Photo of airman and two MPs in front of B-25B on a grass field
Photo of airman and two MPs in front of B-25B on a grass field.
6 x 8.5 cm
The North American B-25 Mitchell is an American twin-engine, medium bomber manufactured by North American Aviation (NAA). It was named in honor of Major General William "Billy" Mitchell, a pioneer of U.S. military aviation. Used by many Allied air forces, the B-25 served in every theater of World War II and after the war ended many remained in service, operating across four decades.
The North American B-25 Mitchell was produced in firepower increasing variants B-25, B-25A through B-25J plus other specialized variations of the model. For a complete list and details, consult Early 1940s Bomber Aircraft from the National Museum of the USAF.
More than 9,800 B-25s were built during the Second World War, manufactured by North American Aviation at plants in Kansas City, KS and Inglewood, CA.
The first flight by a production B-25 occurred on 19 August 1940, powered by two Wright R-2600-9 Cyclone engines delivering a total of 3,400 horsepower. The original plane had difficulties during bombing runs, so the dihedral (upward angle) in the outer wing panels was eliminated on the tenth and all the following B-25s. The first 25 B-25s were armed with one .30 caliber Browning machine gun in the nose and one at each waist position. For protection, the tail of the aircraft was equipped with a .50 caliber Browning. A Plexiglass nose and a turret gunner originated with the B-25B.