B-25J-10-NC, 43-35982, 428th BS, 310th BG, 12th AF, Ghisonaccia, Corsica, France, April 1945
The 310th Bombardment Group was activated in March 1942 and designated as a medium bomber Group consisting of four squadrons. Delivered in June 1944, the 43-35982 ship nicknamed “Angel of Mercy” was flying with the 428th bomb squadron. She was one of 15 aircraft of the unit to fly the mission to the Rovereto on April 19, 1945. She was hit by shell fragments from AA fire and badly damaged prior to the bomb dropping. Pilot-in-command, 1/Lt. W. S. McMillan managed to keep the ship on course with help of his co-pilot W. D. McLean, enabling the bombardier to drop the bombs on the target, the railroad bridge. The hits knocked out the hydraulic system and main gear, rear gunner A. S. Hatfield was wounded. The crew decided not to risk the overseas flight to the home base at Corsica and opted for another base of the 310th BG at Fano, Italy, where they managed to land the ship with only nose landing gear open. The “Angel of Mercy” ship was left in natural metal finish, so it had the horizontal band on the vertical tail surfaces separated by black bands. The colors for 310th BG as well as for the 428th BS were yellow. The propeller spinner and the front of the engine covers were of the same color. The nose art of the nurse with a bomb under her arm was not accompanied by mission symbols on this aircraft.
B-25J-1-NC, 43-27716, 445th BS, 321st BG 12th AF, Solenzara, Corsica, France, April 1945
Constituted as 321st Bombardment Group (Medium) on June 19, 1942 and activated on June 26, the crews of the unit prepared for overseas duty with B-25s. The 43-27716 ship got rather amusing nickname “Shit house mouse” and had the missions marked by black mice. On the engine cowl there was an inscription “Quaketown” (the town in Pennsylvania). The pilot of the ship and the Airplane Commander was 1/Lt. R. S. Elmer from December 1, 1944, to March 29, 1945. On the March 30 Elmer overhanded her to 1/Lt. R. G. Rice, who brought “Shit house mouse” to the end of the war. Until its 73rd mission the aircraft had only the Roman numeral I on the tail, after then Latin number 7 was added on the vertical fin on December 14, 1944. The ship sported Olive Drab color over the upper and side surfaces, as was a common practice. Other surfaces were left in natural metal finish. The outhouse was of brown color.
B-25J-1-NC, 43-3890, 82nd BS, 12th BG, 10th AF, Fenny, India, December 1945
Constituted as 12th Bombardment Group (Light) on November 20, 1940, the unit was activated on January 15, 1941. The crews trained with B-18, B-23 and PT-17 aircraft and patrolled the west coast after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. The group was redesignated as Medium in December 1941 and started flying the B-25s early in 1942. After spell with 9th AF in Mediterranean theater the group, nicknamed “Earthquakers”, moved to India in February 1944 and was assigned to 10th AF. The 43-3890 was nicknamed “Milk Run” with paintings of five small, adorable bulldogs. Bulldog was a squadron´s mascot, the term “Milk Run” was used for easy, low-risk missions and several other aircraft were named similarly. The painting was a job of Capt. Norman L. Harms, one of the second pilots of the unit. The “Milk Run” ship was painted in standard camouflage of Olive Drab upper and side surfaces with Neutral Gray from bottom.
B-25J-10-NC, 43-28152, 501st BS, 345th BG, 5th AF, Luzon, Philippines, February 1944
The 345th Bomb Group was first activated at Columbia Army AB in November 1942 and was christened the “Air Apaches” in July 1944. It was the first Air Force Combat Group to be sent to the Pacific in WWII. The group consisted of four squadrons, as usual with the medium bomber groups, one of them, the 501st squadron, had the nickname “Black Panthers”. The 43-28152 was assigned to the unit on October 22, 1944, and shortly afterwards nicknamed “Apache Princess” and assigned to pilot Roman Ohnemus. The ship was lost on May 27, 1945, when piloted by 2/Lt Ted. U. Hart on the mission against Ensui airfield and rail yard on Formosa. Due to a navigational error and bad weather the squadron missed the target and attacked sugar refinery and a brick plant at Mizukami and Meiji instead. The “Apache Princess” was hit by AA fire during attack and her left engine caught fire. After releasing the bombs, Hart feathered the damaged engine, but the fire spread to the bomb bay and the aircraft crash landed into the rice field. SSgt. Robert E. Bever was fatally wounded, the rest of the crew survived and became POW. There is no photo evidence of the port side of the ship, it is believed the beautiful and large nose art was only on the starboard side (although the warbird with both sides painting of heavily modified theme exists). The original painting was a masterpiece of work of gifted Sgt. George M. Blackwell. The aircraft sported the older variant of the Group´s badge, the head of the Indian. It is possible it might be already replaced by later simplified badge at the time it reached its sour end.
B-25J-5, 43-27952, 823rd BS, 38th BG, 5th AF, Morotai, Indonesia, November 1944
The 38th Bombardment Group (Medium) was constituted on November 20, 1940, and activated on January 15, 1941, at Langley Army Air Base, Virginia. The initial personnel were transferred from the 22nd Bombardment Group. The 38th BG consisted of four squadrons, but two of them were assigned to the 42nd BG after the Battle of Midway. The 823rd Bomb Squadron was constituted and assigned to the 38th BG in New Guinea on April 20, 1943, as well as the 822nd BS, the two bringing the 38th BG to the full strength of four squadrons again. The 823rd BS adopted the name „Terrible Tigers“ and started to decorate their aircraft correspondingly. It was also the case of the No. 952 ship, which was one of few with glass cockpit left, as many B-25Js of the 38th BG were either original strafers with solid nose or modified with the glass nose painted over. The “952” was assigned to Lt. John W. Lupardus as a pilot. The tiger´s head was partly painted over the glass part of the nose of the ship, the camo colors were standard Olive Drab and Neutral Gray. The lower part of the fin was either green or blue. The blue was assigned to the squadron, but the green was also used on some aircraft as it did not intervene with markings of other squadrons (the 405th BS used also green color, but on the upper part of the fins