The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia
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North American B-25C Mitchell
|4 to 6|
|67’7” x 52’11” x 15’9”
20.60m by 16.13m by 4.82m
|610 square feet
56.7 square meters
|284 mph at 15,000 feet
457 km/h at 4570 m
Rate of climb
|15 feet per second
|2 1700hp (1268 kW) Wright R-2600-13 Double Cyclone 14-cylinder two-row radial engines driving three bladed propellers.|
|2 0.50 machine guns
2 0.50 machine guns in dorsal turret
2 0.50 machine guns in ventral turret
|3000 lbs (1361 kg)
Later production models (B-25C-1) had wing racks for 6 to 8 325 lb (147kg) bombs and could be fitted with a torpedo rack in place of the usual internal bomb load.
|1300 miles (2100 km) with 3000 lbs
(1361 kg) bombs
2900 miles (4700 km) ferry
|A total of 9816 of all type at North American Aviation Incorporated plants in Inglewood,CA and Kansas City, MO:|
|24||B-25 (Inglewood, 1941)
|40||B-25A (Inglewood, 1941)
|120||B-25B (Inglewood, 1941-1942)
|1619||B-25C (Inglewood, 1941-1943)
|2290||B-25D (Kansas City, 1942-1944)
|405||B-25G (Inglewood, 1943)
|1000||B-25H (Inglewood, 1943-1944)
|4318||B-25J (Kansas City, 1943-1945)
The B-25 lacked armor and self-sealing
The B-25 and the B-25A were armed only
with single 0.30
machine guns in the waist windows, tail, and nose.
The B-25B and earlier models were
equipped with 1350 hp (1007 kW) R-2600-9 engines and
lacked exhaust flame dampeners, making them unsuitable for
The B-25D was the Kansas City plant
version of the B-25C, and did not differ significantly in
The B-25G had a solid nose fitted with
a 75mm M4 gun
with 21 rounds and two fixed 0.50 machine guns. It could
carry 8 5" (127mm) rockets
under its wings. It was generally field modified in the
Southwest Pacific with the addition of two more fixed nose
machine guns and four fixed machine guns in forward-firing
The B-25H had an improved 75mm gun and
had four fixed nose 0.50s and two 0.50s in the right
blister. It also added two machine guns in waist bulges.
It upgraded the engines to two 1850 hp (1379 kW)
R-2600-29s. It was controversial for its omission of the
ventral turret and the copilot position, but it added a
tail turret with two 0.50 machine guns.
The B-25J had a glazed nose, could
carry 4000 lbs (1800 kg) of bombs, and had a total of nine
0.50 machine guns (one flexible in the nose, two fixed in
the right blister, two each in dorsal and tail turrets,
and two in waist positions.) It restored the copilot
position (increasing the crew to six)
The B-25J also came in a solid-nosed version with five fixed 0.50 machine guns for a total of 13 machine guns with a total of 5000 rounds.
The F-10 was an unarmed photoreconnaissance
version. It was too vulnerable for use in combat
reconnaissance, and was used for photographic charting of
poorly charted areas of Alaska,
northwest Canada, and
(once air supremacy was achieved) the "Hump". It
could photograph 20,000 square miles (52,000 km2)
in four hours.
The PBJ was a Navy patrol version
equipped with an ASG radar.
The PBJ-1J, introduced just before the surrender, was
stripped of all but one tail gun in order to carry two
11.75" (298mm) "Tiny Tim" air to surface rockets.
The B-25B was the plane flown by the Doolittle raiders. It
was extensively field-modified in the Southwest
Pacific with forward-firing machine guns to make it an
effective low-level strafer. These field modifications were
adopted by the factory as the B-25G and later models. Thus
modified, the B-25 was a potent ship killer, able
to put an amazing amount of metal on the target to suppress antiaircraft fire and then
skip-bomb to sink the target.
Against land targets, such as airfields,
it made very good use of parafrag
The aircraft was developed in response to the Army Air Corps' March 1939 call for proposals for a fast medium bomber. The winner of the design contest would be awarded a contract for 385 aircraft. North American's chief designer, Lee Atwood, based his design on the earlier NA-40B, which had been developed as a private venture by North American (which had never before designed a high-performance multi-engine aircraft.) The NA-40B had been dogged by bad luck (including the crash of the prototype in April 1939) but was regarded as a very promising basis for the new design, which was rushed through in just 40 days. The only serious competition came from Martin, whose design became the B-26 Marauder. However, Martin had limited production capacity, the B-25 was simpler to construct, and the Army Air Corps chose to split the contract, awarding Martin a contract for 201 B-26s and North American a contract for the remaining 184 aircraft. The prototype first flew in August 1940, proved pleasant to handle, and went into production at once. However, early models suffered from a "Dutch roll" that required redesign of the tail surfaces and wing dihedral. The B-25C was the first true mass-produced version, appearing in early 1942.
In addition to its excellent flight characteristics, the
Mitchell had excellent cockpit visibility, especially downwards
and to the sides, which proved important in its later role as a
surface attack aircraft. It suffered significantly lower combat
losses than the rival B-26.
The 75mm gun on the G and H (and field-modified early models) was was a potent weapon, but it was heavy and had a slow rate of fire and a frightful recoil. Its use also required a steady attack dive that left the aircraft vulnerable to enemy defenses. It was understandably not popular with its crews. The gun was omitted in both versions of the definitive J model, perhaps because the introduction of 5" rocket armament made it superfluous.
There were three squadrons of B-25s at Pendleton Field
when war broke out. Subsequently, over 60% of B-25s were allocated
to the Pacific. Cost of production was $180,031 in 1939-1941 and
dropped to $116,752 in 1945.
Museum (accessed 2013-2-18)
Sharpe et al. (1999)
The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia © 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013-2014, 2016 by Kent G. Budge. Index
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