This Torpedo Bomber Crashed Off Leyte (And the Photos are Amazing)

December 29, 2020 Topic: History Region: Pacific Blog Brand: The Reboot Tags: Torpedo BomberLeyte GulfAir CrashRescueUSS Anzio

This Torpedo Bomber Crashed Off Leyte (And the Photos are Amazing)

A Grumman TBF Avenger torpedo bomber spun into the Pacific Ocean seconds after launch.

It was a routine carrier takeoff, but nothing in warfare is ever routine. Lieutenant B. Sevilla launched his TBF Avenger torpedo bomber from the USS Anzio but within seconds he lost control and spun into the water. The Anzio was conducting antisubmarine patrols off the Philippine coast of Leyte on December 21, 1944.

 

After catapulting off the USS Anzio’s deck, Lieutenant B. Sevilla’s TBF drops its port wing into the ocean.
After catapulting off the USS Anzio’s deck, Lieutenant B. Sevilla’s TBF drops its port wing into the ocean.

Sevilla’s bomber carried a total crew of four, including Ensign W.K. Bowdon, who served as an observer; Petty Officer 2nd Class W.L. Mills; and Petty Officer 3rd Class J.B. Robinson. All survived the impact and either climbed or swam out of the bomber to await rescue. It would not be long. They were soon retrieved by the destroyer USS Morris to fight another day.

Lieutenant Sevilla climbs out the cockpit as his bomber begins to sink. Another crewman, who escaped through the belly hatch, pops up beneath the ball turret.
Lieutenant Sevilla climbs out the cockpit as his bomber begins to sink. Another crewman, who escaped through the belly hatch, pops up beneath the ball turret.
As the TBF sinks deeper, the entire four-man crew safely emerges. One man on the right prepares to unravel an inflatable raft.
As the TBF sinks deeper, the entire four-man crew safely emerges. One man on the right prepares to unravel an inflatable raft.

Under the watchful eye of a sailor from the USS Morris, the crew await pick up as the bomber sinks, tail last.

This article was first published by the Warfare History Network.

Image: Wikimedia