North American B-25/PBJ Scrapbook…

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North American Aviation built a widely used medium bomber; the prototype’s first flight occurred just after the start of World War II. Known as the B-25 Mitchell in the U.S. Army Air Force,  the Navy and Marine versions were named the PBJ. The bomber served in all Theaters of Operation. They ranged from Alaska to Europe and Asia, Africa and the Mediterranean. Sixteen aircraft even became carrier-borne, as the “Doolittle Raiders” helped to turn the tide of the war in the Pacific. Other allied nations operated the B-25 too… including Russia which received many bombers under the Lend Lease Act. All told, over 10,000 airframes were produced.

After the end of World War II, various aircraft, including B-25s and PBJs, were put to work fulfilling other duties than the bomber role. Modifications were made to the engine exhaust system Aerial photography and training were two such roles; the Air National Guard operated some of the last TB-25s in the multi-engine trainer and liaison roles in the 1950s. The final USAF B-25 flight occurred in 1960.

After being retired from military use, some B-25s were configured as executive transports, others operated as water bombers against forest fires.

Here are a group of photos showing some of the warbirds that are still surviving today, some 80 years after the type’s first flight on August 19, 1940!

 

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