Serial Number: 18
Markings: 1944 US
Museum Condition: Flying
Named after Gen. Billy Mitchell, the Army Air Corps' most famous figure of the 1920s and 1930s, the North American TB-25N proved to be one of the best American weapons of World War II. The TB-25N Mitchell, a twin-engine bomber that became standard equipment for the Allied Air Forces in World War II, was perhaps the most versatile aircraft of the war. It became the most heavily armed airplane in the world, was used for high-and low-level bombing, strafing, photo reconnaissance, submarine patrol and even as a fighter, and was distinguished as the aircraft that completed the historic raid over Tokyo in 1942. Subsequently, it saw duty in every combat area being flown by the Dutch, British, Chinese, Russians and Australians in addition to our own 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.
More than 9,800 B-25s were built during WW II. Basically, it was a twin-tail, mid-wing land monoplane powered by two 1,700-hp Wright Cyclone engines. Normal bomb capacity was 5,000 pounds. Some versions carried 75 mm cannon, machine guns and added firepower of 13 .50-caliber guns in the conventional bombardier's compartment. One version carried eight .50-caliber guns in the nose in an arrangement that provided 14 forward-firing guns.
This plane was manufactured at the North American Aviation plant in Kansas City and delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force on June 9, 1944. It then was flown to Hunter Field, Savannah, Georgia on June 24 then onto Morrison Field, Florida where it was readied for deployment to the Mediterranean Theatre of Operation.
On July 7, 1944, this aircraft departed Morrison Field and followed the southern route through Brazil, then across the Atlantic to Africa where it was delivered to the 3rd Air Facility Depot. Later that fall it was picked up by the 319th Bomb Group, 437th Squadron at Serraggia Airbase, Corsica. There it was assigned Battle Number 18. The plane then proceeded to fly 15 combat missions over Italy between November 4 and December 31, 1944. The majority of the targets were railroad bridges.
|418||November 4, 1944||Piazzola RR Bridge, Italy|
|434||November 10, 1944||Casale Monferrato RR Bridge, Italy|
|443||November 14, 1944||San Michele RR Bridge, Italy|
|445||November 17, 1944||Tomba RR Bridge, Italy|
|450||November 19, 1944||Obedisca RR Bridge, Yugoslavia|
|451||November 27, 1944||Faenza Defense Area #1, Italy|
|461||November 28, 1944||Casale Monferrato RR Bridge, Italy|
|465||December 2, 1944||Nervesa RR Bridge, Italy|
|467||December 3, 1944||Obedisca RR Bridge, Yugoslavia|
|469||December 19, 1944||San Ambrogio Rail Block, Brenner|
|476||December 22, 1944||Potetidone RR Bridge, Italy|
|478||December 26, 1944||San Ambrogio Rail Block, Brenner|
|480||December 27, 1944||Chiusaforte RR Bridge, Italy|
|484||December 28, 1944||Chiusaforte RR Bridge, Italy|
|492||December 31, 1944||Chiusaforte RR Bridge, Italy|
The plane was then returned to the depot and flown back to the U.S. the following summer. It then preformed utility and transport duties within the U.S. until the spring of 1958 when it was placed in storage at Davis Monthan AFB, Tucson, AZ. In early 1960 the military sold the plane to a smelter operator in Phoenix, AZ who, some 8 months later, sold it to Dothan Aviation in Dothan, Alabama, where it joined two other B-25s as agricultural bug sprayers. By the early 1970s Dothan Aviation sold the plane to a war bird collector, after which it was bought and sold to a series of different war bird collectors before ending up being bought by 3 individuals in the St. Paul - Bloomington, Minnesota, area in mid 1979.
These three individuals, in 1981, then decided to donate the plane to the CAF. The plane, through the work of AZ Wing member Jim Orton, was then assigned to the AZ Wing. The plane was in pretty bad shape in that during its ferry flight to Mesa, in 1981, it had to make several stops as its engines burned and leaked lots of oil. Upon arrival at the AZ Wing in Mesa it was hangared in a rented hangar on Falcon Field where members began to take the plane apart. Just about every nut and bolt was taken off, so much so it was barely recognized as a B-25.
Over the next 27 years members worked to restore the plane. It was a very slow process as work was prioritized between the B-17 Sentimental Journey, other aircraft, and the B-25. But over time the B-25 was put back together and restored to the way it was when it served during World War II in Corsica, which was the goal of the Arizona Wing. The plane's name, Maid in the Shade, and nose art, a girl laying on an island with palm trees and Serraggia, Corsica 1944 written above it, was selected by votes from AZ Wing members in the fall of 2002 and spring of 2003 respectively. It was also painted as it was when it served in Corsica with Battle Number 18 on her tail.
By winter of 2007-08 the restoration work was completed and the plane, after 27 years, was ready to for the FAA to certify the paperwork for flight. The Arizona Wing's B-25 is the only World War II combat plane of the 57th Bomb Wing that has been fully restored back to flying status. Lots of thanks has to be given to all those Arizona Wing members, past and present, who, over the past 27 years, worked on this once sorry looking B-25J to bring it back to an excellent looking fully restored World War II plane and is flying once again.
|Manufacturer||North American Aviation|
|Maiden Flight||19 August 1940|
|Theatre of War||World War II|
|Status||Retired 1979 (last country to Operate: Indonesia)|
Radio Operator/Waist Gunner
|Wingspan||67 ft 6 in|
|Length||52 ft 11 in|
|Height||17 ft 7 in|
|Empty Weight||21,120 lbs|
|Max Takeoff Weight||41,800 lbs|
|Power Plant||(2) Wright R-2600-35 "Cyclone" 14 cylinder radials|
|Horsepower||1,700 hp (each)|
|Maximum Speed||239 knots (275 mph)|
|Service Ceiling||25,000 ft|
|Rate of Climb||790 ft/min|
|Range||1,170 nm (1,350 mi)|
|Guns||(1) 0.50 in (12.7 mm) machine gun in nose
(4) 0.50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns in "blisters" below cockpit
(2) 0.50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns in dorsal turret
(2) 0.50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns in tail turret
(2) 0.50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns in waist section (one on each side)
|Rockets (Optional)||(8) 5 in (127 mm) unguided rockets under outer wings|
|Payload||3,000 lbs of bombs (internally)|