10 January, 2010

Profile 39 - B-25H S/N 43-4267

Progress note 1-20-10: I'm laying a scan of the first mask on top of the initial sketch - I was WAY too thick on the fuselage and according to my references (namely a website featuring a restored B-25H) the turret should have been moved forward.

Anyway, I'm making progress.

The sketch above is pencil-work of my latest - a North American B-25 Mitchell bomber. Casual history buffs will recognize the twin-fin tail and probably recall snapping a few photos of a shiny silver example at an air show. But the real airplane nuts will recognize immediately that this example is the "H" model, probably the most heavily armed aircraft of WW2. This one's no gleaming queen but a dark witch of Hell. I get a shiver just thinking about it...

See the nose? That solid blunt shape is the H-sign and the sketched *flash!* is its signature - the bang of a 75mm cannon. The same kind found on Sherman tanks. Adding four .50 caliber "cheek" guns, four more .50's in the nose and the two .50s in the top turret equals 10 heavy machine guns to add to the maelstrom of metal. Not counting the rear and waist gunners!

Talking to 43-4267's pilot the other day, I absent-mindedly remarked, "Wow. Seeing you low on the horizon had to scare the breakfast-lunch-and-dinner out of the Japanese."

He looked at me as if I were making the understatement of the century. See - this thing didn't just attack targets. It turned them into dust.

Regardless, Wendell's "H model" has my fascination right now. Partly because of its power, partly because of the little-known arena (Burma) and partly because I get to ponder the imponderables like "Why do people wage war?" and "Is it better to force surrender or to eliminate the enemy altogether?"

Don't you love how History makes you think?

Ok, ok - I'm setting the pencil down and backing off my soapbox, nice'n easy like...

Anyway, watch this space. This beast will take shape over the next few weeks and I'll be sharing a few interesting artifacts from her pilot's service.

But in the meantime, the photo below was taken by 43-4267's tail gunner as they winged back to base, bleeding hydraulic fluid but leaving behind something for the enemy to think about.

Oh. the photo was taken March 5, 1944. The war went on for 17 more months.