North American B-25B in flight. The B-25B now on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force was converted from a B-25D to B-25B configuration for the 10th Anniversary of the Tokyo Raid. (U.S. Air Force photo)
The B-25 medium bomber was one of America's most famous airplanes of World War II. It was the type used by General Doolittle for the Tokyo Raid on April 18, 1942. Subsequently, it saw duty in every combat area being flown by the Dutch, British, Chinese, Russians and Australians in addition to U.S. forces. Although the airplane was originally intended for level bombing from medium altitudes, it was used extensively in the Pacific area for bombing Japanese airfields from treetop level and for strafing and skip bombing enemy shipping.
The B model design eliminated the tail gunner position of the B-25 and B-25A and added a dorsal (top) and ventral (bottom) turret. These turrets each had a pair of .50-cal. machine guns. The ventral turret was retractable, but the increased drag caused by the turrets reduced the top speed of the B-25B by about 30 mph at cruise speed.
The museum has B-25D-30-NC (S/N 42-3374) on display. This aircraft was modified to B-25B configuration by North American Aviation for the 10th anniversary of the Tokyo Raid. It is painted as Col. Doolittle's aircraft (S/N 40-2344).
Improved B-25A; Model NA-62B
TECHNICAL NOTES: Armament: One .30-cal. and four .50-cal. machine guns (or five .50-cal. mgs) plus 5,000 lbs. of bombs Engines: Two Wright R-2600-9 turbo-supercharged radials of 1,700 hp each (take-off power) Maximum speed: 300 mph at 15,000 ft. Cruising speed: 230 mph Range: 1,300 miles with 3,000 lbs. bomb load Service ceiling: 25,000 ft. Span: 67 ft. 7 in. Length: 52 ft. 11 in. Height: 15 ft. 9 in. Weight: 28,460 lbs. (maximum) Crew: Five Serial numbers: 40-2229 to 40-2348