The B-25 became synonymous with the crushing power of aerial bombing after Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle led a squadron of 16 of the medium bombers in one of the most courageous raids of the war, over mainland Japan. They flew 800 miles from the deck of an aircraft carrier and successfully bombed Tokyo and four other cities without a loss of airmen or aircraft, until 15 planes were forced to ditch short of the recovery bases, out of fuel or lost in the low visibility. Sixty-nine of the 80 crewmen survived. The pounding given to the Japanese Imperial City just four months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor provided a much-needed morale boost for American troops and sailors.
Named for General Billy Mitchell, the father of the U.S. Air Force, the B-25 entered service on the first day of the war and served until well after. Around 10,000 were built in several configurations. Early on, their strafing power and low-level bombing capabilities had the Mitchells virtually encrusted with as many as 18 machine guns. The B-25J, the last production model of the bomber, was conventionally equipped with a transparent nose. Itʼs surprising, but historically accurate, that this iconic American bomber in the Lewis Air Legends collection sports Soviet nose art and insignia. Nearly 900 B-25s were sent to the Russians in WWII under the Lend/Lease program, as were many others to allies in Europe, Asia and South America. One of the worldʼs most famous warbirds is also known for the tragic accident of July 28, 1945, when a USAAF B-25D crashed into the north side of the Empire State Building, killing the pilot, his two passengers and 11 more inside the building.
|Wing Span||67' 7"|
|Max Speed||272 mph|
|Gross Weight||33,510 lbs|
|Power Plant||2 x Wright R-2600-92 Cyclone radial piston engines|
12 – 18 x .50 cal machine guns
|Rockets||8 x 5 in. (130mm) HVAR|
2,000 lbs (900kg) and 1 x external Mark 13 torpedo