US Naval Aviation Training Division

B-25 Bomber North American Mitchell World War 2 US airplane

Original aeroplane identification poster, 1942

63x47cm

A particularly unusual style of aeroplane identification poster, owing to the very arty images. Most such posters rely on very plain silhouettes, this series – and we have several in this series – have a much more arty approach to the task with shading and an interesting angle view.

Manufactured by North American Aviation and named in honour of Major General William ‘Billy’ Mitchell, a pioneer of US military aviation its first flight was in 1940 but it remained in service until 1979 (in the Indonesian air force). A particularly durable aircraft, one from the 321st Bomb Group was nicknamed ‘Patches’ on account of its (by the end of the war) 400 patched holes which had been painted with bright-yellow zinc chromate primer. Having completed over 300 missions and belly-landed six times the airframe was so distorted that ‘straight-and-level’ flight involved 8 degrees of left aileron trim and 6 degrees of right rudder causing the aircraft to ‘crab’ sideways through the air.

Over one hundred B-25 Mitchells survive, with about 45 still airworthy. Seventeen flyable aircraft (and one hulk which was sacrificed to a crash scene) starred in the 1970 film ‘Catch 22’ fifteen of which still exist.