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United States' Douglas B-23 Dragon bomber

Photos

Douglas B-23 Dragon bomber:
United States' Douglas B-23 Dragon bomber
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook
Douglas B-23 Dragon bomber:
United States' Douglas B-23 Dragon bomber
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook

Design

The B-23 Dragon started out to be a medium bomber to replace the B-18, but it became an all crew trainer.

The resulting XB-23 had a cleaner fuselage and added more defensive weapons. As the speed would be above 280 mph it was felt a nose gun wasn't necessary. The first ever tail gun, for a United States bomber, was installed.

By 1939 the Army was going to purchase the B-17 so the B-23 was submitted in the medium bomber Circular Proposal 39-640. It finished 3rd and wasn't picked for mass production.

Production

On July 27, 1939, the B-23 first flew.

  • Douglas B-23 Dragon: 38
    • Manufacturer: Douglas Aircraft Co.
    • Manufacturing location: Santa Monica, California

Variants

  • XB-22: Rejected design that took B-18 and put in Wright Cyclone engines.
  • XB-23: Design. None built.
  • B-23: Production model.
  • UC-67: Transport. 19 B-23s stripped of armament.

Usage

Reconnaissance

The 89th Reconnaissance Squadron, at March Field, California, received the first B-23.

Bomber Group

In September 1940 the B-23s replaced the A-17As that were part of the 17th Bomb Group at March Field. These were replaced by B-25s in 1941.

Transports

Some of the UC-67 transports were still being flown into the 1970s.

Specifications

  Douglas B-23 Dragon
Type Medium bomber
Crew 6
Engine (Type) 2: Wright Cyclone
2: Wright R-2600-3 Twin Cyclone
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling Air
HP 1,350 each, 1,600 each
Propeller blades 3 constant speed
Dimensions  
Span 92'
Length 58' 4"
Height 18' 5"
Wing area 993'2
Weight  
Empty 19,059 lb
Loaded 26,500 lb
Performance  
Speed 295 mph
Speed @ 12,000' 282 mph
Cruising speed 210 mph
Range cruising  
Climb  
Service ceiling 31,600'
Range 1,450 miles
Range - loaded 1,400 miles
Range - max 2,750 miles
Armament  
Nose 1: .30 cal MG
Waist 1: .30 cal MG
Ventral 1: .30 cal MG
Tail 1: .50 cal MG
Bombs 4,000 lb

Sources:

  1. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
  2. American Attack Aircraft Since 1926, E. R. Johnson, 2012
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site