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B-25J Mitchell Confusion - RCAF - 406 Sqn - 1950's


DaveCS
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Hi Everyone,

With the impending re-release of Hasegawa's B25-J glass nose kit in 1/72, I was hoping to finally get my hands on and eventually build an RCAF 1950's era Mitchell.

Not having any B25's in my stash, I thought that some initial research would be a good idea. I know the quality of the Hasegawa kits (even if the price is steep for a *ahem* "new" kit... ) and I had spotted a nice scheme from 406 Squadron RCAF flying out of Saskatoon Saskatchewan.

I found this aircraft photo, in colour, via the RCAF archives (via a Google image search):

B-25_CityOfSaskatoon_406Sqn.jpg

She looks like a wonderful aircraft!

The best I can tell, the aircraft, based on the "320" or "230" on the nose, is the following:

5230

North American

North American, Kansas City

Mitchell

Mk. 3PT

NA-108

first date: 15 January 1952 - Taken on strength by No. 10 Technical Support Unit at North West Industries

Ex USAF B-25J-30/32-NC, serial number 44-86727. Assigned to North West Industries in Edmonton, Alberta for modifications, winterization, and major inspection on 15 January 1952. To Training Command at RCAF Station Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on 10 July 1952. To Bristol Aerospace in Winnipeg for modifications on 17 April 1958. To No. 1 Advanced Flying School at Saskatoon on 31 October 1958. To No. 2 Air Observers School at RCAF Station Winnipeg on 26 November 1958. To inactive reserve at RCAF Station Lincoln Park, Alberta on 21 September 1961. Pending disposal there from 23 November 1961. Sold to Woods Body Shop of Lewistown, Montana. To US civil register as N92875. To South West Air Contractors of Deming, New Mexico in September 1962. To Meteorology Operations Inc. of Hollister, California in April 1968. To A. W. McDonnell of Mojave, California in May 1973. To L. Sansom of Daytona Beach, Florida in October 1978. ToUSMC Museum at MCAS Quantico, Virginia c.1976 to 1979, displayed as USAAF 43-28217, marked as 328217. Displayed at MCAS El Toro, California, 1987 to 1999. To USMC Museum at MCAS Miramar, California in 1999. To Flying Leather Necks Aviation Museum at MCAS Miramar in 2002, still there 2004. Displayed outside, marked as a PBJ-1J.

last date: 23 May 1962 - Struck off, to Crown Assets Disposal Corporation for sale

(from RWR Walker's great site for information)

Now, here's where the confusion begins - the Walker information above state that this is a B-25J-30/32-NC (Kansas City production which, based on the "NC", seems to be correct). The fuselage gun pods are not present on the photo.

So my question:
Is this, in fact, a B-25J?
Did some or all of the B-25J's have their fuselage guns removed while serving in the RCAF?

Any help, input would be greatly appreciated on this..

Cheers,

Dave

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I feel fairly sure that post war RCAF B-25 had no armament. Most appeared to be used as trainers or transports on a smaller level.

The 'J' designation cold open a can of worms I think; as far as I know it was also applied to the solid long nose variants.

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There are some useful pics like this one;

BCATPSaskatoonMitchel2.jpg

at the Vintage Wings website on this article,....towards the end;

http://www.vintagewings.ca/VintageNews/Stories/tabid/116/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/379/Ghosts-of-Saskatchewan.aspx

Worth a look and as you can see the above aircraft has two guns fitted in the nose,.....I presume that there were removed inbetween flights or if not needed, as per peacetime practice?

Didn`t the Mitchell`s retain their RAF serials like this one?;

1883L.jpg

and this one is said to be a 406 Sqn aircraft too;

centralia-27.jpg

I found this decal sheet going for megabucks on US E Bay if it is of interest,....I`m sure you`ll find it cheaper:

s-l1600.jpg

Cheers

Tony

Edited by tonyot
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It's a J model. The package guns are usual to a new-built J but they are not the only thing that made it so. The most distinctive feature is the beefed up defensive armament, carried over from the H. That means staggered waist guns in their distinctive bulged blisters, the forward placed mid upper turret and the deepened rear fuselage at the tail for a gunner.

The RCAF had a mixture of J and D models (and maybe some Cs too). With no combat role postwar the turret and guns (the package guns too) were removed and from the front a J looks very much like a D.

But there were also some Ds in the same scheme. You can track them with some googling and Joe Baugher's website is very helpful.

Edit: Not just the RCAF either, there are lots of pictures of postwar declawed USAF Js.

The other indicator of the H and J was the revised exhaust arrangement. Again, distinctive without being conclusive. There are operational examples of RAF Cs and Ds (1944 vintage) with the revised cowlings though I don't think I have ever seen a J with the older style.

Edited by RJP
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Sadly, that photo is of a Mitchell II (B-25D-35-NA) HD320 not Mitchell III 5320.

The vast majority of the RCAF Mitchell IIIs were unarmed, but you can find occasional photos of them with the side guns.

Jim

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Sadly, that photo is of a Mitchell II (B-25D-35-NA) HD320 not Mitchell III 5320.

The vast majority of the RCAF Mitchell IIIs were unarmed, but you can find occasional photos of them with the side guns.

Jim

Thanks Jim,

Do you have any info to back that claim? I mean, identifying features and such, only because I'm not familiar with all the Mitchell variants and I'm not doubting that it is a B-25D but if I am going to go down a road, I just want to be certain of which road I'm going down :) (and, obviously, it would help with kit selection :D)

Thanks again,

Dave

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Hiya Dave,

The astrodome and DF Loop `acorn' behind the cockpit along with the small windows on either side below the astrodome are all i/d features of the earlier Mitchell`s if that helps?

Cheers

Tony

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Ahhhhh.. Nice catch Tony.. I missed that.

Ok.. so this looks to be a II vs a III based on that item...

Cheers,
Dave

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If anyone is interested I have decals for Daisy Mae, a 418 B-25D with the winter mods listed above. We had these decals produced by Barracuda Decals (Roy Sutherland who was our guest) and they were printed by Cartograph. The decals are $10.00 each plus shipping and are in both 1/48 and 1/72.

These were for our IPMS Contest 2 years ago and we still have 100 sheets left. We has 300 sheets produced.

Here are images of John Lumley's Accurate Miniatures B-25 with the waist blisters added. He actually used two decal sheets on this one, one from another show in Alberta (which Tony shows a link to) and he added the Grey Cup decal on the front left. We weren't sure if this was one of the three aircraft that carried the Grey Cup at the time of printing so we didn't add it to the sheet. We knew it wasn't on the aircraft at the time of the accident.

IMG_0899a_zps8jvudo1j.jpg

IMG_0894a_zpscrch2nro.jpg

IMG_0900a_zpsmd984vb1.jpg

Edited by Scooby
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And to add to the confusion here are images of our restoration at the museum. Several aircraft in 1955 had the Grey Cup painted on the side of the fuselage. FW251 appears to be one of them, but at the time of the accident it no longer had the Grey Cup (as determined from the rest of the accident investigation photographs).

When this plane was rolled out at the museum the pilot who was in control when he hit the hanger was riding the brakes.

B-25%201_zpsbhojkupf.jpg

B-25%208_zpsutminsll.jpg

B-25%207_zpsumeuxrlq.jpg

B-25%204_zps5ogk6mki.jpg

B-25%203_zps7k7zq0pm.jpg


Hey Tony, still looking for the RCAF B-17 pictures! :)

As well, 418 carried the gun packs a lot, contrary to what was said in this thread.

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Dave,

Tony is correct that the little windows are the give away, but it is also based upon dates. The caption for your photo is: "A 406 “City of Saskatoon” Reserve Squadron Mitchell aircraft, a B-25 medium bomber deployed on Exercise Sun Dog III, is “bombed up” at Royal Canadian Air Force Station Goose Bay, Labrador. Sun Dog III was a joint training exercise carried out by the RCAF and the Canadian Army in the Labrador-Ungava area from February 4 to 14, 1952."

5230 wasn't assigned to a unit until July 1952. And 5230 wasn't operated by 406 Squadron.

RCAF Mitchells are quite a minefield when it comes to variants. Note that there were two variants of Mitchell 2s operated by the RCAF with major external differences. HO-261 as posted by Tony was a Mitchell 2 as is the aircraft depicted below (HD331 ex USAAF B-25D-35-NA).

Mitchell%20II%202_zpsu0potacd.jpg

Mitchell%20II%201_zpszvgum4oa.jpg

Some may identify this aircraft as a Mitchell 3 aka B-25J based upon the large side windows and the tail turret. However, these were feature of the late D models. Besides the small windows Tony mentioned you can see the remains of the mid upper turret just above the back end of the rear windows on HD331. The tail turret was also different from that fitted to the B-25J, as clearly illustrated by Scooby’s photos. As he says, the statement that Mitchell II’s didn’t carry side guns is bogus, as they were often fitted by 418 Squadron. One other item of note fitted to many armed RCAF B-25s is the shell collector shoot fitted along the Co-pilots side of the forward fuselage. You can see it in my photos, but Scooby’s aircraft had much of it knocked off in the accident.

And in case you wanted some detail about the astrodome and ADF football:

Mitchell%20top_zpsjkcq77dq.jpg

406 Squadron did have some Mitchell 3s…aka B-25Js…and these were fitted with the side guns as well. One…5266 had some rather fetching nose art and was named Tiger Lily. Sadly, I don’t have a photo I can post online, but there is a very nice photo of the Mitchell in “Canada’s Air Force at War and Peace Vol. 3.” There are two more armed up 406 Squadron Mitchell 3s in Pat Martin’s “RCAF Aircraft Finishing and Markings” book.

Jim

P.S.: Though painted as a Mitchell II the restored aircraft above is a B-25J.

Edited by airjiml2
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi guys,

Just getting a chance to revisit this today - I've been swamped with a new dog, work, wife, etc. *LOL* - so I haven't had enough time to continue to do research or to read all the posts (and to respond to messages!!) -

Because I build in 1/72 - and because the "D" is lacking.. I think the only kit that may be reasonable would be the Italeri B25-B/C that was produced some time back, I opted, instead, for a Hasegawa B-25J (glass nose) and will go from there.

Scooby, thanks for the offer - if I was building in 1/48, I'd be all over those decals!! And what awesome photos!!

So.. with the "City Of Saskatoon" ruled out of the question... I'm going to hunt down what B25-J's I could tackle...

Cheers,

Dave

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Hi guys,

Just getting a chance to revisit this today - I've been swamped with a new dog, work, wife, etc. *LOL* - so I haven't had enough time to continue to do research or to read all the posts (and to respond to messages!!) -

Because I build in 1/72 - and because the "D" is lacking.. I think the only kit that may be reasonable would be the Italeri B25-B/C that was produced some time back, I opted, instead, for a Hasegawa B-25J (glass nose) and will go from there.

Scooby, thanks for the offer - if I was building in 1/48, I'd be all over those decals!! And what awesome photos!!

So.. with the "City Of Saskatoon" ruled out of the question... I'm going to hunt down what B25-J's I could tackle...

Cheers,

Dave

We threw a lot at you all at once!

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  • 2 months later...

G'day Chaps

Perhaps this might be of help.

Cheers...Chris

Mitchell 2BT

FW237

HD334

Mitchell 2LB

FW251 AH*O

FW260, HD320

AH*T, HD331

HD335

HD340 AH*X

HD334 XK*344 ‘Gabriel Dumont’

HD344 AH*U

Mitchell 2PT

KL150

Mitchell 3AIA

5242 “Rider of the Plains” XK*242,

Mitchell 3LB

5259 XK*259 “The Moose”

5260

5266 XK*266 "Tiger Lily"

5267 XK*267

KJ641

KL149

Mitchell 3PT

5242

5245

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  • 7 months later...

I was walking out of the gym last week when I struck up a conversation with another member of the gym about hockey great Gordie Howe.

 

That conversation led to him asking about a hat I was wearing and he asked if I served in the military. I stated I served in 418, 435, 440, 408, 416, and 409 Squadron (s) during my years of service.

 

He had served in 418 and 435, well before my time.

 

To make a long story short, he was present the day Terry Champion jumped the chocks and crashed Daisy Mae into the hangar as depicted in this thread. Small world, I watched Terry Champion on the news just this past November 11, during an interview with the B-25 Daisy Mae.

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