B-25 was sturdy workhorse

  • Ledger photos by Chris Martin       Patrons at last Saturday’s Wings and Wheels Fly-in and Car Show in Chickasha study the “Devil Dog” B-25.

The B-25 was a medium bomber named in honor of Maj. Gen. William “Billy” Mitchell, a pioneer of U.S. military aviation.

Approximately 9,800 of the airplanes were manufactured by North American Aviation, and the aircraft served in every theater of World War II.

The B-25 had a wingspan of 67 feet, 7 inches; was nearly 53 feet long; and was 15 feet, 9 inches high.

Its empty weight was approximately 19,480 pounds and its combat weight was approximately 35,000 pounds. The B-25 carried 3,000 pounds of bombs in its internal bomb bay and a crew of four to six men.

Its maximum speed was 272 mph, cruising speed was 230 mph, and landing speed was 105 mph. The plane had a range of 1,350 miles, a ceiling of 24,000 feet, and normal fuel load was 974 gallons.

The B-25 Mitchell was an exceptionally sturdy aircraft that could withstand tremendous punishment. One B-25C of the 321st Bomb Group was nicknamed “Patches” because its crew chief painted all of the aircraft’s flak hole patches with bright yellow zinc chromate primer.

By the end of the war, this aircraft had completed more than 300 missions, had belly-landed six times, and had more than 400 patched holes. The airframe of “Patches” was so distorted from battle damage that straight-and-level flight required 8 degrees of left aileron trim and 6 degrees of right rudder, causing the aircraft to “crab” sideways across the sky.