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 
Douglas proposed a number of modifications designed to improve the performance of the B-18. Initially considered a redesign, the XB-22 featured 1,600 hp Wright R-2600-1 Twin Cyclone radial engines. The complete B-18 redesign was considered promising enough by the USAAC to alter the original contract to produce the last 38 B-18As ordered under Contract AC9977 as the B-23. The design incorporated a larger wingspan with a wing design very similar to that of the Douglas DC-3, a fully retractable undercarriage, and improved defensive armament. Notably, the B-23 was the first operational US bomber equipped with a glazed tail gun position. The tail gun mounted a .50 caliber machine gun, which was fired from the prone position by a gunner using a telescopic sight. 
The first B-23 flew on July 27, 1939 with the production series of 38 B-23s manufactured between July 1939 and September 1940.
Operational history 
While significantly faster and better armed than the B-18, the B-23 was not comparable to newer medium bombers like the North American B-25 Mitchell and Martin B-26 Marauder. For this reason, the 38 B-23s built were never used in combat overseas, although for a brief period, they were employed as patrol aircraft stationed on the west coast of the United States. The B-23s were primarily relegated to training duties although 18 of the type were converted as transports and redesignated as the UC-67. The B-23 also served as a test-bed for new engines and systems.
After World War II, many examples were used as executive transports with appropriate internal modifications and as a result a large number have survived. Howard Hughes (among others) used converted B-23s as personal aircraft.
- United States
Douglas B-23 converted to executive transport role at Athens (Hellenikon) Airport in 1973
- On display
- Under restoration
- 39-0052 - largely complete wreck at Loon Lake, Idaho.
Specifications (B-23 Dragon) 
Data from Joe Baugher's Encyclopedia of American aircraft
- Maximum speed: 282 mph (245 kn, 454 km/h)
- Range: 1,400 mi (1,200 nmi, 2,300 km) with 4,000 lb (1,800 kg) of bombs
- Service ceiling: 31,600 ft (9,630 m)
- Rate of climb: 1,493 ft/min (7.6 m/s)
- Wing loading: 26.7 lb/ft² (130 kg/m²)
- Power/mass: 0.17 hp/lb (200 kW/kg)
- Bombs: 4,000 lb (1,814 kg)
See also 
- Related development
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Related lists
- Mondey, David. The Hamlyn Concise Guide to American Aircraft of World War II. London: Hamlyn Publishing Group Ltd., 2002, (republished 1996 by the Chancellor Press), First edition 1982. ISBN 1-85152-706-0.
External links