Crowood Aviation Series

Douglas Havoc and Boston: The DB-7/A-20 Series

by Scott Thompson

reviewed by Kevin Batterman


Crowood recently published a book on the Douglas A-20 Havoc in their aviation series and is the companion volume to the earlier B-26 Invader book.  This is the second book in the Crowood Aviation Series that I have had the pleasure to review.  It follows the same standard format as the other books and is packed with information.  The 175 pages cover the A-20 background and design, production, foreign use and Lend Lease, USAF service and post-war use.  There are many very nice B&W and color photos of the A-20, many, which I have never seen before.  It is a credit to the author to have included new photos along with the common ones we see.

The book begins with a discussion of the design and development of the A-20.  Here the author discusses the French DB-73, RAF DB-7 orders, and Dutch DB-7C.  Then the early USAAC use of the A-20 is covered.  The reader will find that the author discusses the various models of the A-20 ranging from the XA-20 to the A-20H/K including the P-70.  I particularly liked that some of the drawings that appear to be from the tech manuals are used.  From my experience, one elusive aspect of the A-20 has been the rear gunnerís cockpit and the tunnel gun position.  In the chapter, there are photos of both positions and drawings as well which are great.

The author then goes further as the second chapter is dedicated to the technical aspects of the A-20, the construction, equipment, systems, armament and engines.  This chapter is full of great photos and factory drawings.  It will be very useful to the modeler with all of the interior photos and drawings.  The modeler will find information on the cockpit, tunnel gun position, rear gunner's cockpit. From my experience, I have found that information of the A-20 interior details tended to be elusive.  I know for sure that I will be pulling out the book when I build my next AMT/ERTL A-20.

One chapter is dedicated to the A-20's foreign service with the various Allies including the RAAF, Armee de l'Air, RAF, Soviet and Brazil's use for example.  There you will find a wealth of information about the various foreign models such as the Turbinlite.

Chapter 5 covers the USAAF use during World War II.  The author provides information on the various US numbered Air Forces such as the 5th, 9th and 12th  and their bomber groups around the globe.  The combat career of the P-70 is discussed as well as the A-20s role in ground strafing. The final chapter gives the information on the A-20's postwar service, civil use and survivors.  There is also a discussion on how the USAAF disposed of surplus planes after the war.  Then there is a lot of information of the civil A-20s and their history along with the location and background of all of the A-20s restorations. Lastly, the three appendices have information on the specifications, engines and production list.

Overall, I thought that it is a really great book and the best single publication written on the A-20 to date.  If you really like the plane or if you want to build the AMT kit and add further details I strongly recommend this book.  Bearing this in mind, I look forward to new titles from Crowood in this series.