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B-25J Walkaround

28 October 2011

B-25J Walkaround

30º 27′  59″ N / 86º 33′ 41″ W

What is not to like about the Mitchell? It was extensively modified to carry several forward firing machine guns, even a medium caliber cannon for a time, as well as flown off of the aircraft carrier USS Hornet in early WW II — the famous Doolittle Raid against the home islands of Japan.

The North American B-25 is the only aircraft named after a person the U.S. military inventory, for William “Billy” Mitchell who was a proponent of military airpower when the Army’s powers that were thought artillery was strategic and aviation was good only for scouting. Mitchell’s tactics were not always above board but that story will have to wait for another post but let us say the Navy, especially William Moffett, had to defend against losing their aviation arm at the time.

The Mitchell was developed as a medium bomber but served just as well as an attack aircraft. Flying just above wave height in the Pacific theater it could strike with bombs (skip bombing) or heavy caliber machine guns. Unusually, for the day, the tail gun position was eliminated though two sticks resembling gun barrels were present. Nose, waist and dorsal gun positions were in place — however, this model exhibited has only the one Browning 0.50″ caliber machine gun in the nose.

Copilot’s side of the North American B-25J Mitchell displayed on the grounds of the U.S. Air Force Armament Museum — photo by Joseph May

Nose machine gun position and cockpit of the B-25 — photo by Joseph May

The twin tail with broomsticks not “guns” — photo by Joseph May

Mid mounted wings of the Mitchell — photo by Joseph May

The aircraft in these photos is on display in the Air Force Armament Museum — pasting the museum’s name into the search window and selecting ENTER will bring you to more posts about the museum and its other aircraft.

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