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North American B25 Mitchell

Discover the B25 Mitchell

One of the most versatile medium bombers built; this aircraft type served in every theatre of WW2

The North American B-25 Mitchell, a twin-engine bomber that became standard equipment for the Allied air forces in World War II, was perhaps the most versatile aircraft of the war. It became the most heavily armed airplane in the world, was used for high- and low-level bombing, strafing, photoreconnaissance, submarine patrol, and even as a fighter and was distinguished as the aircraft that completed the historic raid over Tokyo in 1942.

It required 8,500 original drawings and 195,000 engineering man-hours to produce the first one, but nearly 10,000 were produced from late 1939, when the contract was awarded to North American Aviation, through 1945.

Named for famed airpower pioneer Brigadier General William “Billy” Mitchell, it was a twin-tail, mid-wing land monoplane powered by two 1,700-horsepower Wright Cyclone engines.

Normal bomb capacity was 5,000 pounds (2268 kilograms). Some versions carried 75 mm cannon, machine guns and added firepower of 13 .50-caliber guns in the conventional bombardier's compartment. One version carried eight .50-caliber guns in the nose in an arrangement that provided 14 forward-firing guns.


A twin engined medium bomber the B25 was powered by two Wright Cyclone engines with a usual crew of 5 men.

  • First Flight 19th August 1940
  • Height 16ft 6.in
  • Length 53ft 5.75in
  • Width 4ft 8.5in
  • Wingspan 67ft 7.04in
  • Engines Two Wright Cyclone R2600 1740hp
  • Weight 21,100lbs
  • Speed In excess of 300mph
  • Range In excess of 3000 miles

The history of 44-29366

Sep 1944  Built by North American Aviation at their Kansas City factory. Constructors' number 108-32641. One of a block of 2,800 B-25-J aircraft, USAAF serial numbers 44-28711 to 44-31510 of a total of 4318 B-25J aircraft built at Kansas City. Delivered as a B-27J-20-HC Model to Contract No. AC-19341.


15th Sept 1944             Accepted from North American. Available for delivery following day.


18th Sept 1944             Delivered to USAAF as 44-29366.


18th Sept 1944             Departed from North American, Kansas City, en route to 2144thBase Unit, Moody Field, GA.


18th Sept 1944             Arrived at Scott Field, Belleville, IL, en route to Moody Field.


19th Sept 1944            Arrived at Memphis Municipal Airport en route to Moody Field.


20th Sept 1944            Arrived at Moody Field, Valdosa, GA; assigned to 2144 AAF Base Unit, AAF Training Command.


27th Apr 1945             Transferred to 2109 AAF Base Unit, Turner Field, Albany, GA, AAF Training Command.


5th Jun 1945              Transferred to 2537 AAF Base Unit, Perrin Field, Sherman, TX, AAF Training Command.Transferred to 2518 AAF Base Unit, Enid Field, OK, AAF Training Command (from 09 Jul 49 Vance AFB).


Jun 1946         Transferred to 2537 AAF Base Unit, Perrin Field, AAF Training Command.


Sep 1946                     Transferred to 2518 AAF Base Unit, Enid Field, AAF Training Command.


Dec 1946                     Transferred to 2621 AAF Base Unit, Barksdale Field, Shreveport, LA, Air Training Command (renamed Barksdale AFB 13 Feb 48).


17th Dec 1947             With 2621 AF Base Unit, Barksdale Field.


Oct 1949                     Transferred to 3500 Pilot Training Wing, Lubbock AFB (renamed Reese AFB as from 05 Nov 49), TX, Air Training Command.04Oct49Transferred to 91 Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, Barksdale AFB, Strategic Air Command; returned to Lubbock AFB on same date? (Entry dated 05 Oct 49 would seem to cancel transfer).


10th Oct 1949             With 3500 Pilot Training Wing, Lubbock AFB.11Jan50Transferred from combat ready status to storage.06Feb50Transferred from storage to combat ready status.


04th Apr 1950             Transferred to 3065 Navigator Training Wing, Ellington AFB, Houston, TX, Air Training Command.


22nd Jun 1950             Transferred to 3500 Pilot Training Wing, Reese AFB, TX, Air Training Command.

23rd Aug 1950             Transferred to Brookley AFB, AL, Mobile Air Material Area, Air Material Command.18Oct50Transferred from Brookley, AFB.


20th Oct 1950             Received by 3500 Pilot Training Wing, Reese AFB.


31st Dec 1952              Transferred to 3565thBombardier Training Wing (?), James Connally AFB, TX, Air Training Command.


19th May 1953            Transferred to 3585 Pilot Training Wing, San Marcos AFB, TX, Air Training Command.


03rd May 1954            With 3585 Pilot Training Wing, Edward Gary AFB, TX, Air Training Command (was San Marcos AFB renamed Gary AFB?).


03rd May 1954            Assigned to Birmingham AFB, AL, Air Material Command for contract work, being modified to TB-25N standard.


20th Jul 1954              Redesignated TB-25N?In the early 1950s 44-29366 was one of 47 TB-25N aircraft modified from B-25J standard by Hayes Aircraft Corporation between 1951-4 as pilot trainers, with Wright-Cyclone R-26-29A engines, the engine nacelles and exhausts differing from those on a B-25J.


23rd Jul 1954              Assigned to 3545 Pilot Training Wing. Goodfellow AFB, San Angelo, TX, Air Training Command (reporting date 25 Jul 54).


Sep 1955                     Transferred to 824 Air Base Group, Carswell AFB, Forth Worth, TX, Strategic Air Command; subsequently returned to 3545 Pilot Training Wing, Goodfellow AFB.


3rd Oct 1955               Returned to 3545 Pilot Training Wing.


May 1956       Transferred to 3380 Air Base Group, Keesler AFB, Biloxi, MS, Air Training Command.


Jun 1956         Returned to 3545thTraining Wing, Goodfellow.


Nov 1957        Transferred to 3565 Navigator Training Wing (?), James Connally AFB, TX, Air Training Command.


May 1958       Transferred from 3565 Navigator Training Wing to Davis Monthan AFB, Tuscon, AZ, San Bernardino Air Material Area, Air Material Command, for storage; subsequently designated `excess property'.


Dec 1959         Dropped from USAF Inventory; Designated for authorised reclamation, Davis Monthan AFB.The last B-25 aircraft had retired from USAF service in January 1959 from Reese Air Force Base.


4th Jan 1960   Registered to Sonora Flying service, Columbia, CA, being purchased by them for $2000.


May 1960       Converted as fire bombing tanker, fitted with 1,000-gallon tank.


c.1960-66 Flew as fire-fighting bomber aircraft ‘48’ initially with Sonora Flying Services, Columbia, California, registered N9115Z, until Mitchells were withdrawn from such duties following accidents in the early 1960s.


Oct 1966         Registered to Sam Rawland and Morgan Hetrick, Osage, MO.


Apr 1968        Registered to I.N ‘Junior’ Burchinall, Paris, Texas.


1969 (One source says to Filmways, Inc, Hollywood, Nov 68-purchased by Tallmantz for $6,000 that month) Acquired from Aviry, Texas by Tallmantz Aviation on behalf of Paramount Studios for the filming of former B-25 bombardier Joseph Hellers' 1961 satirical novel `Catch 22' for which one static and 17airworthy B-25s were eventually collected. Many of the assembled fleet were recently withdrawn fire-fighting bombers. The aircraft were moved to the Tallmantz hangar at Orange County Airport, California and all externalcivil modifications removed, dummy turrets installed and bomb bay doors made operational. N9115Z wore the tail code 6M for the film, with the name ‘Hot Pants’.  In the late Autumn of 1968 six weeks of flight training commenced, and a planned two month filming schedule began 11Jan69 at San Carlos, near Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico actually finishing early April 1969. Nearly 1500 hours flying were compressed into 12 minutes in the final cutof the film, which was premiered on 24th June 1970 but was a box office failure.


c.Apr 1969     N9115Z and 16 other Mitchells returned to the Tallmantz facility at Orange County Airport whilst Paramount considered further options for their use, none of which came to fruition and the fleet was sold off between 1971and 1975. From 1968 to 1972 N9115Z remained registered to Filmways Inc. of Hollywood, California.


1972    Acquired by David Tallichet's Military Aircraft Restoration Corporation of Chino, California.


1977    Displayed at Tampa, Florida restored in 17th Bomb Group markings alongside one of Tallichet's Speciality Restaurants, bearing James Doolittles' signature and the nickname `Toujours au Danger'/5 (Always Dangerous) the motto ofthe 16th BG.


1978    One of five B-25s acquired for the filming of Peter Haynes' EMI wartime love story `Hanover Street' staring Harrison Ford. Four of the five aircraft flew from the USA to Luton, UK via the Azores. N9115Z, piloted by David TallichetIII, flew from McDill Air Force Base, Tampa, Florida as oneof three Tallichet Mitchells involved in the film; pilots for the Atlantic crossing David Tallichet and Lester Addy.


15th May 1978            Arrived at Luton (Photo: Control Column Vol.12 No.5 p.95) -the last of the five aircraft to arrive, having been delayed by hydraulic problems including two aborted departures from St Johns, Newfoundland, and flying via Greenland and Iceland. The other four aircraft had arrived at Luton 4 May. Immediately after arrival all the aircraft were given a water-based olive/grey paint schemeand Vargas-style nose-artby Airline Engineering Ltd at Luton N9115Z becoming `151645 Marvellous Miriam'. All aircraft were modified to represent armed B-25Js.Photo of all five aircraft at St John’s

17th May 1978            All five aircraft flew to the disused airfield at Bovingdon, Herts for filming. Photos of `151645' at Bovingdon Control Column Vol.12 No.6 p.130-131; Aeroplane Monthly Aug 78 p.407; Aircraft Illustrated Jul 78-p.359; Aeroplane August 2018 pp.32-33 and 34Filming included night shots 17-18 May and general ground shots. 29May78 Filming at Bovingdon completed. When the aircraft left Bovingdon the following day all had their civil registrations added in minute letters on the rear fuselage.


30th May 1978            The five Mitchells left Bovingdon for Little Rissington, Glos, by then known as Imjin Army Barracks, arriving c.1830 hours.


31st May 1978            Rehearsal of aerial sequences, refuelling at Staverton.


1st Jun 1978                Filming began at Little Rissington. Little Rissington was used to portray an `enemy' airfield, which was duly `bombed' by the B-25s, which were fitted with bomb racks and stores at Little Rissington.

2nd Jun 1978               Filming at Little Rissington completed -the aircraft left, calling at Staverton for fuel then flew to Blackbushe, Hants for completion of filming, where several remained for many years afterwards, out of use, including N9115Z.


19-20 May 1979         Participated in flying Display at Biggin Hill air show, flown by Jeff Hawke.


c.Jun 1979      Acquired by the late Doug Arnold's Warbirds of Great Britain collection, then based at Blackbushe.


1981    One of two static B-25s used in feature film ‘Eye of the Needle’ filmed at Blackbushe.


1982    Loaned to RAF Museum by Doug Arnold and taken by road to Hendon for installation in the new Bomber Command Museum. Repainted and installed in the Museum as `34037'.


25th Oct 1982   Moved by road from Blackbushe to Hendon and initially stored dismantled in Museum Car park. Acquired by MOD on behalf of the RAF Museum in exchange deal.

Nov 2022  Transferred to the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre


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