|Pilot Ensign T. L. Hall (rescued)
Gunner ? (rescued)
Radio ? (rescued)
Crashed December 8, 1943
Built by Grumman as Model G-40. Constructors Number 4919. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as TBF-1 Avenger bureau number 47589.
Assigned to USS Monterey (CVL-26) to squadron VC-30. No known nickname or nose art.
On December 8, 1943 took off from USS Monterey (CVL-26) piloted by Ensign T. L. Hall armed with bombs on a glide bombing mission against Nauru Airfield on the southern edge of Nauru Island. The formation included nine Avengers plus three others from the squadron. Weather was a slight cumulus build up with a base at 2,000' with ten miles visibility.
Approaching Nauru Island, the Avenger formation waited for the naval bombardment to cease and dive bombers from VB-17 to finish their dive bombing run before the Avengers started their glide bombing attack from from 9,000' making a 45° dive into intense anti-aircraft fire of all calibers.
The Avengers released their bombs at 2,000' and pulling out over the southwest coast. During the dive, this Avenger was hit by heavy or medium fire that damaged in the engine, fuselage, left wing, rudder, knocked out the radio and a hydraulic leak that caused the landing gear to extend. Two other Avengers were hit by the same anti-aircraft fire but landed safely and were repaired.
Although damaged, Hall was able to reach the task force but the tail hook failed to extend electronically or manually. Instructed to ditch, the crew survived.
Fates of the Crew
The entire crew survived and were rescued by a Destroyer Escort and returned to their carrier.
Stan Gajda adds:
"The Japanese managed to shoot down two American planes on Nauru. [ This aircraft and F6F Hellcat 26088 ]"
Navy Serial Number Search Results - TBF-1 Avenger 47589
NARA USN Act Rep Air Group 30, Nauru Island, 8 December 1943
(Page 8) TBF-1 [this aircraft]
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August 12, 2018