Douglass A-20G Havoc

This is a lesser known aircraft from a lesser known bomb group. But the 417th Bomb Group fought a hard war, in a tough environment, at the end of a long supply chain.

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After the jump, a look at this Pacific warrior.

The 417th Bomb Group was a part of General George Kenny’s 5th Air Force for the last two years of World War II.  That means they were in General MacArthur’s theater, based out of Australia.  They arrived in New Guinea in January of 1944 and spent most of that year flying close support missions to the end of that campaign.  In December of 1944 they relocated to the Philippines; for mostly the same work, plus a lot more anti-shipping work.  Near the end of the war they relocated again, this time to Okinawa in preparation for the coming invasion of Japan.  After the war they were deactivated and have been ever since.

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Some A-20s had a bombardier in the nose.  But many (like the A-20G) had, or were modified to have) a solid nose for heavier forward firepower.  Seen here, six x .50 mg

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This aircraft is from the AMT kit with Third Group decals.   This is not a favorite kit of mine; it is more or less “modern” in the level of detail it offers, but fit is sloppy and it requires a lot of work to tame the seams.  Ultimately I really like the look of the plane and the kit, so its worth a little extra work.  And I really like this capable but lesser known aircraft.

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This photo of a 417th Bomb Group Havoc shows the bomb bay and canopy open. (from replicainscale.blogspot.com)

I don’t have a whole lot more to say than that.  The 417th Bomb Group was probably typical of a lot of A-20 groups; they did important work, lived a life of deprivation, and took casualties without ever making headlines or being very well known.

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Comparison of the A-20G with an earlier A-20B.  Note the expanded tropical air filters above the engine, solid armed nose and power dorsal turret with twin .50 mg.

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The 417th Bomb Group would have encountered late model Japanese fighters like the Jack and Frank.  Fortunately, American fighters held Air Supremacy and Japanese fighters only rarely interfered with the bombers.

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Many US aircraft were finished in  Olive Drab on top, with patterns of Medium Green to break up the outline when seen from above.

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About atcDave

I'm 53 years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I've been an air traffic controller for 30 years; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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13 Responses to Douglass A-20G Havoc

  1. Pierre Lagacé says:

    I got one in my forgotten stash.
    I always loved that plane.

  2. Another fine job Dave. Excellent work and a great write-up on a much underrated but extremely effective and important aircraft.

    • atcDave says:

      Thanks Rich.
      It does seem like apart from fighter pilots, and B-17 crewmen, no one else gets as much attention. I don’t want to make too big a thing of it, except to say I like pointing out some of the less reported aspects and corners of the war.

  3. jfwknifton says:

    You are not the only person to like the Havoc, or the Boston, to quote another of its guises. The RAF seemed very happy with them, and so did the Red Air Force, who seem besotted with ground attack aircraft to this very day. A great model, by the way, as always.

    • atcDave says:

      Thanks as always!

      Yeah this type seemed to be popular with crews everywhere it went. Even to the point 5th Air Force crews resisted “upgrading” to the A-26.

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