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B-25H "Sunny Side Special"

Discussion in '21st PRS' started by barneybolac, Oct 29, 2016.

  1. barneybolac

    barneybolac New Member

    Bought this image on Ebay rather unusual tail number roundels painted over wiring loop antenna not in the usual location.

    [​IMG]

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  2. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Barney,
    Interesting photo! The back stamp: 21st Photo Recon Squadron is probably who took the photo from an F-5. Even more interesting are the painted-over AAF national insignia. Wondering if this is a transfer in progress to the China Air Force.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2016
  3. barneybolac

    barneybolac New Member

    Quite possible.
    Only going with what the EBAY seller claimed. 21st Recon did have B-25's though.
     
  4. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

  5. barneybolac

    barneybolac New Member

    This screen shot from another link shows what aircraft they used.
    Also the EBAY seller when I contacted him prior to the purchase said it was from an estate sale of a member of the 21st recon squadron
    Untitled.jpg
     
  6. tonystro

    tonystro Member

    I think the photo is historically valuable, and would be proud to have it in my collection!! That being said, possession of photo by 21st PRS veteran does not guarantee the aicraft was assigned to 21st. Dad's photos include P-40s, P-38s and C-45s; none of which were assigned to 491st BS.

    Generally, a fully armed B-25H would not have been used by a Photo Recon Sqdn for photo reconnaissance. However, anything is possible "in the fog of war," and by late spring 1945 sufficient aircraft had reached CBI to keep the 341st Bm Gp and 1st Bm Gp (CACW) with all the planes they needed. Still, I would suspect a B-25 used by 21st PRS in 1945, for recon or as squadron hack, would have been a J model.
     
    25Kingman49 likes this.
  7. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    According to Combat Squadrons of the Air Force WWII the 21PRS did use B-25's during 1945, see attached. Interesting that Maurer elected to use B-25 here rather than F-10 the PRC variant.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 30, 2016
  8. barneybolac

    barneybolac New Member

    All Valid points I tend to lean to this aircraft being part of the Chinese composite after seeing your photo of the B-25J you posted on Facebook with a similar tail number. To me the serial numbers being so different to the manufactures number is of interest & seems to be an avenue worth exploring some more. Also the wire loop antenna being mounted so far out of its normal position?
    Why it must be for a reason. Plus in the cropped image attached what is that hanging down besides the antenna loop? wl.jpg
     
  9. tonystro

    tonystro Member

    Barney, I am intrigued by the rearward positioning of the antenna and will be looking for any informaton regarding it, as well as what that might be trailing from the rear. My first thought was an anti-static device, but I almost immediately rejected such. Looking at the extreme closeup I think I see a angled straight line from the ovoid shape immediately aft of the "football" antenna, and crossing the gap from the football's taper and the mounting base. Perhaps this is the end of the trailing wire antenna? One would expect it to exit the fuselage side on a C/D model, but I have not paid attention to where it exited an H model.
     
  10. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Tony and Barney,
    The more I look at this photo, the more this particular ship seems quite special. Absolutely no idea why the Loop Antenna (football) would be located this far aft behind the bomb bay. I agree with Tony that the wire and ball near the Loop Antenna is most likely the Trailing Wire Antenna. The short wire length seen here may or may not be unusual but suggests the Trailing Antenna (ball port) is on the port side of the ship just forward of the side gunners window, which "might" correlate with the J model location. I have been looking and looking for where this leaves the "H" model with no good images found.

    Overall, the real problem is that it seemed "normal" for North American to change the various antenna locations on the Michell from model to model and within models; why remains unknown and kind of aggravating. Here are some examples:

    Here is a cutaway of a D model showing the Trail Antenna leaving the ship on the port side but here in a forward location.
    B-25D Trailing Antenna.jpg
    Here is a J model where the location has been moved aft just forward of the side gunner position.
    B-25J Trailing Antenna.jpg
    Also, internal / external view of J model Tailing Antenna location, see https://www.maam.org/airshow/b25_waist.htm
    B-25J Trailing Antenna [2].jpg

    And lastly here is 'Little Joe', B-25G-1-NA, 42-64896, of the 820 BS/45 BG flying over Maloelap in the Marshall Islands, December 1944; Loop Antenna on top with gun turret moved aft.
    B-25H top loop antena.jpg

    For the (Barney photo) aircraft in question the Loop Antenna location aft this close to the Trailing Antenna seems a bit risky where the Loop Antenna could be damaged by the trailing antenna movement in the slipstream. I am going to invite Mike Hanz http://aafradio.org/ to this thread. Hopefully he can offer reasons for these antenna movements in Michell variants.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2016
    tonystro likes this.
  11. barneybolac

    barneybolac New Member

    I think in this image of Leroy's Joy of the 12th bomb group you can see the same thing marked with the green arrow. Also marked with red arrows I am not sure exactly what the purpose of the two poles with a wire mounted on them are you can see them better on Barbie III image. For some reason this same mounting pole is also pushed way back towards the rear. Lets assume for a moment this is a photo recon aircraft is it possible all this was pushed further back to allow for photographic equipment in the area that was the cannon loader on the H model?

    [​IMG]

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    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 30, 2016
    Bomber Command likes this.
  12. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

  13. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

  14. tonystro

    tonystro Member

    The green arrow points to the trailing wire antenna, the red arrows mark the mounting posts of the VHF radio antenna.
     
  15. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Okay, I know you guys Tony/Barney have forgotten more about the B-25 than I will even know, however there are a lot of green and red arrows here in the three photos by Barney.

    I think images 1 and 2 red arrows are the command set antenna for close range air to air and air to ground communication but I could be completely (wrong!). From the AAF Collection here is the B-25 pilots manual http://aafcollection.info/items/documents/view.php?file=000465-01-00.pdf of which the radio/communications section is extremely limited and furthermore ridiculously brief overall attempting to cover all B-25 models with a simple chart which was more than confusing to me. Here again the antenna illustration page 47 appears to be a "G" model with the Loop Antenna on top of the fuselage, which leads me to suspect the accuracy of the other antenna wire identified in this image.

    I should probably withdraw from this thread as it seems over my head. For what its worth here is a great B-25H (turret forward, not a G) cutaway identifying all of these points of interest including antenna. Too bad the left margin content was cut off and not to mention this was published in Russian. It could have been quite useful with full content, and in English. Don't ya hate it when that happens. And this variant carried wing mounted rockets and what looks to be a torpedo
    8adbda658f7bb3739cde2c3afa66c61a.jpg

    For additional B-25 uselessness there is this link http://migrate.legendsintheirowntime.com/LiTOT/B25/B25_draft.pdf
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2016
  16. barneybolac

    barneybolac New Member

    Not at all we have a riddle here and all the information collectively could lead to an answer.
     
    tonystro likes this.
  17. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Barney, thanks for your vote of confidence, probably at this point undeserved. Beyond your special H? model photo I am finding this hunt most interest for an aircraft I have not studied before. My dad was a M4A1 tank commander so I'm pretty familiar with the 75 mm gun. A little hard to believe this was mounted in an aircraft. I wonder about the recoil when fired related to aircraft performance. Maybe much like the close air support A-10 with 30mm hydraulically driven seven-barrel Gatling-type auto-cannon. Like the A-10 I would imagine firing this 75 mm weapon had its consequence if fired at low speed possibly resulting in stall characteristics. Anyway I am becoming a fast fan of the H & G model cannon carriers for close air support alone; ground guys love the friends from above.
     
  18. tonystro

    tonystro Member


    Scott, firstly very nice x-ray image! Secondly, we are beyond semi-"expert" knowledge here, so any all info may lead to solid conclusion(s), and you are one of the best investigators/info finders around. If you are unaware of his data collection efforts, Joe Baugher shares a wealth of generally reliable information on many, many aircraft types at http://www.joebaugher.com/uscombataircraft.html

    All this detail oriented research drove me to the comprehensive reference I have encountered, "B-25 Mitchell: The Ultimate Look" by William Wolf. Unfortunately it had nothing regarding the aft placement of the antennas. It did confirm the positioning of the 'trailing wire antenna' for the Liasson Radio set, extended to get greater distance reception (generally when over water). The long wire to right side vertical stabilizer (#100 in the xray view) was the primary Liasson Radio and Command Radio antenna. In this sketch, the Loop Antenna, the "short wire" antenna and the Trailing Wire Antenna (retracted, just below port waist gun) are all visible.
    [​IMG]

    The Looped Antenna, housed in the football shaped fairing, was for Radio Compass. And now I have to admit I was wrong about the "short wire" antenna, between the two mounting posts below the cockpit (#9, #29 and #30 in the xray view). This is also for Radio Compass! So, it would seem that whatever occurance required moving the Looped Antenna aft may have been related to radio interference, thereby also requiring the stretched wire antenna to be moved aft.

    I believe the search is now for what that "occurance" was.

    Regarding cannon on B-25G and B-25H-- Dad said the "kick" was definitely noticeable, but had no noticeable effect on airspeed...rumors and stories to the contrary.
    The B-25G (factory modified B-25Cs) carried basically an Army 75mm field gun, Model M4 in an M6 recoil mount, bolted into the bombardier's access tunnel, and augmented by the side-by-side, dual .50 cals above, all zeroed in at 1,000 yards. A lighter 75mm cannon, with higher muzzle velocity, the T-9 cannon in T-13E1 recoil mount was carried by the B-25Hs, with up to four .50 cals above. Early aiming sights were too inaccurate and were soon replaced. Quoting entry on Joe Baugher's specification pages, "These guns were to be aimed and fired by the pilot at the same time as the cannon. The machine guns were intended to be used as anti-flak weapons and for ranging purposes in the sighting of the 75-mm cannon. Both the cannon and the nose guns were aimed by a type N-3B optical gunsight with a type A-1 combination gun/bomb sight head mounted on the pilot's side of the cockpit. This unit was also used for minimum altitude bombing. " Many squadrons, including Dad's 491st BS, removed the outer two machine guns, their mounts and ammo racks in weight trade for more fuel and/or improved maneuverability. One difference between the B-25H and all other models, not generally known, is that no co-pilot's seat, armor plate, or controls were installed, resulting in a saving of over 300 pounds of weight. A simple pull-down seat was provided for the navigator since that duty position was preempted by moving the upper turret forward. Whether or not, a given unit liked the 'G' or 'H' seems dependent on whether their missions offered suitable targets for a cannon and how much suppression of anti-aircraft fire was necessary during the low-level missions. Suitable targets proved to be locomotives and rolling stock, warehouses, hangars, light houses, ships and boats.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2016
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