Douglas A-20B Havoc

Last revised August 5, 2000


The next USAAF production version was the A-20B. It should not be confused with the XA-20B, which was an experimental conversion of an A-20A with remotely-controlled armament. The A-20B was the first version of the A-20 for which the USAAC placed a large order, 999 examples being ordered on October 2, 1940 under Contract AC15948.

In order to handle the anticipated large aircraft orders, Douglas had geared up its Long Beach facility for production, and all A-20Bs were built there. They were delivered between December of 1941 and January of 1943.

Despite its later designation, the A-20B actually corresponded to an earlier standard than did the A-20A--it more closely resembled the DB-7A rather than the DB-7B. As in the DB-7A, The lower edge of the bombardier glazing in the nose of the A-20B was stepped rather than slanted. As it turned out, the A-20B was the only US version to feature the stepped glass bombardier glazing in the nose area. An escape hatch was cut into the roof of the nose, and the engine cowlings were unvented.

In some respects, the A-20B was inferior to the A-20A which preceded it, since it was based on the DB-7A airframe rather than the DB-7B and hence lacked self-sealing fuel tanks and was not as well-armored. In the field, many A-20Bs had their Plexiglas nose areas faired over and the bombardier position replaced by a battery of four to six forward-firing 0.50-inch machine guns. In spite of its large production run, the A-20B did not see extensive service with the USAAC, since most of them (some 665 aircraft) were exported to the Soviet Union under Lend-Lease.

Eight A-20Bs (serial numbers 41-2771 to 41-2778) were leased to the US Navy as high speed target tugs under the designation BD-2. BuNos were 7035/7042.

Serials of A-20B:


41-2671/3669		Douglas A-20B Havoc

Specification of Douglas A-20B Havoc:

Engines: Two Wright R-2600-11 Double Cyclone air-cooled radial engines, each rated at 1600 hp for takeoff and 1275 hp at 12,000 feet. Performance: Maximum speed 350 mph at 12,000 feet. Cruising speed 278 mph. Landing speed 95 mph. Service ceiling 28,600 feet. An altitude of 10,000 feet could be attained in 5.0 minutes. Range 825 miles with 1000 pounds of bombs. For ferrying purposes, the A-20B could be equipped with an auxiliary 200 US gallon fuel tank in the bomb bay. With this tank fitted, maximum ferry range was 2300 miles. Dimensions: Wingspan 61 feet 4 inches, length 48 feet 0 inches, height 18 feet 1 inches, wing area 464 square feet. Weights: 14,830 pounds empty, 21,000 pounds gross, 23,800 pounds maximum. Armament: Two 0.50-inch machine guns in the nose (one on each side of the forward fuselage) one 0.50-inch flexible machine gun in the top gunner's position, plus one flexible 0.30-inch machine gun in the ventral tunnel position. It could also carry aft-pointing 0.30-inch machine guns in the engine nacelles, although these were rarely actually fitted. Normal bomb load 1500 pounds, maximum bomb load 2400 pounds.

Sources:


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

  2. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920, Vol 1, Rene J. Francillon, Naval Institute Press, 1988

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

  4. A-20 Havoc in Action, Aircraft Number 144, Squadron/Signal Publications, Jim Mesko, 1994.

  5. Famous Bombers of the Second World War, William Green, Doubleday, 1960

  6. Boston, Mitchell and Liberator In Australian Service, Stewart Wilson, Aerospace Publications, 1992.

  7. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Military Press, 1989.