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The Douglas A-20 Havoc, also known as the DB-7, the Boston, and the P-70 Nighthawk, was a light bomber and night fighter that was used by the United States and Great Britain during WWII.

Description

It had dual Wright R-1830 Engines that were capable of propelling it at speeds of up to 514 km/h. The Havoc's first production model was the DB-7 which was originally sent to France. The A-20 Havoc had a total weight of 8,610 kilograms when fully loaded with combat equipment and a total length of 14.4 meters.[1] The armament of the Havoc consisted of up to seven .303 machine guns mounted in various defensive positions around the plane along with 900 kilograms worth of bombs. The service ceiling of the plane was around 7,600 meters and its maximum range was around 1,600 kilometers.

The Havoc was also manned by a three man crew and had great trouble when conducting combat sorties. It was often found unsuitable in these types of roles and casualties mounted.[2] However, these shortcomings did not ruin the class and it continued to be used. 

Variants

The first variant made to the original DB-7 was the DB-7A which featured improved mechanical functions along with new and more powerful engines. Next was the DB-7B which featured new Cyclone R-2600 Engines and a redesigned superstructure that was tougher and more reliable. It should be noted that the DB-7 series of the A-20 Havoc class was sent to Great Britain once France fell to German powers and the DB-7, DB-7A, and DB-7B were all renamed as the Mk I, II, and III. These aircraft were also fitted with newer British aerial equipment.[3]

A-20s over Kokas, July 1943

An A-20 flying over Kokas, Indonesia in 1943, as its wingman is shot down.

The main production model of the series though was not the DB-7 but rather the A-20. It was very similar to the DB-7 but had a large armament upgrade featuring a new total of ten machine guns, three of which were now .50 caliber or 12.7mm Browning M2s. The next variant in the A-20 series was the A-20A which also had further mechanical upgrades and better engines. The A-20B was widely exported to the Soviet Union through Lend-Lease and was mainly based on the earlier DB-7A with the addition of a modified cockpit being the only major change.

The A-20C was however, a far more important variant in the series than most others. It was the first plane of the series to be employed by American airmen and it had numerous changes made to meet requirement. Firstly, it had self-sealing fuel tanks and improved armored plating for crew protection. Also importantly, it had new engines and was able to carry a torpedo instead of bombs.

A number of Havoc aircraft served with the United States Navy as DB-1s and DB-2s.[4]
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References

  1. http://www.wwiivehicles.com/usa/aircraft/bomber/douglas-a-20-boston-havoc.asp
  2. http://www.militaryfactory.com/aircraft/detail.asp?aircraft_id=186
  3. http://www.americancombatplanes.com/a20_1.html
  4. Gunston, Bill. St Michael Aircraft of World War 2. Octopus Books. 1982. ISBN 0-86273-014-7 Page 63


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