A-20Posted by Magnus Kimura 2015-03-28 10:21:22The Damage Tables are DONE!
DT-1, A-20 G & H, Nose - DONE
DT-1, A-20J, Nose - DONE
DT-1a, A-20, Fire Extinguisher, Engine Fire & Dive - DONE
DT-2, A-20, Cock-Pit - DONE
DT-2a, A-20, Pilot Wounded - DONE.
DT-3, A-20, Controls and Internal Systems - DONE
DT-4, A-20, Bomb Bay - DONE
DT-4a, A-20, Hydraulic Failure - DONE
DT-5, A-20, Wings - DONE
DT-6, A-20, Mid-Section - DONE
DT-6a, A-20, Wounds & Frostbite (Same as B-26, DT-7a)
DT-7, A-20, Waist - DONE
DT-8, A-20, Tail - DONE
Most of the A-20 is finished!
I have to make some adjustments in a couple of other tables, but that is a cinch. A Fuel Consumption Chart must be created for the A-20G & A-20H/J.
A-20Posted by Magnus Kimura 2015-03-27 13:29:00Night IntrudersThe Douglas A-20 Havoc In Northern Italy
By Milton Corwin
Many stories have been written by aging warriors of World War Two because of a compulsion to preserve a period in history that occurred briefly but will remain forever in memory. The putative "gentlemen's war" can never again be visited upon this globe.
Now there are machines that can wreak much more havoc in much less time with much more hideous results. Recently I found myself in a reminiscent mood which was triggered by a photograph in an old issue of Air Classics. There it was on the cover in all its glory - the perky, feisty and lethal Douglas A-20 Havoc. I was transported back in time to 1944-1945, back to Corsica, Salon de Provence, France and several villages in western Italy. The 86th Squadron of the 47th Bomb Group in which I served as a bombardier, and was comprised of A-20s, had just been converted from flying daylight missions to exclusively flying night missions.
Instead of typical formation flying, the 47th was ordered to change to night intruder-type missions requiring now one bombardier per plane. Since there was no time to request additional trained crewmen from the US, it was expedient to transfer bombardiers from B-26 groups in Sardinia. I was one of the lucky ones. This new strategy required us to be retrained in a different bombsight - the British Mark IX. The Norden bombsight, which I had spent over a year in mastering, was unsuitable for this new use.
To compound the problem, we were ordered to navigate as well. Since I had just two hours of navigation training in ground school, I thought this new additional duty would be very interesting. Now I can understand why wars must be fought by the very young and who still believed were immortal.
On one particularly black night I was assigned to a crew piloted by Lt. Francis Floyd who was a charmer when not in the air but whose Irish temper bubbled to the surface when at the controls of an aircraft. I was busy, too. I was trying to keep track of our position by doing "follow the pilot" navigation, feed data into the bombsight and look for targets. We were assigned a particular sector to patrol looking for moving lights on the ground. The assumption was, of course that these lights were on Nazi trucks, which were supplying many divisions of German troops. I had a feeling things were not going well when the following dialogue took place. Pilot: Navigator, what is our position? Navigator (bombardier): I haven't the foggiest idea. Pilot: You stupid &*%$#@! - I'll navigate from now on! This sounded reasonable to me except for one problem - the cockpit was over the wing obliterating the view of the ground.
In order to see below, Lt. Floyd dropped the left wing then the right wing and peered over each side. Every time he made these maneuvers he did not use the rudder pedals resulting in uncoordinated turns and resulting in one very sick bombardier. It should also be noted that this was 1944 and these primitive aircraft were not equipped with air sickness bags; now the custom on commercial planes. Consequently the ground crew was not happy to see me. If we actually scored any hits on this mission it was strictly an accident.
On patrol with a different pilot, we were assigned a sector in North Italy near Verona. Visibility was clear. The target was a well-protected railroad marshaling yard. When flak started bursting too close for comfort, it was a simple matter to go into evasive action since we were by ourselves. This was in March 1945 and the Germans no longer had any fighter defenses and relied solely on antiaircraft weapons. They were quite accurate especially if they could get a radar fix. Fortunately they did not score any serious hits on us. At this point I spotted a long series of lights snaking down a mountainside. It had to be a train or a truck convoy - just what we were looking for. We dropped our bombs and headed for home. For the next 20 minutes we could see a magnificent pyrotechnical display, which was the cache of Nazi ammunition lighting up the sky.
The A-20 was a very unique airplane. Light and agile it could be used as a fighter when equipped with a solid nose and bristling with armament, but was also a versatile bomber. The interior, however, was very Spartan. There was room for only one pilot, one bombardier and perhaps two gunners in the aft compartment. The only entry and exit to the nose compartment was through a bottom hatch. Upon entry, the bombardier pulled the hatch up and locked it with an assist from a ground crew person. There was no passageway to the rest of the plane. In addition there was always the hazard of being in the nose upon landing and take off. Many bombardiers were lost in crash landings when the rest of the crew survived.
On one memorable occasion we were returning from a routine mission and I was preparing for the landing. My chest chute pack was off and I was squirming backward in order to fasten the seat belt. Much to my shock and horror the entry hatch gave way and my legs were in the slipstream. It was impossible to lift my legs back into the nose so I grabbed whatever I could and hung on.
This caused the intercom to become disconnected so I could not talk to the pilot. He, of course, assumed I had fallen out. Walt Hansen, the pilot, was very skilled and knew he had to make a smooth landing. The explosive sound of the hatch hitting the extended nose wheel indicated to him what had happened. Happily the landing was smooth and I was able to hang on until we taxied to a stop. It wasn't until an hour later during debriefing that I began to tremble realizing what a narrow escape I had. This was the only occasion that I greedily accepted the ration of rye whiskey that was offered.
The 47th Bomb Group was tactical - it was designed to be always in close support of ground troops. This necessitated many moves. One such move was from Salon de Provence in France to Follonica, Italy. The invasion of southern France went much better than anticipated so the 47th Bomb Group was ordered to Italy to support Mark Clark's 5th Army. Time was of the essence so it was decided to use our own planes as much as possible rather than wait for C-47 cargo planes; except for the very heavy equipment.
Although the A-20 was a fine aircraft for its designed purposes, it left a great deal to be desired as a cargo plane. The US Army Air Force was ingenious and clever, however. This little airplane was now called upon to perform yeoman service as a moving van. I reported to my plane on the flight line with Lt. Ed Stafinski, the pilot, and saw that even if we had used a shoehorn we could not add anything to the load that was aboard. Even the nose compartment was completely full; without an inch of space to spare for me.
Lt. Stafinski and I had a hurried conference an arrived at a solution, albeit illegal. The canopy over the pilot's cockpit closed by means of a hinge, leaving a large deck behind his head. This space was used to store the inflatable life raft. We removed it and consigned it to the miscellany in the waist area. I then lay prone in this newly-formed tunnel. I might add at this point that I stand about five feet four inches and in those years weighed around 120 pounds. My size fortunately became an asset. We lurched into the air and set our course for Italy.
We only vaguely knew the exact location of our new airfield but with the confidence of youth we were unfazed. At approximately the half way point, Lt. Stafinski tapped me and pointed to his instruments. All the electrical dials including the radio were reading zero. We learned later that in my clumsiness I unknowingly turned the generator switch to "off." The batteries had long since been exhausted so now we were very, very anxious to find our airfield.
Finally an airstrip came into view and, lo and behold, there was an A-20 parked next to the tower. We thought it strange to see just one aircraft, but in our perilous situation that airstrip looked very inviting. Our A-20 cum cargo plane landed, taxied to the other plane and was greeted by the crew's horselaugh. "You landed at the wrong place too," they crowed.
A conference was hastily held which was interrupted by a noisy light liaison plane. It circled us, then floated leaf-like to a landing next to us "sans" runway. Expecting to see an arrogant sergeant-pilot, we were non-plussed when a brigadier general emerged to see if he could help. We explained the situation and he offered to fly one of us to a nearby British field to try to contact our group.
Since the pilots had to remain with their planes, I was elected to go with the general.
What a ride! Never rising to more than a hundred feet, he attacked trees rather than climbing over them. Whether it was for my benefit or not I do not know, but my heart was in my mouth for the length of the trip.
Again he effected the "leaf-like" landing in front of the operations tent and left me to my own devices. I collected my wits and found an officer who contacted my group by phone. I learned a rescue party had been dispatched and I should get back as soon as possible. After several hitchhiking rides, I was reunited with my squadron - one very tired second lieutenant.
From my current vantage point of almost 50 years, these memories of WWII have acquired a musty rosy glow. The mind somehow dims the recollections of unpleasant incidents but recalls, instead, moments of delight and happiness. The time I spent with the 86th Bomb Squadron of the 47th Bomb Group will always remain as an important period of maturation and growth.http://www.47thbombgroup.org/documents/night_intruders.html
A-20Posted by Magnus Kimura 2015-03-26 22:35:49
While trying to find out where the rubber raft is in the A-20 I found this photo archive: http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/photos/media_search.asp?q=A-20&page=1
I don't know if there is a raft in the A-20. There is a "Gunner's Life Preserver" in the waist, but I am not sure if that could be used as a raft with room for all crew men.
Is the raft behind the cock-pit? "...so we removed the five-man life raft from the shelf behind the cock-pit." I did not know that. It's from Wreaking Havoc: A Year in an A-20
By Joseph W. Rutter
Here is a photo of an A-20 1/48 model, the yellow part is the raft:
A-20Posted by Magnus Kimura 2015-02-09 00:45:14
The AN-M40 "Para-Frag" was a fragmentation bomb that was used by the United States during World War II.
The AN-M40 was quite unique in its design as a fragmentation bomb, particularly the fact that the weapon utilized a parachute in order to slow its descent and allow the aircraft dropping it to escape the harmful effects while at the same time being able to fly in low and achieve maximum accuracy. Notably, the AN-M40's standard fuse had the tendency to malfunction and thus turn the bomb into a dud, however the shear number of bombs that could be dropped at the same time meant that most attacks were extremely effective. This also counteracted the fact that each individual bomb had a relatively small explosive radius.
The bomb was most effective when attacking airfields as the fragments of the explosion would rip through aluminum air frames and kill any ground personnel present. The fuse on the AN-M40 was impact sensitive, though extremely sensitive. It should be noted that the designation, AN-M40 was only standardized by 1945, though the bomb had been in American usage long before then.
In order to allow for increased accuracy when using the bombs from a greater height than normal, the AN-M41 bomb was created with the addition of fins for stabilization in the air. Furthermore, a cluster-bomb variant was also created which fitted twenty-five AN-M41s into a single container and was designated the M26 Fragmentation Bomb.
The idea for the AN-M40 "Para-Frag" was first created by George Kenney in the 1920s. While the AN-M40 was not accepted for use in Europe, mainly because the Allies preferred high-altitude bombardment. However, the large amount of Para-Frags then available were moved to the Pacific. The first operational use of the AN-M40 was during an air raid over Buna Airfield in Papua New Guinea in which a large air group of various attacker aircraft such as A-20s and P-40s dropped nearly 300 "Para-Frags" over the target with an alleged seventeen aircraft ground kills despite severely poor weather. After this attack, the AN-M40 was put into full operational service with units in the Pacific. Seeing the success they had, their creator, Kenney urged the conversion of as many fragmentation bombs to the Para-Frag standard as possible. In the end, thousands of fragmentation bombs had been created during the war and used in dozens of strafing attacks on Japanese airfields during the war.