Douglas A-20 Havoc. A photo. Characteristics.
Douglas A-20 Havoc. A photo. Characteristics.

Douglas A-20 Havoc. A photo. Characteristics.



A type: twin-engine light bomber

Crew: three persons

One of the most widely used in World War II light / medium bombers - plane A-20 «Havoc» (Havoc - destruction), built for the requirements of the US Air Force attack aircraft to 1938 years. Initially known as the model 7A aircraft prototype it was soon after the start of flight tests considerably altered for use in Europe. The first order for 100 bombers came from France, not the United States Air Force.

The aircraft received a new designation DB-7. The production of the bomber began at the end of the 1939 of the year and about 60 aircraft hit France before the start of the Blitzkrieg - 10 of May 1940 of the year. A small number of undelivered DB-7 aircraft were transferred to the Royal Air Force, which gave the aircraft the name "Boston I" and used it as a training aircraft and night fighter. The flight-technical characteristics of the “twin” of the Douglas company were so high that the Boston aircraft became the basis of the Royal Air Force - over Lend-Lease more than 1000 aircraft were delivered. The United States Air Force launched DB-7 aircraft (under the designation A-20) into action in May 1939, and by the time production ended in September. 

In the Soviet Union, they became interested in the new car before even one serial aircraft was ready. In September 1939, Amtorg (an American corporation with Soviet capital, performing the functions of a trade mission in the US) turned to the firm with the offer to sell to our country a batch of DB-7 aircraft. Justifying the expediency of buying an American bomber, the chief of the Air Force of the RKKA, the commander of 2 rank A.D. Loktionov 4 October wrote to the People's Commissar of Defense KE. Voroshilov: "This aircraft is similar to our SAT aircraft, but it has more powerful small arms (six machine guns) and a high flight speed (480 - 507 km / h). The aircraft DV-7 [so in the original] has a particularly interesting design feature for us - a three-wheeled chassis. " The firm "Douglas" agreed to sell its cars, but set the conditions - the order of the party at least ten copies and the lack of weapons and military equipment. In this form, the aircraft were of interest mainly for our designers and technologists. The military, however, demanded that the sale of ten

DB-7 with weapons. 29 September 1939, the Soviet representative Lukashev reported from New York that the company has agreed to sell, as well as to grant a license and to provide technical assistance in the organization of the DB-7 production in the Soviet Union.

In parallel with the "Wright" negotiated a license for R-2600 engine and in October already agreed on the text of the contract. The adoption of the American bombers by the Air Force Red Army seemed quite real.

Negotiations went up to the war with Finland. Immediately after the start of President Roosevelt declared a "moral embargo" on supply in the Soviet Union. US companies, one after another began to break contracts have been signed with our country. We stopped to supply machinery, tools, appliances. Personal assistance in the development of a purely military products are not worth even stutter. Cease and contacts with the company "Douglas".

The Americans did not regret about it - was already a great war, and with it came and huge orders. And here we have a DB-7 not forgotten as soon as possible remembered.

1944 years 7385 not less aircraft "Havoc" was built / "Boston". This type of aircraft involved in operations around the globe. Good build quality has gained special attention from the Soviet Air Force, who used the aircraft A 3125-20. Despite the fact that the aircraft was built in large numbers, a few A-20 lived up to 1990-ies, and only one of them (in the US) is in flying condition.

Basic data


  • Length: 14,63 m
  • Wingspan: 18,69 m
  • Height: 5,36 m


The weight:

  • BLANK: 7250 kg
  • Maximum take-off: 12 338 kg


Aircraft performance characteristics:

  • Maximum speed: 510 km / h
  • Range: 1650 2744 km from l. Fuel and 907 kg bombs
  • Powerplant: two engines R-2600-23 «Cyclone» 14 company "Wright"
  • Power: 3200 l. from. (2386 kW)


Date of first flight:

  • 26 1938 October, the (plane "Douglas» In 7)


The surviving airworthy modifications:

  • A-20G


France and DB-7

Bombers for France was collected and obletyvali in El Segundo. There they passed the French representatives. The first plane took 31 1939 October, at the beginning after the Second World War. Then the machine dismantled again to pack in boxes and shipped by sea to Casablanca in Morocco, which was then a French colony.

At the German-French border was a "phony war." Britain and France after the German invasion of Poland declared war on Germany, but did not show much activity. Aviation conducted reconnaissance, and prevailed upon the earth a lull. The French army took refuge behind the fortifications "Maginot Line" and did not try to help the Poles, who quickly retreated to the east. September 28 Poland capitulated. A "phony war" continued. Both warring sides amassed forces.

France hastily conducted modernization of its air force. Part of this is the development of equipment purchased in the United States. In Casablanca bombers were collected again. Due to the shortage of skilled labor rate of the assembly is significantly lagging behind the plan. Boxes do not even have time to take out of the port.

American aircraft, which received the designation DB-7B3 in the French Air Force (the last letter and figure meant "triple bomber"), intended to rearm five squadrons. Retraining of personnel took place at airfields in Morocco and Algeria, where it was always warm and dry. By May 1940, the French had accepted about 130 aircraft in the US, of which about 70 had already arrived in North Africa. These bombers managed to equip three squadrons - GB 1 / 19, GB 11 / 19 and GB 11 / 61, but not all the crews have mastered the technique in sufficient measure. Two more squadrons of the 32 group, GB 1 / 32 and GB 11 / 32, have just started re-training. In total in these parts there were 64 machines.

On May 10, Germany unexpectedly attacked neutral Belgium and the Netherlands. Having quickly broken the resistance of the small armies of these countries, the Wehrmacht formations found themselves in the rear of the Maginot Line. German aviation bombarded the way for mechanized columns rushing deep into France. It was no longer until the completion of the pilot retraining program. All three, to some extent, ready-made squadrons were ordered to urgently return to France.

The first on the front of the squadron arrived GB 1 / 19 and GB II / 19, numbering together

23 combat-ready aircraft. On the afternoon of 31 May, a dozen DB-7B3s made their first combat mission against a German column in the area between Saint-Quentin and Peronne. They were met by intense anti-aircraft artillery fire and enemy fighters. The French lost three (according to other sources - four) cars, but they themselves announced the shooting down of the German fighter Messerschmitt Bf 109 by fire.

Until June, 14 completed approximately 70 self-summer missions in small groups (up to ten aircraft) and without cover. This tactic was quite expensive - with IT lost from five to eight cars. The targets for the bombing were columns of troops, convoys, bridges and clusters of equipment. Most of the lost bombers were victims of German antiaircraft gunners. Approximately half of them died because of fires - the shot tanks exploded. The French demanded the installation of tested fuel tanks on the aircraft. The Americans did it, but such machines did not reach France.

The defeat of the French army was already clear, the Germans entered Paris. The British Expeditionary Force retreated to Dunkirk and throwing technique quickly was loaded on ships. The most efficient part of the Air Force were ordered to fly to the North African colonies. By 25 June, when signed a truce, not a single serviceable DB-7B3 French left.

Under the agreement, the Germans occupied two-thirds of the country, leaving the government of Marshal Petain, which is located in the resort town of Vichy, limited power over the rest of France. Partially preserved and the French armed forces.

After the surrender of US deliveries stopped. But the losses offset by technology, has arrived in Morocco, but has not yet been distributed in parts. Total counted 95 machines, the available stock. The result is fully staffed with four squadrons. GB 1 / 32 based in Casablanca (Morocco), GB II / 32 - Agadir (Morocco too), a GB 1 / 19 and GB II / 61 - in Blida (Algeria).

On aircraft attacked the special decals that the Germans did not consider their enemy. Originally it was a white border markings on the fuselage, and a white stripe along it, which would have been imposed as a badge. The front end of the white band sometimes looked like an arrow. To this was added the bright yellow color of the tail, and finally, the tail and hood motors were covered with red and yellow longitudinal stripes.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill feared that the French fleet joining the German and become a serious threat. So he ordered to attack the French ships off the coast of Algeria.

24 September 1940, the British carrier-based planes attacked them. In response, the French government organized a series of night raids on Gibraltar. They attended Squadron GB 1 / 32. The results were insignificant: no serious injuries based French pilots did not cause, but they themselves have returned without great losses. One DB-7 was shot down by the British "Hurricane."

French bombers were in North Africa until the landing of the allied forces in November of 1942

Those aircraft that do not have time to send in the US until the defeat of France, "inherited" passed to the British.


Of the bombers - in the fighter

After France, the United States became interested in a new American bomber. Negotiations on procurement began in January 1940. For the British, a modification of DB-7B, similar to the DB-73 of the last French order, was prepared. She also had a new glazed elongated nose and an enlarged vertical plumage. Inside, however, many changes took place: they altered the fuel system and the hydraulic system, improved the armored protection, and injected gasoline tanks, which now contained almost twice as much fuel (its stock increased from 776 l to 1491 L). All this more than two tons increased take-off weight, but the increased power of motors not only compensated for this, but also allowed to raise the maximum speed and ceiling. On these machines, naturally machine guns, equipment and instruments were an English model, the caliber of 7,69 mm. In the bow of the fuselage, the Browning machine guns were mounted, which were fed with a detachable tape from cartridge cases, and in the cockpit of the radio operator there was one (later they began to put two) Vickers K machine gun with a disk from above. The need for their periodic replacement, of course, reduced the practical rate of fire. English machine guns were more cumbersome, ammunition for the task - more. Inside the fuselage, all this no longer fit and the second pair of machine guns carried into the characteristic ledges along the sides. At the request of customers changed the glazing of the navigation booth.

Satisfied with the amendments, members of the British Purchasing Commission in February 1940 was signed on 150 machines. The document provides for the possibility to increase in order 300 aircraft that did two months later, in April. As in England, all combat aircraft give the names, it gave him and DB-7B - «Boston," which was on the point of American origin.

But before the ship began to DB-7B, the UK began to arrive bombers, previously ordered by the French, but had not managed to reach France until its defeat. Some ships on the high seas have received telegrams with the order to go to the discharge ports in English. There were redirected around 200 DB-7, 99 DB-7A (one crashed while flying over the plant, but instead of "Douglas" later shipped an additional DB-7B) and 480 DB-73. They added

16 DB-7s ordered by Belgium. They matched the early French version with R-1830-SC3-G motors, but had to be equipped with locally made FN Browning machine guns. Some authors write that these aircraft were simply allocated to the Belgians from the first French order. They decided to call all these mismatched cars "Boston" too.

It was the Belgian aircraft that reached the UK first in July 1940. They were unloaded in Liverpool and started gathering at the nearby Spik aerodrome. It was not easy, because all the attached documentation was written in French. Collect all the same collected. Then the Royal Air Force command began to decide what to do with them. We came to the conclusion that as bombers they are unsuitable: the power of the engines is small, combat survivability due to lack of tanking and armor protection is insufficient. The Belgian version was given the designation "Boston" I and decided to use these planes as training and auxiliary ones.

The problems started already with the first aerial survey collected bombers. Later, the English airman G. Taylor, described in detail how long he understood with French inscriptions in the cockpit and unusual scales of devices in the metric system. But he forgot about all the suffering, when released the brakes and taxied for takeoff.

The machine features excellent handling, the pilot from the cockpit perfectly seen all around. It turned out that the unusual three-wheeled chassis greatly simplifies the taking off and landing.

But before using Belgian planes had to be subjected to revision. Replacement device to be considered in the usual miles, feet and gallons. Altered gas sector. The fact that in the Belgian French standard was adopted: to increase the motor turns the knob moved back, while in the UK, the USA, and have gas added forwards. They put the English radio and oxygen equipment. As for weapons is not clear. Someone wrote that the British have put machine guns, someone claims that these machines were flying without any weapons.

On these planes the British pilots accustomed to the tricycle landing gear and a lack of an automatic boost control; new machines British manufacturing has recently considered mandatory. Unusually there were American electric inertia starter. We had to wait until the flywheel spin up, and only then start the engine. In England, the engines of military aircraft struck up an electric starter direct type (from large airfield battery-carts) or gunpowder Coffman starters.

Arriving a little later DB-7 French Order with the motors R-1830-S3C4-G, called "Boston» II, used as bombers, too, did not want to. It considered that the bomb load and range too small a flight to from bases in southern England to bomb Germany. However, these aircraft have found another use. They decided to convert into heavy night fighters.

The available then the British airborne radar were quite heavy and cumbersome. In addition, they were not easy to use, to work with them necessarily required a second crew member. Therefore, all single fighters swept aside and put the equipment is mainly in the twin-engined car with a crew of two or more people. However, the aircraft was supposed to be enough high-speed and maneuverability to intercept enemy bomber and fight with him. "Boston" These conditions are satisfied.

To distinguish from the bombers, night fighters got their own designation - "Havoc" (alternatively offered "Munfayter" and "Ranger"). Its first version was called "Havoc" I. The fuselage nose cab navigator cut off and replaced with glass-free compartment with eight 7,69- mm machine guns "Browning" and radar. Antennas Radar AI Mk.IV (some

mounted machines more sophisticated AI Mk.V) stood on the tip of the nose (arrow-transmitting), on the sides under the cab and on the wings (T-adopted). Defensive weapons such "Havoc" had. Crew members had two - a pilot and radar operator. Bombs these aircraft were not carrying.

There was another version of "Hevoka" I, the so-called "intrader". This was the official name - "Hevok" I (Intrader). Initially, however, it was called "Hevok" IV_ If the purpose of the first modification was purely defensive, the "intruders" performed offensive functions - at night terrorized the airfields of the Germans off the Channel, attacking enemy planes both in the sky and on the ground. In this case, the alterations of the base aircraft were minimal. Glazing of the nose was preserved, as well as the navigator's place and bomb arms (under the maximum load of 1100 kg). Four "Browning" machine guns were mounted in the nose and one (according to some sources, two) "Vickers K" in the cockpit of the radio operator. Exhaust nozzles of motors were worn with flame arresters. In their tactics, "intraders" were similar to the night hunters-blockers operating in our long-range aviation. The task was the same: paralyze enemy airfields.

In winter, 1940-41's workshops in the town Bartonvud started reworking comes from the United States DB-7 in "Havoc" different options. A few months later maesterskie he held for about a hundred machines. Just "Havoc» I the first two types (night fighter and blocker) altered 181 bomber, including several "Bostons" I. The "Turbinlaytov" made much smaller - 31 car. Eshe appeared less "Pandora" - only two dozen.

The first "Havoc" 1 in the night fighter assembly (in their brackets and wrote "Night Fighter" - "night fighter") received in April 7 1941 85 of-Squadron. For her, these cars were also 25-600-I and Squadrons. By this time, the massive German air raids on the city of England has ceased. About any significant progress "Havoc" is not known. Some of these aircraft further altered in the "Turbinlayty".

"Intraders" acted more actively. Since the beginning of 1941, 23 squadron flew on them, and then 605-I flew. Their main objectives were airfields on the other side of the English Channel. Worked "hunters" alone. Usually such a plane was attached to a group of enemy bombers returning from the mission. They led him to his airfield. After turning on the landing lights, a performance began with shooting and explosions. It used to be that the "intrader" portrayed the aircraft that had lagged behind the group, released randomly over the enemy airfield at random signal rockets and included navigation lights. If the trick was successful, the runway was indicated to him and even sometimes it was illuminated with a searchlight. Further - as in the previous situation.

The most effective approach was to the bombing at the time of the landing of enemy planes. It is not only able to kill certain number of aircraft on the ground, but also cause panic among the gunners, who started firing on all machines in the air, including his own. There were even cases where, after several such raids consecutive Germans opened fire on their own aircraft, suspecting them of British blockers.

First Squad "Turbinlaytov", named part of the backlight of air targets, and then 1422-Detachment, formed in Heston in May 1941, he was engaged in the elaboration of the tactics of combat use of "flying spotlights." "Turbinlayt" fly together with one or two "Hurricanes".

By December of the same year, there were nine more (according to other sources - ten) similar detachments. In fact, these were links - three cars each. But the reality of combat practice disagreed with the theoretical calculations. The fighters often could not find Turbinight in the night sky, they were not helped even by the help of the guidance officers from the ground, because the Hurricane did not have any navigational aids more serious than the usual magnetic compass. And to look for "Turbineight" it was necessary constantly, as it belonged to another part and started from another airfield. Even the white stripes along the trailing edge of the wings, which stand out clearly on a black background, did not help.

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