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Mitchell file photo [150]

B-25 Mitchell

CountryUnited States
ManufacturerNorth American Aviation
Primary RoleMedium Bomber
Maiden Flight19 August 1940


ww2dbaseThe original design for the B-25 Mitchell medium bombers was drafted with Britain and France as the intended customers, but they opted for A-20 Havoc bombers from Douglas Aircraft Company instead. In 1939, the United States Army Air Corps evaluated the design and was satisfied with the prototype aircraft's performance. The original prototype, code named NA-40B, crashed on 11 Apr 1939, but the US Army liked the little they had observed thus far, and decided to order the design into production without further testing. Out of the modified design, now named NA-62, the production B-25 Mitchell bombers were born. Some of the changes with NA-62 include a new wing shape and a larger tail fin. The first B-25 bombers entered service with the US Army in 1940.

ww2dbaseAmong their early missions was the Doolittle Raid in Apr 1942, where United States Navy aircraft carrier USS Hornet steamed close to Japan and launched US Army B-25 Mitchell bombers on an attack on Japanese cities; it was meant to be an attack at the Japanese morale and at the same time a morale booster for the Americans. Headed by Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle, 16 lightly armed B-25 Mitchell bombers took off at the dawn of 18 Apr 1942 and bombed Tokyo and other cities. Actual damage inflicted was minimal, and 15 out of the 16 were destroyed in crash-landings in China after the mission, but the boost of American morale was significant. The lone B-25 bomber that survived the mission landed in Russia, and the aircraft was confiscated by the Soviets.

ww2dbaseIn the Pacific War, B-25 Mitchell bombers were frequently used at low altitude, acting as ground attack aircraft instead of as medium bombers. These strafing aircraft were first devised in the field by the likes of Major Paul Irving "Pappy" Gunn, who initially modified A-20 Havoc bombers but later also submitted requests to perform similar modifications to B-25 bombers by adding guns and eliminating any unnecessary weight and space; as his request was approved by George Kenney, Kenney would also claim design credit, noting that he had further contributed to Gunn's designs. The resulting B-25G aircraft each had additional machine guns and a 75mm M4 cannon, the largest caliber weapon ever equipped in an American bomber. A later variant, B-25J, increased the number of machine guns to 18. Finally, B-25 bombers sometimes served as troop transports in the South Pacific.

ww2dbaseAlthough B-25 bombers were noisy and caused hearing problems for the pilots and crew after the war, they were were well loved by their crew for that they could absorb significant amounts of damage and still maintain manageable flight characteristics.

ww2dbase9,984 were built between 1941 and 1945; 6,608 of them were built at North American's Fairfax Airport plant in Kansas City, Kansas, United States.

Bruce Gamble, Fortress Rabaul
Ted Lawson, Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo

Last Major Revision: Jun 2007

B-25 Mitchell Timeline

29 Jan 1939 The NA-40 prototype aircraft took its first flight; it was judged underpowered and unstable.
11 Apr 1939 The NA-40B prototype aircraft was destroyed in a crash during testing at Wright Field, Ohio, United States. The entire crew survived the crash.
19 Aug 1940 The North American B-25 Mitchell medium bomber took its first flight.
30 Jun 1941 The Netherlands Purchasing Commission placed an order with North American Aviation to purchase 162 B-25C bombers for the Dutch government-in-exile. These aircraft were intended for the Dutch East Indies to counter the growing Japanese threat.
3 Jan 1942 The B-25D variant of the B-25 Mitchell aircraft took its first flight; all B-25D aircraft were built at Kansas City, Kansas, United States.
22 Jan 1943 The RAF conducted its first combat operation using the new Mitchell Mk.II bombers. Six aircraft from No. 98 and No. 180 Squadrons were sent out to attack oil installations at Ghent in Belgium. One aircraft was shot down by flak over the target and two others were lost when attacked by Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighters. Following this disaster the RAF's Mitchell squadrons were stood down to concentrate on developing new tactics to fend off enemy fighters.
14 Mar 1944 United States Marine Corps Squadron VMB-413 equipped with PBJ-1 bombers (B-25 Mitchell bombers which had been purchased by the US Navy but subsequently transferred to the Marine Corps) commenced combat operations from Stirling Island, New Hebrides. Ultimately the USMC would form sixteen B-25 Squadrons, nine of which would see action in World War II.
28 Jul 1945 A B-25D bomber crashed into the 79th and 80th floor on the north side of the Empire State Building in New York City, New York, United States at 0940 hours in a weather related accident. The air crew of 3, along with 11 people in the building, were killed; the damage was estimated to be about US$1,000,000.


MachineryTwo Wright R-2600 radial engines rated at 1,850hp each
Armament12x12.7mm machine guns, 2,700kg of bombs
Span20.60 m
Length16.13 m
Height4.80 m
Wing Area57.00 m²
Weight, Empty9,580 kg
Weight, Loaded15,200 kg
Weight, Maximum19,000 kg
Speed, Maximum442 km/h
Speed, Cruising370 km/h
Rate of Climb4.00 m/s
Service Ceiling7,600 m
Range, Normal2,170 km


B-25A Mitchell bomber of the 17th Bomber Group, US 34th Bomber Squadron at McChord Army Air Force field, Washington, United States, 1941; note Thunderbird insignia of 34th Bomber SquadronUS Army aviator Lieutenant Peddy posing in front of his B-25 Mitchell bomber with his full crew, date unknown
See all 178 photographs of B-25 Mitchell Medium Bomber

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed Hobilar says:
19 Aug 2007 03:22:42 AM

870 North American B25C or B25D Mitchell were also shipped to the Soviet Union under Land Lease

2. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
23 Apr 2011 12:47:39 PM



Of Doolittles Fifteen pilots on the April 1942 raid against Japan, five won their wings before 1941. And all but one of the Sixteen co-pilots were less then a year out of flight training.
Sixteen North American B-25 Mitchell Bombers,
Eighty Crewmen, Bomb Japan Immortality


The idea of a raid against Japan, was on the mind of US Navy Captain Francis Low, thinking
under the right conditions Army Bombers could bomb Japan launched from an aircraft carrier. The raid was later carried out by
Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle

The 1944 film Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo was
based on the book by Captain Ted W. Lawson
one of the Doolittle raiders.
It was a reasonably accurate depicition of the mission. It is available on VHS and DVD
3. Ltc. Christie USMC/USAF Retired says:
20 Apr 2013 10:45:18 AM

It would be historically significant if the lone B-25 that survived the Doolittle Raid by flying to Russia still exists....?
4. Commenter identity confirmed David Stubblebine says:
20 Apr 2013 06:45:04 PM

Re: Doolittle bomber interred at Vladivostok [B-25B #40-2242]-
The best information available is that this aircraft was scrapped in the USSR in the 1950s.
5. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
13 Jul 2015 10:10:38 PM


This was the first version of the Mitchell aircraft s/n B-25C-NA, 41-12800. A total of 1,625 the B-25 was named the Mitchell in honor of General Billy Mitchell who fought for a strong air force and independent of the army.
6. juli cook says:
15 Aug 2015 01:41:05 AM

My dad was a B25 pilot flying the hump Burma the 10th air corp 1943 / 45 dustys flying tool box was the name of his plane.I would love to see it.dad pased away in 2005 his name was Richard cook algona Iowa.if enyone has a photo it would be great.
7. dintizs jake says:
9 Dec 2015 08:04:26 AM

I was fix it all a and p flight enginer I was major general jarred v. crabb personal take with guy flew with him in pacific then came occupied japan lost my scrap book due to water damage an one have photos? jake
8. lucky dog says:
23 Mar 2016 08:44:08 AM

What happened to the Mitchell B-25 Bomber named The City of Girard Ohio?
9. Gary Lewis says:
15 Aug 2016 06:42:24 PM

What happened to the Mitchell B-25 Bomber named The City of Girard Ohio?

I believe this was merely a publicity photo for the Home-front, I image that after the photo was done, another cities name was plastered on the B-25 to show the citizens their efforts of the WAR BONDS drive and where the money was going. Just my two cents LD
10. Pete says:
27 Mar 2017 03:05:41 PM

This is a reply to comment 7. by dintizs jake, above, and quoted below:

My Dad flew with General Crabb as his copilot - and was HQ V Bomber Command Operations Officer - for awhile late '44 to early '45. Please contact me if you are still looking at this site, at oldcorpsvet@gmail.com

I do have some photos. Hope to hear from you!

7. dintizs jake says:
9 Dec 2015 08:04:26 AM

I was fix it all a and p flight enginer I was major general jarred v. crabb personal take with guy flew with him in pacific then came occupied japan lost my scrap book due to water damage an one have photos? jake
11. Paul says:
3 Apr 2017 03:37:17 AM

My Dad was a pilot officer between 1942 and 1945 and was a bomber over Germany, have his original log book which is full of his RAAF history, Miss him very much, he passed in 2006
12. Lawrence John Roth says:
29 May 2017 05:13:43 PM

My uncle was lost on a crash of a B25C # 42-53461 on Feb.27, 1943. His name was SSGT John F. Roth, listed as Flight Engineer. Member 487th Bomb Squadron,340th Bomb Group. Crashed into jungle 18 miles S of Cayenne French Guiana. I just found this out. How do I found his duties on this plane and type of Mission they were on. found flight leg from Trinidad to Belem,Brazil. Crew members listed on a site I found. Looking for more details.
13. Commenter identity confirmed David Stubblebine says:
30 May 2017 05:59:12 PM

Lawrence Roth (above):
This is a difficult puzzle to crack. I found out only a little more than what you have listed. I found one listing that said 6 were killed but little else. I also found in the 487th squadron history that the air echelon departed Battle Creek, Michigan on 18 Feb 1943 and arrived Kabrit, Egypt between 10-29 Mar 1943 with nothing mentioned in between. So it would seem that a crash in French Guiana on 27 Feb 1943 was part of the ferry flight to North Africa. The flight leg from Trinidad to Belem would fit with that. There should have been a Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) filed in this case and I found one source that says MACR 16019 is associated with this crash but I can find no record of this MACR on the internet (except that the report number appears in the National Archives microfilm catalog). There should be more available on this somewhere so keep digging. If you haven’t already, request a copy of his service record (http://ww2db.com/faq/#3).
14. Lawrence John Roth says:
31 May 2017 12:11:24 PM

I am going to send in for service records. Maybe find out some more. I have his serial # 35288474 Found some info under find a grave marker website. Find A Grave Memorial # 159360934. Lists all crew and a passenger on board. Just remember my father saying some burned artifacts sent to house befor he himself was drafted.
15. Anonymous says:
17 Aug 2017 12:23:14 AM

My wife's grandfather flew 81 combat missions as a pilot in a B-25 in WW-2. Just wondering if this is considered a lot of missions?
16. Thomas Wik says:
16 Sep 2017 02:05:30 PM

My father Rapheal John Wik born feuary 12 1921 flew 55 missions during WWII Europe and Africa . That's all I know. Would like to know more.
17. john says:
15 Feb 2018 03:19:55 AM

Hello. Some time ago I came upon a comprehensive listing of downed craft, specifically B25s lost over France. I cannot remember the site so I wondered if someone can point me in the right direction please. I would appreciate any help. Thank you, kind regards, John
18. Terence Curtis says:
14 Sep 2018 02:20:18 AM

My father Flying Officer John Curtis flew 49 missions with 180 Sqd RAF operating out of Dunsfold England and Melsbroek Belgium after D Day. He survived the war and had a great carreer as an Airline Pilot post WWII. Is there anybody out there that served with him in 180 Sqd
19. Anonymous says:
19 Nov 2018 11:42:43 AM

I don't know if this will be helpful or not, but there is a children's book called Tail-end Charlie written by Mick Manning. He recounts his father's time as a tail-gunner in 180 Sqd from 1944-5.
20. Commenter identity confirmed Alan Chanter says:
7 Nov 2021 01:22:06 AM

The USA shipped 862 B-25 Mitchell medium bombers to the Soviet Union from the spring of 1942. From September 1942 they were mainly employed by the ADD (Aviatsia Dalmego Deistviya) for night interdiction raids against a variety of targets, but as the war progressed, they increasingly joined the lyushin and Petlyakov bomber force in strategic bombing attacks on Warsaw, Breslau, Konigsberg, Tilsit and Berlin.
The Russian pilots liked the handling and range of the B-25D but were less enthusiastic about the lack of a rear defensive armament. In theory, this shouldn’t have presented a problem since the American aircraft had power-operated dorsal and ventral turrets each with a pair of 0.5in Browning M2 machine guns. However, the remote-controlled retractable ventral turret gave constant trouble. Its periscopic sight had a limited field of view and vibrated so badly, when the guns were fired, that it was almost impossible to aim properly.
German fighters quickly learned to exploit this weakness by attacking from astern and below; therefore many Russian B-25Ds were modified to mount a single flexible 12.7mm UBT mass-produced heavy machine gun in the tail to provide some added protection, and from 1944, whe the ADD began receiving the more heavily armed B-25J s which had twin Browning AN/M2s in the tail.
Some 497 Russian Mitchells survived the war and the type remained in service until 1949.
21. Greenie says:
23 Oct 2022 08:40:59 PM

The aim was for 50 missions which meant enough points to finish the tour of duty. 81 points speaks for itself. Good job!
22. Will says:
3 May 2023 06:50:03 AM

Do you guys know the variant of the B-25 that was super lightweight and fought in the Himalayas, my great Grandad was a tail gunner on one.

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More on B-25 Mitchell
Notable Figure:
» Doolittle, James

Notable Event:
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B-25 Mitchell Medium Bomber Photo Gallery
B-25A Mitchell bomber of the 17th Bomber Group, US 34th Bomber Squadron at McChord Army Air Force field, Washington, United States, 1941; note Thunderbird insignia of 34th Bomber SquadronUS Army aviator Lieutenant Peddy posing in front of his B-25 Mitchell bomber with his full crew, date unknown
See all 178 photographs of B-25 Mitchell Medium Bomber

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