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The World War II Photo of the Week
for 26 January 2004


With A Little Assistance ...

   As this A-20 attack bomber soars into the air during take-off from Wright Field, Ohio, spurts of flame and smoke stream out from rockets under its wings. These rockets are used by the Army Air Forces Materiel Command here as a means of helping heavily laden planes into the air. Originally developed to lift heavy loads into the air from short, front-line runways, these rockets are not used tactically, as short runways have been found to be impractical. Planes returning from missions shot up or with fatigued crews find them hazardous for landing. But, in their limited use, the rockets have been found to be successful. Attack planes, such as the A-20, are equipped with the fixed type of take-off unit, with a nozzle emitting gaseous flames from the rear of the engine nacelle. The rockets are operated until the plane is airborne and the landing gear has been retracted. Photo dated August 29, 1944.

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