Douglas A-20 Boston 
(see also Douglas A-20 Havoc)
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Douglas Boston Mark IIIA 88 squadron RAF in 1944


The American-designed and built Douglas A-20 "Boston" and its fighter variant, the"Havoc", were designed to meet an Army Air Corps attack specification in 1938. The original aircraft in this series, the DB-7 (Douglas Bomber 7), was built as a private venture by Douglas. The Boston was also the one of the first US combat aircraft to have a nosewheel. The prototype flew in December 1938, and the first production model on 17 August, 1939. It was was in use by the French and British before delivery to US squadrons.

In February 1939 France had placed an order for one hundred bombers specifying a number of design changes. When France fell, most of these aircrafts were delivered to England where they were called Bostons.

Generally it was used on night-intruder missions over enemy occupied territory to attack airfields, lines of communications and, when possible, engage hostile aircraft. Though the Boston saw no action with the FAA.

The export version of the A-20C was the first aircraft to be ordered under a lend-lease       contract. The A-20G (produced in the largest number) and A-20H were solid nose fighter   versions, but retained the bomb bays. The H model had 1700 hp R-2600-29 engines and was a little faster. The J and K models returned to the glazed nose using a new type of frameless transparent nose.

Before production was terminated in September 1944, 7,385 aircrafts were built in        several versions, including 3,125 supplied to the USSR under lend lease.

The Fleet Air Arm received 27 transfers from RAF of the Boston III/turbinlite, Boston
III/intruder, Boston I. The first was received by 771 squadron at Twatt in November 1943 (eg AH507), then in February 1944 to RNDA (W8393), and March 1944 (W8255).  All aircraft were ultimately delivered to 771 squadron at Twatt. The last aircraft of the type in FAA service was in December 1945 at RNAS Ayr (BZ332).

Boston in RAF wartime markings

            Fleet Air Arm history

            Total FAA 1939-1945:        27
            First delivered to RN:         1943.
            First squadron 1939-1945:   11.43 771 sqdn Twatt (AH507)
            Operational squadron:          None
            Last served with RN            12.45 RNAS Ayr (BZ332)

Aircraft Type:
Douglas A-20J Boston
Boston Mk I, Mk II, Mk III/Turbinlite, Mk III/Intruder..
Havoc Mk I, Mk I/LAM, Mk I/Pandora, Mk I/Intruder
Mk I/LAM Intruder
Primary Role:
Medium Bomber
First Flight: 
prototype flew in December 1938
Date operating with FAA squadrons:
Douglas Aircraft Co
Two 1,600-hp Wright Double-Row Cyclone G.R. 2600-A5B engines.
 Wing Span: Length: Height: Wing Area: 
Wingspan: 18.70 m
Length: 14.63 m
Empty Weight: Max.Weight:
Weight: 10850 kg



Max. speed: 532 km/h 
Ceiling: 7200 m
Range: 1740 km
Four fixed 0.303 machine-guns in nose, twin hand operated 0.303 machine-guns in dorsal and ventral
positions. Max. bomb-load, 2,000 lbs.
771, 772
Battle honours:
None with FAA
Additional references and notes:

Battle Honours and Operational History

        The Boston saw no action in World War Two with the FAA.

Boston A-20 wartime colour photograph 2 9 1942
The A-20 was used in every theater of the war by other services and was also flown by Australia, Brazil, South Africa, and the Netherlands. The Soviet Union received more A-20s than the US did, but little is known about the type's operational career there. Some of the Dutch aircraft were captured by the Japanese and appropriated into service.

On 4 July, 1942, the first US Army Air Forces bomber mission over Western Europe was flown by American crews of the 15th Bomb Squadron operating British Bostons IIIs against airfields in the Netherlands. Bostons were also used to lay smoke screens for the raid at Dieppe in August 1942. 418 Squadron, RCAF, operated them from March 1942 - July 1943, when they were replaced by Mosquitos.

It was in a Boston that the RAAF's only Victoria Cross of the Pacific war was awarded to Ft lt WE Newton. The Boston holds a special place in the history of the RAAF and Newton's VC reflects the substantial contribution No 22 sqdn and its Bostons made to the Allied campaign in the New Guinea theatre of WWII.

Boston A-20 in US markings

Surviving aircraft and relics
A number of Bostons and Havocs survive around the world. The Douglas Boston-Havoc UK Preservation Trust is restoring a forward fuselage, and two Bostons have been restored at the RAAF museum from former wrecks.

A-20-G Boston preserved at the USAF Museum (USA)
The A20-G  aircraft on display at the USAF Museum is one of 2,850 A20-Gs built. It was     donated by the Bankers Life and Casualty Company of Chicago in 1961, and is painted as a 3rd Bomb Group aircraft in the Pacific.

Boston A28-8 J-DU preserved at the RAAF Museum (Australia)
One of 22 aircraft ordered by the French, the order was then transferred to the RAF after the fall of France in 1940. The aircraft was then transferred to the Netherlands soon after Japan's entry into World War Two, and shipped to Java. Before its arrival, Java too fell, and A28-8 was delivered to Melbourne in April 1942. In July 1943, No 22 Squadron was transferred to Goodenough Island, and A28-8 carried out operations from that location until 12 December, when the aircraft crashed on Goodenough airstrip due to battle damage. The aircraft was recovered by the RAAF in 1987, and A28-8 taken to RAAF Amberley for restoration to static condition. In 1998, the aircraft was transported to the RAAF Museum at Point Cook for display.

Associations and reunions
           Douglas Boston-Havoc UK Preservation Trust 17 Hinckley Road Barwell, Leicestershire
            LE9 8DL England 44 (0) 1455 845517
Air collection of the Lone Star Flying Museum (USA) Havoc history and specifications. Details of the sole flying Havoc in the World. 
Sturtivant, R. & Burrow, M (1995) Fleet Air Arm Aircraft 1939 to1945'  Published by Air Britain (Historians) Ltd, 1995 ISBN: 0 85130 232 7 
Olivier warbirds, Le site sur l'aviation de la Seconde guerre mondiale Details of the Boston [in french]
Canadian Aces Home Page  Short summary of Douglas Boston, Havoc, A-20 Bomber/Attack Aircraft 
Created 3-4-1999, Modified 3-4-2000


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