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United States' Douglas A-20 Havoc light attack bomber

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  • Douglas A-20 Boston bomber
  • Douglas A-20 Boston bomber
  • Douglas A-20 Boston bomber
  • Douglas A-20 Boston bomber
  • Douglas A-20 Boston bomber
  • Douglas A-20 Boston bomber
  • Douglas A-20 Boston bomber
  • Douglas A-20 Boston bomber
  • Douglas A-20 Boston bomber
  • Douglas P-70 night fighter
  • Douglas P-70 night fighter
  • Douglas A-20 Havoc bomber
  • Douglas A-20 Havoc bomber
  • Douglas A-20 Havoc bomber

Design

The DB-7 Boston was designed by Jack Northrop and Ed Heinemann4 / Edward Heinemann in 1938.1,6 There were no specifications given by the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) but the design was to be for a high performance tactical bomber.4

With events unfolding in the Spanish Civil War it was felt that the aircraft would be outdated before it was produced so the Army put out Circular Proposal 28-385 in March 1938 specifying a more capable bomber.6 Edward Heinemann then, used the original Model 7 design, modified it to meet the specifications.6 This became the Model 7B.6

Had a tricycle gear.1,6

Special Nose

The nose on the Model 7B was designed to be interchangeable between a glass nose for bombing and a solid nose with eight machines guns for attack.6

Armament

The dorsal turret in the A-20G was powered with two .50 cal machine guns.6

Prototype

The Model 7B (DB-7 prototype) first flew on October 26, 1938.3,6

Was known as the DB-7 and flew on January 23, 19391 / August 17, 19392. The prototype crashed in January 1939 before the U.S. Army could evaluate it.6

Based upon the competing prototypes, the Army knew of the performance of the Douglas 7B so extended the deadline for submittal and only required design submissions rather than a trial flight.6

Production

An initial order of 123 was placed in June 1939.6

France placed the main orders.2,3,4 Many of these were taken over by the Royal Air Force (RAF) when France fell.2

The United States Army Air Corps placed an order for 63 A-20s in June 1939.3

  • Douglas Model 7B: 13
  • Douglas DB-7: 2703
  • Douglas DB-7A: 1003
  • Douglas DB-7B: 7813
    • Douglas: 5413
    • Boeing: 2403
  • Douglas DB-7C: 483
  • Douglas A-20: 633
  • Douglas A-20A: 646, 1433
  • Douglas A-20B: 9992,3,6
  • Douglas A-20C: 8086, 9483
    • Douglas: 8083
    • Boeing: 1403
  • Douglas A-20E: 17 A-20As converted6
  • Douglas A-20F: 16
  • Douglas A-20G: 2,8502,3,6
    • Manufacturing plant: Santa Monica6
    • Production: 1943 - 19446
  • Douglas A-20H: 4122,3,6
  • Douglas A-20J: 4503
    • Manufacturing plant: Santa Monica6
  • Douglas A-20K: 4133
  • Douglas P-70: 596
  • Total: 7,3852,3,4, 7,4786
    • Manufacturer: Douglas Aircraft Company4,6 at El Segundo, California6, Boeing6
      • Douglas: 7,0986
      • Boeing: 3806
    • Production: ? - September 20, 19441,4,6

Variants

  • Douglas Model 7B: Prototype.3
  • Douglas DB-7 / Douglas Boston I:
  • Douglas DB-7A / Douglas Boston II: Wright R-2600 Double Cyclone (1,600 HP).3 Had a larger fin and rudder.3
  • Douglas DB-7B / Douglas Boston III: Wright R-2600 Double Cyclone (1,600 HP).3 Redesigned structure that was stronger.3 Carried more fuel.3
  • Douglas DB-7C: Ordered by Belgium.3
  • Douglas Boston IIIA:
  • Douglas Havoc Mk I: Night fighter.2 Had eight 7.7 mm MG in nose.2 Used by RAF.2
  • Douglas Havoc Mk II: Night fighter.2 Had twelve 7.7 mm MG in nose.2 Used by RAF.2
  • Douglas Havoc Mk III:
  • Douglas A-20: Main variant.1
  • Douglas A-20A: Had Wright R-2600 7 turbo charged radial engines.2
    Had Wright R-2600-3/11 (1,600 HP).3
  • Douglas A-20B: Based on the DB-7A.3 Change in nose shape.2 Had Wright R-2600-3/11 (1,600 HP).3 Most went to the Soviet Union.3
  • Douglas A-20C / Boston III: First model to be put into combat by the Americans.4 Attempt to make this model meet American and British requirements with one plane.2 Had Wright R-2600-3/11 (1,600 HP).3 Had additional armor.3,6 Self sealing fuel tanks.3,6 Could carry a 2,000 lb / 907 kg torpedo.3 Rear guns were removed.6
  • Douglas A-20D: None produced.6
  • Douglas A-20E: 17 A-20As that installed the Wright R-2600-3/11 engines.3,6
  • Douglas A-20F: Test bed for a remote control system.6
  • Douglas A-20G: Attack version3 Had a solid nose.3,4,6 Martin electrical powered dorsal turret.6
  • Douglas A-20H: Solid nose.4 1,700 HP engines.4 Used mostly in the Pacific theater.4
  • Douglas A-20J / Douglas Boston IV: Had transparent nose.3,4,6 Used as a bombing formation lead ship.3,6
  • Douglas A-20K / Douglas Boston V: Had transparent nose.4 Had R-2600-29 engines installed.6
  • ??: Used by the RAF to carry a Turbinlite (searchlight) to light up Luftwaffe planes at night for Hurricanes to shoot down.1
  • Douglas P-70: Night fighter.1,3,4,6 Two crew.3 60 A-20s converted.3 Had radar.3 There were four 20 mm cannons mounted under the fuselage.3 Used for night fighter training.3 Had a British radar installed in a solid nose.6
  • Douglas P-70A-1: 13 A-20Cs converted in 1943.3 Installed a radar and 6 machine guns in the nose.3
  • Douglas F-3: Reconnaissance.1,4 Were used mostly for training.1 Three A-20s were converted.3
  • Douglas F-3A: Reconnaissance.3 46 A-20Js and A-20Ks converted.3 Used in Europe.3
  • Douglas BD-2: Eight used by the Marine Corps.1
  • Douglas XA-20F: An A-20A that had a 37 mm cannon in the nose.3 Dorsal and ventral turrets were powered.3

Usage

Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Netherlands, South Africa, Soviet Union, and the United States used the DB-7 Boston.3

Australia (69 Bostons), Britain, Canada, Netherlands, South Africa, Soviet Union, and the United States used the A-20 Havoc.3

France

A total of 646 / 260 DB-7s were ordered.4 The DB-7s were used in the Battle of France and the survivors were used by the Vichy Frech.3,4

Some of the DB-7s were used in an attack on Gibraltor.6

Great Britain

Great Britain initially ordered 36 Boston Is and 170 Boston IIs.6 Many of the DB-7s ordered by France were taken over after the surrender of France.4

DB-7s were purchased in 1940 and was given the name Boston.1 A total of 1,800 were delivered to the British.1

  • A-20G: 286
  • A-20J: 1653, 1696
  • A-20K: 203

France - Vichy

Some were used by the Vichy air force.1

First Use by USAAF

The A-20C was first used by the 15th Bomb Squadron.2

Australia

Only one Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) squadron had Bostons.3

The RAAF's only Victoria Cross was awarded posthumously to Boston pilot Flt Lt William Newton.3

Soviet Union

The Soviet Union received 3,125 Havocs.1,2,4,6 Some of them were used as torpedo bombers.6

  • A-20A: 6656
  • A-20G: 2506

United States

The United States military used 1,962.1

After the Japanese surrendered, a F-3A Havoc was the first to land at Itazuke, Japan.1

After World War II

Brazil received 30 A-20Gs and A-20Ks after World War II and were used into the 1950s.6

Specifications

  DB-7 Boston
Type Day bomber5, Light bomber3
Crew 33
Engine (Type) 2: Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp3
2: Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp5
Cylinders Radial 143
HP 1,050 each5, 1,200 each3
Propeller blades 3 each3
Dimensions  
Span 61' 4"3,5
18.7 m3
Length 47'5, 47' 6"3
14.48 m3
Height 15' 10"5, 17' 7"3
5.36 m3
Weight  
Loaded 19,000 lb5
Performance  
Speed 320 mph5
Range 1,200 miles5
Armament  
Nose 4: 0.303" MG3
Dorsal turret 2: 0.303" MG3
Ventral position 1: 0.303" MG3
Bombs 2,000 lb3
907 kg3
  A-20 Havoc
Type Light bomber3
Crew 33
Engine (Type) 2: Wright R-2600-7 Double Cyclone3
Cylinders Radial 143
HP 1,700 each3
Propeller blades 3 each3
Armament  
Nose 4: 0.3" MG3
OR 2: 0.5" MG3
Dorsal turret 2: 0.3" MG3
Ventral position 1: 0.3" MG3
OR 1: 0.5" MG3
Bombs 2,000 lb3
907 kg3
  A-20A Havoc
Dimensions  
Span 61' 4"3
18.7 m3
Length 48'3
14.63 m3
Height 17' 7"3
5.36 m3
Weight  
Empty 15,165 lb3
6,879 kg3
Maximum load 20,711 lb3
9,395 kg3
Performance  
Speed at 12,400' / 3,780 m 347 mph3
558 kph3
Cruising speed 295 mph3
475 kph3
Climb to 10,000' / 3,048 m 5.1 minutes3
Service ceiling 28,175'3
8,588 m3
Range 675 miles3
1,086 km3
  Boston III
Engine (Type) 2: Wright R-2600 Double Cyclone3
Cylinders Radial 143
HP 1,600 each3
Propeller blades 3 each3
Weight  
Empty 15,051 lb3
6,827 kg3
Loaded 20,230 lb3
9,217 kg3
Maximum load 23,500 lb3
10,660 kg3
Performance  
Speed at sea level 311 mph3
500 kph3
Speed at 12,500' / 3,810 m 338 mph3
544 kph3
Cruising speed 273 mph3
439 kph3
Climb 2,000'/minute3
610 m/minute3
Service ceiling 27,600'3
8,412 m3
Range  
Range with 1,000 lb 745 miles3
1,200 km3
  A-20G Havoc
Type Attack4,7, Light attack bomber1,2, Light bomber6
Crew 2 - 31,6, 32,7, 44
Engine (Type) 2: Wright R-2800-23 Double Cyclone piston1,2,3,4
2: Wright R-2600-23 Twin Cyclone6
2: Wright Cyclone R-2600-237
Cylinders Radial1,2,7, Radial 143,4,6
Cooling Air4,6,7
HP 1,600 each3,4,6,7, 2,625 each1
Propeller blades 3 each1,6, constant speed6
Dimensions  
Span 61'1, 61' 4"2,3,4,6,7
18.69 m1,2,7, 18.7 m3
Length 48'1,2,3,4,6,7
14.63 m1,2,3,7
Height 17' 7"2,3,4,7, 18'1
5.36 m1,2,3,7
Wing area 464 sq ft1,2,6,7
43.11 sq m1,2,7
Weight  
Empty 14,950 lb1, 15,984 lb2,7, 16,993 lb6, 17,200 lb3
7,250 kg1,2,7, 7,802 kg3
Loaded 24,127 lb6, 27,144 lb1, 27,200 lb2,4,7
12,338 kg1,2,7
Maximum combat load 27,200 lb3
12,338 kg3
Maximum load 30,000 lb3
13,608 kg3
Performance  
Speed at 12,300' 333 mph6
Speed at 12,400' / 3,780 m 339 mph2,3,4,7, 340 mph1
545 kph3, 546 kph1,2,7
Cruising speed 230 - 272 mph3
370 -438 kph3
Climb 1,300'/minute3
396 m/minute3
Climb to 10,000' / 3,050 m 7.1 minutes2, 7 minutes 6 seconds7
Service ceiling 23,700'6, 25,100'7, 25,800'1,2,3,4
7,650 m7, 7,864 m3, 7,865 m1,2
Range 1,000 miles6, 1,087 miles1, 1,090 miles2,4,7
1,754 km1,2, 1,755 km7
Range with 2,000 lb 1,025 miles3
1,650 km3
Maximum ferry range 2,035 miles3
4,755 km3
Armament 8: MG4
Nose 6: 12.7 mm MG1,2,3
6: .50 MG6
8: 0.5" / 12.7 mm MG7
OR 4: 20 mm3,6
2: 0.5" MG3,6
Dorsal turret 2: 0.5" / 12.7 mm MG1,2,3,7
2: .50 MG6
Ventral position 1: 12.7 mm MG1,3
1: .50 MG6
Bombs 2,000 lb3, 2,600 lb2,4, 3,990 lb1, 4,000 lb6,7
907 kg3, 1,179 kg2, 1,814 kg1,7
Bombs - Internal 4: 500 lb7
4: 227 kg7
Bombs - Under Wings 2: 1,000 lb7
2: 454 kg7
  A-20H Havoc
Engine (Type) 2: Wright R-2600-29 Double Cyclone3
HP 1,700 each3,4
Propeller blades 3 each3
  A-20J Havoc
Engine (Type) 2: Wright R-2600-23 Double Cyclone3
Cylinders Radial 143
HP 1,600 each3
Propeller blades 3 each3
  A-20K Havoc
Engine (Type) 2: Wright R-2600-29 Double Cyclone3
HP 1,700 each3
Propeller blades 3 each3
Performance  
Speed at 15,600' / 4,755 m 333 mph3
536 kph3
Cruising speed 269 mph3
433 kph3
Service ceiling 28,250'3
8,610 m3
Range 1,060 miles3
1,706 km3

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  3. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  4. World War II Airplanes Volume 2, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  5. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
  6. American Attack Aircraft Since 1926, E. R. Johnson, 2012
  7. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site