Douglas A-20G Havoc

The Douglas A-20G saw the biggest change to the design of the Havoc with the replacement of the glass bombardier’s nose by a solid nose carrying six forward firing guns. This reflected its general use as a low level ground attack aircraft, especially in the Pacific.

A total of 2,850 A-20Gs were produced, in three major versions. The first 250 were built with four 20mm cannon and two .30in machine guns in the solid nose and the original manual dorsal guns. The cannon proved unreliable, and so the next 500 aircraft were armed with six .50in machine guns in the nose, but still carried the manual dorsal guns. Finally, starting with block A-20G-20, a Martin 250CE turret was installed. This was armed with two .50in machine guns, and had a 360 degree radius of fire. At the same time the lower flexible .30in machine gun was replaced by a .50in gun. The rear fuselage had to be made wider to accommodate the new turret.

Douglas A-20G Havoc from the right
Douglas A-20G Havoc
from the right

The A-20G remained a three man aircraft. With the bombardier’s nose removed provision was made to carry two gunners – upper and lower rear gunners, with the rear gunner behind the upper gunner, operating the tunnel gun. This arrangement may have been changed with the Martin turret was installed, for an account of the aftermath of a crash of an A-20G on Papua New Guinea in Flight Journal (October 1999) makes it clear that that aircraft was only carrying a crew of two.

The stronger fuselage associated with these changes also allowed an increase in the maximum payload of the A-20 from 2,000lb up to 4,000lb, achieved by carrying four 500lb bombs under the wings. The A-20G was also given heavier armour and two extra 70 gallon fuels tanks, bringing the maximum takeoff weight up over 27,000lb while top speed was reduced to 339mph (from 342mph on the A-20C).

Most of the early cannon armed A-20Gs went to Russia under lend-lease. It was one of the few versions of the A-20 not to enter RAF service, a distinction it shared with the similar solid nosed A-20H.

Douglas received the order to produce the A-20G on 1 June 1942. The first aircraft were completed in February 1943 and continued late into 1943 – the last A-20Gs were give 1943 serial numbers, the first A-20Hs 1944 numbers.

Plans of the Douglas A-20G Havoc
Plans of the Douglas A-20G Havoc

Statistics (late production)
Engine: R-2600-23
Power: 1,600hp at takeoff, 1,675hp emergency, 1,400hp at 10,000ft
Crew: 3
Width: 61ft 4in
Length: 48ft 0in
Empty weight: 17,200lb
Normal take off weight: 24,000lb
Maximum takeoff weight: 27,200lb
Maximum speed: 339mph at 12,400ft, 317mph at 10,000ft
Cruise Speed: 230-272mph
Climb Rate: 1,300ft/ min
Ceiling: 25,800ft
Range: 1,025 miles with 2,000lb bomb load, 2,035 ferry range
Guns: Six .50in in nose, two turret mounted .50in guns and one .50in ventral gun in rear
Bomb load: 4,000lbs – 2,000lb in split bomb bay and 2,000lb on 4 under wing pylons.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (5 September 2008), Douglas A-20G Havoc , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_douglas_A-20G_havoc.html

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