This type may be the opposite of “iconic”; I think the A-20 family of aircraft is one of the least known types that saw wide service.
After the jump I’ll take a brief look at a prolific and useful type that was/is under-represented in major media.
The whole category of attack aircraft and light bombers seems to draw little attention. Before World War II the Douglas Company had been working on one such aircraft under the company designation DB-7 (“Douglas Bomber 7”). This was a free lance project that was not supported by any branch of the US Military. But as the French were trying to arm themselves for a possible war with Germany they found the design interesting. US export laws at the time required some American patronage, so US and French Air Force officers worked through a flight test program with Douglas.
The type was quickly considered attractive; the aircraft handling was excellent, and the plane was fast with a decent bomb load. So in spite of an early prototype crash that drew unwanted press to the whole program, the French ordered over four hundred aircraft. Only 64 were delivered before the fall of France and Britain took over the order. In British service the type was known as the “Boston”. And it was in British service the type really proved its worth.
So just a little bit about what the plane was. As a light bomber it only carried 2000 lbs of bombs internally. It had a crew of three; a single pilot, radio operator/gunner and bombardier. It was fast for its type (over 300 mph) and maneuverable. Initial versions were powered by two R-1830 engines. Positive reports from Britain finally led to US Army interest in the type; and US interest led to re-engining with two R-2600 engines. Internal capacity was not increased; but the new engines meant more external stores could be carried.
Functionally this was exactly the sort of attack plane the Army Air Force wanted. Especially as opposed to dive bombing types used by the Navy or German Luftwaffe. The A-20 was much faster, carried a heavier load at longer range, and offered the extra safety of twin engines.
Ultimately the aircraft would be used by France, both for and against the allies, Britain, the US, and a significant number were lend leased to the Soviet Union. Production ended in early 1944 for the type’s replacement, the A-26 Invader.
This example is from the AMT kit with Third Group decals. This aircraft served in North Africa in late 1942 to early 1943. The AMT kit is interesting; it well engineered and nicely detailed, but the production quality is very low with excessive flash and soft plastic.