The sign accompanying the B-25. It reads
North American B-25J
Named in honor of Brig. Gen. "Billy" Mitchell, the B-25 was the most widely
used medium bomber of the Second World War. Ordered "off the drawing board" in
August 1939, the first aircraft flew one year later and entered service with
the 17th Bomb Group in the summer
of 1941. During WWII, the B-25 saw action on every front with U.S. forces.
Its most famous action occurred on April 18, 1942 when Lt. Col. James
Doolittle led a force of 16 B-25 from the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Hornet
to attack Tokyo.
The B-25 was modified for a number of different missions including bombing,
photo reconnaissance, trainer, torpedo-bomber, and ground attack missions. The
B-25G and H models were equipped with a 75-mm cannon and up to 18 .50-caliber
machine guns, making them among the most formidable attack bombers of WWII.
After the war, the U.S. Air Force used B-25s as staff transports and trainers,
the last being retired in May 1960.
The B-25J on display was one of the last 50 built by North American at is
Kansas City plant. Delivered to the Army Air Force in April 1945, it was used
as a staff transport and radar trainer until it was sold as surplus in 1958.
The Museum of Aviation obtained the aircraft in 1987 from Aero Nostalgia in
Chino, California. It is in the markings of the "Little King;" a B-25 assigned
to the 310th Bomb
Group, 12th Air Force, based at Ghisnaccia, Corsica. The "Little King"
flew 121 combat missions over Italy, southern France, Austria, and Yugoslavia,
as well as anti-shipping patrols over the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas
before returning to the U.S. in June 1945.
||67 feet, 7 inches
||52 feet, 11 inches
||16 feet, 4 inches
||35,000 lbs gross
Twelve .50-caliber machine guns, eight 5-inch rockets under the wings,
and a bomb load of 3,000 lbs.
||Two Wright R-2600-92s of 1700 hp each