The Douglas TBD Devastator was a torpedo bomber of the United States Navy, ordered in 1934, first flying in 1935 and entering service in 1937. At that point, it was the most advanced aircraft flying for the USN and possibly for any navy in the world. However, the fast pace of aircraft development caught up with it, and by the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor the TBD was already outdated. It performed well in some early battles, but in the Battle of Midway the Devastators launched against the Japanese fleet were almost totally wiped out. The type was immediately withdrawn from front line service, replaced by the Grumman TBF Avenger.
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As Described In
1942 Pacific Air War: Some say that the Devastator was obsolete when it rolled off the assembly line. That makes sense, since it was designed way back in ‘34. It’s a stable bombing platform, but the controls are heavy, slow, and not very responsive. Take-off is basically sound, but slow. The maneuverability stinks on ice. She can’t fly high and she can’t fly fast, but you’ve got great control at low speeds, which is important in a bomber.