With planes, as with people, fame may come in many forms and under varied conditions. one airplane may boast subsonic speed, another may perform with particular brilliance in a certain theatre, while still another the Stuka, for example may attract attention through the spectacle of its assignment. Only a few modern warplanes, however, can duplicate the factors which have brought fame to the Douglas A-20.
Externally, the A-20 is hardly unique among planes of its class. It has a midwing structure, all-meta1 fuselage of semimonocoque design, is fitted with monoplane empennage. Known originally as the Model DB-7 when the faltering French air force threw it into service during the last days before the fall of Paris, the A-20 has undergone so many modifications that letter designations now carry down to the A-20J and perhaps even further. Two models are used with more or less equal frequency in the Ninth Bomber Command. The A-20G is distinguished by heavy armament, maximum speed of 347 mph with full load of 2,000 pounds. One special version carries a crew of two, mounts six machine guns in the nose, two guns in the dorsal turret.
Its contemporary, the A-20J, has an all-plastic nose and mounts a brace of machine guns in the forward undersection, a pair of guns in the top turret aft of the greenhnuse. The P-70, which has dropped the Havoc nickname to become the Nighthawk or Midnite Mauler, is equipped with radar and other night-fighting equipment, carries additional fuel for long nocturnal prowler misions. so with British and Americans flying it as a fighter, bomber, strafer, and intruder while the Russians use the same basic plane on ground cooperation duties, the Douglas A-20 is far and away the most versatile twin-engine combat plane in the medium weight class.
This article was originally published in the October, 1944, issue of Air News magazine, vol 7, no 4, p 43.
The original article includes 4 photos.
Photos are credited to USAAF.