login   |    register
World War II
Discuss WWII and the era directly before and after the war from 1935-1949.
Hosted by Rowan Baylis
Soviet A-20G Night Fighter
awrc
Visit this Community
Wisconsin, United States
Joined: April 18, 2005
KitMaker: 281 posts
P47 Heaven: 0 posts
Posted: Wednesday, September 09, 2020 - 03:45 AM UTC
Hi,

I'm planning to try to build the A-20G-10-DO night fighter equipped w/ Gneis 3 radar that was operated by the 173 APON (and is covered by the Owl Decals sheet "Red Stars On Night Sky". I'm running a bit short of info, and hoping maybe somebody who knows a bit more about the subject might be able to help me - this is something that might be better for the Soviet forum, or might be better for the US forum for A-20 info, so I've left the discussion group association off. Apologies to anybody who feels that they're seeing this and shouldn't be.

My sheet came without the PE for the antenna, but I'm planning to create them from suitable thin brass rod. For the kit itself, the plan is to collide an AMT P-70 kit with an AMT A-20G kit. The former has the simple dorsal gun position (no turret), and it can take the nose from the A-20G kit. I've got Ultracast's replacement props, the Quickboost engine replacements, SAC gear, resin wheels, various elderly Eduard A-20 PE sets and I'm planning to pick up the Vector A-20G cockpit.

My main questions are:

1. Since it's got the four cannon, this aircraft is a very early A-20G (it's an A-20G-10-DO according to the Owl sheet). Now I see that Quickboost do A-20G cowlings. Are these appropriate for this version? My understanding is that the extra exhaust stubs on the cowling sides were introduced fairly late in the A-20G production run, but if the shape of the AMT cowlings is wrong, maybe getting the resin cowlings and backdating them to the earlier type (i.e. cutting off the extra stubs) would be a better option? Or am I safe just using the P-70 exhaust cowlings?

2. The cannon. The reading I've done suggests they were Hispano cannon, and there's no hint that they were replaced with Russian 23mm cannon or similar. This has also got me wondering if any of the Hispano cannon that Master Model in Poland does might be suitable - the only "bare" Hispano cannon they seem to do appear to be the AM48-095 set for the Fairey Firefly, which include "no fairing" options, but which look like they might be short. Actually. looking at them, I can't help but wonder if they'd also be suitable for my Classic Airframes Westland Whirlwind too...

3. The color scheme appears to be OD over Neutral Grey, with a light blue band around the nose. However, there's no indication of overspray of US markings, just a standard US serial on the tail and Russian markings. Since a pretty high proportion of A-20s went via Siberia straight to the Soviet Union, is it likely that this aircraft was either delivered with Soviet markings, or delivered unmarked except for the serial? The blue for the stripe is, I'm guessing, AII light blue or perhaps AMT-7, or A-28m.

If anybody has any information on this aircraft, it'd be very welcome. Alas, my main reference on the A-20 (the Warpaint book) is very heavily skewed towards RAF aircraft (understandable given where it was published) but seems to give very little info on the Soviet aircraft, perhaps due to lack of available reference material?

Fully expecting this to be like every other question I've ever asked on Aeroscale, and not to get any answers, but I might as well try.

Al
AussieReg
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
AUTOMODELER
#007
Visit this Community
Victoria, Australia
Joined: June 09, 2009
KitMaker: 8,156 posts
P47 Heaven: 438 posts
Posted: Wednesday, September 09, 2020 - 08:06 AM UTC
Very interesting and uncommon subject matter Al, not an area Iím very familiar with but as a fan of the heavy twin engine night fighters in general I did a quick search and found this : https://vvsairwar.com/2018/01/09/the-douglas-a-20-havoc-boston-in-soviet-service/amp/

Some useful info and images in there, but might not answer your specific queries.

Iíve got a P-70 in progress, so Iím going to keep digging for my own interest now as well.

Cheers, D
awrc
Visit this Community
Wisconsin, United States
Joined: April 18, 2005
KitMaker: 281 posts
P47 Heaven: 0 posts
Posted: Wednesday, September 09, 2020 - 09:29 AM UTC
Definitely an interesting read - if I canít sort out the night fighter details, it looks as though Iíve got something to use the torpedo from the Xuntong Il-4/Il-4T with. Plus the A-20G in the ground crew photo appears to actually have the nose from an Il-4 grafted on (which is an option in Special Hobbyís 1/72 Russian A-20G kit).

If the early A-20G didnít have the extra exhaust stubs, and the basic engine cowling shape is OK (i.e. if Quickboost only did their cowlings to provide more detailed stubs, not to correct a shape issue) I think the hardest part of the Russian night fighter will be the antenna. The cannon barrels included with the A-20G are close enough to the length of Firefly Hispano barrels that I suspect the aircraft *did* have ďbareĒ Hispano cannon in the nose - plus the Master Model parts are cheap enough that if they donít look right, I can see whether or not theyíre right for the Whirlwind...
Redhand
#522
Visit this Community
New Jersey, United States
Joined: January 20, 2013
KitMaker: 1,459 posts
P47 Heaven: 0 posts
Posted: Wednesday, September 09, 2020 - 02:24 PM UTC
I also have the Owl conversion sets for this. The subject likewise intrigues me. A number of years ago I was fortunate enough to get a Finnish book called Red Stars 4 that is devoted to lend-lease aircraft. Let me look and see what photos the book has of this configuration.

I have to warn you that there is not a lot of detailed technical information in the book, but I know there are plenty of decent pictures of A-20s and some decent color profiles.

If I remember correctly, this aircraft version also has some pretty heavy-duty radar antenna arrays under the wings. I think OWL takes care of that, however.
AussieReg
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
AUTOMODELER
#007
Visit this Community
Victoria, Australia
Joined: June 09, 2009
KitMaker: 8,156 posts
P47 Heaven: 438 posts
Posted: Wednesday, September 09, 2020 - 04:50 PM UTC
https://soldat.pro/en/2018/12/12/gneis-2-pervaia-seriinaia-sovetskaia-aviacionnaia-rls/

A nice photo here showing the underwing array.

Cheers, D
awrc
Visit this Community
Wisconsin, United States
Joined: April 18, 2005
KitMaker: 281 posts
P47 Heaven: 0 posts
Posted: Thursday, September 10, 2020 - 01:26 AM UTC
Yes, the Owl set includes good diagrams on antenna placement. From what I remember of the PE fret (mine vanished) they were quite nice, just rather 2D, so Iím planning to try with either brass rod or piano wire and soldering.

The pic showing the antenna looks like it confirms my thoughts on whether or not the nacelles had the extra stubs - the exhaust pattern suggests the early type, with just one exhaust each side of the nacelle.

Thanks for the info and help, everybody. Any more will be welcomed, but I think I have sufficient info to make a start -even a pic of the radar unitís controls, which Iím guessing were in the rear gunnerís position.

Alan
Wolfhound113
Visit this Community
Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Joined: November 28, 2013
KitMaker: 49 posts
P47 Heaven: 0 posts
Posted: Thursday, September 10, 2020 - 06:50 AM UTC
Hi.
This is truly fascinating. I always had a soft spot for the underrated A-20 but reading about their use in the VVS is an eye-opener.
The VVS liked the A-20 very much but also knew it's weaknesses. And they still wanted to keep using them.

I did discover this about the cannon. Not actually Hispano Suiza's but a US made variant called the M2 20mm (and not a terribly good one at that). Like the USAAF the VVS was impressed by the basic firepower of a 20mm cannon but also like the USAAF, underwhelmed by their low rate of fire and really unimpressed by their habit of misfiring or jamming.
There were division-level units who wanted to swap out the M2 20mm's for ShVAK 20mm cannons - there are photo's of prototypes with two - but the VVS nixxed the idea, preferring to keep supply lines and maintanance simple, and went for the all-Browning option. The USAAF came to the same conclusion for their A20G's (and in fact for all fighters.)
What did happen often was to replace the upper turret with a Soviet-made one. (But I haven't gotten into the details of that yet.)
Also they sometimes re-glazed the nose on the A-20G's. Again, the USAAF did that too.
Internally VVS A20's of all types got complete makeovers during major maintenance, replacing US-made equipment with the standard VVS counterparts. But you would not really see that in a 1/48 scale model.
And remember that VVS had policies and yes, VVS was a well organised and highly disciplined organisation, but hey, if they ran out of M2 Browning barrels (or whatever) then they'd fit whatever fit and go with that until the next overhaul.
.
Al, thanks for starting this thread!!

Grtz,

Marc
awrc
Visit this Community
Wisconsin, United States
Joined: April 18, 2005
KitMaker: 281 posts
P47 Heaven: 0 posts
Posted: Thursday, September 10, 2020 - 11:15 AM UTC
From what I can see on the cannon, the original French HS.404 was licensed by the British and became the Mk I (used in the Westland Whirlwind and the Beaufighter, and was in turn licensed by the US as the M1, but was rather unreliable which was disappointing to both the US and the UK whoíd hoped that US production would improve the supply of cannon.

Then the British modified it from the 60 round drum feed of the Mk I to the belt-fed Mk II, which was the version widely used in Spitfire V and later, and cannon-armed Hurricanes. The US produced their own equivalent, the M2, but kept the longer chamber of the M1, and ended up with a belt-fed 20mm that jammed just as often as the M1. However, it could be recocked in flight, which made it usable, and it was used in the P-38.

The British ended up with the Mk V in the Tempest, the US made similar changes to produce the M3 which...wasnít great, but post-war was modified as the M24 with electrical cocking. Looks like the A-1 Skyraider had the M3, or maybe the M24.

One thing I did notice was that the A-20G cannon are listed as having 60 rounds per gun, which suggests either that they were drum-fed, which suggests they were either M1s, or that there were drum-fed M2s.

Oh, and the Mk V (and possibly M3?) had a shorter barrel, so it looks as though the Firefly barrels arenít an option for the A-20. Oh well.

Oh, and yeah, what I read suggests that the Russians really liked the A-20, they were even a bigger user of the type than the US, and seem to have mainly used it in the same way as the British intruder versions, ultra-low-level Havoc (pun absolutely intended) against railyards, etc. I think thereís a real story behind the Russian A-20s. Alas, there doesnít seem to be much published about the Lend-Lease bombers - got a nice Russian B-25 lined up to build too