A20

Discussion in 'Bomber Tactics' started by Waystin2, Dec 27, 2019.

  1. Waystin2

    Waystin2 Administrator
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    Introduction:

    A heavy attack aircraft in medium bomber clothes, the A-20G has proven to be a reasonably popular aircraft and in the mid-war arena it is difficult prey. It’s much more than a bomber without a bombsight, it’s usually employed as a low/medium altitude dive-bomber and strafer against ground vehicles or buildings. It’s durability and size allow it to typically take more punishment than many normal fighter aircraft or lighter attack aircraft.



    Engine Performance:

    Surprisingly impressive for such a large aircraft, the A20-G can be difficult to catch/intercept. Sea-level cruise speed while at max ordnance (internal and external) is 300mph. Free of ordinance, 315mph is possible without WEP, 320mph with. Remember to drop your external ordnance, if loaded, first as there is more drag on external ordnance. Typically as an attack aircraft you’ll be free of your burden on your outbound leg from the target which helps survivability. Acceleration is very good for a bomber but not up to fighter standards. Acceleration for the last couple of mph is difficult so be careful to not rely on a differential of only a couple of mph to escape a pursuer. Climb rate is good for a bomber, 1,700ft/min at sea-level, slowly decreasing above that though that’s roughly double of most other bombers. Range is excellent based on a very large fuel load, up to 725 gallons. Fuel economy varies with altitude but there is a sweet spot ~ 6K where you can save around 60 gal/hr vs. sea-level. Fuel burn rate increases if slightly above that and then improves again when around 11K. Make sure you load appropriate amounts of fuel though, ¼ is not typically enough as it only provides ~16min of duration (~80 miles) without using WEP or including any climb time. Keep in mind, the A-20G weighs in at up to 26,000lbs loaded, not exactly a featherweight.



    Firepower:

    The A-20G carries six forward firing .50 caliber guns with 350rpg (26 sec firing time). The guns are nose mounted giving a focused convergence for picking off targets that wander in front of you. I tend to set the convergence long so I can have some stand-off range to strafe with and it also gives a bit more loft to help with lead against air targets. The main complaint would be that .50s don’t have much hitting power as compared to 20mm or larger calibers that some other aircraft has (3x50cal=1x20mm). It makes them suitable against smaller structures and effective against fighter targets but of little use against larger targets. Defensively, there is a dorsal turret with 400rpg, enough to give some decent defensive firepower although limited to only the upper areas of the aircraft with some blind spots due to aircraft structure. With a gunner onboard, the dorsal turret can be pretty useful but I wouldn’t count on it to save your bacon. Total ammunition load weighs some 1,300lbs.

    Of course the main purpose of the A-20G is to truck bombs. The A-20G has both internal and external carriage points with a maximum of 4,000lbs total. Options are fairly simple, four 500lbs, two 500lb or four 250lbs internally and four 500lb or four 250lb externally. I can’t really see a reason why you wouldn’t load to the maximum. Empty of bombs and ammunition, the A-20G sheds some 5,300lbs and loses the drag external ordnance always adds.



    Maneuverability:

    Very good for a bomber, you should be careful to keep speeds reasonable and lose weight once over the target to improve on defensive maneuvering potential. Losing 4,000lbs in bombs alone can really help and consider dropping the wing ordnance first as that also improves roll rate and lowers your overall drag. Be careful at very high weights, will full fuel, ordnance and ammunition the A-20G can top out at 26,000lbs.

    Between around 250mph and 350mph the A-20G is pretty maneuverable and has decent roll, just be careful to not get into extended turn-fighting as you will bleed energy fairly quickly and the A-20G has difficulty replacing what is lost. Vertical zoom potential is very good, all the weight (~18,700lbs when “light”) once at speed tends to give you the momentum you can use to out-zoom a lower speed target. Structural creaking tends to start in ~350mph IAS but the aircraft can typically handle light maneuvers up to ~460mph before shedding parts.

    Wing ord first

    Very good, especially considering the size and weight of the aircraft. Roll rate in general is weak and the energy bleed in extended turning is not good. In a fairly narrow speed range between 250mph and 350mph the A-20G has to be respected. Vertical zooms are very impressive at speed, actually amongst the best in the game, because the mass of the aircraft helps carry well. Acceleration at low speeds is also decent although you don’t want to get to where you need to recover from low-energy situations. Speed tolerance is good though you will start to get structural creaking at ~350mph. You can push through this if required as structural failures aren’t typical until ~460mph or more under light maneuvering. Long shallow dives like those used to exit a target area should be fine though and your speed should carry well making interception difficult.



    Flying the A-20G

    The A-20G is a good medium attacker. Build up some altitude before arriving at the target and use a nice dive attack to get in, drop your ordnance, and get out quickly. Remember to use the vertical to store as much energy as you can and keep you out of reach of most of the fighters. Hit-and-Run tactics are typical and work really well given the A-20’s speed and ability to take a few hits from heavy caliber AA that would reduce a fighter to scrap. Even against fighters, if you have some altitude for BnZ attacks, the nose guns are more than sufficient to quickly tag and dispose of fighters. Don’t forget to open your bomb-bay doors prior to your dive, nothing is more frustrating than pushing the trigger to see you forgot and spoiled your run.

    Defensively, stay fast and try to leave before the situation deteriorates too badly. The A-20G can work a bag of tricks against a single opponent but if you get 2 or 3 enemy on you then you’ll be in real trouble in an extended fight. Use your vertical zoom and try to keep your energy level as high as you can. I typically don’t like to rely on the dorsal guns for defense, a smart enemy can hide low in your blind spot and cause you real trouble (not to mention that twin .50’s is enough to cause damage but takes too long to get a typical kill). Acceleration in a dive is good if you have some altitude to work with and taking a could of medium caliber hits is not likely to cause immediate concern like in a snapshot. If you can get a gunner to help you out, the combination of some maneuvering and zooming can really make the A-20G a frustrating target for an enemy because the dorsal gunner can plink away at longer ranges. Given some decent maneuvering, the enemy may not be able to get enough focused fire that would knock the A-20 down.



    Fighting the A-20G

    Be patient, the longer the fight runs with an A-20G the less dangerous it will become as typically it will start to run low on energy that it cannot easily replace. Keep up the pressure and don’t get duped into overshooting the target, that can quickly be a fatal mistake, and try to stay outside the dorsal turret by hanging out slightly low in a lag style when closing to attack. Respect the vertical capability of the A-20G if it’s packing speed, it can aim nose and climb to the sky. If you slow the A-20G down though then it loses many of it’s tricks as it isn’t a good accelerator in level flight, can’t climb with fighters, nor is the roll outstanding.

    Defensively, if you have an A-20G attacking you, use your roll-rate and superior maneuverability to stay out of the main bite of the A-20, the nose guns. Reversing rolls and rudder use can throw off the A-20 which has some trouble making fine adjustments when aiming. You can also use high dive speeds or level runs to nullify any closure from an A-20 as many fighters have superior speed to work with. Be careful of the A-20’s initial acceleration though, it does have lots of power and weight so when pointed nose low it will initially accelerate quite quickly.



    Summary

    The addition of a Mid-war arena really allowed the A-20G to exist in a place where it is less vulnerable to ultra-high performance later-war rides. The A-20G is useful none the less, carrying more ordnance than a fighter but possessing flexibility to strike and run or even mix it up a little in close. It does tend to attract a lot of attention as an “easy kill” but that can be a benefit when people take it lightly and get sloppy. I’ve typically seen the A-20G used as an anti-vehicle plane, which it suits, as well as a quick hit-and-run type attacker to do nuisance type attacks. With several other attack aircraft filling a similar role, I think the A-20G gets a little lost in the mix but it should be considered one of the better in the game at what it does.
     

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