B-25 Carrier Landings

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Sep 17, 2004
Moorpark, CA
A while back, someone posted a writeup on the B-25 carrier landing tests with pictures. Now I can't find it. Can someone help refresh this old geezer's memory?

Many thanks in advance!
This what you mean?

R Leonard said:
Away, way back on Sat Dec 4, 04 at 10:39 am
the lancaster kicks ass posted:

"the B-25 never landed on the carrier, it only took off from there........."

Huh? then what are these guys doing aboard USS Shangri-La on November 15, 1944?

PBJ-1, BuNo 35277 (x USAAF B-25H 43-4700) piloted by Lieut. Comdr. Syd Bottomley traps aboard
in picture 1, taxis out of the arrestor gear in picture 2 and is readied for catapult launch in picture 3.






7 Feb - replaced original shots with somewhat smaller versions, I didn't realize the first ones would be
so big. This should help the load time . . . oh yeah, much better.

evangilder said:
Yup! Thanks! I am prepping my presentation for this month (B-25 and the Doolittle raid) and remembered that we had those pictures somewhere.

what are you presenting for? if it's a job it sounds fun
I volunteer at a WWII aviation museum. I am the Aviation History Day coordinator. I usually am also the presenter. Once a month I give a presentation on a particular event and aircraft that were involved. Next month I am presenting on the B-17 in commemoration of VE day. Before you get your knickers in a twist, Lanc, we have about a dozen or so B-17 vets at the museum and it is also a way of honoring them. We have no Lanc vets.

I had the great fortune of honoring Charlie Valentine at my presentation on the weekend. He flew B-25s in WWII, then flew C-46s during Korea and finally C-47s in Vietnam. He also flew B-45s and C-119s during the Cold War. He's a great guy and a real patriot. Although he just likes to think of himself as a regular guy. He wore his old flight cap from WWII when he got up to speak.
cool. definitely sounds like alotta fun. anyone know of any good flight museums in east/central/south texas? I know one just opened up in dallas and im sure there's gotta be one in houston.
Matt, check the following website and scroll down for Texas. This is the organization that I belong to.


I don't know the geography of Texas that well. It's big! But the original CAF started in Midland Texas and the main HQ is there. They have an amazing museum. But I understand Midland is kind of in the middle of Nowhere. My buddy used to say "Go to the middle of nowhere, turn left, and you'll be in Midland"!
Haha, most of Texas is the middle of nowhere, even though we have lots of big cities. Thanks for the link, I can't wait to start feeding the craving. :twisted:
Matt, you can look at the WASP museum that is going up in texas as well. The woman flew every thing that was produce in the States and even on a few trips to Europe, and up to Alaska. They also hae some great sories to tell. We somtimes forget about the WASP program and all they did to get planes from the factory to the shipping points or for that matter training some of the boys. :D
I don't think the plane was ever to land on the carriers, just to take off, they had to totally strip all the guns off a plane and replace them with brooms. They were in danger if Japanese fighters got near them as they had no ability to shoot them down. This is Operation Doolittle by the way. Some of the later carriers may have been able to land B-25s. I don't know.
The original plan called for the planes to take off an land from the carrier. Two pilots tested this well before they started training the pilots. They said it was relatively easy to take off, but difficult to land.

Some of the guns in the Doolittle Raid were stripped out, but not all. The reason for this was to make room for the additional fuel that was in three additional tanks, one in the bomb-bay, one in the rear where the lower turret would have been (Yes, early mitchells had a lower turret), and one in the crawlspace above the bomb bay that could be collapsed when empty to move it out of the way. In addition to those, they also carried a bunch of 5 gallon gas cans.

They were approached by Japanese fighters and a couple of the bombers were actually hit by them. They took no serious damage and a few bursts from the .50 calibers discouraged further attacks.

B-25 landings took place just before the end of the war in a testing. As the war had progressed quite a bit, the idea was scrapped as they could reach Japan with land based bombers.
The Doolittle raid to my knowledge was never to land back on the carrier, but to China. The early carriers were to small.

I liked the B-25 ventril turret, exept it was a remote sighting and worked like crap. If it would have been worked on they could have fixed it. i really like Belly turrets ;)
The original plan did in fact call for them to take off from and land back on the carriers. After it was tested, it was determined that landing back on the carrier was a difficult and dangerous task. 2 B-25s were tested at and off the coast of Norfolk, Virginia to determine if it was possible. That was the first plan.

The second plan was to take off from the Hornet, bomb Japan and then fly North to Vladivostok, Russia, which is only 600 miles from Japan. After negotiations with Russia failed for this mission, it was decided to fly to China after bombing Japan.

Doolittle's biography and the book First Heroes are great sources of info about the raid. There is also a website hosted by a son of one of the raiders that also has some great info at http://www.doolittleraider.com. Click on the link "First Joint Action" and there is some really good info.

The Ventral gun on the B-25 was pure crap. Jimmy Doolittle said that it would be easier to train a guy to play the fiddle good enough for Carnegie Hall before you could train him to fire the gun in that turret. It ended up being removed completely because not only was it difficult to use, but caused most gunner to get airsick. Plus it's location, under the fuselage, made it not very usable after takeoff from unimproved fields where mud and dust would cloud or take away all visibility through the siting system. Couple that with oil from the engines clouding the sites and it is just a really unusable piece of hardware.

Now if they had figured out a way to put the Sperry Ball Turret in there, that might have been a good thing.
Ok, very interesting. I had been under the impression that all of the guns were taken out. I stand corrected thanks to this wonderful site. I do know that in the movie Pearl Harbour they show the B-25s being stripped down losing gun and things, and landing in China. It doesn't really make it clear in the movie whether all guns were removed or only some.
That movie had the raid, and Doolittle very wrong. Alec Baldwin's portrayal of Doolittle couldn't be further off. I know some guys that knew him. He was not the foul-mouthed hothead they portray in the movie. He was very calculatimg and almost never cursed.

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