A-20G night fighters and intruders of ADD (Long range aviation)

Updated on January 7, 2022

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A-20G night intruders

On 25 October 1943, the 113 PNOB (Regiment of Night Hunter-Blockers) was created inside the ADD (Long Range Aviation) as an unit of night fighters/intruders to escort the night bombers and suppress the AA defenses. The unit was attached to the 4 GAK (Guards Air Corpus) of ADD, equipped with B-25 Mitchell that were apt for long range night bombing.

The unit was made Guards as 27th Guards Aviation Regiment of Long-Range Night Hunter-Blockers on 10 January 1944. The unit was equipped with A-20G, for the most of the G-1 series armed with four 20 mm guns in their nose, and often with underwing rockets, not visible on available photos. The emblem of the planes of the unit was a white lightning on the sides of the nose.



These interesting sketches were made by a Finnish technician in October 1943. They depict the internal layout of a Soviet A-20, probably a night intruder of ADD because the 20 mm guns are describes.

The drawing puts into evidence the steel armour, the dural armors and the fuel tanks. The whole bombs bay was occupied by fuel tanks.

All the explosive load of the plane was external; it could have been equipped with underwing rockets.

Drawing from https://www.flightforum.fi/topic/30561-douglas-a-20-havoc-l%C3%B6ytynyt/#comment-735317 via Tapani Tuomanen



'White 12'


Above: this profile represents the look of a typical A-20G-1 of the 113 AP/27 GAP in winter 1943/44.

Tthe number 12 seems visible on a plane photographed on the background of another numbered 4; the serial is from the photo of another one from the same session, hypothetically the same plane. Common characteristics are the 20 mm guns on the nose, the red stars in eight positions, the white lightnings outlined in white and the white numbers on the rudder. Apart for this, the base livery is the usual U.S. one, with olive drab uppersurfaces probably with medium green blotches on the tail and wings, and the neutral grey undersurfaces.


Photo: Standard A-20G-1 of the 113 AP/27 GAP, probably in winter 1943/44. Codes are not readable.

The photo of the tail, likely from the same session, let read the number 259583, possibly the one apparently numbered 12.

Images: archive Zaika

Image where a small 12 seems visible on the top of the rudder. This plane appears in the same photo session of the photo above and was supposed to be the same.

Image: archive Zaika


'White 3' with turret



A-20G-15 DO white 3, s/n 254258, was a later addition to this unit, being of a series armed with 6 x 12,7 mm machine guns on the nose and, seems, converted with a UTK-1 turret armed with a UBT machine gun. The plane was photographed after a bad landing in Lviv region in 1944.

Another unusual characteristic of the plane was the navigator cockpit added just behind the pilot's cockpit.

The plane has the usual US livery of olive drab with blotches of medium green on the tail, wings and nacelles, and the usual mess of retouches made with US or Soviet paints.

Image from Red Stars 4 of Geust and Petrov, ed. Apali.










This A-20G-1 was equipped with a ventral battery called AKAB: two ShVAK guns and two UBK machine guns were mounted in the bomb bay. Their ammunition (440 rounds and 340 rounds) was placed in the former cabin of the radio operator gunner. The flight crew consisted of a pilot and a navigator. When firing to a selected target, electromechanical actuators moved the guns downwards continuing to hit the selected target while the plane was overflying it.

Tests on a AKAB-equipped plane were made in the spring of 1944. In the summer, it was transferred to the 27th GAP for military testing. On the night of June 28, the plane flown by Captain Krapiva took part to a raid on the airfield of Baranovichi and destroyed two German planes before being damaged by AA fire. A problem was that, during a night raid, the raider itself was well lightened by the blazes of its own guns, that made it visible to the AA gunners.

It was then ordered to install the AKAB on further A-20G-1, for a total of 6.


Right:: the AKAB system, with its barrels protruding from under the fuselage, can be seen on plane 10 of 27 gap.

Image from Red Stars 4 of Geust and Petrov



Right: Diagram of the AKAB system on a A-20G-1.

Left: detail of AKAB with the cover panel removed.


'White 4' with AKAB

Couple of A-20G-1 during maintenance. The woman on all photos is technician N.K. Pavlova.

The closer plane looks numbered white 4 on its rudder; it seems, although unclearly, that the barrels of the AKAB system protrude under the fuselage.

The far plane looks to have a smaller number 12 on the high of its rudder, and no AKAB.

Image: archive Zaika.

Other photos, likely of the same A-20G 'White 4' in maintenance. The woman on all photos was technician N.K. Pavlova. Close to the cabin, one can read the shortened serial 254522, likely the same of plane 4 of the photo above.


Images: archive Zaika




A-20G Gnejs-2 radar fighters


In May 1943, the Air Defense Fighter Aviation Command (IA-PVO) requested 27 A-20 equipped with radar as night interceptors, but factory No. 81, overloaded with orders, wasn't able to comply, so only 6 of these planes were delivered to the PVO, some of which were adaptations from B-3 (Boston III and A-20B). For some reason, priority was given to the Long Range Aviation.

On July 1944, the long range night fighter division 56 IAD (45 and 173 IAP) was formed, equipped with A-20G-1, initially equipped with Gnejs-2 radar installed in Zavod 81.

The planes had a pilot, a radar/radio operator sitting in the gunner's cockpit and a navigator sitting behind it, with two additional rectangular windows on each side but no any cupola, differently from what can be seen on torpedo bombers of the Navy.

They were equipped with additional 1036 liter fuel tanks in the bomb bays, that gave a flight duration up to 8 hours.

At the beginning, the operativity of the unit was deluding, losing many planes in accidents without shooting down any enemy plane. After replacing the commander of the division and making improvements in the equipment and in methods during a stop in winter 1945, the unit returned in action obtained some success in March 1945, contrasting the air supplies to German units encircled in the Breslau region and shooting down some enemy planes and transport gliders.

No photos are available of A-20G-1 of these units with the Gnejs-2 radar, but they are described as standard with OD undersurfaces (probably with the usual MG blotches or bands) and NG undersurfaces, and white two-digits numbers (in 45 IAP, from 01 to 32) on the fin, over the usual yellow serial.

In 1944, it was created the 39 night fighter air regiment of the Black Sea Fleet, equipped with A-20G with Gnejss-2 radar. It didn't take part to any combat action. At the war's end, it was stationed in Saki airfield.

See also:

Red army air force radar fighters







  • 1 - photo machine gun;
  • 2 - cannon cartridge drum;
  • 3 - radar radiating antennas;
  • 4 - pilot's dashboard;
  • 5 - pilot's armored back;
  • 6 - oxygen cylinder:
  • 7 - radar equipment blocks;
  • 8 - antenna stand of the SCR-27A radio station;
  • 9 - loop antenna;
  • 10 - SCR-27A radio station;
  • 11 - sighting device and radar control panel;
  • 12-12.7 mm Colt-Browning M-2 machine gun;
  • 13 - rear armor plate;
  • 14 - LDPE;
  • 15 - ANO;
  • 16 - tail support;
  • 17 - launch tube of an illuminating rocket;
  • 18 - 7.62 mm Colt Browning MG.40 machine gun;
  • 19 - navigator's seat;
  • 20 - magazines for machine guns;
  • 21 - seat of the gunner-radio operator-operator;
  • 22 - additional fuel tank;
  • 23 - pilot's seat;
  • 24 - nose landing gear;
  • 25 - cartridge box 12.7 machine gun:
  • 26 - 12.7 mm Colt Browning M-2 machine gun;
  • 27 - 20 mm Hispano M-1 cannon.


'White 30' night fighter with Gnejs-2 radar of 45 IAP



Above: reconstruction of the look of a typical A-20G-1 night fighter with Gnejs-2 radar of 45 IAP, on the base of the description of the Russian article. Codes should be from 01 to 32. The serial has been guessed.




Right: rare photo of an A-20G-1 with Gnejs-2 radar at the NII VVS. Don't be joked by the surprising perspective of the struts of the shelter on the background that seem as strange aerials coming out from the wings: the real aerials are very thin and only vaguely visible on the detail.

Unfortunately the photo don't shows serials or operative markings.

Image of Dimitri Linevitch



'Black 10' with Gnejs-3 radars.



Plane black 10 (42-53869) was a A-20G-1-DO. It was photographed in spring 1945 at Factory n.81 in Monino, where the conversion to night fighters was made. The plane is equipped with Gnejs-3 radar, whose aerials look different from those of earlier Gnejs-2. Besides it was equipped with a TV to visualize the radar signal to the pilot to improve coordination with the radar operator.

The Gnejs-3 radar included:

  • an aerial on the nose and 3 transversal dipoles;
  • an aerial above each wing, close to the leading edge, with 4 dipoles each, unevenly spaced;
  • a long aerial below each wing, starting from close the outer flap hinge and supported by a vee of thin rods, with 4 dipoles each, unevenly spaced.

See also:

Red army air force radar fighters





Images from Red Stars 4 of Geust and Petrov.



Disclaimer: this work collects a lot of photos and drawings from many sources, not always identified and mentioned.
If someone has rights on the images reproduced here, please don't feel hurted, email to me and I shall provide to remove or to credit them.