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North American B-25 "Mitchell"


In 1939, the North American Aircraft Company was asked by the U.S. Army Air Corps to develop a medium attack bomber. The first B-25 flew in August 1940 and was was named the "Mitchell" after General "Billy" Mitchell a controversial proponent of what the aircraft would mean in future military strategy. Initial evaluation corrected an wing design stability problem, boosted its maximum air speed ti 235 mph by upgrading the twin engine's horsepower to a 1,700 hp, 14 cylinder, air cooled engine, provided armor for its crew of (3) and seal-sealing fuel tanks. Between 1940 to 1945 over 11,000 B-25's would be manufactured in several variants for ground support, anti-submarine and shipping attack or reconnaissance. Armament would included (14) .50 caliber machine guns...(4) in the extreme nose, (2) to each side of the nose, (2) in a top turret, (2) in the tail (1) on each side in the central part of the fuselage. In addition, 3,000 lbs of bombs could be carried in its internal bomb bay and (8) 5" rockets under its wings. Variants for anti-shipping attack consisted of removal of the (4) machine guns in the nose and replace them with a single 75mm cannon and the ability to deliver a 1,700 lb torpedo.

On December 7, 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, exploits of the B-25 were immediate. The sinking of the first Japanese submarine was by a B-25 on December 24, 1941. On April 18, 1942 flying from the USS Hornet, (16) B-25's stuck the Japanese homeland bombing Tokyo, Kobe, Nagoya, and Yokohama. While the physical damage was really minimum the psychological impact was immense uplifting and mobilizing the United States as a Nation.



During WWII, the B-26 "Mitch" served with the British RAF designated the Mitchell Mk I. After the war the B-26 "Mitchell" continued to serve as photo reconnaissance and transport and wasn't retired from service until May 1960.











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Christy Butler **** www.shoeboxphotos.net **** **** butts@bcn.net