The B-25 medium bomber was used by most Allied nations in almost every combat theater during World War II. The B-25 became famous when 16 of the planes, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel “Jimmy” Doolittle, took off from the aircraft carrier Hornet in April of 1942 and became the first U.S. aircraft to bomb the Japanese mainland.
In the years that followed, the versatile Mitchell served in all corners of the globe, most successfully in the Pacific. Some of the planes were modified for more than bombing; attack versions of the Mitchell carried up to 14 forward-facing guns and some flew with a 75mm cannon in the nose—enough firepower to sink a small ship. After the war, many B-25s were retained by Army and Air Force, used as trainers, transports and radar platforms.
History of the Artifact
The FHCAM’s B-25J was built in Kansas City in the last days of 1944. It was one of 117 B-25s modified to carry a Hughes E1 fire control radar for training. The plane served with the Royal Canadian Air Force for ten years until it was sold as surplus in 1961.
Soon after, the plane was purchased by Cascade Drilling Company of Calgary and converted to a water-carrying “fire bomber.” In the mid-1990s, the B-25 was purchased by the Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum and restored to its wartime configuration by Aero Trader in Chino, California.
Did you know?
The B-25 was named after air power advocate General William “Billy” Mitchell. Flyers sometimes called the planes “Billy Bombers.”