Douglas A-20E Havoc

Douglas A-20E Havoc

Douglas A-20E Havoc

The Douglas A-20E designation was given to a small number of Havocs used for experiments with lightened fuselages. Most of them were given Wright R-2600-11 engines. Seventeen A-20Es were produced, all based on late production A-20As, and were used for both experimental work and for training.


Douglas A-20 Havoc

Designed to meet an Army Air Corps requirement for a bomber, it was ordered by France for their air force before the USAAC decided it would also meet their requirements. French DB-7s were the first to see combat after the fall of France the bomber, under the service name Boston continued with the Royal Air Force. From 1941, night fighter and intruder versions were given the service name Havoc. In 1942 USAAF A-20s saw combat in North Africa.

It served with several Allied air forces, principally the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF), the Soviet Air Forces (VVS), Soviet Naval Aviation (AVMF), and the Royal Air Force (RAF) of the United Kingdom. A total of 7,478 aircraft were built, of which more than a third served with Soviet units. It was also used by the air forces of Australia, South Africa, France, and the Netherlands during the war, and by Brazil afterwards. [1]

In most British Commonwealth air forces, the bomber variants were known as Boston, while the night fighter and intruder variants were named Havoc. The exception was the Royal Australian Air Force, which used the name Boston for all variants. [2] The USAAF used the P-70 designation to refer to the night fighter variants.


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In western Cambridgeshire, tucked away among the muddy fields, hedges and paths is a still active RAF station with a long and fascinating hisory. Royal Air Force Station Molesworth, almost always shortened to RAF Molesworth, was first constructed in 1917 and remains in use today by the U.S. Air Force.

One can almost picture the B.E.2s of the Royal Flying Corps which operated out of Molesworth during the Great War, conducting training and preparations for flyers preparing to transfer with their aircraft to France. The No. 75 Squadron occupied the airfield for sometime during this period. However, the airfield was abandoned after the war ended and went into disuse. Some of the buildings which had supported the air station where incorporated into the local farms near Bington, Old Weston, and Molesworth.

Unattributed photo of a wartime Avro B.E.2c, a reconnaissance plane and from the Great War, with ‘V” undercarriage, streamlined engine cowling, and the upper wing cut-out for the tail gunner to improve field of fire. Sadly, there are no photographs of B.E.2’s operating from RAF Molesworth during the war that I have been able to locate.

Despite the hopes of a generation, the horror of World War was to be experienced once again. As the United Kingdom found itself drawn into the conflict with the German invasion of Poland in 1939, it was not long before the Air Ministry decided to recommission the abandoned aerodrome at Molesworth. Through 1940, the runways were laid and the base infrastructure constructed to support bombers. The Royal Australian Air Force flew Vickers Wellington IVs, a medium bomber, from Molesworth from November 1941 until January of 1942 under the Royal Australian Air Force’s No. 460 Squadron. After the Australians, the RAF’s No. 159 Squadron occupied the airfied for a short time, but did not conduct flight operations from Molesworth.

It was the arrival of the U.S. Army Air Forces after America’s entry into the war that would transform Molesworth into one of the major bomber bases in England. Upgraded to a Class ‘A’ Airfield intended for use by the “heavies” – the four-engine bombers that would take the strategic bombing campaign to occupied Europe and Germany – Molesworth was radically altered and underwent major upgrades.

The first American tenants at RAF Molesworth were the 15th Bombardment Squadron, flying the Douglas A-20 Havoc/Boston III light bomber. It was from Molesworth on 4 July 1942 that six aircraft from the 15th Bombardment Squadron joined a flight of RAF bombers to conduct a low-level attack against Luftwaffe airfields in the occupied Netherlands – the first U.S. Army Air Force bombers to attack mainland Europe. The date chosen was auspicious for President Roosevelt wanted to begin the strategic bombing campaign against Germany on the 4th of July. None of the four-engine “heavies” at the time were ready though, so the President’s intent was met with the light bombers launched from Molesworth. Sadly, three aircraft on the combined mission did not return from the bombing raid, two were A-20s from the 15th Bombardment Squadron. One of the four that survived was pictured at a later date, amazingly in color:

This Douglas A-20C HAVOC/BOSTON III, serial number AL672, was flown on the 4 July 1942 low-level attack against Luftwaffe positions in the Netherlands at the time part of the 15th Bombardment Squadron (light). This photograph was taken later in the war when AL672 was flying as a staff communications aircraft for the 8th USAAF out of RAF Bovingdon. Photograph from the U.S. Army Air Forces via the National Arcives. Thanks to Roger Freeman: “The Mighty Eighth, the Colour Record” 1991.

The 15th Bombardment Squadron departed RAF Molesworth for operations in North Africa under the 12th Air Force in September 1942. It was at this time that the B-17 Flying Fortresses began arriving at RAF Molesworth, the four squadrons that would eventually comrpise the 303rd Bombardement Group (Heavy) which would fly from Molesworth until the end of the war. The 303rd Bombardment Group, consisting of the 358th, 359th, 360th and 427th Bombardment Squadrons, was destined to become one of the legendary units of the Second World War under the 8th Air Force. The first mission by the 303rd Bomb Group was flown on 17 November 1942, targeting military targets in occupied France. On 27 January 1943, the 303rd began flying missions against Germany, taking part in the 8th Air Force’s first bombing mission against Germany proper – the U-boat facilities at Wilhelmshaven.

For the next two and a half years the 303rd would fly missions deep into German territory: to the ball-bearing factories at Schweinfurt, against factories and shipyards, against rail-yards and distribution centers for the Wehrmacht. During the D-day invasion of Normandy, the 303rd bombed the Pas de Calais and then later supported the breakout from St. Lo in July 1944. It supported the army in the Battle of the Bulge and in the crossing of the Rhine in March 1945. On 25 April 1945, the 303rd flew its last mission from RAF Molesworth attacking the German armaments factory complex at Pilsen.

The RAF Molesworth control tower in April 1944. On the taxiway is a B-17G, tail number 42-97284 “Ain’t Misbehavin” – she would fly a total of 48 combat missions during the war. The “Triangle-C” marking on the verticle stabilizer was the RAF Molesworth designator. The Class A Airfield imporvements: three converging airstrips with a concrete runway of at least 6,000 feet are visible in the distance. Photograph by Mr. Milton “Chic” Cantor, the photographer of the 303rd BG(H), with thanks to the 303rd “Hell’s Angels” historical society.

The 303rd Bomb Group (Heavy) flew a total of 364 missions from RAF Molesworth, comprising 10,271 sorties. The bombers shot down a confirmed 378 aircraft with 104 additional aircraft as probables. 817 men from the 303rd were killed in action and 754 become prisioners of war. After the war, the 303rd Bomb Group (Heavy) departed Molesworth for the United States via North Africa.

22 May 1944: 303rd B-17s on a bombing mission to Kiel, Germany taken at 25,000 feet. Photo from the Peter M. Curry Collection.

B-17s from the 303rd flying through intense anti-aircraft fire. Photo by Joseph Sassone with caption: “Flak so thick you could almost taxi around it.”

The airfield was returned to the Royal Air Force in July 1945 where it was used for jet trainers and Gloster Meteor IIIs were operated from Molesworth for a short period. On 10 October 1946 the training unit left and the airfield was placed in ‘care and maintenance’.

In 1951, the U.S. Air Force returned to RAF Molesworth, hosting the 582nd Air Resupply Group. The runways, taxiways and hardstands were all improved and the airfield became a critical logistics airbase for the Cold War. The 582nd provided air support – paratroop airdrops and resupply – to the U.S. Army’s 10th Special Forces Group which was stationed in Bad Tolz, Germany. The 582nd Air Resupply Group flew a variety of aircraft from Molesworth, from B-29s to C-119 Flying Boxcars and HU-16 Albatrosses. At the time, the 582nd was treated as a normal resupply group however, its support to Army Special Forces, which were trained to infiltrate the Iron Curtain if needed, must be wondered at.

On 25 October 1956, the 582nd was reorganized and called the 42nd Troop Carrier Squadron Medium (Special). They flew HU-16s Albatrosses, C-47 Dakotas, C-119 Flying Boxcars, and C-54 Skymasters from RAF Molesworth until 3 May 1957 when the aircraft moved to RAF Alconbury. However the squadron had a short life at Alconbury and was inactivated on 8 December 1957. The C-54s and C-47s were transferred to Rhein-Main AB, Germany. The C-119s were sent to the 322nd Air Division at Evreux-Fauville AB, France. Of personal note, my grandfather was a C-119 pilot in the 322nd Air Division in Evreux-Fauville AB France at the time, a young U.S. Air Force lieutenant.

25 October 1955: HU-16 Albatross of the 582nd Air Resupply Group at RAF Molesworth. This image or file is a work of a U.S. Air Force Airman or employee, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image or file is in the public domain.

RAF Molesworth went into a maintenance status for the next twenty years, finally being deactivated officially in 1973. Only marginal maintenance was performed at Molesworth by U.S. Air Force personnel stationed a few miles away at RAF Alconbury. That changed in June 1980 when RAF Molesworth was chosen to house nuclear weapons – the BGM-109G Ground Launched Cruise Missiles or GLCMs – under the 303rd Tactical Missile Wing. The Ministry of Defence now worked on building the massive GLCM bunkers that have become a hallmark of the west Cambridgeshire countryside. All the World War II runways, taxiways and hardstands were removed. Only three large hangers from the World War II period remained. Old infrastructure from the 1950s was demolished and new buildings constructed. By December 1986, the 303rd Tactical Missile Wing was activated but when the United States and the Soviet Union signed the INF Treaty in 1987, all nuclear weapons were removed from RAF Molesworth by October 1988. In January 1989 the 303rd Tactical Missile Wing was deactivated.

1989: the GAMA (GLCM Alert and Maintenance Area) at RAF Molesworth is completed for the housing of short-range nuclear weapons. This image or file is a work of a U.S. Air Force AIrman or employee, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image or file is in the public domain.

During the 1980s, regular protests occured at Molesworth due to the stationing of nuclear GLCMs at the facility – part of the peace camp can still be seen outside the main gates of RAF Molesworth. This was part of the European-wide effort to oppose NATO’s basing of tactical nuclear cruise missiles in Europe which was seen at the time as a dramatic escalation in the final years of the Cold War. It was only the removal of the cruise missiles that led to the end of the protests.

In 1990, the Royal Air Force announced that RAF Molesworth would house the U.S. European Command’s Joint Analysis Centre, which still operates at the base today, still controlled by the U.S. Air Force.

For more information on the 303rd Bombardment Group:

The 303rd Bomb Group (Heavy), the Hell’s Angels maintains an indepth and fascinating webpage: http://www.303rdbg.com where many more photos, additional details and stories on the brave men who flew from RAF Molesworth can be read and shared.

For an interesting article on the GLCM facility at RAF Molesworth:


The Douglas A-20 Havoc

The Douglas A-20 Havoc was World War II light bomber attack and recon aircraft. Its users, besides the United States Army Air Force (USAAF), were Soviet Air Forces, Soviet Naval Aviation and the British Royal Air Force (RAF) which called the A-20, Boston.

It was also used by air forces of Australia, South Africa, France and the Netherlands. Brazil obtained the Havoc and after the War. There 7,478 Havocs built for all users .

Design and Development

Donald Douglas, in March of 1937, led a design team that included Ed Heinmann and Jack Northrop that designed a new light bomber that was to be powered by 2 Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp-Junior radial engines rated at 450 hp each.

However another design model very similar being used in the Spanish Civil War indicated the proposed aircraft Model 7A as Douglas named it, was extremely underpowered and could carry very little if any ordnance.

Donald Douglas, in response to a USAAF request for a attack aircraft, placed Ed Heinmann as head of the design team replaced the R-985 with Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp engines and now called Model DB-7B for the USAAF proposal. Competition for this bid was strong, with North American NA-40, Stearman X-100 and Martin 167F. Although the DB-7B was very maneuverable and fast, the USAAF did not place any orders with Douglas.

However the French Purchasing Commission who were in the country looking for American armament of various types, were attracted to the DB-7B. The “Munich Crisis” was in progress and the French wanted new weapons to counter the German aggression and they ordered 270 DB-7s.

Although DB-7 aircraft were not the fastest or as long-ranged as some other aircraft in this class (light bomber), it was rugged and dependable with good speed and maneuverability.

One of Britain’s RAF test pilots, said “The Boston has no vices, very easy to take off and land…The aeroplane represents a definite advantage in the design of flying controls, extremely pleasant to fly and maneuver. Former Boston pilots found it their favorite aircraft of the war dut the ability to toss it around like a fighter. The Boston bomber/night fighter was found to be extremely adaptable and found a role in every combat theater of the ar, and excelled as a true ‘ pilots aeroplane’.”

The DB-7 series ended on 20 September 1944 with a total of 7,098 had been built by Douglas and another 380 by Boeing. The Douglas ability to mas produce aircraft, when the Havoc production was over, the Santa Monica, California plant was quickly re-designed and refurbished and immediately started producing the A-20 Havoc series for the USAAF.

The plant itself was only 700 feet long but by looping back this made the assembly a mile long. Manhours were reduced 50% for some areas of operation and production efficiency was increased.

Operational History

The French had ordered 270 DB-7s (Douglas Bomber 7) variant as they wanted to modify the aircraft with their machine guns and instruments. They started out with the Pratt and Whitney R-1830–SC3-G radial engine, rated at 1,000 hp. Later tt was changed to the Pratt and Whitney R-1830-S3C-G radial engine rated at 1,100 hp. The fuselage was narrower and deeper.

The DB-7s were shipped to Casablanca in North Africa for asembly and sent to France. When the germans attacked France in May of 1940,the 64 available of the DB-7s were used against the Germans.

After the fall of France, the remaining DB-7s went to North africa but fell under the control of the Vichy French. They were used against the Allied invasion of French North Africa. After French (Vichy) forces sided with the Allies, the remaining French DB-7s were used as trainers.

Great Britian (RAF)

The RAF bought the undeliverable DB-7s as France had fallen to the Germans. The Bostons as the RAF renamed them saw action in the Mediterranean and North Africa. During and after the “Battle of Britain” the Boston II were used as night fighters with 8 /30 cal machine guns in the wings..

Some were used as “Turinlite aircraft where the aircraft had been fitted with a powerful searchlight in the nose of the aircraft. The Boston would be directed by a radar operator on the ground in the proximity of an enemy on a bombing or escort run at night. The pilot of the Boston would turn on the searchlite on the enemy aircraft and the Boston’s escorting RAF aircraft would attack the blinded enemy. This practice discontinued in early 1943.

United States Army Air Force

In the 1930s, the United States Army Air Corp (USAAC) was reluctant to pursue any purchases of the A-20. When they saw the improved versions and variants sold to the French and RAF, they became more interested. The USAAC was interested in two versions, the A-20 for high altitude bombing and the A-20A for medium and low level bombing.

Over all USAAC ordered over 1,000 A-20s of different models with about 600 going to the USSR in the lease-lend deal.. The USAAC received 356 A-20s that wereorginally bought by France but could no longer be delivered because the German take over of France.

In 1942 the first operational unit that saw combat was the 89th Bombardment Squadron that served in New Guinea. It was found that Japanese air defenses in the South Pacific were not nearly as deadly as the German air defences in Europe.

There wasn’t any need for a Bombardier in the aircraft and extra machine guns were mounted on the nose giving them devastating fire power at low altitude. The low level attack would wipe out ground targets like aircraft and hangers, and supply dumps. On the ocean the forward gun power was so devastating against the bombs could be literally skipped against supply ships an destroyers.

Europe and Mediteranean

In July of 1942, the first USAAF “Boston” squardonron manned RAF A-20s in the first combat by American forces in theat type of aircraft. They saw service in North Africa, Italy and Corsica France.

It was found the the German air defenses were, especially flak, caused high loses at low altitude, thus medium level bombing was adopted. In 1944 the Havoc begin recon sorties until the end of the war, as more advanced fighter bombers took over their manin chore.

Where you can see the Douglas A-20 Havoc

#41-19393 Wings Museum Balcombe, England

# 43-21709 Lewis Air Legends San Antonio,

#43-22200 National Museum if the United State air Force Dayton, Ohio

#4321627 Pima Air and Space Museum Tucson, Arizona

Tech Specs for the A-20 Havoc

Wingspan: 61 ft 4 in

Length: 47 ft 8 in

Height: 17 ft 7 in

Weight: 16,693 lbs (empty) 24,127 lbs (MGTOW)

Max Speed: 317 mph

Ceiling: 23,700 ft

Range: 945mi (combat)

Engine: 2/Wright R-2600-23 Twin Cyclone radial rated 1,600 HP


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HistoryPorn | Image | "View from an American A-20 Havoc aircraft during a bomber run against a Japanese airfield, 1943

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Douglas A-20E Havoc - History

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    The Douglas DB-7/A-20 Havoc was the most-produced attack bomber during World War II. A total of 7,477 DB-7/A-20s were built, most at Douglas, although 380 were built at the Boeing plant in Seattle, Wash. The Havoc was a mid-wing, twin-engine, three-place medium bomber that earned a reputation for getting its crews home, even when both crew and aircraft suffered crippling blows. It was called the "Boston" when it was built for England's Royal Air Force.

    It entered production when, despite official neutrality in 1938, there was little doubt in the United States that the country should support its allies, Britain and France. The French saw the secret bomber project at the Douglas Santa Monica, Calif., facility and ordered the first 107 DB-7s they were to be delivered to the French Purchasing Commission at Santa Monica starting in October, with deliveries made by ship to Casablanca. The French then ordered another 270 DB-7s. Before the fall of France in June 1940, half had been accepted, but many were still en route. Sixteen had been diverted to Belgium's Aviation Militaire.

    The United Kingdom took over 162 of the DB-7s intended for France as well as Belgium, which also had fallen. By the time the United States entered World War II at the end of 1941, British Havocs and Bostons had already performed well for most of the year against German targets in North Africa and Southern Europe. The U.S. Army Air Corps designated the plane the A-20 Havoc, and it served in every theater of the war.

    More than half of the DB-7/A-20s built went into service in other countries, predominantly the Soviet Union. Versions also included the F-3 photo reconnaissance aircraft and the P-70 night fighter.

    Ed Heinemann, the acclaimed military aircraft designer for Douglas Aircraft
    was born 14 March 1908 in Saginaw, Michigan, moved to California as a child and was raised in Los Angeles. He was a self-taught engineer. He joined Douglas Aircraft as a draftsman in 1926, but was laid off within a year. He found a number of other jobs in aviation until he re-joined Douglas after it acquired Northrup. Heinemann became Douglas’s chief engineer in 1936 where he remained until 1960. Later he joined General Dynamics as corporate vice president of engineering during which time he oversaw the development of the world famous F-16. He retired in 1973, and died 26 November 1991.


    World War II Database


    ww2dbase In the fall of 1937, the United States Army Air Corps issued a request for an attack aircraft. Douglas Aircraft Company's response to the request did not win the contract, but did attract attention from France. With French interest, the prototype took flight early 1938, and eventually won a French contract for 100 aircraft on 15 Feb 1939 the order was increased by 170 in Oct 1939, which also called for more powerful engines though the request was not fulfilled due to engine shortages. The aircraft sold to France were designated DB-7, and they were being shipped to France in sections to Casablanca for re-assembly either in North Africa or in France. The French Armée de l'Air deployed them to active squadrons in Jan 1940. By the time Germany invaded France in May 1940, 64 DB-7 bombers were completed, and the first sortie was flown on 31 May 1940 when 12 DB-7 bombers attacked German columns near Saint-Quentin. Nevertheless, actual combat missions using DB-7 bombers were very few, and had extremely limited effect on the German invasion. When France surrendered, at least eight were lost in combat. The rest were evacuated to North Africa and continued to serve under Vichy France. Some of them bombed the British base at Gibraltar on 3 Jul 1940 as retaliation for the British attack on the French fleet during the Battle of Mers-el-Kébir in French Algeria, but did not cause any damage.

    ww2dbase After the fall of France, there were many DB-7 bombers still in production. They were completed and sold to Britain beginning in Jun 1940 under the designation of Boston. Some of them were converted for different uses, including a night fighter versions with the nickname Havoc. The first aircraft arrived in Britain in Aug 1940, joining a very small number of DB-7 bombers that were evacuated to British by the Free French. At RAF Boscombe Down at Amesbury in County Wiltshire, England, United Kingdom, British test pilots gave favorable reviews, commenting that they were easy to take off and land, and "extremely pleasant to fly and manoeuvre." British experience with Boston bombers showed that when conducting low altitude raids, these bombers were difficult to intercept due to their speed, while still carrying enough bomb load to potentially cause significant damage. After the British take over of the original French contract was complete, more units arrived under Lend-Lease agreements these units carried the American designation of A-20.

    ww2dbase The US Army operated a number of A-20 bombers as well beginning in mid-1941. The first combat situation they saw, unfortunately, was the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in the US Territory of Hawaii where two A-20 bombers were destroyed on the ground at Hickam Field. The American A-20 bombers were nicknamed Havoc following British naming scheme shortly after US entered WW2. The first operation involving A-20 Havoc bombers did not take place until 31 Aug 1942, when several of them engaged in an attack from Port Moresby against Japanese positions further north in Australian Papua on the island of New Guinea. By Sep 1944, 370 A-20 Havoc bombers were in active duty with the Fifth Air Force, most of them based in New Guinea, where they operated both as effective low altitude bombers as well as ground attack aircraft. These aircraft followed the progress of the Allied campaign across South Pacific, attacking ground targets as far as the Philippine Islands and Taiwan until they were replaced by their successors. The ground attack variant of the A-20 design began as a field modification generally attributed to Paul "Pappy" Gunn who replaced the 0.30-caliber guns with 0.50-caliber guns and added four more 0.50-caliber guns in the nose (by eliminating the bombardier position). He also locked the rear turret, which contained two 0.50-caliber guns, in the forward position to add a bit more firepower. He would sometimes add two 900-gallon fuel tanks in the foward bomb bays of his modified A-20 bombers to increase range.

    ww2dbase In Europe, the Americans did not operate a significant number of A-20 bombers, although some American ground and air crews worked alongside those from the British Royal Air Force with Boston and A-20 bombers.

    ww2dbase The Soviet Union also operated a great number of these bombers, acquired through the Lend-Lease program after Jun 1941 when Germany invaded the Soviet Union. 2,901 aircraft of this line served in the Soviet air force, making the Soviet Union the single largest consumer of this Douglas design. Most of them were delivered through the US Territory of Alaska or through Iran. Playing a versatile role as medium bombers, ground attack aircraft, torpedo bombers, among others, many argued that they contributed greatly to the success of the Soviet air force during WW2.

    ww2dbase Vichy France operated a number of DB-7 bombers after 1940, survivors of the German invasion. When the Americans planned Operation Torch landings, these bombers posed a certain threat. To eliminate that threat, as the Allied forces landed, US Navy carrier-based fighters attacked French bases and successfully damaged or destroyed many DB-7 bombers on the ground before they could be used to oppose Allied operations. After the French forces in North Africa switched sides to support the Allies, DB-7 bombers were mainly used for training purposes by the local French forces. By that time, a number of American A-20 bombers were operating in North Africa. Though small in quantity, they played a role in the eventual Allied victory in the Desert War. When the Desert War concluded, some of the French DB-7 bombers were relocated to Britain and operated in raids against German coastal garrisons, including sorties during the Jun 1944 Normandy campaign. Meanwhile, most the American A-20 bombers went on to participate in the Sicily campaign in Italy. These American A-20 bombers were superseded by later models shortly after the campaign on continental Italy began. The Desert War provided an example of one of the very few models of aircraft that fought for both sides of WW2 in a significant manner.

    ww2dbase When the production ended for the A-20 design, a total of 7,478 were built under various designations. Beyond the United States, United Kingdom, France, and the Soviet Union, other nations such as Australia, Canada, and New Zealand also operated them. 380 of the total number were license built by the Boeing Company.

    ww2dbase Source:
    Bruce Gamble, Fortress Rabaul
    Wikipedia

    Last Major Revision: Apr 2007

    23 Jan 1938 The A-20 Havoc/DB-7 aircraft took its first flight.
    15 Feb 1939 France ordered 100 DB-7 medium bombers from the Douglas Aircraft Company of the United States.
    31 May 1940 US-built DB-7 medium bombers of the French Air Force saw combat for the first time against German columns near Saint-Quentin in the Picardy Region of northeastern France.
    31 Aug 1942 US Army Air Force A-20 Havoc bombers participated on their first offensive operation, attacking Japanese positions north of Port Moresby, Australian Papua.

    DB-7

    MachineryTwo Pratt & Whitney R-1830-SC3-G air-cooled radial engines rated at 1,050hp each
    Armament4x7.5mm machine guns at nose, 1x7.5mm machine gun in dorsal flexible mount, 1x7.5mm machine gun in flexible tunnel position, up to 940kg of bombs
    Crew2
    Span18.69 m
    Length14.63 m
    Height4.80 m
    Wing Area43.10 m²
    Weight, Empty5,170 kg
    Weight, Maximum7,725 kg
    Speed, Maximum490 km/h
    Speed, Cruising434 km/h
    Rate of Climb10.20 m/s
    Service Ceiling7,850 m
    Range, Normal1,600 km

    A-20 Havoc

    MachineryTwo Wright R-2600-7 Double Cyclone air-cooled radial engines with turbo superchargers rated at 1,700hp each
    Armament4x7.7mm forward machine guns, 2x2x7.7mm machine guns in an open dorsal position, 1x7.7mm machine gun at ventral tunnel, 2x7.7mm rear machine guns
    Crew3
    Span18.69 m
    Length14.63 m
    Height4.80 m
    Wing Area43.10 m²
    Weight, Empty9,220 kg
    Speed, Maximum544 km/h
    Speed, Cruising350 km/h
    Rate of Climb10.20 m/s
    Service Ceiling9,600 m
    Range, Normal1,200 km
    Range, Maximum1,700 km

    DB-7B Boston Mk III

    MachineryTwo Wright R-2600-A5B 'Double Cyclone' radial engines rated at 1,600hp each
    Armament4x7.7mm Browning machine guns in nose, 2x7.7mm dorsal Browning machine guns, 1x7.7mm ventral Vickers K machine gun, up to 900kg of bombs
    Crew3
    Span18.69 m
    Length14.63 m
    Height5.40 m
    Wing Area43.20 m²
    Weight, Empty6,827 kg
    Weight, Maximum9,215 kg
    Speed, Maximum544 km/h
    Rate of Climb10.20 m/s
    Service Ceiling8,400 m
    Range, Normal1,690 km

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    Visitor Submitted Comments

    1. Anonymous says:
    13 Aug 2007 07:57:28 PM

    my father was a crew chief in WW II for A-20, not sure what series. He talked about the quantity of 50 cal. machine guns in the nose. Enjoyed this article.

    2. Hobilar says:
    1 Sep 2007 11:25:06 AM

    On the 4th July 1942, RAF Bostons attacked airfields in Holland. Six of these aircraft were manned by Anericann crews of the US Eighth Air Force, giving the Americans their first taste of battle in Europe.

    3. Gem says:
    14 Jan 2015 06:48:46 PM

    Is there a problem showing US Armament and standard US measurements? I'm reading about the far East and the A-20's at the beginning of the war and they did not have 7.7mm guns, weights were not in Kg and lengths were not in meters. Did you miss the part where the Manufacturer Douglas Aircraft Company is in the US? and I absolutly know their plans for the plane were not in metric.

    4. Anonymous says:
    27 Jan 2018 07:45:51 AM

    There was also a rear gun setup with one gun facing rear in each engine nacelle and trigger station also with the pilot. This plan is seldom mentioned, due to lack of installation I suppose. The A-20 is often an unheard of aircraft even though it was the most highly produced attack bomber during WWII.

    5. DrDan66 says:
    3 Jun 2020 09:31:38 AM

    My parents worked at Douglas in Santa Monica in the late 30's and early 40's on the A-20 program. My mother was in foreign sales and worked with the Dutch who purchased two or three A-20s for delivery to Borneo in 1941. The planes were built, tested, disassembled and shipped to Sarawak. The freighter arrived at the port and as they were being off-loaded, the Japanese attacked by air, destroying the planes before they were even re-assembled.

    6. Alan Chanter says:
    20 Jun 2020 11:57:54 PM

    One unique feature of the Douglas Boston III was the provision of a detachable control column in the rear compartment which allowed the wireless operator/air gunner to take control of the ailerons and elevators, but not the rudder, and he was supposed to hold the machine straight and level to allow the pilot to bale out in an emergency. The only escape hatch in the pilot’s cockpit was through the roof, and he had to climb through this and then dive off the trailing edge if the wing. This minimised the danger of hitting the tailplane, which was wide and set high. The Boston was the only aircraft in the RAF from which the captain was not expected to be the last crewman to bale out.

    All visitor submitted comments are opinions of those making the submissions and do not reflect views of WW2DB.


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    This Douglas A-20 Havoc (43-9502) of the 410th BG 644th BS, 9th AF was lost on August 4th, 1944 after a direct flak hit that removed the tail of the aircraft. MACR 7932.

    Crew:
    Pilot, 1Lt Thomas Gerald Walsh 27y KIA
    SSgt Karl Waldemar Haeuser 22y POW
    SSgt Fred Herman Jr 19y POW

    Witness Report (1KT James P Schwartz - Plt): “I was flying number 6 position, first flight, second box, on Lt. Walsh’s left wing. On the second pass at the target we flew near and through some patchy cumulus clouds at which time we were subject to intense accurate flack just about the target area.

    From about the tunnel gun position on back the plane seemed to disintegrate, taking off the tail assembly and all that portion up to the tunnel gun. The whole tail section gave resemblance of blowing completely off which makes me believe that portion of the ship received a direct hit.

    Lt Walsh’s ship first sagged tail low then in a matter of seconds reared nose high out of the formation and out of sight. My tunnel gunner followed the ship down after it passed our formation saying that the plane was in a tight spin and going down fast.

    The airplane was not on fire and both engines seemed to be all right. Personally I do not see how any gunners could have gotten out as it appeared to be direct hit in the tunnel gun position.”

    The last contact heard from Lt Walsh was just after the hit “this looks like it, fellows, better get out.”

    Sadly, the death of LT Thomas Walsh came only months after the death of his brother Lt Robert Walsh (24) who was KIA in France July 10, 1944 whilst serving as a Ranger in the US Army.

    SSgt Karl Waldemar Haeuser and SSgt Fred Herman were captured and sent to Stalag Luft 4 near Grosstychow, Prussia (now Tychowo, Poland).


    Douglas A-20E Havoc - History

    List by USAAF Serial Number
    A-20A
    A-20A "War Bond Special / Baby Dumpling" 40-077 transfered to the RAAF as Boston A28-36 on November 5, 1943
    A-20A 40-082 damaged October 29, 1942
    A-20A "Rebel Rocket" 40-094 written off June 16, 1943
    A-20A "Old Man Mose" 40-101 pilot Taylor force landed November 21, 1942
    A-20A "Spook" 40-109 pilot Williams crashed January 26, 1943
    A-20A "Dragon Lady / Riff Raff / Carolina" 40-132
    A-20A "Maid In Japan" 40-139 assigned to 3rd BG, 89th BS then assigned to RAAF as Boston A28-38
    A-20A "Abijah Gooch" 40-155 pilot Pruitt ditched November 16, 1942
    A-20A "Little Hellion / The Steak & Egg Special" 40-166 pilot Vucelic force land June 11, 1944
    A-20A "The Comet" 40-167 pilot Messick ditched September 11, 1942
    A-20A "Minnie Ha Ha / Cleo III" 40-170 pilot Good ditched March 26, 1943, 1 prisoner, 2 missing
    A-20A "Strawberry Roan" 40-173 pilot Langley ditched April 22, 1943
    A-20A "Cindy" 40-176 pilot Richardson ditched March 5, 1943
    A-20A "Little Ruby" 40-3145 pilot Brown ditched September 11, 1942
    A-20A "Flying Lawnmower" 40-3151 pilot Richardson crash landed December 2, 1942
    A-20A "Yellow Fever" 40-3153 pilot ? force landed February 24, 1943
    A-20B
    A-20B 41-3622 crashed Siberia
    A-20C
    A-20C 42-33211 (Boston A28-29) pilot Townsend crashed November 3, 1943
    A-20G-10-DO
    A-20G 42-54082 pilot Pollard crashed March 13, 1944
    A-20G 42-54083 pilot Wells ditched March 13, 1944
    A-20G 42-54085 pilot Miars crashed March 13, 1944
    A-20G 42-54088 pilot O'Neal crashed January 7, 1944
    A-20G 42-54089 pilot Thomas MIA July 23, 1944
    A-20G 42-54117 pilot Hansen crashed March 13, 1944
    A-20G-15-DO
    A-20G "Crap Shooter" 42-54155 pilot Andreotti crashed October 1, 1944, 3 missing, resolved
    A-20G 42-54157 pilot Brock crashed March 20, 1944
    A-20G-20-DO
    A-20G 42-86563 pilot Dower force landed April 16, 1944
    A-20G "Scotch-Soda" 42-86568 scrapped circa October 1944
    A-20G "Calamity Jane" 42-86612 ultimate fate unknown
    A-20G 42-86614 pilot Trazaskowski force landed March 12, 1944
    A-20G 42-86615 force landed April 16, 1944
    A-20G 42-86616 pilot Pearson crashed February 15, 1944
    A-20G 42-86618 pilot Scarlott MIA March 12, 1944
    A-20G 42-86620 pilot Young force landed January 19, 1944
    A-20G 42-86621 pilot McGaughey crashed June 10, 1944
    A-20G 42-86625 pilot Bird MIA March 12, 1944
    A-20G "Powerful Katrinka" 42-86713 force landed April 16, 1944
    A-20G 42-86717 pilot Campagna crashed October 1, 1944, 3 missing, resolved
    A-20G "Lady Charlene" 42-86718 scrapped circa 1944
    A-20G 42-86720 pilot Hill crashed July 9, 1944
    A-20G 42-86723 pilot Horton ditched April 12, 1944 crew rescued
    A-20G 42-86724 pilot Huber force landed January 19, 1944
    A-20G "Good Time Charlie" 42-86727 pilot Burke crashed June 19, 1944
    A-20G 42-86728 pilot Norris crashed February 15, 1944
    A-20G 42-86730 pilot Garlick MIA March 12, 1944
    A-20G 42-86736 pilot Lindsay crash landed July 19, 1944, 3 MIA
    A-20G 42-86747 pilot Rutters force landed March 12, 1944
    A-20G 42-86748 pilot Russell MIA April 17, 1945
    A-20G 42-86768 pilot Prince MIA May 14, 1944
    A-20G "Benny's Baby" 42-86772 force landed April 16, 1944
    A-20G 42-86778 pilot Short force landed March 12, 1944
    A-20G "Louisiana Belle | Gloria | Hell'N Pelican II" 42-86786 pilot Davidson April 16, 1944
    A-20G 42-86888 scrapped 1947
    A-20G-25-DO
    A-20G "My True Love / Rough Stuff!" 43-9038 written off on October 18, 1944
    A-20G "Joy Baby" 43-9039 pilot Sanders force landed April 16, 1944
    A-20G "The Texan" 43-9098 pilot Smart ditched April 16, 1944
    A-20G "Short Stuff" 43-9106 pilot Klein ditched August 11, 1944
    A-20G 43-9122 pilot Rimer MIA February 4, 1944
    A-20G "Sweet Milk" | "Baby Doll II" 43-9113 pilot Keeton crashed May 15, 1944
    A-20G 43-9118 pilot Richardson MIA March 26, 1944
    A-20G "Shag On" 43-9134 pilot Sleeth crashed February 9, 1945
    A-20G 43-9180 pilot Grimes crashed September 10, 1944
    A-20G "Honeybunch" 43-9186 scrapped circa late 1944
    A-20G 43-9391 Destroyed by explosion on July 4, 1943
    A-20G 43-9092 pilot Strauss written off May 1, 1944
    A-20G 43-9133 pilot Karsnia crashed March 22, 1944
    A-20G 43-9392 pilot Wells crashed August 11, 1944, 2 missing, case resolved
    A-20G 43-9395 pilot Fick MIA June 17, 1944
    A-20G 43-9399 pilot Aamodt damaged April 16, 1944
    A-20G 43-9401 pilot Crow force landed April 16, 1944
    A-20G 43-9406 pilot Kellum June 17, 1944
    A-20G 43-9407 scrapped September 1944
    A-20G 43-9410 pilot Wisdom crashed April 10, 1944
    A-20G 43-9419 pilot Knobloch crashed November 21, 1944 remains recovered
    A-20G 43-9424 pilot Hedges written off March 27, 1944
    A-20G "Bevo" 43-9432 pilot Knarr crashed July 22, 1944
    A-20G "Dunk's Junk" 43-9435 Force landed February ?, 1944
    A-20G "Big Nig" 43-9436 pilot Reading force landing May 3, 1944
    A-20G-30-DO
    A-20G "Je Reviens" 43-9458 pilot Hambleton force landed September 18, 1944
    A-20G "Stinky" 43-9637 scrapped circa late 1944
    A-20G 43-9460 scrapped late October 1944
    A-20G "Old S" 43-9468 destroyed June 10, 1945
    A-20G 43-9469 pilot Freeman crashed April 5, 1944
    A-20G 43-9475 pilot Boydstun MIA November 16-17, 1942
    A-20G 43-9477 pilot Soloc ditched March 19, 1944
    A-20G 43-9488 pilot Jovanovich ditched April 16, 1944
    A-20G 43-9491 force landed April 16, 1944
    A-20G 43-9499 pilot Sparks MIA July 9, 1944
    A-20G 43-9623 pilot Palmer ditched March 12, 1944
    A-20G 43-9624 pilot Dean crashed July 14, 1944
    A-20G 43-9625 pilot Hoover crashed March 26, 1944 Sentinel Hill
    A-20G 43-9626 pilot Jesser crashed March 18, 1944
    A-20G "Lady Constance" 43-9628 pilot Gibbons force landed April 16, 1944
    A-20G 43-9629 pilot Davidson force landed April 16, 1944
    A-20G "In The Mood" 43-9669 pilot Gresen force landed April 16, 1944
    A-20G-40-DO
    A-20G "Porky" 43-21297 scrapped circa 1945
    A-20G 43-21299 pilot Russell crashed June 10, 1944
    A-20G "Sleepy Time Gal" 43-21302 pilot Lillard January 7, 1945
    A-20G 43-21293 pilot ? crashed June 7, 1944 crew survived
    A-20G Havoc 43-21304 pilot ? crashed ?
    A-20G "Queen of Spades" 43-21309 pilot Clark MIA January 18, 1945
    A-20G "Big Nig III" 43-21315 pilot Folse force landed June 16, 1944
    A-20G 43-21327 pilot Riordan MIA June 22, 1944, 2 missing
    A-20G "Florida Gator" 43-21379 pilot Pagh MIA August 11, 1944, 2 missing
    A-20G 43-21390 pilot Brooks ditched April 27, 1945
    A-20G "Pistol Packing Mama" 43-21416 pilot Hollingshead crashed June 29, 1944
    A-20G "Eloise" 43-21426 ultimate fate unknown, scrapped
    A-20G 43-21428 pilot Peterson crashed November 10, 1944
    A-20G 43-21430 pilot Van crashed July 9, 1944
    A-20G 43-21414 pilot Duval ditched June 19, 1944 gunner MIA
    A-20G "Pistol Packing Mama" 43-21416 pilot Hollingshead crashed June 29, 1944 discovered 1973, remains recovered, case resolved
    A-20G 43-21430 pilot Van crashed July 9, 1944
    A-20G "Little Joe" 43-21475 scrapped on September 30, 1945
    A-20G 43-21622 pilot Hamwey crashed January 20, 1945
    A-20G 43-21627 under restoration PIMA Air Museum
    A-20G 43-21638 pilot Showalter crashed November 8, 1944 remains recovered, resolved with possible unknown
    A-20G 43-21631 pilot Neel crashed October 10, 1944
    A-20G-45-DO
    A-20G "King High Flush" 43-21935 destroyed June 3, 1945 on the groud at Floridablanca Airfield
    A-20G "Ready Teddy | Miss Priss | Miss Pam" 43-21984 scrapped post war
    A-20G 43-22155 pilot Jennings MIA March 19, 1945
    A-20G 43-22160 pilot Major crashed January 9, 1945, 2 missing, 1 recovered
    A-20G "Bug Eyes" 43-22161 pilot Franz ditched January 9, 1945
    A-20G 43-22200 displayed USAF Museum
    A-20G 43-22210 crashed October 8, 1988
    A-20G 43-22235 scrapped 1945
    A-20H
    A-20H 44-0020 under restoration at Air Heritage Inc.
    A-20J-15-DO
    A-20J 43-21709 restored to static display

    List by RAAF Serial Number
    DB-7B
    DB-7B A28-1
    DB-7B A28-2
    DB-7B A28-3 pilot Newton MIA March 18, 1943
    DB-7B A28-4
    DB-7B A28-5
    DB-7B "G Is For George" A28-6
    DB-7B A28-7 written off June 1944
    DB-7B "J is for Jessica" A28-8 pilot Rowell September 12, 1943
    DB-7B "Pegasus / Kon Marine / She's Apples" A28-9 written off February 22, 1945
    DB-7B A28-10
    DB-7B A28-11
    DB-7B A28-12 pilot Morgan crashed November 10, 1942
    DB-7B "Rocky's Girl" A28-13 pilot Mullens crashed June 1, 1943
    DB-7B A28-14 pilot Kenway MIA February 9, 1943
    DB-7B "Spirit of Sport" A28-15 pilot Dawkins ditched September 12, 1943
    DB-7B A28-16
    DB-7B A28-17
    DB-7B A28-18
    DB-7B A28-19
    DB-7B A28-20
    DB-7B A28-21 pilot Smith missing February 6, 1943
    DB-7B "Retribution" A28-22 pilot McDonald crashed November 26, 1942
    DB-7B A28-23
    DB-7B A28-24
    DB-7B A28-25
    DB-7B A28-26 pilot Knight crashed October 11, 1943
    DB-7B A28-27
    DB-7B A28-28
    DB-7B A28-29
    DB-7B A28-30
    DB-7B A28-31
    DB-7B A28-32
    DB-7B A28-33
    DB-7B A28-34
    DB-7B A28-35
    DB-7B A28-36 (40-077) transfered from USAAF converted to components on April 18, 1945
    DB-7B A28-37
    DB-7B A28-38 (40-139) scrapped during April 1945
    A-20A
    A-20A A28-38 converted to components April 1945
    A-20C
    A-20C A28-26 pilot Knight crashed October 11, 1943
    A-20C A28-27 pilot Emerton crashed January 30, 1944
    A-20C A28-29 pilot Townsend crashed November 3, 1943


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