Douglas 8A-5 for Norway, A-33

Last revised July 8, 2000

The Model 8A-5 was the last export variant of the A-17A to be built. It was also the most powerful and the most heavily-armed of the entire series of Northrop/Douglas single engined attack bombers.

36 DB-8A-5N aircraft were ordered by Norway early in 1940. They were armed with four wing-mounted 0.30-inch machine guns, one 0.50-inch machine gun in each of two underwing pods just outboard of the main landing gear, and had two flexible 0.30-inch machine guns in the rear cockpit. The engine was the 1200 hp Wright GR-1820-G205A. Up to 1800 pounds of bombs could be carried. RnoAF serials assigned were 301/336.

The Model 8A-5s were intended to be used by the Norwegian Heerens Flyvevaben (Army Flying Service). Unfortunately, before they could be delivered, Norway was occupied by German forces. Nevertheless, the 36 DB-8A-5s (company numbers 715/750) were completed and turned over in late 1940 to the Norwegian government-in-exile which was operating a flight training facility known as "Little Norway" at Island Airport in Ontario, Canada.

Arrangements were later made for the flight training of Norwegian pilots to be carried out in RAF and RCAF schools, and the Model 8A-5s were declared surplus to Norwegian requirements. In August of 1941, Peru offered to purchase 18 of the surviving Norwegian planes, but the US State Department objected because of fears that they might be used against Ecuador. It was proposed that these planes would be delivered instead to the Soviet Union under Lend-Lease, but both Peru and Norway objected. Consequently, these 18 Model 8A-5s were taken over by the USAAF on December 9, 1941 under the designation of A-33-DE. They were assigned the serials 42-13584/13601. They were operated strictly as trainers at stateside airfields and none ever saw any combat.

Eventually, 13 of the surviving Norwegian aircraft were delivered to Peru. USAAF designation of A-33A and serials 42-109007/109019 were assigned for record-keeping purposes. They were delivered to Peru in June of 1943. They supplemented the Douglas 8A-3Ps already serving in Peru. They served with the 31st and then the 23rd Escuadron de Ataque y Reconicimiento de Fotogrametria at Las Palmas. They lasted in service until 1958, when they started to bve replaced by Douglas B-26 Invaders. One of these aircraft is still on display as a gate guard at Las Palmas.

Specification of Douglas DB-8A-5 (A-33)

Engine: One Wright GR-1820-G205A Cyclone air-cooled radial, rated at 1200 hp for takeoff and 1000 hp at 6900 feet. Performance: Maximum speed 248 mph at 15,700 feet. Landing speed 67 mph. An altitude of 10,000 feet could be reached in 5.8 minutes. Service ceiling 29,000 feet, Dimensions: Wingspan 47 feet 9 inches, Length 32 feet 6 inches, Height 9 feet 4 inches, Wing area 363 square feet. Weights: 5510 pounds empty, 8600 pounds loaded, 9200 pounds maximum. Armament: Four wing-mounted 0.30-inch machine guns, plus two underwing-mounted 0.50-inch machine guns, plus two paired flexible 0.30-inch machine guns operated by the rear cockpit gunner. Up to 1800 pounds of bombs could be carried.


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