North American B-25 Bomber – On-The-Ground Scrapbook



This is part 2 of a two part look at the B-25 Mitchell bomber, operating as warbirds and located in museums. The first part ran on these pages earlier this week. 

The B-25 Mitchell is well remembered as the U.S. Army Air Corps bomber type launched from the U.S.S. Hornet against multiple Japanese targets in 1942. The Doolittle Raid’s 16 B-25B medium bombers all either crashed of force landed in China or Russia, but made a huge morale boost for the U.S.

Later in the War, the B-25 was used in every theatre of the conflict… Pacific, Atlantic, Europe, Africa, and China-Burma. It performed many duties… bombing, strafing, photographic reconnaissance, anti-submarine patrol bomber and VIP transport.

After the War, B-25s labored on as navigation trainers, squadron multi-engined transports, trainers and staff currency “hacks”. Many were assigned to newly formed Air National Guard units.  The first flight of a B-25 occurred on August 19, 1940, and the final USAF VB-25J (VIP transport) was retired in May, 1960.

It was a large aircraft, with a length of 53 feet and a wingspan of over 67 feet. Powered by a pair of Wright Cyclone radial engines, it could top 300 miles per hour and had a range of some 3,000 miles (depending upon weapon load). Normally, a crew of five was carried. Over 9,800 of all versions of the airframe were produced.

This TB-25N is painted up as a B-25B used during the Doolittle Raid. In reality, it is the last active USAF B-25 airframe that was retired in 1960, now at the USAF Armament Museum at Eglin AFB, Florida.

Here are some photos from part of our team… contributors are: Scott Jankowski, Mike Colaner, Shawn Byers, Scott Zeno, Corey Beitler, and Ken Kula.

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