A Field of Devastators

13 September 1941, 81 years ago today: Douglas TBD-1 Devastator aircraft of Torpedo Squadron Five (VT-5) parked at Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Virginia. Douglas SBD-3 Dauntlesses of Bombing Squadron Five (VB-5) are beyond the TBDs, with Grumman F4F Wildcat fighters and Curtiss SB2U Vindicator scout bombers further in the left background.

U.S. Navy photo # 80-CF-55215-7
U.S. Navy photo # 80-CF-55215-7

The TBDs have recently been repainted in the new blue-gray and light gray color scheme, while the other planes are still in the earlier overall light gray. VT-5 and VB-5 were assigned to the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV-5), which left Norfolk on the following day for operations in the North Atlantic.

In late May 1942, VS-5 and VT-5, badly depleted at Coral Sea, were both replaced in Yorktown’s airwing with Bombing Three (VB-3) and Torpedo Three (VT-3), drawn from the sidelined USS Saratoga which was on the West Coast undergoing a repair from a Japanese torpedo, meaning they missed the battle of Midway.

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