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US Army Air Forces training film describes how to fly the Douglas A-20 Havoc attack aircraft.
USAF Training Film TF1-3332
Public domain film from the US Air Force, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and one-pass brightness-contrast-color correction & mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and/or equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original).
The Douglas A-20 Havoc (company designation DB-7) was an American attack, light bomber, intruder aircraft of World War II. It served with several Allied air forces, principally the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF), the Soviet Air Forces (VVS), Soviet Naval Aviation (AVMF) and the Royal Air Force (RAF) of the United Kingdom. Soviet units received more than one in three (2,908 aircraft) of the DB-7s ultimately built. It was also used by the air forces of Australia, South Africa, France, and the Netherlands during the war, and by Brazil afterwards.
In British Commonwealth air forces, bomber/attack variants of the DB-7 were usually known by the service name Boston, while night fighter and intruder variants were usually known as Havoc. An exception to this was the Royal Australian Air Force, which referred to all variants of the DB-7 by the name Boston. The USAAF referred to night fighter variants as P-70…
Although not the fastest or longest-range aircraft in its class, the Douglas DB-7 series distinguished itself as a tough, dependable combat aircraft with an excellent reputation for speed and maneuverability. In a report to the British Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment (AAEE) at RAF Boscombe Down, test pilots summed it up as: “has no vices and is very easy to take off and land … The aeroplane represents a definite advantage in the design of flying controls … extremely pleasant to fly and manoeuvre.” Ex-pilots often consider it their favorite aircraft of the war due to the ability to toss it around like a fighter. The Douglas bomber/night fighter was extremely adaptable and found a role in every combat theater of the war, and excelled as a true “pilot’s aeroplane”.
When DB-7 series production finally ended on 20 September 1944, a total of 7,098 had been built by Douglas and a further 380 by Boeing. Douglas redesigned its Santa Monica plant to create a mechanized production line to produce A-20 Havocs. The assembly line was over a mile long (6,100 feet), but by looping back and forth, fitted into a building that was only 700 feet long. Man-hours were reduced by 50% for some operations. Production tripled…
Through Lend-Lease, Soviet forces received more than two-thirds of version A-20B planes manufactured and a significant portion of versions G and H. The A-20 was the most numerous foreign aircraft in the Soviet bomber inventory. The Soviet Air Force had more A-20s than the USAAF.
They were delivered via the ALSIB (Alaska-Siberia) air ferry route. The aircraft had its baptism of fire at the end of June 1942. The Soviets were dissatisfied with the four .30-calibre Browning machine guns — themselves only capable of firing at a top rate of 600 rounds per gun per minute — and replaced them with the faster-firing, 7.62mm calibre ShKAS, capable of up to 1800 rounds per gun per minute. During the summer of 1942, the Bostons flew ultra-low-level raids against German convoys heavily protected by flak. Attacks were made from altitudes as low as 33 ft (10 metres) and the air regiments suffered heavy losses. By mid-1943 Soviet pilots were very familiar with the A-20B and A-20C. The general opinion was that the aircraft was overpowered and therefore fast and agile. It could make steep turns with an angle of up to 65°, while the tricycle landing gear made for easier take-offs and landings. The type could be flown even by crews with minimal training. The engines were reliable but sensitive to low temperatures, so the Soviet engineers developed special covers for keeping propeller hubs from freezing up.
Some of these aircraft were armed with fixed-forward cannons and found some success in the ground attack role.
By the end of the war, 3,414 A-20s had been delivered to the USSR, 2,771 of which were used by the Soviet Air Force…