Douglas 8A-3N for the Netherlands

Last revised July 8, 2000


The Douglas Model 8A-3N was a version of the A-17A built for the Netherlands. It was powered by a 1100 hp Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp S3C-G. The first example flew on July 31, 1939. A total of 18 were ordered in early 1939. They were delivered between August and November of 1939.

The Model 8A-3Ns bore the company numbers 531/548 and were given the Dutch serial numbers 381/396. They were assigned to the 3rd Fighter Squadron of the 2nd Air Regiment based at Ypenburg. One Model 8A-3N was lost in a prewar accident. On May 10, 1940, when German forces began their Western offensive, twelve DB-8A-3N aircraft were on active duty at Ypenburg, and five were held in reserve at Ockenburg. One of the DB-8A-3Ns was destroyed on the ground during the initial Luftwaffe attack, but the eleven other aircraft were able to get into the air. The DB-8A-3N was not intended as a fighter, and seven of them were quickly shot down by Luftwaffe Bf 110s. However, the Dutch DB-8A-3Ns did manage to shoot down a couple of Ju 52 troop transports. Shortly after landing, the remaining four DB-8A-3Ns were caught on the ground in another German raid and were all destroyed.

The five DB-8A-3Ns in reserve at Ockenburg were captured intact by the Luftwaffe. In 1941 one of the captured planes was put on display in Berlin next to the DO-X. However, later in the war, this plane was destroyed during an Allied air attack.

Specification of Douglas DB-8A-3N:

Engine: One Pratt & Whitney R-1830-S3CG Twin Wasp air-cooled radial engine, rated at 1050 hp for takeoff and 900 hp at 12,000 feet. Performance: Maximum speed 260 mph at 12,000 feet. Cruising speed 205 mph. Landing speed 66 mph. Initial climb rate 1430 feet per minute. Service ceiling 29,600 feet, Normal range 910 miles. Dimensions: Wingspan 47 feet 9 inches, Length 32 feet 5 inches, Height 9 feet 9 inches, Wing area 363 square feet. Weights: 5508 pounds empty, 7848 pounds gross, 8948 pounds maximum. Armament: Four wing-mounted 0.30-inch machine guns, plus one flexible 0.30-inch machine gun operated by rear cockpit gunner. Normal bomb load included 20 internally-carried 30-lb bombs and four external 100-lb bombs. Maximum bomb load 1200 pounds.

Sources:


  1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982.

  2. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920, Volume I, Rene J. Francillon, Naval Institue Press, 1988.

  3. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.

  4. Northrop's Connection--The Unsung A-17 Attack Aircraft and its Legacy, Part 2, Alain J. Pelletier, Air Enthusiast, September/October 1998, No. 77

  5. E-mail from Peter de Lange