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B-23 Dragon
A B-23 Dragon at an unknown airfield during the 1940s
Role Medium bomber
Manufacturer Douglas Aircraft Company
First flight 27 July 1939
Primary user United States Army Air Corps
Number built 38

The Douglas B-23 Dragon was a twin-engined bomber developed by Douglas Aircraft Company as a successor to (and a refinement of) the B-18 Bolo.


Design and development

The wing design of the B-23 was very similar to that of the Douglas DC-3. A total of 38 B-23s were manufactured between July 1939 and September 1940. It was the first operational US bomber equipped with a glazed tail gun position. It first flew on July 27, 1939.

Operational history

While significantly faster and better armed than the B-18, the B-23 found itself inferior to newer bombers like the B-25 Mitchell and B-26 Marauder. For this reason, the 38 B-23s built were never used in combat. They worked in training, reconnaissance, transport (as the UC-67), and test-bed roles. One of the UC-67s is being restored to B-23 configuration by the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Another example (serial number 39-036) is on display at McChord AFB in Washington. The remains of a B-23 is currently in storage at Fantasy of Flight in Polk City, FL with the intent of restoration.

The B-23's tall vertical tail was adapted by Ford for use on the B-24 Liberator and resulted in increased performance, but it was never adopted for production. The modification later became standard on the Navy's PB4Y Privateer, which was derived from the Liberator.

After World War II, Howard Hughes converted a B-23 for use as his personal transportation.


 United States

Specifications (B-23 Dragon)

Data from Joe Baugher's Encyclopedia of American aircraft[1]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 6
  • Length: 58 ft 6 in (17.8 m)
  • Wingspan: 92 ft (28 m)
  • Height: 18 ft 6 in (5.6 m)
  • Wing area: 993 ft² (92.3 m²)
  • Empty weight: 19,089 lb (8,677 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 26,500 lb (12,000 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 32,400 lb (14,700 kg)
  • Powerplant:Wright R-2600-3 radial engines, 1,600 hp (1,194 kW) each



See also

Related development

Comparable aircraft


  1. ^ Baugher, Joe. "B-23 "Dragon"". 2000. Retrieved 2005-01-03.  

External links



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