The prototype Douglas DB-7 first flew in December 1938, and subsequent versions were the most produced of all American aircraft in the "attack" category. Amongst the many variants, DB-7s operated with the French and Russian Air Forces, Boston Mks I to V with the RAF (the Mk II was called the Havoc), BD-1s and -2s with the United States Navy, while numerous versions of A-20s, P-70s and F-3s served with the US Army Air Corps.

RAAF Bostons included Mk IIIs (A-20C) with transparent noses for bomb-aimers, and Mk IVs (A-20G) with enclosed gun-carrying nose. Most Mk IIIs were modified to Mk IV standard, and other improvements included the installation of long-range tanks and increased armament. The 69 RAAF Bostons were numbered A28-1/40 and A28-59/78, and were taken on strength between 29 March 1942 and 4 October 1944.

The Bostons served with No 22 Squadron where their operations became known as "Boston Tea Parties" and individual aircraft became legendary. Wing Commander Learmonth's "She's Apples" set a South-West Pacific bombing record; Flight Lieutenant Williamson's A28-5 was belly-landed with a bomb load and was back in operations within hours; and, most famous of all, Flight Lieutenant Bill Newton's A28-3 crashed off Salamaua on 18 March 1943, prior to his post-humous Victoria Cross award.

Ironically, 13 Bostons were damaged by an enemy air raid at Morotai on 23 November 1944, at a time when No 22 Squadron had been notified that it was to re-equip with Beaufighters. By 1946, the few remaining Bostons had been either returned to the USAAF or issued for disposal.

TECHNICAL DATA: Douglas Boston Mk III (A-20C)

DESCRIPTION:

Light attack bomber with 3 crew. All metal stressed-skin construction.

POWER PLANT:

Two 1,600 hp Wright Double-Row Cyclone GR-2600-A5B.

DIMENSIONS:

Span 18.69 m (61 ft 4 in); length 14.48 m (47 ft 6 in); height 5.36 m (17 ft 7 in).

WEIGHTS:

Empty 6827 kg (15 051 lb); loaded 10 660 kg (23 500 lb).

PERFORMANCE:

Max speed 544 km/h (294 kt); Cruising Speed 439 km/h (237 kt); Tactical climb 366 m (1,200 ft)/min; Range 1199 km (647 nm); Service ceiling 27,600 ft (8412 m).

ARMAMENT:

Four fixed 0.303 guns in nose, twin hand operated guns in dorsal and ventral positions; Bomb load 907 kg (2,000 lb).