The Douglas A-20 Havoc

United States of America
United States of America

side view front view under view

DB-7: Douglas Bomber 7. Based on a Northrop model (while Northrop was still working with Douglas), it became one of the major attack bombers of the Allies. A large number of versions was produced, and most versions operated satisfactory.

Versions:

Further pictures:

Douglas A-20 Havoc in full flight
Douglas A-20 Havoc in full flight

 

Technical data on the Douglas DB-7B (Boston Mk III)
Powerplant 2 × Wright GR-2600-A5B Double Cyclone radials, rated at 1600 hp (1192.78 kW) each Role during war
  • (Ground) Attack Fighter
  • Light Bomber
Length 47 ft 6 inch Height 17 ft 7 inch
Empty weight 15051 lb Operational weight 20230 lb typical,
23500 lb max
Wing Span 61 ft 4 inch Wing Aspect ratio 8.11
Wing Area 464 sq ft Service ceiling 24500 ft
Maximum speed 320 mph at 11000 ft Cruising speed 273 mph at optimum altitude
Initial climb rate 2,000 ft per min Range 525 miles minimum,
1240 miles typical
Fuel capacity internal 328.1 Imp gal, 394 US gal Fuel capacity external -
Machine guns 7 × 0.303 inch:
  • 4 × fixed forward firing on sides of fuselage
  • 2 × trainable in dorsal position
  • 1 × trainable in ventral position
Cannons -
Bomb load 2,000 lb max internal, consisting of 4 × 500 lb bombs, or 8 × 250 lb bombs Torpedoes/rockets -
Crew 4: pilot, bombardier/gunner, radio operator/gunner, gunner Naval or ground based Ground
First flight (prototype) 26 October 1938 Operational Service Januari 1940 - 1946
Manufacturer Douglas Aircraft Company Number produced 7385 total, 804 this version
Metric system
Length 14.48 m Height 5.36 m
Empty weight 6827 kg Operational weight 9176 kg typical,
10660 kg max
Wing Span 18.69 m Wing Aspect ratio 8.11
Wing Area 43.11 m² Service ceiling 7468 m
Maximum speed 515 km/h at 3353 m Cruising speed 439 km/h at optimum altitude
Initial climb rate 610 m per min Range 845 km minimum,
1996 km typical
Fuel capacity internal 1.492 liters Fuel capacity external -
Machine guns 7 × 7.7 mm:
  • 4 × fixed forward firing on sides of fuselage
  • 2 × trainable in dorsal position
  • 1 × trainable in ventral position
Cannons -
Bomb load 907 kg max internal, consisting of 4 × 227 kg bombs, or 8 × 113 kg bombs Torpedoes/rockets -

Technical data on the Douglas A-20G-20
Powerplant 2 × Wright R-2600-23 radials, rated at 1700 hp (1267.33 kW) each Role during war
  • (Ground) Attack Fighter
  • Light Bomber
Length 47 ft 11.875 inch Height 17 ft 7 inch
Empty weight 17200 lb Operational weight 27200 lb typical,
30000 lb max
Wing Span 61 ft 4 inch Wing Aspect ratio 8.11
Wing Area 464 sq ft Service ceiling 23700 ft
Maximum speed 339 mph at 12400 ft Cruising speed 272 mph at optimum altitude
Initial climb rate Climb to 10,000 ft in 8 min 48 sec Range 945 miles typical,
2100 miles max
Fuel capacity internal 603.7 Imp gal (725 US gal), plus 562.9 Imp gal (676 US gal) in 4 removable weapon bay tanks for ferry Fuel capacity external 311.4 Imp gal (374 US gal) in jettisonable slipper tank carried under the closed weapon bay doors
Machine guns 7 × 0.50 inch Browning M2:
  • 4 × fixed forward firing on sides of fuselage
  • 2 × in Martin dorsal turret
  • 1 × trainable in ventral position
Cannons -
Bomb load 4,000 lb max, consisting of:
  • 4 × 500 lb, or 8 × 250 lb internal
  • 500 lb on each of four underwing hardpoints
Torpedoes/rockets -
Crew 3: pilot, navigator/gunner, gunner Naval or ground based Ground
First flight (prototype) 26 October 1938 Operational Service Januari 1940 - 1946
Manufacturer Douglas Aircraft Company Number produced 7385 total, 804 this version
Metric system
Length 14.63 m Height 5.36 m
Empty weight 7802 kg Operational weight 12338 kg typical,
13608 kg max
Wing Span 18.69 m Wing Aspect ratio 8.11
Wing Area 43.11 m² Service ceiling 7224 m
Maximum speed 546 km/h at 3780 m Cruising speed 438 km/h at optimum altitude
Initial climb rate Climb to 3.050 m in 8 min 48 sec Range 1521 km typical,
3380 km max
Fuel capacity internal 2.744 liters, plus 2.559 liters in 4 removable weapon bay tanks for ferry Fuel capacity external 1.416 liters in jettisonable slipper tank carried under the closed weapon bay doors
Machine guns 7 × 12.7 mm Browning M2:
  • 4 × fixed forward firing on sides of fuselage
  • 2 × in Martin dorsal turret
  • 1 × trainable in ventral position
Cannons -
Bomb load 1.814 kg max, consisting of:
  • 4 × 227 kg, or 8 × 113 kg internal
  • 227 kg on each of four underwing hardpoints
Torpedoes/rockets -

Here is a quick overview of all different versions, without the full technical specifications:

Different versions of the Douglas A-20  Havoc
Douglas DB-7 The first order for the Model DB-7 (originating from the Model 7B) was placed by the french government, in a frantic attempt to upgrade their airforce just before and after the start of World War 2. The resulting 270 DB-7's were powered by 2 × Wright R-1830-SC3-G radials rated at 1,000 hp (746 kW) each. They had a glazed bombardiers nose, carried 0.295 in (7,5 mm) fixed forward firing, 1 × 0.295 in (7,5 mm) dorsal trainable and 1 × 0.295 in (7,5 mm) ventral trainable guns. Typically it would carry a load of 1,411 lb (640 kg), to a maximum of 1,764 lb (800 kg), in various combinations. All instruments and weapons were French made, and dual controls were built into the rear cockpit. The last 170 aircraft were delivered with 2 × Wright R-1830-S3C4-G Wasp radials, rated at 1,100 hp (820 kW). Late production aircraft were also fitted with self-sealing tanks and armor for crew protection.
Number built: 70
Douglas DB-7B British requirements for a fast day bomber made Douglas improve their DB-7 design. All aircraft built were delivered to Great Britain, and were redesignated Douglas Boston Mk III (see below). The requirements for these aircraft included self sealing fuel tanks, additional armor, enhanced structural strength, a longer fuselage (6 inch/0.15 m) for a more glazed bombardiers nose and more fuel capacity (total of 328.1 Imp gal/394 US gal/1.491 liters).
Number built: 781
Douglas DB-73 French ordered DB-7B's equiped with french instruments and armament. All 480 aircraft were converted or finished to the British standard even before delivery had begun.
Number built: 0
Douglas DB-7C Dutch version of the DB-7B, fitted with an interchangeable nose (glazed bombardier or solid with 4 × 20 mm cannons), and special racks suited for carrying a torpedo. Only 20 were built and delivered, and 1 was operational at the time that the Japanese run over the Dutch defenses.
Number built: 20
Douglas Boston Mk I Some 20 French and 16 Belgian DB-7's were taken over by the UK after the capitulation of both aforementioned countries. After conversion to UK standards, and received the Boston Mk I designation, and were subsequently used for training purposes.
Number converted: 36
Douglas Boston Mk III Redesignated DB-7B's.
Redesignated aircraft
Douglas Boston Mk III (Intruder) Boston Mk III's revised as intruders. They had a ventral pack fitted with ? × 20 mm cannons, and a reduced bomb load of 1,000 lb (454 kg).
Number converted: unknown
Douglas Boston Mk III (Turbinlite) Boston Mk III's revised in the same fashion as the Havoc Mk I and II (Turbinlite) versions
Number converted: at least 3
Douglas Boston Mk IIIA British A-20C Havocs, with British guns and equipment. 200 were delivered to the RAF
Transferred aircraft: 200
Douglas Boston Mk IV 169 A-20J's, delivered to the RAF, and redesignated Boston Mk IV
Redesignated aircraft
Douglas Boston Mk V 90 A-20K's, delivered to the RAF, and redesignated Boston Mk V.
Redesignated aircraft
Douglas Havoc Mk I (Intruder) The remainder of the French DB-7 aircraft, which were fitted with 2 × Wright R-1830-S3C4-G Wasp radials, rated at 1,100 hp (820 kW). Because of their short range (462 miles/743 km with max weapon load), they were unable to fulfill their intended role across the English Channel, and were put to use as home-defense night-fighters and intruders.
Changes after receipt of the aircraft were amongst other British equipment and weapons, flame-damper exhausts, and improved armor protection. It had a crew of 3, and could carry a load of up to 2,400 lb 1.089 kg)
Number converted: 181
Douglas Havoc Mk I (Night-Fighter) Equal to the Intruder version, except for the crew (2 seat), the AI.Mk IV radar, and non standard armament of 8 × 0.303 in fixed forward firing machine guns
Douglas Havoc Mk I (Pandora) Equal to the Intruder version, but fitted with LAM systems. the LAM (Long Aerial Mine) was a small explosive device carried on a 2,000 ft (609 m) long cable, and was intended to be dragged in front of enemy bombers. The propellers of these would than catch the wire, and wind it up until the charge hit it, destroying or damaging the engine and wing. This proved to be unsuccessfull, and the Pandora's (about 20) were converted back to Intruders.
Number converted: about 20
Douglas Havoc Mk I (Turbinlite) Equal to the Intruder version, these 21 aircraft had their noses replaced by a 2,700 candlepower Helmore/GEC searchlight. The Turbinlite was supposed to find a target with it's AI Mk IV radar, and then illuminate it. Accompanying Hawker Hurricanes would then destroy the target. Since it is little known, you probably guessed that these tactics didn't work very well, and with the advent of specialized radar equiped night-fighters the scheme was quickly dropped.
Number converted: 21
Douglas Havoc Mk II French ordered aircraft, based on the DB-7A, powered by 2 × Wright GR-2600-A5B Double Cyclone radials rated at 1,600 hp (1.193 kW). Other improvements were a modified landing gear, structural strengthening and a larger vertical tail surface. The same armament was fitted, plus 1 additional rearward firing 0.295 in machine gun in each of the engine nacelles. None of the craft reached France before it's capitulation, however, and they were sent to the UK. There they were adapted to British standards, and for their new role as night-fighter. The nose sections were revised, carrying a staggering 12 × 0.303 in machine guns in addition to an AI Mk IV radar.
Number built: 100
Douglas Havoc Mk II (Turbinlite) Equal to the Intruder version, these 39 aircraft had their noses replaced by a 2,700 candlepower Helmore/GEC searchlight. The Turbinlite was supposed to find a target with it's AI Mk IV radar, and then illuminate it. Accompanying Hawker Hurricanes would then destroy the target. Since it is little known, you probably guessed that these tactics didn't work very well, and with the advent of specialized radar equiped night-fighters the scheme was quickly dropped.
Number converted: 39
Douglas A-20 Havoc Based on the DB-7B version. It had self sealing tanks, strengthened structure, and a more extensively glazed nose. The armament consisted of 0.30 in (7,62 mm) guns: 4 fixed forward firing on the lower sides of the front fuselage, 2 trainable rearward firing in dorsal position, 1 trainable rearward firing in ventral position, and 1 fixed rearward firing in each nacelle which were pilot-operated by footpedals. It could carry up to 1,600 lb (726 kg) in two internal bays. The installed engines were 2 × Wright R-2600-7 radial, rated at 1,700 hp (1.406 kW) each, fitted with turbochargers. As a result it could reach speeds up to 390 Mph (628 km/h).
Number built: 1
Douglas A-20A Havoc It was realised that for a low-level attack bomber there was no need for a supercharged engine, which gave cooling and turbocharger problems anyway. The rest of the A20's were finished with 2 × R-2600-3 radials, rated at 1,600 hp (1,193 kW) each. It had a length of 47 ft 7 in (14,50 m), empty and max take-off weights of 15,165 lb (6.879 kg) and 20,711 lb (9.394 kg) respectively, max level speed of 347 Mph (558 km/h), max range of 1,000 miles (1.609 km), and a ceiling of 28,175 ft (8.590 m).
Number built: 143
Douglas A-20B Havoc This version was based on the A-20A, but had 2 × Wright R-2600-11 radials rated at 1,690 hp (1.260 kW) each. Further modifications were the possibility to carry 166.5 Imp gal (200 US gal, 757,1 l) of ferry fuel in the weapons bay, nose glazing, and the bombload was increased to 2,400 lb (1,089 kg) maximum. Guns consisted of 2 × 0.50 in (12,7 mm) in fixed forward firing on the sides of the fuselage, 1 × 0.50 in (12,7 mm) in trainable rearward firing dorsal position, 1 × 0.3 in (7,62 mm) trainable rearward firing ventral gun. Optional were 1 × 0.3 in (7,62 mm) fixed rearward firing in each of the engine nacelles, and a solid nose with 6 × 0.50 in (12,7 mm) fixed forward firing guns (field modification). This version was more or less equivalent to the Boston Mk II.
Number built: 999
Douglas A-20C Havoc Equivalent to the Boston Mk III, but with American guns and different exhausts on the engines boosting max level speed by another 15 Mph (24 km/h). This type was built by Douglas and Boeing both, and the last 433 Douglas aircraft had also an additional 116.6 Imp gal (140 US gal, 530 l) of fuel capacity, located in the weapons bay. A number of A-20Cs were repossessed by the USA after they entered the War, and were used for training units, received provisions to carry a torpedo, and could be fitted with a solid nose with 6 × 0.50 in (12,7 mm) fixed forward firing guns
Number built: 948
Douglas A-20E Havoc A-20As with 2 × Wright R-2600-11 engines.
Number converted: 17
Douglas A-20G Havoc The most numerous version of the A-20, it was stripped of dual controls, added extra armor and carburetor de-icing. It was built in several blocks:
  • A-20G-1: (250 aircraft), 2000 lb (907 kg) bombload, 4 × 20 mm cannons, plus 1 × 0.50 in (12,7 mm) dorsal, plus 1 × 0.3 (7,62 mm) ventral
  • A-20G-5: (50 aircraft), 6 × 0.50 in (12,7 mm) guns in the nose in stead of the 4 × 20 mm
  • A-20G-10: (300 aircraft), improved carburetor air inlets
  • A-20G-15: (150 aircraft), improved heating for winter operations
  • A-20G-20: (350 aircraft), widened rear fuselage for the electical Martin dorsal turret with 2 × 0.50 in (12,7 mm) guns, a 0.50 in (12,7 mm) ventral gun, 4 underwing hardpoints, rated at 500 lb (227 kg) each, increased fuel capacity to 603.7 Imp gal (725 US gal, 2744 l), possibility to carry a ventral slipper tank of 311.4 Imp gal (374 US gal, 1.416 l).
  • A-20G-25: (399 aircraft), winter version of the A-20G-20
  • A-20G-30: (353 aircraft), improved spent-cartridge collection system
  • A-20G-35: (328 aircraft), haevier gauge skinning on the tailplane
  • A-20G-40: (380 aircraft), modified engine exhaust system, revised cowlings, upgraded navigation system
  • A-20G-45: (290 aircraft), winter version of the A-20G-40
A lot of these aircraft were sent to the USSR.

A-20G-1 (250 aircraft), 2000 lb (907 kg) bombload, 4 × 20 mm cannons, plus 1 × 0.50 in (12,7 mm) dorsal, plus 1 × 0.3 (7,62 mm) ventral
A-20G-5 (50 aircraft), 6 × 0.50 in (12,7 mm) guns in the nose in stead of the 4 × 20 mm
A-20G-10 (300 aircraft), improved carburetor air inlets
A-20G-15 (150 aircraft), improved heating for winter operations
A-20G-20 (350 aircraft), widened rear fuselage for the electical Martin dorsal turret with 2 × 0.50 inch (12,7 mm) guns, 1 × 0.50 inch (12,7 mm) ventral gun, 4 underwing hardpoints, rated at 500 lb (227 kg) each, increased fuel capacity to 603.7 Imp gal (725 US gal, 2744 liters), possibility to carry a ventral slipper tank of 311.4 Imp gal (374 US gal, 1.416 liters).
A-20G-25 (399 aircraft), winter version of the A-20G-20
A-20G-30 (353 aircraft), improved spent-cartridge collection system
A-20G-35 (328 aircraft), heavier gauge skinning on the tailplane
A-20G-40 (380 aircraft), modified engine exhaust system, revised cowlings, upgraded navigation system
A-20G-45 (290 aircraft), winter version of the A-20G-40


Number built: 2.850
Douglas A-20H Havoc Similar to the A-20G-45, but with 2 × Wright R-2600-29 radials, rated at 1,700 hp (1.268 kW) each.
Number converted: 412
Douglas A-20J Havoc Based on the A-20G25, but with a plexiglas frameless bomber nose, featuring a Norden bombsight and 2 × 0.50 in (12,7 mm) fixed forward firing guns. The A-20J was to be a bombing lead ship. 169 of these were transferred to the RAF and were redesignated Boston Mk IV.
Number built: 450
Douglas A-20K Havoc Similar to the A-20J with the airframe/powerplant combo of the A-20H.
Number built: 413
Douglas BD-1 1 A-20A Havoc was transferred to the US Navy for operational tests, receiving the BD-1 designation.
Redesignated aircraft
Douglas BD-2 8 A-20B Havocs were transferred to the US Navy for target tugging and other utility roles without armament, receiving the BD-2 designation.
Transferred aircraft
Douglas F-3A Havoc Reconnaissance aircraft, based on the A-20, it had 2 × Wright R-2600-3 engines. All bombing equipment was removedand T-3A cameras were fitted in the rear weapons bay. The first of these craft became the BD-1.
46 other aircraft (A-20J's and A-20K's) were converted for nocturnal reconnaissance. The recce aircraft were created by removing the 2 × 0.50 in (12,7 mm) fixed forward firing guns, cameras in the rear weapons bay, and photoflash bombs in the first weapons bay
Number converted: 88
Douglas P-70 General designation to all USAAF Night fighter variants of the A-20 Havoc. All aircraft were conversions of other aircraft.
Redesignated aircraft
Douglas P-70A-1 Conversions of the A-20C Attack bomber. Improved radar, and 6 or 8 × 0.50 in (12,7 mm) fixed forward firing guns in a ventral pack.
Number converted: 39
Douglas P-70A-2 Conversions of the A-20G Attack bomber, similar to the F-70A-1
Number converted: 65
Douglas P-70B Conversions for training purposes, with American radar equipment
Number converted: unknown
Douglas P-70B-1 A-20G-10 conversion. SCR-720 centimetric radar, 6 × 0.50 in (12,7 mm) fixed forward firing guns in blisters around the nose.
Number converted: 1
Douglas P-70B-2 A-20G and A-20J conversions, with either the SCR-720 or SCR-729 centimetric radars. Armed with 6 or 8 × 0.50 in (12,7 mm)fixed forward firing in a ventral tray. Because these craft were exclusively used for traing, the guns were not always fitted.
Number converted: 105
Douglas CA-20G Havoc Converted from the A-20J to act as a high speed transport after the War.
Number converted: unknown
Douglas RA-20A Havoc Survivors of the original A-20A Havoc batch were redesignated RA-20A Havoc in 1942.
Redesignated aircraft
Douglas TA-20H Havoc A-20H Havocs converted for training.
Number converted: unknown
Douglas TA-20J Havoc A-20J Havocs converted for training.
Number converted: unknown
Douglas TA-20K Havoc A-20K Havocs converted for training.
Number converted: unknown
Douglas ZB-20H Havoc Survivors of the original A-20H Havoc batch were redesignated ZB-20H Havoc after the War.
Redesignated aircraft

Remarks:

This aircraft was operated by a reasonable number of operators. Even in the beginning this aircraft had good performance, almost faster than most enemy fighters

Strengths:

Weaknesses:

 

 

© by Frans Bonné, 2000
Last revision: 9/20/00