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Osprey Publishing. It also helped supply the besieged troops at Imphal in Many of these missions involved battle-field isolation, interdiction, and close air support. It was also used in some of the shortest raids of the Pacific War, striking from Saipan against Guam and Tinian. The 41st Bomb Group used it against Japanese-occupied islands that had been bypassed by the main campaign, such as happened in the Marshall Islands.

The first Bs arrived in Egypt and were carrying out independent operations by October Thereafter, the aircraft took part in the rest of the campaign in North Africa , the invasion of Sicily , and the advance up Italy. In the Strait of Messina to the Aegean Sea, the B conducted sea sweeps as part of the coastal air forces. In Italy, the B was used in the ground attack role, concentrating on attacks against road and rail links in Italy, Austria, and the Balkans.

At first, it was used to bomb targets in occupied Europe. Several squadrons moved to forward airbases on the continent. The mission gave a much-needed lift in spirits to the Americans, and alarmed the Japanese, who had believed their home islands to be inviolable by enemy forces. Although the amount of actual damage done was relatively minor, it forced the Japanese to divert troops for home defense for the remainder of the war.

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Fifteen of the bombers subsequently crash-landed en route to recovery fields in eastern China. Only one B bomber landed intact, in Siberia , where its five-man crew was interned and the aircraft confiscated. Of the 80 aircrew, 69 survived their historic mission and eventually made it back to American lines. Following a number of additional modifications, including the addition of Plexiglas dome for navigational sightings to replace the overhead window for the navigator and heavier nose armament, de-icing and anti-icing equipment, the BC entered USAAF operations.

After block 20, some NAs began the transition to the G series, while some NAs acquired interim modifications eventually produced as the BD2 and ordered as the NA Although the B was originally designed to bomb from medium altitudes in level flight, it was used frequently in the Southwest Pacific theatre in treetop-level strafing and missions with parachute-retarded fragmentation bombs against Japanese airfields in New Guinea and the Philippines. These "commerce destroyers" were also used on strafing and skip bombing missions against Japanese shipping trying to resupply their armies.

Under the leadership of Lieutenant General George C.

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Many of the two dozen or so antisubmarine squadrons flew the BC, D, and G series in the American Theater antisubmarine campaign, often in the distinctive, white sea-search camouflage. The BG's shorter nose placed the cannon breech behind the pilot, where it could be manually loaded and serviced by the navigator; his crew station was moved to a position just behind the pilot. The navigator signalled the pilot when the gun was ready and the pilot fired the weapon using a button on his control wheel.

The Royal Air Force, U. Navy, and Soviet VVS each conducted trials with this series, but none adopted it. The G series comprised one prototype, five preproduction C conversions, 58 C series modifications, and production aircraft for a total of BGs. In its final version, the G, an interim armament modification, eliminated the lower Bendix turret and added a starboard dual gun pack, waist guns, and a canopy for the tail gunner to improve the view when firing the single tail gun.

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In April , the air depots in Hawaii refurbished about two dozen of these and included the eight-gun nose and rocket launchers in the upgrade. The BH series continued the development of the gunship concept. NAA Inglewood produced The H had even more firepower. Most replaced the M4 gun with the lighter T13E1 , [14] designed specifically for the aircraft, but odd H-1 block aircraft completed by the Republic Aviation modification center at Evansville had the M4 and two-machine-gun nose armament.

The H series normally came from the factory mounting four fixed, forward-firing. The H had a modified cockpit with single flight controls operated by pilot. Following the two-gunship series, NAA again produced the medium bomber configuration with the BJ series. It optimized the mix of the interim NA and the H series, having both the bombardier's station and fixed guns of the D and the forward turret and refined armament of the H series.

NAA also produced a strafer nose first shipped to air depots as kits, then introduced on the production line in alternating blocks with the bombardier nose. The solid-metal "strafer" nose housed eight centerline Browning M2. The remainder of the armament was as in the H NAA also supplied kits to mount eight underwing 5 "high velocity airborne rockets" HVAR just outside the propeller arcs.

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These were mounted on zero-length launch rails, four to a wing. The final, and the most built, series of the Mitchell, the BJ , looked less like earlier series apart from the well-glazed bombardier's nose of nearly identical appearance to the earliest B subtypes. It had the forward dorsal turret and other armament and airframe advancements.

All J models included four. By , however, combat squadrons removed these. The J series restored the co-pilot's seat and dual flight controls. The factory made available kits to the Air Depot system to create the strafer-nose BJ This configuration carried a total of Total J series production was 4, The B was a safe and forgiving aircraft to fly. The pilot had to remember to maintain engine-out directional control at low speeds after takeoff with rudder; if this maneuver were attempted with ailerons, the aircraft could snap out of control.

The tricycle landing gear made for excellent visibility while taxiing. The only significant complaint about the B was the extremely high noise level produced by its engines; as a result, many pilots eventually suffered from varying degrees of hearing loss. The high noise level was due to design and space restrictions in the engine cowlings, which resulted in the exhaust "stacks" protruding directly from the cowling ring and partly covered by a small triangular fairing. This arrangement directed exhaust and noise directly at the pilot and crew compartments.

The Mitchell was an exceptionally sturdy aircraft that could withstand tremendous punishment.

More Marauders over the Continent in Color -- B-26s in World War II

One BC of the st Bomb Group was nicknamed "Patches" because its crew chief painted all the aircraft's flak hole patches with the bright yellow zinc chromate primer. By the end of the war, this aircraft had completed over missions, had been belly-landed six times, and had over patched holes. In , legislation created an independent United States Air Force and by that time, the B inventory numbered only a few hundred. Some Bs continued in service into the s in a variety of training, reconnaissance, and support roles. The principal use during this period was undergraduate training of multiengine aircraft pilots slated for reciprocating engine or turboprop cargo, aerial refueling, or reconnaissance aircraft.

In its USAF tenure, many Bs received the so-called "Hayes modification" and as a result, surviving Bs often have exhaust systems with a semicollector ring that splits emissions into two different systems. The upper seven cylinders are collected by a ring, while the other cylinders remain directed to individual ports. The U. Navy designation for the Mitchell was the PBJ-1 and apart from increased use of radar, it was configured like its Army Air Forces counterparts. Following the AAFAC format, the Marine Mitchells had search radar in a retractable radome replacing the remotely operated ventral turret.

These aircraft often operated along with earlier PBJ series in Marine squadrons. To operate them, the U. Four more squadrons were in the process of formation in late , but had not yet deployed by the time the war ended. Their primary mission was the long-range interdiction of enemy shipping trying to run the blockade, which was strangling Japan.

The weapon of choice during these missions was usually the five-inch HVAR rocket, eight of which could be carried. Some VMB intruder PBJ-1D and J series planes flew without top turrets to save weight and increase range on night patrols, especially towards the end of the war when air superiority existed.

North American B-25 Mitchell

During the war, the Navy tested the cannon-armed G series and conducted carrier trials with an H equipped with arresting gear. One arrangement was a twin-barrel nose arrangement that could fire 10 spin-stabilized five-inch rockets in one salvo. These bombers were used exclusively for training and familiarization and never achieved operational status. Some served with squadrons of No. The British Mitchell squadrons were joined by No.

In addition to No. In the Far East, No. Deliveries took place between August and August However, only about of these bombers actually reached Britain, with some being diverted to No. Postwar use had continued operations with most of Mitchells received. The Australians received Mitchells by the spring of The joint Australian-Dutch No. Campaign: Ramillies Marlborough's Tactical Masterpiece. Campaign: Waterloo 1 Quatre Bras.