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North American B-25 Mitchell / PBJ

naa-b-25j
B-25J

 

Built as a private venture, the NA-40-1 prototype flew in January 1939. The design was then improved as the NA-62, and in September 1939 the USAAC placed its first order.
 

Ordered into production in August 1939 it took just fifty-three weeks after receiving the initial contract before the first prototype took to the air. The prototype of the B-25 was flown for the first time on August 1940. The first of these 184 B-25 Mitchell entered service in 1941.

It and the first few B-25s off the production line had wings with a constant dihedral from the fuselage to the tips. Only after the 10th one were the wings redesigned with the characteristic gull configuration. Its armament included four .30-caliber machine guns, one in the nose and three amidships, and a single .50-caliber gun in the tail. The usual bomb load was 2,000 pounds with a maximum overload of 3,600 pounds. Large scale production began immediately and early models were in service by the time America entered the war in December 1941.

The B-25A was fitted with self-sealing fuel tanks and armor for the pilot. The B replaced the midship and tailguns with electrically operated turrets. Each turret had two .50-caliber machine guns. The lower turret was remote-controlled. The C and D were provided with automatic flight control equipment. The E and F were fitted with experimental deicing equipment. The G was the first model to carry a 70mm cannon. The H increased its armament to four .50-caliber guns in an armored nose and two pairs of .50-caliber guns on each side of the fuselage. It was the precision bomber version of the H; the crew increased to six to include a bombardier.

The B-25J, built at the Kansas plant, was the most widely produced version, 4318 being produced 1943-45.

The US Marine Corp operated B-25s as the PBJ-1C, D, G, H, and J models.

More than 700 B-25s were acquired by the U.S. Navy and Marines, as the PBJ. The Royal Air Force received about 800, and the airplane was flown more than a dozen other countries. Top speed only reached about 270 mph but the Mitchell's 1,350-mile range made it very useful.

The Americans did not use Mitchells operationally from the United Kingdom but based them with the 12th United States Army Air Force in the Mediterranean. However the British, Dutch and Russians received large numbers.

Training aircraft were the AT-25, later designated the TB-25.

All B-25 models were powered by Wright R-2600 Cyclone 14 engine. More than 12000 aircraft built.

In April 1942 sixteen Mitchells, operating from the American aircraft carrier USS Hornet, made one of the most daring bomber raids in the Second World War, on Tokyo.

 

b25-fac
 
In 1955 large numbers of these wartime medium bombers were still used by the R.C.A.F. for a variety of duties. The target towing version shown here is powered by two 1,700 h.p. Wright R2600-13 engines.
 
  NA-B25D
B-25D
 
About 100 B-25Js, with glazed noses, are used for all weather crew training and guided weapon development. Other B-25Ds and Js were used by Reserve squadrons. TB-25s were in service with the U.S.A.F.
 
The Mitchell was used in all theaters and a total of 9816 were built, essentially unaltered in airframe and powerplants, but revised in armament, armour and fuel. There were 1619 B-25C built, and 1000 B-25J.

 

Gallery

 

B-25
Initial model
 
B-25B
Dorsal & ventral turrets
 
B-25C
Ventral bomb racks
 
B-25D Mitchell
Ventral bomb racks
Engines: two 1,700 h.p. Wright R2600-13
Span: 67 ft. 7 in
Max Weight: 33,500 lb
Max Speed: 303 m.p.h.
 
B-25G
Heavy nose gun
 
B-25H
Improved B-25G
Engines: Wright R-2600-13 Cyclone, 1700 hp / 1268 kW
Wingspan: 67 ft 7 in / 20.60 m
Length: 51 ft 0 in / 13.34 m
Height: 15 ft 9 in / 4.80 m
Wing area: 610,0 sq.ft / 56.67 sq.m
Empty weight: 19,975 lb / 9061 kg
MTOW: 36,047 lb / 16,351 kg
Max speed: 275 mph / 442 kph at 13,000 ft / 3960 m
Climb to 15,000 ft / 4570 m: 19 min 0 sec
Service ceiling: 23,800 ft / 7255 m
Range: 2700 m / 4344 km
Armament: 1 x 75mm M4 cannon, 12 x .50 in mg
Bomb load: 3200 lb / 1452 kg or 1 x 2000 lb / 907 kg torpedo
Seats: 5
 
B-25J
Improved B-25H initially with B-25D glazed nose, later solid 8 gun nose
Engines: 2 x Wright R-2600-92 Cyclone, 1268kW / 1700 hp
Max take-off weight: 15876 kg / 35001 lb
Empty weight: 8836 kg / 19480 lb
Wingspan: 20.6 m / 67 ft 7 in
Length: 16.13 m / 52 ft 11 in
Height: 4.98 m / 16 ft 4 in
Wing area: 56.67 sq.m / 609.99 sq ft
Max. speed: 237 kts /438 km/h / 272 mph
Cruising speed: 200 kts / 370 km/h
Ceiling: 7375 m / 24200 ft
Cruising altitude: 12992 ft / 3960 m
Wing load: 57.4 lb/sq.ft / 280.0 kg/sq.m
Range: 2173 km / 1350 miles
Armament: 12 x 12.7mm / .50 machine-guns, 1300-1800kg of bombs
Crew: 5
 
TB-25
 
PBJ‑1D Mitchell
 
PBJ‑1H

 

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North American B-25 Mitchell

 

 


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