North American B-25 Mitchell
WORLD WAR II
One of the 25 airplanes that won it
still flying 70 years after victory.
AIR&SPACE Smithsonian, May 2015I'd Rather Be Flying From Hangar 18
North American B-25 Mitchell
(Featuring some of the Ol'Kunnel's favorite airplanes!)
The North American B-25 Mitchell was one of the most famous bombers of the World War II. This medium bomber without a prototype was built by North American from the drawing board. Production began in February, 1941. The plane was named after Brigadier General Billy Mitchell, a pioneer advocate of military air power. Just over a year later, it gained its greatest fame on April 18, 1942, when sixteen B-25Bs, launched from the carrier USS Hornet, raided Tokyo in the first reprisal by U.S. forces against the Japanese mainland. During the war, 9,916 B-25's were accepted by the Army Air Force for U.S., British, and Russian units. Pilots liked the B-25 for its dependability and general flight characteristics.
North American rebuilt the plane on display at the USAF Air Museum to the configuration of a Tokyo Raider.
At the outbreak of World War II, Jimmy Doolittle was already one of America's most acclaimed aviation pioneers. Yet, it was on April 18, 1942, as a lieutenant colonel with the U.S. Army Air Forces, that he would embark on a mission that would make him a legend. That morning, Doolittle led sixteen B-25 Army bombers, launched from the USS Hornet on a bombing raid on mainland Japan - the first such attack of the war. The raid provided a tremendous morale boost to the Allied war effort. For his heroism, Doolittle was awarded the Medal of Honor.
The photograph to your right is that of Colonel Doolittle standing on the Hornet's flight deck with the members of his Tokyo air raid team.
The first Mitchell off the Hornet's deck. The lead off pilot was Colonel Doolittle himself. The short take off from a carrier deck was carefully prepared for by all the team pilots. However, Doolittle felt his example would be a good leadership example. It was, of course.
- Manufacturer: North American
- Length: 51 ft., 5 in.
- Wing span: 67 ft., 6 in.
- Height: 15ft., 10 in.
- Crew: 6
- Speed: 285 mph
- Range: 1,200 mi.
- Armament: twelve or fourteen .50-cal. machine guns, or six .50-cal. machines guns and one 75-mm cannon
- Bomb load: 3,200 lbs.
- Weight: 33,500 lbs.
- Named after airpower pioneer Billy Mitchell.
- Built in numbers exceeding any other US medium bomber.
- Used in World War II by Navy and Marine Corps as well as Australia, Britain, Canada, China, France, Holland, Soviet Union.
- Pioneered thermal deicing.
- Crashed into cloud-shrouded Empire State building on July 28, 1945.
- Featured in films such as "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo" , "Catch 22" , "Hanover Street" , "Forever Young" .
--AIR FORCE Magazine / March 2009
Nice work on the Mitchel bomber, a truly historic aircraft flown by pretty well all the allied airforces of the world.
A good friend who recently passed away, Al Shaw, RCAF, was a Mitchel pilot during WW2. He said that he always felt the plane would bring them home safe no matter how badly it was shot up, and it always did.
Thanks for your work on this fine, fine, aircraft.
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