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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 Heinemann / Edward Heinemann in 1938. 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.

With events unfolding in the Spanish Civil War it was felt that the aircraft would be outdated before it was produced so the Army put out Circular Proposal 28-385 in March 1938 specifying a more capable bomber.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

Had a tricycle gear.

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.

Armament

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

Prototype

The Model 7B (DB-7 prototype) first flew on October 26, 1938.

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

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.

Production

An initial order of 123 was placed in June 1939.

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

The United States Army Air Corps placed an order for 63 A-20s in June 1939.

  • Douglas Model 7B: 1
  • Douglas DB-7: 270
  • Douglas DB-7A: 100
  • Douglas DB-7B: 781
    • Douglas: 541
    • Boeing: 240
  • Douglas DB-7C: 48
  • Douglas A-20: 63
  • Douglas A-20A: 64, 143
  • Douglas A-20B: 999
  • Douglas A-20C: 808, 948
    • Douglas: 808
    • Boeing: 140
  • Douglas A-20E: 17 A-20As converted
  • Douglas A-20F: 1
  • Douglas A-20G: 2,850
    • Manufacturing plant: Santa Monica
    • Production: 1943 - 1944
  • Douglas A-20H: 412
  • Douglas A-20J: 450
    • Manufacturing plant: Santa Monica
  • Douglas A-20K: 413
  • Douglas P-70: 59
  • Douglas P-70A-1: 39
  • Douglas P-70A-2: 65 converted A-20Gs
  • Douglas P-70B-2: 105 converted A-20Gs and A-20Js
  • Total: 7,385, 7,478
    • Manufacturer: Douglas Aircraft Company at El Segundo, California, Boeing
      • Douglas: 7,098
      • Boeing: 380
    • Production: ? - September 20, 1944

Variants

  • Douglas Model 7B: Prototype.
  • Douglas DB-7 / Douglas Boston I:
  • Douglas DB-7A / Douglas Boston II: Wright R-2600 Double Cyclone (1,600 HP). Had a larger fin and rudder.
  • Douglas DB-7B / Douglas Boston III: Wright R-2600 Double Cyclone (1,600 HP). Redesigned structure that was stronger. Carried more fuel.
  • Douglas DB-7C: Ordered by Belgium.
  • Douglas Boston IIIA:
  • Douglas Havoc Mk I: Night fighter. Had eight 7.7 mm MG in nose. Used by RAF.
  • Douglas Havoc Mk II: Night fighter. Had twelve 7.7 mm MG in nose. Used by RAF. Had AI Mk IV radar. Engine exhaust had flame dampeners installed.
  • Douglas Havoc Mk III: Made to have the Long Aerial Mine stream out behind the aircraft in flight.
  • Douglas A-20: Main variant.
  • Douglas A-20A: Had Wright R-2600 7 turbo charged radial engines.
    Had Wright R-2600-3/11 (1,600 HP).
  • Douglas A-20B: Based on the DB-7A. Change in nose shape. Had Wright R-2600-3/11 (1,600 HP). Most went to the Soviet Union.
  • Douglas A-20C / Boston III: First model to be put into combat by the Americans. Attempt to make this model meet American and British requirements with one plane. Had Wright R-2600-3/11 (1,600 HP). Had additional armor. Self sealing fuel tanks. Could carry a 2,000 lb / 907 kg torpedo. Rear guns were removed.
  • Douglas A-20D: None produced.
  • Douglas A-20E: 17 A-20As that installed the Wright R-2600-3/11 engines.
  • Douglas A-20F: Test bed for a remote control system.
  • Douglas A-20G: Attack version Had a solid nose. Martin electrical powered dorsal turret.
  • Douglas A-20H: Solid nose. 1,700 HP engines. Used mostly in the Pacific theater.
  • Douglas A-20J / Douglas Boston IV: Had transparent nose. Used as a bombing formation lead ship.
  • Douglas A-20K / Douglas Boston V: Had transparent nose. Had R-2600-29 engines installed.
  • ??: Used by the RAF to carry a Turbinlite (searchlight) to light up Luftwaffe planes at night for Hurricanes to shoot down.
  • Douglas P-70: Night fighter. Two crew. 60 A-20s converted. Had radar. There were four 20 mm cannons mounted under the fuselage. Used for night fighter training. Had a British radar installed in a solid nose.
  • Douglas P-70A-1: Night fighter. 13 A-20Cs converted in 1943. Installed a radar and 6 machine guns in the nose. Two handheld machine guns in cockpit rear.
  • Douglas P-70A-2: Night fighter. No guns in rear cockpit.
  • Douglas P-70B-2: Night fighter. Had SCR-720 and SCR-729 radar.
  • Douglas F-3: Reconnaissance. Were used mostly for training. Three A-20s were converted.
  • Douglas F-3A: Reconnaissance. 46 A-20Js and A-20Ks converted. Used in Europe.
  • Douglas BD-2: Eight used by the Marine Corps.
  • Douglas XA-20F: An A-20A that had a 37 mm cannon in the nose. Dorsal and ventral turrets were powered.

Usage

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

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

France

A total of 64 / 260 DB-7s were ordered. The DB-7s were used in the Battle of France and the survivors were used by the Vichy French.

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

Great Britain

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

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

  • A-20G: 28
  • A-20J: 165, 169
  • A-20K: 20

Great Britain converted 100 Boston Mk IIs into night fighters in late 1940. These first went to No 23 Squadron.

France - Vichy

Some were used by the Vichy air force.

First Use by USAAF

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

Australia

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

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

Soviet Union

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

  • A-20A: 665
  • A-20G: 250

United States

The United States military used 1,962.

The 18th Fighter Group, commanded by Colonel Charles R. Greening and Colonel Robert A Zaiser, were equipped with P-70A-2 night fighters and did patrols over the Solomons.

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

After World War II

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

Specifications

  DB-7 Boston
Type Day bomber, Light bomber
Crew 3
Engine (Type) 2: Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp
2: Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp
Cylinders Radial 14
HP 1,050 each, 1,200 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Dimensions  
Span 61' 4"
18.7 m
Length 47', 47' 6"
14.48 m
Height 15' 10", 17' 7"
5.36 m
Weight  
Loaded 19,000 lb
Performance  
Speed 320 mph
Range 1,200 miles
Armament  
Nose 4: 0.303" MG
Dorsal turret 2: 0.303" MG
Ventral position 1: 0.303" MG
Bombs 2,000 lb
907 kg
  A-20 Havoc
Type Light bomber
Crew 3
Engine (Type) 2: Wright R-2600-7 Double Cyclone
Cylinders Radial 14
HP 1,700 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Armament  
Nose 4: 0.3" MG
OR 2: 0.5" MG
Dorsal turret 2: 0.3" MG
Ventral position 1: 0.3" MG
OR 1: 0.5" MG
Bombs 2,000 lb
907 kg
  A-20A Havoc
Dimensions  
Span 61' 4"
18.7 m
Length 48'
14.63 m
Height 17' 7"
5.36 m
Weight  
Empty 15,165 lb
6,879 kg
Maximum load 20,711 lb
9,395 kg
Performance  
Speed at 12,400' / 3,780 m 347 mph
558 kph
Cruising speed 295 mph
475 kph
Climb to 10,000' / 3,048 m 5.1 minutes
Service ceiling 28,175'
8,588 m
Range 675 miles
1,086 km
  Boston III
Engine (Type) 2: Wright R-2600 Double Cyclone
Cylinders Radial 14
HP 1,600 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Weight  
Empty 15,051 lb
6,827 kg
Loaded 20,230 lb
9,217 kg
Maximum load 23,500 lb
10,660 kg
Performance  
Speed at sea level 311 mph
500 kph
Speed at 12,500' / 3,810 m 338 mph
544 kph
Cruising speed 273 mph
439 kph
Climb 2,000'/minute
610 m/minute
Service ceiling 27,600'
8,412 m
Range  
Range with 1,000 lb 745 miles
1,200 km
  A-20G Havoc
Type Attack, Light attack bomber, Light bomber
Crew 2 - 3, 3, 4
Engine (Type) 2: Wright R-2800-23 Double Cyclone piston
2: Wright R-2600-23 Twin Cyclone
2: Wright Cyclone R-2600-23
Cylinders Radial, Radial 14
Cooling Air
HP 1,600 each, 2,625 each
Propeller blades 3 each, constant speed
Dimensions  
Span 61', 61' 4"
18.69 m, 18.7 m
Length 48'
14.63 m
Height 17' 7", 18'
5.36 m
Wing area 464 sq ft
43.11 sq m
Weight  
Empty 14,950 lb, 15,984 lb, 16,993 lb, 17,200 lb
7,250 kg, 7,802 kg
Loaded 24,127 lb, 27,144 lb, 27,200 lb
12,338 kg
Maximum combat load 27,200 lb
12,338 kg
Maximum load 30,000 lb
13,608 kg
Performance  
Speed at 12,300' 333 mph
Speed at 12,400' / 3,780 m 339 mph, 340 mph
545 kph, 546 kph
Cruising speed 230 - 272 mph
370 -438 kph
Climb 1,300'/minute
396 m/minute
Climb to 10,000' / 3,050 m 7.1 minutes, 7 minutes 6 seconds
Service ceiling 23,700', 25,100', 25,800'
7,650 m, 7,864 m, 7,865 m
Range 1,000 miles, 1,087 miles, 1,090 miles
1,754 km, 1,755 km
Range with 2,000 lb 1,025 miles
1,650 km
Maximum ferry range 2,035 miles
4,755 km
Armament 8: MG
Nose 6: 12.7 mm MG
6: .50 MG
8: 0.5" / 12.7 mm MG
OR 4: 20 mm
2: 0.5" MG
Dorsal turret 2: 0.5" / 12.7 mm MG
2: .50 MG
Ventral position 1: 12.7 mm MG
1: .50 MG
Bombs 2,000 lb, 2,600 lb, 3,990 lb, 4,000 lb
907 kg, 1,179 kg, 1,814 kg
Bombs - Internal 4: 500 lb
4: 227 kg
Bombs - Under Wings 2: 1,000 lb
2: 454 kg
  A-20H Havoc
Engine (Type) 2: Wright R-2600-29 Double Cyclone
HP 1,700 each
Propeller blades 3 each
  A-20J Havoc
Engine (Type) 2: Wright R-2600-23 Double Cyclone
Cylinders Radial 14
HP 1,600 each
Propeller blades 3 each
  A-20K Havoc
Engine (Type) 2: Wright R-2600-29 Double Cyclone
HP 1,700 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Performance  
Speed at 15,600' / 4,755 m 333 mph
536 kph
Cruising speed 269 mph
433 kph
Service ceiling 28,250'
8,610 m
Range 1,060 miles
1,706 km
  P-70
Type Night Fighter
Crew 3
Engine (Type) 2: Wright R-2600-11
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling Air
HP 1,600 each
Dimensions  
Span 61' 4"
18.69 m
Length 47' 7"
14.5 m
Height 17' 7"
5.36 m
Wing Area 464 sq ft
43.11 sq m
Weight  
Empty 16,031 lb
7,272 kg
Loaded 21,264 lb
9,645 kg
Performance  
Speed at 14,000' / 4,265 m 329 mph
529 kph
Climb to 12,000' / 3,660 m 8 minutes
Service ceiling 28,250'
8,610 m
Range 1,060 miles
1,706 km
Armament  
Nose 6: 12.7 mm / 0.5"

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