North American B25 "Mitchell" Medium Bomber

B25J in desert colours

The Mitchell was the most built and used medium bomber of the war. It was built as a shoulder-wing monoplane with an all-metal exterior. The B-25 was easily recognizable with it’s twin fins and relatively small size: It saw duty in every combat area, being flown by the Americans, Dutch, English, Chinese, Russians, and Australians. Although the airplane was originally intended for level bombing from medium altitudes, it was used extensively in the Pacific area for bombing Japanese airfields from treetop level and for strafing and skipbombing enemy shipping.Some versions (J, shown above) had a glazed nose for the bombardier (all the ones used in North Africa were of this type), while others (G and H) had a solid front to house machine guns and even a 75mm cannon. The ’Doolittle raid’ on Tokyo made the B-25 famous as they flew off of the aircraft carrier USS Hornet on a one-way mission to bomb Tokyo. The raid did some physical damage and shocked the Japanese as the people had not yet experienced a real taste of war. It also kept a sizable number of fighter aircraft based on the home islands when they were desperately needed else where. B-25s sent to the USSR on lend-lease continued their service after WWII, and had the NATO reporting name ’Bank’. Various estimates exist, the total is between 9,816 and 11,000 built.

Technical Details
The B-25J (shown above) was a medium bomber with a crew of 6, comprised of bombadier/gunner, pilot, co-pilot, top gunner, tail-gunner, waste gunner. It was powered by a pair of 1,700 hp (1250kW) Wright R-2600-29 "Cyclone" 14 cylinder, air-cooled engines. Maximum speed was 272 mph (438km/h) at 15,000 ft, with a ceiling of 24,000 ft (7375 m) and a range of 1350 miles (2170 km) with a full load of bombs. Armament varied considerably in the B25 depending on the type of mission the plane was designed for. The Americans were never stinting on defensive armament for their bombers. The one shown above is a B25J designed as a bomber, so it carried eleven 0.50 caliber machine guns; two in the top turret, two in the tail, one in the nose, two in cheek packs on each side under the pilot and one in each waste window. The top, nose and cheek pack guns could also be used in strafing, if so desired. This version carried 3,000 lbs of bombs (usually six 500 pounders) in an interior bomb bay. Other models replaced the bomb aimers position with a solid nose mounting eight 0.50 caliber machine guns and a 70 mm cannon. This model saw use in the Pacific Theatre as an anti-shipping bomber. Other armament brought the total up to an awsome 13 heavy machine guns in a medium bomber, and carried 4,000 lbs (1800 kg) of bombs in it’s bomb bay.

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Image From:
With permission of Herve Champain. Check out his excellent airphoto site.
Technical Information from: Planes of Fame East Air Museum
Military Aircraft Database