Marine Corps PBJ Devil Dog

Marine Corps PBJ Devil Dog

US Specialty Insurance Company

Not many people know that the US Marine Corps flew bombers in WWII. One of the missions of the Devil Dog Squadron is to keep that piece of history alive.

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
N9643C 1944
Aircraft Role Nickname
Medium Bomber Mitchell
Aircraft Type: Wingspan:
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
24,200 6
Armament Bomb Load
16 .50 MG 3,000 Lb
Number Built Number Surviving
~10,000 > 100, 45 airworthy



 DevilDog-pbj-B25-airshow-2011  DevilDog-pbj-B25-CTAS  



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