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United States' North American B-25 Mitchell bomber

Photos

North American B-25 Mitchell bomber:
United States' North American B-25 Mitchell bomber
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook
North American B-25 Mitchell bomber:
United States' North American B-25 Mitchell bomber
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook
North American B-25 Mitchell bomber:
United States' North American B-25 Mitchell bomber
United States Army in World War II, Pictorial Record, The War Against Germany and Italy: Mediterranean and Adjacent Areas, 1951, pg 10
North American B-25 Mitchell bomber in the Doolittle Raid:

North American B-25 Mitchell bomber:

Design

The North American B-25 Mitchell was named after the visionary Colonel "Billy" Mitchell who was a proponent of air power in the 1920s and was later court-martialed for his views.

The design of the B-25 Mitchell started in 1938. In March 1939 Circular Proposal 39-640 was put out wanting a medium bomber that could carry 3,000 lb of bombs 1,500 miles. The plane also needed to have a maximum speed of 300 mph. Martin's entry won, but it told the Army it couldn't produce all the planes it was asked to the contract was awarded to North American for the B-25.

North American had never produced a high performance multi engine plane before.

Undercarriage

The undercarriage was tricycle landing gear.

Bomb bays

The North American B-25 Mitchell had two vertical bombbays.

Wings

The B-25s had inverted gull wings which allowed for it to be more maneuverable than with straight wings.

Carrier Landings

One PBJ-1H had landing gear installed and carrier trials aboard the USS Shangri-La were successfully conducted in 1944. As more island bases were captured nearer to Japan the project was dropped.

Prototype

The NA-40 prototype first flew in January 1939. Was destroyed in a landing accident in March 1939. The next prototype was the NA-62. An order for 184 was placed in September 1939 by the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC).

The B-25 prototype, NA-62, first flew on August 19, 1940. The prototype had a dihedral running the full wing.

Production

The first B-25 production aircraft flew in August 1940. The first B-25H flew in July 1943.

In September 1940 the Army ordered 1,025 B-25Cs.

In June 1941 the Army ordered 1,200 B-25Ds.

  • Delivered to:
    • Soviet Union: 870, <900
    • United Kingdom: 700, 910
    • United States Air Force, United States Navy: >9,800, 9,816
  • North American NA-40: 1
  • North American B-25: 24
  • North American B-25A: 40
  • North American B-25B: 120
  • North American B-25C: 1,619
    • Manufacturing location: Inglewood, California.
    • PBJ-1C BuNo Numbers: 34998-35047 (50)
    • Production: ? - May 1943
  • North American B-25D: 2,290
    • Manufacturing location: Dallas, Texas.
    • PBJ-1D BuNo Numbers: 35048-35072 (25), 35078-350096 (24), 35098-35193 (96), 35196-35202 (7)
    • Production: ? - March 1944
  • North American B-25G: 405
    • Delivered in 1942.
    • PBJ-1G BuNo Numbers: 35097 (1)
  • North American B-25H: 1,000
    • PBJ-1H BuNo Numbers: 35250-35297 (48), 88872-89071 (200)
    • Production: July 1943 - July 1944
  • North American B-25J: 4,318
    • Manufacturing location: Kansas City, Missouri
    • Delivered from 1944 to 1945.
    • PBJ-1J BuNo Numbers: 35194-35195 (2), 35203-35249 (47), 35798-35920 (123), 38980-39012 (33), 64943 - 64992 (50)
  • Total: 9,816, 10,000, 11,000, >11,000
    • Manufacturer: North American Aviation Inc.
    • Manufacturing location: Inglewood, California; Kansas City, Missouri
    • Production: 1940 - 1945

Variants

  • North American NA-40: Prototype. Had two Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp engines (1,100 HP). Later the Wright R-2600 engines were installed (1,350 HP).
  • North American NA-62: Prototype. Available September 1939.
  • North American XB-25E: Experimental prototype. Anti-icing equipment was installed.
  • North American XB-25F: Experimental prototype. Anti-icing equipment was installed.
  • North American XB-25G: Experimental prototype. Had 75 mm M-4 field gun installed in a solid nose.
  • North American B-25A: The dihedral outboard of the engines was reduced resulting in the gull wing. Had self sealing fuel tanks. Armor protection was increased.
  • North American B-25B / North American Mitchell Mk I: Had additional gun armament.
  • North American B-25C / North American Mitchell Mk II: Extra fuel capacity. Gun turrets on top and on the bottom of the fuselage. Wing racks were installed for additional bombs.
  • North American B-25D / North American Mitchell Mk II: Extra fuel capaicty. Wing racks were installed for additional bombs.
  • North American B-25G: Nose mounted 75 mm field gun. The gun was hand loaded and recoiled 21" / 53 cm. Was vulnerable in the attack dive.
  • North American B-25H: Had lighter T-13E1 75 mm gun. Had 14 12.7 mm MGs. Solid nose. Co-pilot position removed.
  • North American B-25J / North American Mitchell Mk III: Had 12 machine guns in the nose. Co-pilot position restored.
  • North American PBJ: US Marine Corp version.
  • North American PBJ-1C: The US Navy version of the B-25C. 50 received.
  • North American PBJ-1D: The US Navy version of the B-25D. 152 received.
  • North American PBJ-1G: The US Navy version of the B-25G. 1 received.
  • North American PBJ-1H: The US Navy version of the B-25H. 248 received.
  • North American PBJ-1J: The US Navy version of the B-25J. 255 received.
  • North American AT-24 (later TB-25): Trainer. Converted B-25.
  • North American F-10: Photo reconnaissance. Eleven converted B-25Ds. All armament was removed.

Usage

Users of the B-25 were Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, France, Netherlands, Soviet Union, and the United States.

European Front

The B-25s flew 63,177 missions, dropped 84,980 tons of bombs, and shot down 193 enemy aircraft.

Delivery

The B-25As were first delivered in 1941 to the 17th Bomb Group.

First Combat

The B-25 Mitchell was first use in combat was on December 24, 1941 when one sunk a Japanese submarine.

The B-25s were used in New Guinea and the Philippines.

From Shangrai La

Sixteen B-25Bs, under the leadership of Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle, took off from the carrier USS Hornet in April 1942 to bomb Tokyo. The raid was a huge moral builder for the Americans who were in much need of a success. When asked by reporters where the planes were from, President Roosevelt said "Shangrai La."

Skip Bombing

The B-25s were often used in skipping a bomb on the water into the side of its target.

Strafing

Major Paul I. "Pappy" Gunn, 5th Air Force in Australia, modified B-25Cs and B-25Ds by adding additional machine guns to the front.

Scratch One Destroyer

A Japanese destroyer was sunk by seven shots from a B-25H's 75 mm cannon.

United States Marines

The United States Marines used the Mitchells in the Pacific and called them PBJs. 687 / 706 were delivered.

Royal Air Force (RAF)

The RAF used 23 B-25Bs, called Mitchell I, were used as trainers. The B-25B and B-25C were called the Mitchell II and 538 were recieved. The RAF received 314 B-25Js and called them the Mitchell III.

After World War II

Some B-25s were still used as trainers (TB-25J) into the 1950s (until January 1959).

Specifications

  North American B-25 Mitchell
Type Medium bomber
Crew 5 - 6
Engine (Type) 2: Wright Cyclone
2: Wright R-2600-9 Double Cyclone
OR 2: Wright R-2600-13 Double Cyclone
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling  
HP 1,700 each
War emergency HP  
Propeller blades 3 each
Dimensions  
Span 67' 6"
Length 51' 5"
Height 14' 10"
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded 24,000 lb
Maximum load  
Performance  
Speed 300 mph
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range 2,500 miles
Armament  
  North American B-25A Mitchell
Type Bomber
Crew 3 - 6
Engine (Type) 2: Wright R-2600-9 Cyclone
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling Air
HP 1,700 each
War emergency HP  
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span 67' 7"
Length 54' 1"
Height 15' 9"
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded 27,100 lb
Maximum load  
Performance  
Speed  
Speed @ 15,000' /
4,570 m
315 mph
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling 27,000'
Range 1,350 miles
Armament 5: MG
Bomb load 3,000 lb
  North American B-25C Mitchell
Type Medium bomber
Crew 5 - 6
Engine (Type)  
Cylinders  
Cooling  
HP  
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span 67' 7"
20.6 m
Length 52' 11"
16.13 m
Height 15' 10"
4.82 m
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty 20,300 lb
9,208 kg
Loaded 34,000 lb
15,422 kg
Maximum load  
Performance  
Speed  
Speed @ 15,000' /
4,570 m
284 mph
457 kph
Cruising speed 233 mph
375 kph
Climb  
Climb to 15,000' /
4,570 m
16.5 minutes
Service ceiling 21,200'
6,462 m
Range 1,500 miles
2,414 km
Armament  
Nose 2: 0.5" MG
Dorsal turret 2: 0.5" MG
Ventral turret 2: 0.5" MG
Bomb load 3,000 lb
1,361 kg
  North American B-25D Mitchell
Type Medium bomber
Crew 5 - 6
Engine (Type)  
Cylinders  
Cooling  
HP  
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span 67' 7"
20.6 m
Length 52' 11"
16.13 m
Height 15' 10"
4.82 m
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty 20,300 lb
9,208 kg
Loaded 34,000 lb
15,422 kg
Maximum load  
Performance  
Speed  
Speed @ 15,000' /
4,570 m
284 mph
457 kph
Cruising speed 233 mph
375 kph
Climb  
Climb to 15,000' /
4,570 m
16.5 minutes
Service ceiling 21,200'
6,462 m
Range 1,500 miles
2,414 km
Armament  
Nose 2: 0.5" MG
Dorsal turret 2: 0.5" MG
Ventral turret 2: 0.5" MG
Bomb load 3,000 lb
1,361 kg
  North American B-25G Mitchell
Type Medium bomber
Crew 5- 6
Engine (Type) 2: Wright R-2600-13
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling  
HP 1,700 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Dimensions  
Span  
Length  
Height  
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Maximum load  
Performance  
Speed  
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament  
Nose 1: 75 mm cannon
4: 0.5" MG
Forward fuselage 4: 0.5" MG
Dorsal turret 2: 0.5" MG
Ventral turret 2: 0.5" MG
Waist positions 2: 0.5" MG
Under wings 8: 5" rocket
8: 127 mm rocket
Bomb load 3,200 lb
1,451 kg
  North American B-25J Mitchell
Type Bomber, Light bomber, Medium bomber
Crew 3 - 6, 4 - 6, 5 - 6, 6
Engine (Type) 2: Wright R-2600-92 Cyclone piston
2: Wright R-2600-29 Twin Cyclone
Cylinders Radial, Radial 14
Cooling Air
HP 1,700 each
War emergency HP 1,850 each
Propeller blades 3 constant speed
Dimensions  
Span 67' 7"
20.6 m
Length 52' 11", 53' 6"
16.13 m
Height 15' 10", 16' 4"
4.98 m
Wing area 610 ft2
56.67 m2
Weight  
Empty 19,480 lb, 19,490 lb, 21,100 lb
8,836 kg, 9,571 kg
Loaded 27,560 lb, 33,500 lb, 35,000 lb
15,196 kg, 15,876 kg
Maximum load 41,800 lb
18,960 kg
Performance  
Speed  
Speed @ 13,000' /
3,960 m
272 mph
438 kph
Speed @ 13,850' 293 mph
Cruising speed 230 mph, 242 mph
370 kph
Climb 1,110'/minute
338 m/minute
Climb to 15,000' /
4,570 m
17.5 minutes
Service ceiling 24,200', 24,500'
7,375 m, 7,376 m
Range 1,350 miles
Range - bomb load 1,350 miles, 1,520 miles
2,173 m
Range - 3,200 lb /
1,451 kg bomb load
1,275 miles
2,052 km
Range - max 3,240 miles
Armament 12: MG
12: 12.7 mm MG
Nose 2: .50 cal MG
Dorsal turret 2: .50 cal MG
Fuselage Sides 4: .50 cal MG
Tail turret 2: .50 cal MG
Waist 2: .50 cal MG
Under wings 8: 5" rocket
8: 127 mm rocket
Bomb load 3,000 lb, 4,000 lb
1,360 kg

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  3. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  4. PBJ Mitchell Units of the Pacific War, Jerry Scutts, 2003
  5. World War II Airplanes Volume 2, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  6. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
  7. American Attack Aircraft Since 1926, E. R. Johnson, 2012
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site