INDEX OF NAVAL AIRCRAFT
North American B25 Mitchell
Named in honor of US airpower proponent Brig. Gen. William "Billy" Mitchell, the B-25 served in every theater of World War II and was made in larger quantities than any other American twin-engine combat airplane. The 17th Bomb Group at McChord Field, Wash., was the first unit to receive B-25s in 1941. The 75-mm cannon in the B-25G/H was used with mixed results, primarily against ships. Recoil from the cannon was 21 inches and momentarily stopped the plane in flight. A total of over 11,433 B-25s were built.
The Marine Corps received 706 B-25Bs, Cs, and Ds, which were redesignated PBJ-1, and used for anti-submarine patrol duties. Mitchells were later relegated to support duties and did not see service in Korea. The last B-25s were used to train pilots assigned to fly bombers and tankers. Large numbers of B-25s were flown by the Soviet Union and Britain, where it was flown by the RAF, and by the French "Lorraine" squadron of the RAF, replacing the Boston.
It was also flown by the Netherlands, Taiwan, and Brazil. A number of surplus B-25s were used by civilian operators as aerial camera ships for Hollywood movies. On 21 May, 1960, the last serving aircraft, a VB-25J staff transport, was retired from service at Eglin AFB, Fla.
The Fleet Air Arm was supplied with B-25s under US lend-lease B-25s
to the RAF. Four versions were supplied and three of them entered RAF service,
of which 2 were used operationally by the RAF. Only one was assessed by
the Fleet Air Arm and none saw operational service with the Royal Navy.
This aircraft was FR370 which under went trials and w/t tests by Royal
Navy test pilots at the A&AEE Boscombe Down on 12 December 1943.
Battle Honours and Operational History
The Mitchell saw no operational service with the Fleet Air Arm, and only brief operational service with the RAF. However, the USN and Marines used the B-25 extensively.
Perhaps the most memorable B-25 event was on 18 April, 1942, when Lt. Col. James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle led the Doolittle Raid, in which 16 Army Air Corps B-25B crews took off from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-8) and bombed Tokyo and other targets, the first time US aircraft had bombed Japan.
There are numerous B-25s preserved in static or airworthy condition around the world, with a total over 150. However, the single B-25 assessed by the FAA has not survived. Examples of the B-25 are preserved at the Aces High Flying Museum (UK), The Fighter Collection (UK), RAF Museum (UK), Ex Flying Legends Collection (AUS), Imperial War Museum - Duxford (UK), Lone Star Flying Museum (USA), National Aviation Museum (Canada) and the National Naval Aviation Museum (USA).
Click for small
18kb quicktime movie of the B25
Mitchell B-25 preserved inflight with US markings
National Naval Aviation Museum: Mitchell PBJ-1D BuNo 35087 Preserved (USA)
The restored B-25J at the National Naval Aviation Museum, Pensacola (USA) is Mitchell PBJ-1D BuNo 35087 and was restored by AIR HERITAGE INC. in a two and a half year restoration.