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North American B-25 Mitchell


On January 25, 1939, the Army Air Corps announced a competition for a medium bomber design, 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. 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. On April 18, 1942, Lt. Col. James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle led the Doolittle Raid, in which 16 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. The 75-mm cannon in the B-25G/H was used with mixed results, primarily against ships. The Marine Corps received 706 B-25Bs, Cs, and Ds, which were redesignated PBJ-1, and used for antisubmarine 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. 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 May 21, 1960, the last serving aircraft, a VB-25J staff transport, was retired from service at Eglin AFB, Fla.
General characteristics B-25J
Primary function Medium bomber
Contractor North American Aviation Inc.
Power plant Two Wright R-2600-29 Cyclone 14-cylinder radials engines
Thrust 2x 1,850 HP 2x 1,380 kW
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
Weight empty 21,120 lb 9,580 kg
max. 34,955 lb 15,855 kg
Speed 275 mph 443 km/h
Initial climb rate 1,109 ft/min 338 m/min
Ceiling 24,200 ft 7,375 m
Range 1,350 miles 2,170 km
Armament 13x 12.7mm machine gun; 1,800 kg bombs
Crew Six
First flight January 1939
Date deployed 1943
Cost $96,000 (B-25B)
Number built 11,433


Jirka Wagner

 

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Last updated 01.01.2017