North American B25 Mitchell 



The North American B-25 Mitchell was an American designed twin-engined medium bomber, which was approved in September 1939, following an Army Air Corps competition, but instead of waiting for the prototypes, the Army awarded production contracts to North American for the B-25 and Martin for the B-26. The prototype B-25 made its maiden flight less than a year later, on 19 August, 1940. The XB-25 and the first production models had wings with a constant dihedral from roots to tips, but starting from the 10th airplane off the production line, the outer wings were re-rigged flat to give the characteristic gull wing arrangement.

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.

Fleet Air Arm history
        North American Mitchell
        Total FAA 1939-1945:        1
        First delivered to RN:         1943
        First squadron 1939-1945:   Only to A&AEE Boscombe Down
        Operational squadron:          None
        Last served with RN           1943 as above
Aircraft Type:
North American B25 Mitchell
Primary Role:
Medium bomber
First Flight: 
January 1939 
Date operating with FAA squadrons:
North American Aviation Inc.
Two 1,700 hp Wright R-2600-29 Cyclone 14-cylinder radials engines
 Wing Span: Length: Height: Wing Area: 
Wingspan 67.6 ft (20.60 m) 
Length 52.9 ft  (16.13 m) 
Height 16.3 ft (4.98 m) 
Wingarea  610 sq ft  (56.67 sq m)
Empty Weight: Max.Weight:
empty 21,120 lb (9,580 kg) 
max.34,955 lb (5,855 kg)



Speed 275 mph (443 km/h)
Initial climb rate1,109 ft/min  (338 m/min)
Ceiling 24,200 ft (7,375 m) 
Range1,350 miles (2,170 km)
Five .50 cal. machine guns
500-lb General Purpose Bombs; up to 5,000 lbs in internal bomb bay.
Battle honours:
None with FAA
Additional references and notes:

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.

Surviving aircraft and relics
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).
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Preserved and airworthy Mitchell

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.

Associations and reunions
No information
Elevon B-25 History Extremely extensive archive of information including histories of each of the B-25 marks, and by coutry etc.
Warbird Alley Warbird Alley, an online reference source for information about privately-owned, ex-military aircraft. Includes details and specs and a summary total of airworthy aircraft including the Mitchell
Olivier warbirds, Le site sur l'aviation de la Seconde guerre mondiale Details of the Mitchell [in french]
   Information profiles of the aircraft.
Sturtivant, R. & Burrow, M (1995) 'Fleet Air Arm Aircraft 1939 to 1945'  Published by Air Britain (Historians) Ltd, 1995 ISBN: 085130 232 7 
Created 3-4-1999, Modified 3-4-2000


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