B-25H Opinions by WWII Vet

Discussion in 'Stories' started by bowfin, Feb 14, 2012.

  1. bowfin

    bowfin Member

    Feb 12, 2012
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    #1 bowfin, Feb 14, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2012
    As many of you know, the North American B-25H was the Mitchell bomber with a 75mm cannon in its nose.

    Here are some comments I have heard from men who flew in B-25s, both the H model as well as the D and J model.

    The first and foremost complaint I have heard about the B-25H was the co-pilot was replaced by 75mm gunner. If the pilot "got it", then the copilot could take over and get the aircraft home, along with the surviving crew. Not surprisingly, the pilots I talked to thought losing the copilot was less of an issue than did the rest of the aircrew, probably because the pilots figured everything else became a moot point after "If the pilot 'got it'..."

    The other thing I have heard from a couple of vets is that the gunner didn't fare so well in a ditch of the B-25H, with a good chance of being knocked unconscious or pinned by the equipment used to aim the cannon. (Sorry I can't be more precise here. I didn't do a good job of asking follow up questions for the particular details).

    Some other things:

    The empty shell casings became too hot to handle after the third shot. No provisions were made for gloves (at least in the 5th AF), so gunners used shop rags or whatever the could find.

    The gun tended to fill the plane with fumes.

    Some pilots thought that losing 2-4 .50 caliber machine guns for a 75mm howitzer was a poor trade.

    Now, having said all that, I talked to a B-25 pilot who said that they were refining tactics to attack enemy airbases during the invasion of Japan that would feature the B-25H using the 75mm howitzer, then 6 5" rockets, then the forward firing .50s and then dumping a load of parafrags...all in one pass!:shock: This pilot said the idea had merit and was doable. The hope was to use the 75mm and 5" rockets as standoff weapons and suppress a lot of A.A. fire before actually flying over the runway.
  2. Gaston

    Gaston Banned

    May 10, 2009
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    Great stuff! Appreciate it!


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