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F-3A Havoc info sought

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I am looking for info on the recce fit of the Douglas F-3A Havoc. I want to start on my conversion of the AMT/ERTL 1/48 A-20J, and do a bird from the 155th Night Photo Sqn, 10th PRG. I plan to do either "Sleepy Time Gal" (preferred) or "Starize", using the AeroMaster decals. I did a search here on Britmodeller, but found nothing (Flaky search engine?).


What I am looking for is info (Drawings/photos) of the camera fit & location, including the Edgerton Lamp (SP?). I have found some written info on the equipment fit, but not specific enough. I could either do the Edgerton fit, or load up the bomb bay with photoflash bombs, even though the latter would require much more scratch building/converting. I am also looking for confirmation of whether the plane would still have the upper gun turret, or a clear dome, or just faired over.


If you have info, but don't want to post the photos/drawings online, you can email me direct at lengesath(AT)cox(DOT)net.



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   I had a thread here sometime back asking similar question


  it was suggested that i get 

patton's eyes in the sky by Tom Ivie


As it has much info 


   I never found much online, so  i tried buying a copy but it got lost somewhere en route :( 




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I would support Jerry's suggestion that if you can, get yourself a copy of Tom Ivie's book "Patton's Eyes in the Sky" as scattered throughout its pages are photos and diagrams that will answer your questions on this specific modelling subject - it includes photos of your two potential subject F3-As plus diagrams and some photos of the Edgerton Lamp and camera installations - plus colour side profiles of your two potential subjects.  It will also give you a heap of inspiration for a range of other ETO USAAF recce types.


Some basic info tho, Edgerton lamp is in forward lower fuselage, just behind cockpit, cameras installed in tail, operational and armed turret.


Checking AbeBooks which is my usual go to for old out of print books, looks to be a few good condition used copies available through booksellers in the US, reasonable prices.


Tom Ivie has also done a couple of other books focussed on specific USAAF Tac/R units in the ETO in WW2.




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Historical Aviation Album volume XV 1977 indicates the YF-3 had T3A cameras in lieu of bombs


American Aviation Historical Society  Journal vol 35 no 1 Spring 1990 indicates :

"The XF-3 , YF-3  and F-3A were modified production A-20 used as photo-reconnnaissance aircraft.

cameras replaces guns in the nose and more cameras plus photo-flash bombs were carried in the bomb bay.

51 were modified and most were A-20J's and A-20K's" (F-3A)


Douglas Havoc and Boston The DB-7 and A-20 series by Scott Thompson (Crowood Aviation Series)

pg 59 "the turtledeck covering between the cockpit and gunner's compartment was partially replaced by a six-panel skylight and a fuselage  window was added aft of the camera compartment.

pg 60 (F-3A)"These aircraft for K-19B camera or an alternate installation of K-17 or K-22 cameras.

Most F-3A's were assigned to operational units in the Ninth Air Force.

known F-3A serials include 43-9876, 43-21457,21461,21581 and 43-22091/22093 and A-20K 44-71/72,44-194/198,44-342/347,44-365/370,

44-707/711 44-719/728 and 44-733/734


** and no photos or drawings of any of this  :(

sorry if this couldn't be of more help to you , Larry

but, at least it is something,




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Hi Larry,


i have the aformentioned Patton book.  A few pics and a couple of diagrams on the F-3A but mostly on P-51s and P-38s.  Still, pics and camera diagrams would probably be of use to you so no problem to photocopy and post to you.  Let me know.


Ex: Starize colour profile shows turret in place.


(I lived in West Palm Beach for a few years.  Really miss the weather sometimes.)







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As a side note I believe an F-3A was supposedly the first Allied aircraft to land at Itazuke, Japan after the August 1945 surrender .

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From World War II Photo Intelligence by Col Roy M Stanley, USAF (Sidgwick & Jackson, 1982), p.83:


"... The F-3A, with better performance than a basic F-3, was resurrected in 1944 as a night photo collector and acquitted itself well.  A single camera (K-17, K-19B night camera or K-22) could be set up in the aft fuselage, and the bomb bay was armored for flak protection of the ten photoflash bombs the F-3A carried.  About forty-six F-3As were eventually used in Europe for night missions late in the war."


There is a photo on p.88 of what is alleged to be an F-3: it's certainly an A20J/K airframe in overall gloss black with white front cowling rings and a rudder on olive drab with medium green splotches.  Small (6"?) red serial "4613" on fin, red name "Helen" on port side of nose, code xX-T in white with greyed out national insignia (first char hidden by engine nacelle).  As hinted, I'm not positively convinced that this aircraft is a F-3A.  Whether it is or not, points of interest are flash hiders on turret 0.50s, "T" shaped radio altimeter aerials under the rear fuselage and something or other on the underwing bomb pylons (maybe just empty bomb shackles).  Heavily stained engine nacelles.


Edit: in Ducimus Camouflage and Markings 20 Roger Freeman identifies the same photo as depicting A-20K 7X-T of 645 BS of 47 BG.  Perhaps more usefully to you, he has this to say about 155 PRS: "Another unit operating at night was the 155th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron (PRS) of the Ninth Air Force.  This unit operated the F-3A, a photographic version of the Havoc, but actually A-20J and K models converted to carry varied camera equipment.  The camouflage and markings of these F-3As was initially as standard on other Havocs of the Ninth Air Force, but during 1944, some aircraft received black undersides.  No distinctive unit marking were carried by the 155th PRS in the summer of 1944, and it is not known whether there were any developments in this line during later stages of the war."





Edited by Seahawk
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