft. 2.5in.

Performance:

        Maximum Speed at 20,000ft:   318mph

        Cruising Speed:   155mph

        Service Ceiling:   39,500ft

        Initial Climb Rate:   1950 feet/min.

        Range:   770 miles

Armament:

        Six 12.7-mm (0.50 in) Browning machine guns

        Two 100-lb bombs


Wildcat F4F-4, FM-1

Wildcat  FM-2

Quick Facts:

Engine:    1350hp Pratt & Whitney R-1820-56

                Twin Wasp, 14-cylinder radial (FM-2)

Weight:    Empty 4649 lbs, Max 7950 lbs.

Wing Span:   38ft. 0 in.

Length:    28ft. 9in.

Height:   9ft. 2.5in.

Performance:

        Maximum Speed at 20,000ft:   332mph

        Cruising Speed:   155mph

        Service Ceiling:   39,500ft

        Initial Climb Rate:   1950 feet/min.

        Range:   770 miles

Armament:

        Four 12.7-mm (0.50 in) Browning machine guns

        Two 250-lb bombs


The Wildcat, a fighter aircraft designed for aircraft carrier operations, was developed by Grumman for the Navy with the designation as F4F. Planes manufactured by General Motors were given an FM-1 designation. First deliveries were in Nov 1941.


The FM-1 flew off of the CVE 21 USS Block Island from Oct 1943 to Feb 1944 and was used during the first and second combat cruises.

The FM-2 Wildcat, an updated version of the F4F-4 and FM-1 fighter aircraft was manufactured by General Motors because Grumman production was dedicated to the new F6F Hellcat. The FM-2 was quicker, faster climbing, longer ranged than its predecessors. It featured a taller vertical stabilizer.  


The FM-2 flew off of the CVE 21 USS Block Island from 16 Feb 1944 to 29 May 1944 and was used during the third and fourth combat cruises.


Web Note: John F. Carr, one of the two surviving Grumman F4F/FM pilots in the air at the time of the CVE-21 sinking, attended Harvard Law after WWII and eventually became Vice-Chairman of the Board for Grumman Aircraft, the same company who had designed the Wildcat that he flew on that fateful night.

Avenger  TBF-1

Quick Facts:

Engine:    1,700hp Wright R-2600-8 Double-Cyclone

                air-cooled radial engines generating.

Weight:    Empty 10,080 lbs, Max 15,904 lbs

Wing Span:   54.17ft

Length:    40.12 ft.

Height:   95.42ft

Crew:    Pilot, Bombardier, Gunner

Performance:

        Maximum Speed at 20,000ft:   271 mph

        Service Ceiling: 22,402 ft

        Range:   1,215 miles

Armament:

        Two 7.62-mm machine guns

       One 12.7-mm machine gun

        1,600 lb Bomb Load or One Mark 13 Torpedo

The TBF-1 Avenger was developed by Grumman to replace the 1930‘s era Douglas Devestator as a carrier based bomb & torpedo platform. During the opening ceremonies for a new plant and the introduction of the new TBF-1 to the public on December 7, 1941 the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor shocked everyone. The airplane was noted for its large size, powerful engine, and unique folding wings. The plane was used in both Atlantic and Pacific operations.


The TBF-1 flew off of the CVE 21 USS Block Island from Oct 1943 to 29 May 1944 and was used during all four combat cruises.

Avenger  TBM-3

Quick Facts:

Engine:    1,900hp Wright R-2600-20 Double-Cyclone

                air-cooled radial engines generating.

Weight:    Empty 10,545 lbs, Max 17,895 lbs

Wing Span:   54.17ft

Length:    40.12 ft.

Height:   15.42ft

Crew:    Pilot, Bombardier, Gunner

Performance:

        Maximum Speed at 20,000ft:   276 mph

        Service Ceiling: 30,100 ft

        Range:   1,000 miles

Armament:

        One 7.62-mm machine guns

       Three 12.7-mm machine gun

        2,000 lb Bomb Load or One Mark 13 Torpedo

Wing mounts for rockets / drop tanks / radar pod

The TBM-3 Avenger was developed by Grumman but manufactured by General Motors allowing almost 10,000 TBF/TBM to be assembled during WWII. This updated model improved the overall performance of this sturdy aircraft. The plane was used in both Atlantic and Pacific operations.


The TBM-3 was flown by Marine squadrons off of the CVE 106 USS Block Island during Pacific operations.


Notable TBM crews include former President George Bush as a pilot and actor Paul Newman as a turret gunner.

Hellcat F6F

Quick Facts:

Engine:    2,175hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800-10W

                radial engines w/water injection.

Weight:    Empty 9,153 lbs, Max 11,381 lbs

Wing Span:  42’ 10”

Length:    33’ 7”

Height:   13’ 1”

Crew:    Pilot

Performance:

        Maximum Speed at 20,000ft:   376 mph

        Service Ceiling: 37,403 ft

        Range:   1,090 miles

Armament:

        Six .50 caliber guns

        2,000 lb Bomb Load

Wing mounts for rockets ( Six 5” HVAR )

The F6F Hellcat was another fighter developed by Grumman. It was designed to improve on the Wildcat which, while successful, could never out perform the Japanese Zero. The Hellcat could beat the Zero in almost every category. This fighter is credited with downing 5,000 enemy planes with an outstanding kill ratio of 19:1 .


The Hellcat was flown by Marine squadrons off of the CVE 106 USS Block Island during Pacific operations in three different configurations. The F6F-5 was a water injection version for more performance, the F6F-5n was developed as a night fighter, and the F6F-5p was a photo reconnaissance variant.

Corsair F4U

Quick Facts:

Engine:    2,250hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800-8W

                radial engines w/water injection (2,450hp).

Weight:    Empty 8,694 lbs, Max 13,120 lbs

Wing Span:  41’

Length:    33’ 8”

Height:   16’ 1”

Crew:    Pilot

Performance:

        Maximum Speed at 20,000ft:   425 mph

        Service Ceiling: 33,900 ft

        Range:   1,019 miles

Armament:

        Six .50 caliber guns

        2,000 lb Bomb Load

Wing mounts for rockets ( Eight 5” HVAR )

The F4U Corsair was perhaps the most impressive fighter aircraft of WWII. It was the first single engine fighter to fly faster than 400 mph. Manufactured by Vought it was also built by Goodyear and Brewster. It was not available for carrier operations until 1944. After a rough start, combat tactics were changed so that Corsairs battled the Japanese in high speed, high altitude confrontations rather than slow speeds where they lost their advantage.

The F4U-1D model went aboard CVE 106 Block Island in Feb 1945 with Marine squadron VMF-511 and was used in combat support operations in the Carolinas and Okinawa.

The Corsair continued to be used in the Korean War despite the arrival of jet fighters. Celebrities include Colonel Ed McMahan, combat pilot and instructor.

AF Guardian

Quick Facts:

Engine:    2,400hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800-48W

                radial engine.

Weight:    Empty 14,580 lbs, Max 25,500 lbs

Wing Span:  60’ 8””

Length:    43’ 4”

Height:   16’ 2”

Crew:    Pilot + 2 or 3

Performance:

        Maximum Speed  315 mph

        Service Ceiling: 32,500 ft

        Range:   1,500 miles

Armament:

        4,000 lb Bomb Load

        Wing mounts for rockets ( 16 5” HVAR )

Grumman started development of an aircraft to replace the TBM workhorse, the result was the AF Guardian. However, before entering service it was re-designated for anti-submarine warfare. The Guardian entered service in October 1950 as the largest single-engine, piston-engined aircraft ever used by the US Navy. A total of 389 AF Guardians were built before being replaced by the better performing Grumman S2F Tracker.


The AF Guardian saw service on CVE 106 USS Block Island during the Korean War. The last AF retired on 31 Aug 1955.

Piasecki HUP

Quick Facts:

Engine:    Continental R-975-46A radial, 550 hp.

Weight:    Empty 3,928 lbs, Max 5,750 lbs

Length:    56’ 11”

Height:    12’ 6”


Crew:    Pilot, Co-Pilot, 4 passengers

Performance:

        Maximum Speed    105 mph

        Service Ceiling: 10,000 ft

        Range:   340 miles

The Piasecki HUP was a compact single radial engine, twin overlapping tandem rotor utility helicopter developed by the Piasecki Helicopter Corporation of Morton, PA. In a design competition in 1945 for a compact utility/rescue helicopter to operate from Navy ships including aircraft carriers, the HUP was selected. It first flew in 1948 and entered service with the US Navy and USMC in 1949.


This helicopter was used aboard CVE 106 during the Korean War for air/sea rescue and utility work.


In 1956 the company changed its name to Vertol Aircraft Corporation and which was purchased by the Boeing Aircraft Company in 1960.