Historical Snapshot

The North American B-25 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, photoreconnaissance, submarine patrol, and even as a fighter and was distinguished as the aircraft that completed the historic raid over Tokyo in 1942.

It required 8,500 original drawings and 195,000 engineering man-hours to produce the first one, but nearly 10,000 were produced from late 1939, when the contract was awarded to North American Aviation, through 1945.

Named for famed airpower pioneer Brigadier General William “Billy” Mitchell, it was a twin-tail, mid-wing land monoplane powered by two 1,700-horsepower Wright Cyclone engines.

Normal bomb capacity was 5,000 pounds (2268 kilograms). 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.


Technical Specifications

First flight Aug. 19, 1940
Span 67 feet 6.7 inches
Wing area 610 square feet
Length 53 feet
Weight Empty, 20,305 pounds; normal gross weight, 27,051 pounds; useful load, 6,746 pounds
Power plant Two 1,700-hp Wright Cyclone supercharged 14-cylinder radial engines, driving 12-foot-7-inch full-feathering, constant-speed Hamilton Standard three-bladed props
Speed In excess of 300 miles per hour
Crew Pilot, co-pilot, bombardier, radio operator, gunner
Range In excess of 3,000 miles, using droppable tanks
Landing gear Hydraulically operated tricycle