Aviation of World War II
The last bomber modification - B-25J - combined all the advantages of the previous ones, and its small arms became simply fantastic: a tail turret with a twin, two side blisters with single machine guns, an upper turret with a twin (shifted forward compared to the C / D), 4 fixed - along the sides and two - in the front cockpit (movable and fixed) - a total of twelve 12.7 mm barrels! If we evaluate the defensive capabilities of the "J" in the rear hemisphere, then it was almost as good as the heavy bombers B-17 or B-24. A total of 4,390 B-25Js were produced, the last aircraft transferred to the US Army Air Force on October 15, 1945, and was the last of the 9889 Mitchells. About 800 vehicles were produced without a navigator's cockpit, in which instead 8 heavy machine guns were placed. More likely not a bomber, but an attack aircraft with 18 barrels of 12.7 mm caliber, it had probably the most powerful small arms of all the fighting vehicles.
The North American B-25J was an all-metal cantilever monoplane with a crew of seven. Bombardier / front machine gunner, pilots seated side by side and navigator / gunner of the upper turret, tail gunners. The seats of most of the crew members were protected by armor plates.
The wing (with working skin) consisted of a center section and two detachable consoles. The center section is two-spar, the consoles are single-spar; on their trailing edge there are ailerons with a metal frame and linen sheathing. Between the ailerons and the fuselage are four sections (on either side of the nacelles) of Fowler's hydraulically operated slotted flaps. The nacelles are located at the ends of the center section.
The tail unit is cantilever, two-finned. The structure is metal, with linen sheathing of the rudders, on which there were controllable trim tabs.
The power plant consisted of two Wright R-2600-29 air-cooled twin-row, twin-row 14-cylinder engines with a take-off power of 1700 hp. Propellers - three-bladed, feathered, Hamilton Standard Hydromatic. Oil coolers were installed in the wing consoles (intake - in the leading edge, exit - up). The main fuel tanks (621 and 572 liters) were located at the root of the center section, additional ones in the center section in the area of the engine nacelles (two 575 liters each).
The chassis is retractable, with a front pillar. The main struts were completely retracted into the engine nacelles from the hydraulic drive.
The bombs were placed in the fuselage bomb bay. Maximum load - 1816 kg (8x227 kg). Small arms consisted of 12 Colt-Browning M2 12.7 mm machine guns.
Characteristically, the B-25J had a lower maximum speed - payment for enhancing the protection of the crew and aircraft, simplifying piloting and maintenance, however, with massive use in air supremacy, these disadvantages were not so important.
B-25J (PBJ-1J). The last serial modification of the bomber was the B-25J (NA-108). It was the largest-batch modification of the B-25, produced in the amount of 4390 pieces (including 72 unfinished vehicles). The production of B-25J aircraft was deployed in Kansas City, while the Inglewood plant, having completed the production of the B-25H, began production of the P-51 "Mustang" fighters. The Kansas City plant simultaneously produced the B-25D and J. The first bomber of the new modification was assembled in December 1943, while the last B-25D was ready in March 1944.
The first B-25J (43-3870) ended up on the assembly line in the fall of 1943. The aircraft was created on the basis of the V-25N. This was the return of the B-25 Mitchell to its original role as a medium bomber. The aircraft received a bombardier seat and a glazed nose cone, in which there was one fixed and one guided 12.7-mm machine gun. The rest of the fuselage was the same as that of the B-25N. The upper turret was located immediately behind the cockpit, in the tail there was another firing point. Along the sides of the fuselage in the windows covered with fairings was another machine gun. Two machine guns were placed under the cockpit, as on the latest B-25N. The co-pilot's seat was returned to the cockpit, and the onboard firing points were equipped with stoves. The aircraft crew consisted of six people: two pilots, navigator-bombardier-gunner, mechanic-tower gunner, radio operator-gunner, tail gunner. The bomb racks and bomb bay doors were electrically driven. The usual bomb load consisted of three 454 kg bombs, although two 726 kg armor-piercing bombs could be taken as an alternative. The aircraft could also take the Mk 13 torpedo weighing 907 kg. In addition, a suspension for six 147-kg bombs was provided under the wings.
The designers did not forget about the Stafer attack aircraft. Many B-25Js had a bow like the B-25N, with the only difference that there were eight machine guns in the nose cone at once, located in two batteries of four. The 75-mm cannon was not installed on the aircraft, but even without it, the aircraft's firepower was more than sufficient.
The first B-25J took off on December 14, 1943 from Fairfax Field at the Kansas City plant. The plane was piloted by Joe Barton. The military received the first B-25J in the same month. The last J car was delivered in August 1945. A number of B-25J bombers were equipped with AN / APQ-7 "Eagle" radars, but it is not known the exact number of converted vehicles, nor whether they were used at the front.
Starting with the 151st aircraft, one bomb rack for the 907 kg bomb was removed from the serial B-25J-1, since it was almost never used in practice and only cluttered the bomb bay. Most often, the aircraft took three 454 kg or two 726 kg bombs. Various combinations of lighter bombs were also used. Used 10 kg parachute bombs (parafrag).
On the B-25J-5 series, the N-3B and A-1 sights were replaced with one universal N-3C. The windshield of the cockpit was equipped with an anti-icing system, and air deflectors were installed in the turrets and in the side windows of the machine guns.
The B-25J-10 series was equipped with external bomb racks under the wings. Heaters onboard firing points were recognized as ineffective and ceased to be installed.
The B-25J-15 series was equipped with a new N-8A telescopic sight for onboard firing points. The bow-guided machine gun was equipped with an angle sight.
B-25J-20 series bombers received a cabin heating system, a second fixed 12.7-mm machine gun was installed in the nose cone, and the guided machine gun was moved 12 cm up. Additionally booked the floor of the bow compartment. Reinforced the structure of the upper turret and redesigned the emergency braking system. Starting with aircraft 44-29340, Holley 1685RB carburetors were installed on the engines.
B-25J-25 series bombers have been fitted with new armored seats for both pilots, as well as increased carburetor performance. Reduced the size of the steering washers. Starting with vehicle 44-30111, additional armor was placed on the upper side of the fuselage to protect the bomber from accidental hits from machine guns installed in the turret. Reinforced the wing in the leading edge area.
Aircraft, starting from 44-31311, were equipped with a C-6 bomb lift. Starting from 44-31338, the aircraft's armament was reinforced again. A T-64 recoilless launcher was installed under the wings, which allowed up to eight five-inch (127 mm) unguided HVAR Holy Moses rockets to be suspended. Starting from 44-31491, a K-10 sight and an M-8A machine gun of 12.7 mm caliber were installed at the tail firing point. Starting from 44-86692, it was possible to take a gliding bomb on the external suspension. The aircraft were equipped with its remote control system. Bombsight N-9B began to be installed from 44-86793. Starting from 44-86799, the design of the rudder rods was changed.
On the B-25J-35, starting with 44-96892, equipment for the suspension and dropping of aircraft mines appeared.
The US Navy received 255 vehicles, assigning them the designation PBJ-1J and the J-11, J-17, J-22, J-27, J-32 and J-37 series.
The naval version of the B-25J was additionally equipped with the AN / APS-3 radar, installed in the tip of the right wing or in the upper part of the nose cone. Ten PBJ-1Js from VMB-12s could carry two 292 mm Tiny Tim unguided air-to-ground missiles under the fuselage.
B-25J-1 NA 108-24196 ... 24430 43-3870 ... 4104
B-25J-1 NA 108-34486 ... 34805 43-27473 ... 27792
B-25J-5 NA 108-34806 ... 35125 43-27493 ... 28112
B-25J-10 NA 108-35126 ... 35235 43-28113 ... 28222
B-25J-10 NA 108-35236 ... 35535 43-35946 ... 36245
B-25J-15 NA 108-31986 ... 32385 44-28711 ... 29110
B-25J-20 NA 108-32386 ... 33185 44-29111 ... 29910
B-25J-25 NA 108-33186 ... 34185 44-29911 ... 30910
B-25J-30 NA 108-36986 ... 37585 44-30911 ... 31510
B-25J-30 NA 108-47446 ... 47645 44-86682 ... 86891
B-25J-35 NA 108-47646 ... 47645 44-86892 ... 86S97
B-25J-35 NA 108-47652 ... 47750 45-8801 ... 9242
Under the Lend-Lease "Mitchells" were supplied to other countries of the anti-Hitler coalition - Great Britain, Australia, France, Holland, 861 B-25 of various modifications were supplied to the USSR. The first vehicles (B-25B) arrived in the USSR by sea at the end of 1941. Retraining for the Mitchells began in the spring of 1942, after which they were briefly used for daytime raids and troop support. In the future, the B-25 (later modifications C / D and J were delivered) were used in long-range aviation, where they enjoyed the love of the personnel and served until 1952, when they were replaced by the Tu-4.