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

May 2023

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

INFO Eduard