Military Wiki
XA-38 Grizzly
Role Heavy attack
Manufacturer Beechcraft
First flight 7 May 1944
Status Canceled
Primary user U.S. Army Air Forces
Number built Two

The Beechcraft XA-38 Grizzly was a United States ground attack aircraft, fitted with a forward-firing 75 mm cannon to attack heavily armored targets. The first prototype flew on 7 May 1944 but after testing it became obvious it would not be ready for the projected invasion of Japan, and furthermore it used engines required by the B-29 Superfortress — which had priority - and so it was canceled after two prototypes had been completed.

Design and development

The United States Army Air Forces awarded the Beech Aircraft Corporation a contract in December 1942 for two prototypes for their Model 28 "Destroyer". The requirement was for a powerful ground attack aircraft to replace the Douglas A-20 Havoc, with the ability to hit "hardened" targets like tanks and bunkers. This capability was achieved through a 75 mm cannon with 20 rounds, mounted in a fixed position on the nose as well as two .50 cal (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine guns firing forward. Defensive armament consisted of remotely-controlled ventral and dorsal turrets, each armed with twin .50 cal (12.7 mm) machine guns. There were to be two crew members, a pilot and an observer/gunner in the rear cabin, using periscope sights to aim the guns.


On 7 May 1944, Beech test pilot Vern Carstens flew the XA-38 on its maiden flight from the company's Wichita airfield. The aircraft proved satisfactory in all respects and better than expected in some, including top speed. During testing, the XA-38 prototypes were flown by U.S. Army pilots and serviced by military personnel, proving to be reliable and establishing a high level of serviceability.[1] The armament proved especially effective and had it not been for wartime priorities shifting in 1944, the aircraft would most likely have been ordered in quantity[citation needed], although the B-29 had priority for the Wright R-3350 engines. Instead, one prototype was scrapped and the other, intended for the USAF Museum, had an unknown fate.


Data from Plane Facts: The big gun Beech[2]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Length: 51 ft 9 in (15.77 m)
  • Wingspan: 67 ft 4 in (20.52 m)
  • Height: 15 ft 6 in (4.72 m)
  • Wing area: 626 ft² (58.15 m²)
  • Empty weight: 22,480 lb (10,197 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 35,265 lb (15,996 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Wright R-3350-43 air-cooled radial engine, 2,300 hp (1,716 kW) each


  • Maximum speed: 370 mph (322 knots, 595 km/h) at 17,000 ft (5,180 m)
  • Range: 1,625 miles (1,413 nmi, 2,615 km)
  • Service ceiling: 29,000 ft (8,840 m)
  • Rate of climb: 2,600 ft/min (13.2 m/s)


  • Guns:
    • 1 × T15E1 75 mm cannon (20 rounds)
    • 6 × 50 caliber (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine guns (2 forward-facing, 2 in ventral turret, 2 in dorsal turret)

See also


  1. Trimble 1983, p. 24.
  2. Air International June 1986, p. 300
  • McCullough, Anson. "Grind 'Em Out Ground Attack: The Search for the Elusive Fighter Bomber". Wings Vol. 25, No. 4, August 1995.
  • "Plane Facts: The big gun Beech". Air International, Vol 30 No 6, June 1986, p. 300. ISSN 0306-5634.
  • Trimble, Robert L. "Beech Grizzly". Air Classics Vol. 9, no. 7, August 1983.

External links

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