PBJs came about by chance. In 1943, North American, the B-25’s manufacturer, produced more B-25s than the Army Air Corp could use. Approximately 800 of the airplanes were offered to the US Navy. Although the famous Doolittle Raid was a successful carrier launched formation of B-25s, the Navy had little use for the extra airplanes. They were too large for regular carrier duty.
The US Marine Corps, however, was looking for a medium bomber. They agreed to take the B-25s and use them for “night heckling”, anti-shipping missions or close air support of beachheads and landings. Taking the unwanted equipment was nothing new for the Marines, they often received obsolete or surplus equipment from the Army or Navy.
The Marines designated the B-25s “PBJ”. PB indicates Patrol Bomber and the J is an alpha-code designating the manufacturer, North American Aviation (PBJ does not mean Peanut Butter and Jelly).
The Marines were innovative in customizing the PBJs for the jobs they faced. As most of the missions were performed at low altitude, there was not much need for the glass nose/bombardier position. It was replaced with a solid nose and armed with up to 8 – .50 caliber machine guns, or in some versions, a 75mm cannon.
9 PBJ squadrons made it overseas before the war ended in the Pacific. 26 PBJs were lost in combat and 19 were lost in operational accidents while in a combat zone.
The Devil Dog represents a PBJ-1J (the second J designates the model) of the VMB 612 squadron.
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|Registration Number||Date of Manufacture|
|North American PBJ||67′ 7″|
|Overall length:||Empty weight:|
|52′ 11″||19,480 Lbs|
|Gross weight:||Fuel capacity:|
|35,000 Lbs||670 Gal|
|Oil capacity||Engine type:|
|64 Gallons||Wright R-2600-92|
|Propeller type:||Max Speed|
|3-Blade Hamilton Standard||272 MPH|
|Rate of Climb||Cruise Speed|
|1110 ft/min||230 MPH|
|Service Ceiling||Number of Crew|
|16 .50 MG||3,000 Lb|
|Number Built||Number Surviving|
|~10,000||> 100, 45 airworthy|
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