The Douglas A-20J saw the reintroduction of the glass bombardier’s nose, replaced on the A-20G by a solid gun nose. While the solid nose of the A-20G had greatly improved the Havoc’s firepower, it also made navigation over Europe more difficult.
To solve this problem Douglas produced a new frameless transparent nose with a flat lower front panel, and restored the bombardier to his position prior to the A-20G. The new nose meant that all but two of the .50on nose guns had to be removed.
These aircraft were equipped with a Norden bombsight, and were used as “lead ships”, flying at the front of a formation of solid nosed A-20Gs. The entire formation would then drop their bombs on the mark set by the bomber leader. The Germans soon realised the importance of the glass nosed A-20s, and tended to target them ahead of the rest of the formation.
A total of 450 A-20Js were built, of which 165 went to the RAF, where they were known as the Boston IV. Around 80 went to the Soviet Union, while the remaining aircraft began to reach front line American units late in 1943. The A-20J (and the similar A-20K) remained in service in many units for longer than the standard solid nosed A-20s, and were used alongside the early solid nosed Douglas A-26 Invaders.
Power: 1,600hp at takeoff, 1,675hp emergency, 1,400hp at 10,000ft
Width: 61ft 4in
Length: 48ft 4in
Empty weight: 17,117lb
Normal take off weight: 23,748lb
Maximum takeoff weight: 27,000lb
Maximum speed: 317mph at 10,700ft
Cruise Speed: 257mph
Climb Rate: 8min 48sec to 10,000ft
Range: 1,000 miles with 2,000lb bomb load, 2,100 ferry range
Fuselage Guns: Two fixed 0.50in Browning Machine Guns
Dorsal Turret: Two 0.50in Browning Machine Guns
Ventral Position: One 0.50in Browning Machine Gun
Normal Bomb Load: 2,000lb
Maximum Bomb Load: 4,000lb