In flight formation. Nearest aircraft (W5 X) is Douglas A-20G-35-DO (S/N 43-10189) of the 409th Bomb Group, 640th Bomb Squadron. The tail in lower left corner is A-20G-35-DO (S/N 43-9920). Other identifiable aircraft include W5 Z of the 409th Bomb Group, 620th Bomb Squadron, and D6 of the 409th Bomb Group, 622th Bomb Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo)
Lend-Lease aircraft await delivery to the Soviet Air Force. Note the Soviet Star insignia on the aircraft. The nearest aircraft is A-20G-35-DO (S/N 43-9943), middle aircraft is A-20J-10-DO (S/N 43-9910) and a North American B-25. Also note the extended range fuel tank mounted on the lower fuselage. (U.S. Air Force photo)
The A-20G, the first production model since the A-20C, was the version built in the largest numbers -- 2,850 aircraft in all. The G model was designed primarily as a ground attack aircraft. The greenhouse glass nose of the earlier models was replaced by a solid nose and featured four fixed 20mm cannons. The barrels of these cannons stuck out about three feet and gave the aircraft a distinctive appearance.
During acceptance and combat capability testing, the cannons had a tendency to jam during sustained firing. Also, the cannon had a relatively slow rate of fire. These two factors led to the redesign of the forwarding firing armament and only the initial block -- A-20G-1 -- of 250 aircraft were completed with the 20mm cannons. Beginning with Block 5, the A-20G had six .50-cal. machine guns in the nose.
Most of the A-20G-1s were eventually transferred to the Soviet Air Force under the Lend-Lease agreement where they were used successfully in the ground attack role.
A-20G-5 to A-20G-15
Beginning with the 251st aircraft, the nose armament was changed to six .50-cal. machine guns. Four of these guns were mounted in the nose in the same position as the cannons on the A-20G-1. Two additional .50-cal. machine guns were added in a fixed position in the lower forward fuselage in the same location as on the A-20A, B and C models. The aft armament stayed the same -- a flexible twin .50-cal. machine gun in the dorsal position and a single flexible .30-cal. machine gun in a ventral tunnel position (some aircraft had .50-cal. ventral guns).
Douglas built 500 aircraft in three blocks with this basic armament configuration: 50 A-20G-5s, 300 A-20G-10s and 150 A-20G-15s. The block 10 and 15 G models incorporated various changes and improvements based in part on feedback from the operational squadrons using the A-20G in combat. Some changes incorporated included additional and improved armor plating, larger engine air filters for hot weather operation and heaters for cold weather operation.
A-20G-20 to A-20G-45
The refinements incorporated into the A-20G beginning with block 20 were primarily improvements to armament. Most notably, the twin .50-cal. flexible machine gun mount was replaced by an electrically driven turret also equipped with twin .50-cal. machine guns. Another major improvement was the strengthening of the wings to enable the aircraft to carry four 500-pound bombs on wing hard points outboard of the engines. The A-20G could also be equipped with a 374-gallon drop tank, mounted in the bomb bay, for extended range for ferry missions.
The A-20G was used extensively in both the European and Pacific Theaters of Operation. Four Bomb Groups were equipped with the A-20 in Europe: 47th, 409th, 410th and 416th. Three more bomb groups operated in the Pacific: 3rd, 312th and 417th.
In Europe, the A-20 was used sparingly until the buildup for the Allied invasion of France in the spring of 1944. The Bomb Groups were assigned to the 9th Air Force for use by 9th Bomber Command in tactical bombardment missions.
In the Pacific, the A-20 was used primarily for low level attack missions, particularly against Japanese shipping and airfields.
The National Museum of the United States Air Force has an A-20G on display.
first solid nose prod. version
TECHNICAL NOTES: Armament (A-20G-1-DO): Four fixed, forward-firing 20mm cannons in the nose, two .50-cal. machine guns in a flexible dorsal position and one .30-cal. machine gun in a ventral position, plus provisions for 2,000 lbs. of bombs; (A-20G-5 to A-20G-15): Four fixed, forward-firing .50-cal. machine guns in the nose, two fixed .50-cal. machine guns in the lower forward fuselage, two .50-cal. machine guns in a flexible dorsal position and one .30-cal. machine gun in a ventral position, plus provisions for 2,000 lbs. of bombs; (A-20G-20 to A-20G-45): Four fixed, forward-firing .50-cal. machine guns in the nose, two fixed .50-cal. machine guns in the lower forward fuselage, two .50-cal. machine guns in a dorsal turret and one .50-cal. machine gun in a ventral position, plus provisions for 4,000 lbs. of bombs Engines: Two Wright R-2600-23 Cyclone supercharged radials of 1,600 hp each Maximum speed: 317 mph Cruising speed: 256 mph Combat range: 950 miles Maximum range: 2,100 miles Service ceiling: 23,700 ft. Span: 61 ft. 4 in. Length: 48 ft. 0 in. Height: 17 ft. 7 in. Weight: 24,125 lbs. gross weight Serial numbers: 42-53535 to 42-54284; 42-86563 to 42-86912; 43-9038 to 43-9229; 43-9231 to 43-9637; 43-9665 to 43-9856; 43-9881 to 43-9909; 43-9918 to 43-10104; 43-10145 to 43-10237; 43-21252 to 43-21431; 43-21472 to 43-21551; 43-21582 to 43-21701; 43-21752 to 43-21827; 43-21878 to 43-21987; 43-22148 to 43-22251