Marine Corps Emblem VMB-612 Aircraft: The PBJ-1 Mitchell

 

Marine Bombing Squadron Six-Twelve operated North American PBJ-1s—the navalized equivalent of the Army's famous B-25 twin-engine Mitchell bomber.

Our squadron flew the older-model PBJ-1Ds, as well as the newer PBJ-1Js. Each aircraft was fitted with the APS-3 search radar mounted in a radome on the upper-nose of the aircraft. In this configuration, the transparent Plexiglas panels of the bombardier's station was painted over and the three nose-mounted machine guns were removed. Although initially operating with the upper turret, this turret was removed in mid-1945 in order to increase the aircraft's patrol range. On the J-model aircraft, an astrodome for the navigator was installed in place of the upper turret. Further modifications often included the removal of the four package guns and the flexible-mounted waist guns to further increase the aircraft's patrol range. General information on these aircraft is provided below, along with illustrations depicting the configuration and typical markings of our squadron's aircraft.

PBJ-1D Mitchell

Basic Model: North American B-25D-30, and B-25D-35.
General Characteristics: The North American PBJ-1D medium bomber airplane was a mid-wing land-based monoplane powered by two Wright Cyclone engines. Characteristic features included a tricycle landing gear, and a double fin and rudder empennage. In addition to carrying up to twelve .50 caliber machine guns, the PBJ-1D was also equipped to carry bombs, depth charges, or an aerial torpedo. While overseas, VMB-612's aircraft were finished in sea blue on all surfaces.
Wingspan: 67 feet 7 inches.
Wing Area: 610 square feet.
Length: 53 feet 0 inches.
Height: 15 feet 9 inches.
Weight (Empty): 20,300 pounds.
Weight (Maximum Loaded): 34,000 pounds.
Engines: Two Wright R-2600-13 Double Cyclones.
Propellers: Two three-bladed, full-feathering, Hamilton Standard Hydromatic propellers.
Maximum Speed: 247 knots (284 mph) at 15,000 feet.
Cruising Speed: 203 knots (233 mph).
Stall Speed: 79 knots (90 mph).
Service Ceiling: 21.200 feet.
Range: 1,303 nautical miles (1,500 statute miles) with 3,000 pounds of bombs.
Crew: Six (Pilot, Copilot, Navigator-Bombardier, Radio-Gunner, Mechanic-Turret Gunner, and Ordnance-Gunner).


PBJ-1J Mitchell

Basic Model: North American B-25J-1, B-25J-15/17, B-25J-20/22, and B-25J-25/27.
General Characteristics: The North American PBJ-1J medium bomber airplane was a mid-wing land-based monoplane powered by two Wright Cyclone engines. Characteristic features included a tricycle landing gear, and a double fin and rudder empennage. In addition to carrying up to fourteen .50 caliber machine guns, the PBJ-1J was also equipped to carry bombs, depth charges, 5-inch rockets, or an aerial torpedo. The squadron's aircraft were further modified to permit the carrying of two 11.75-inch Tiny Tim rockets on an external mount over the bomb-bay doors. While operating overseas, VMB-612's aircraft were finished in sea blue on all surfaces.
Wingspan: 67 feet 7 inches.
Wing Area: 610 square feet.
Length: 53 feet 6 inches.
Height: 16 feet 4 inches.
Weight (Empty): 21,100 pounds.
Weight (Maximum Loaded): 35,000 pounds.
Engines: Two Wright R-2600-29 Double Cyclones.
Propellers: Two three-bladed, full-feathering, Hamilton Standard Hydromatic propellers.
Maximum Speed: 239 knots (275 mph) at 15,000 feet.
Cruising Speed: 200 knots (230 mph).
Stall Speed: 79 knots (90 mph).
Service Ceiling: 24,000 feet.
Range: 1,108 nautical miles (1,275 statute miles) with 3,000 pounds of bombs.
Crew: Seven (Pilot, Copilot, Navigator-Bombardier, 2 Radio-Gunners, Mechanic-Turret Gunner, and Armorer-Turret Gunner).

 

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