North American B-25 Mitchell Color Photographs Part VI –  501st BS 345th BG

The 501st Bomb Squadron was identified within the 345th Bomb Group by its yellow cowling fronts and white bands on the wings just outboard of the nacelles. This is a nice aerial view of B-25D 41-30518 “Quitch”. She was ditched on 15AUG44 but all her crew survived.
The 501st was named the “Black Panthers” and B-25D 43-3401 carried the squadron insignia on the nose. She was the mount of the squadron commander, Bob Faine, and was eventually transferred to the 38thBG. It appears the nose escape hatch has been removed, likely to help keep the interior of the aircraft cool.
B-25D 41-30089 was named the “Gay Mare” and her scoreboard shows an impressive tally. Note the forward panels of the nose glazing have only been partially over-painted. The Gay Mare crashed while attempting to land in bad weather on 30AUG44, killing all but one of her crew.
This photograph is interesting as it clearly shows the extra panel added forward of the fuselage gun packs, installed to help prevent damage from the muzzle blast of the .50 caliber guns mounted to the sides. The blast has not done the paint any good. “Special Delivery F.O.B.” was B-25D 41-30093. She was damaged by flak on 29JUL44 and was written off for salvage.
On 11JUL45 B-25J 43-36199 was damaged by flak over Formosa. With the hydraulic system inoperable her pilot, 2LT Donald Britton, was unable to lower either the landing gear or the flaps. He was forced to belly in to the squadron’s base at Clark Field, Philippines. In this view ground personnel are preparing to lift the aircraft back onto her gear. Note the replacement rudder, indicating this is not the first time this aircraft has returned home damaged.
Back on her legs, we can see 43-36199 was fitted with a replacement eight-gun nose but has had her side gun packs removed. The prop blades are bent and there is considerable debris hanging under her fuselage. The aircraft was written off.
“Chow Hound Junior” was the 345th Bomb Group’s “fat cat” or unit hack. She was a B-25D which had all armor and armament removed and was stripped of paint. In this configuration the B-25 was much lighter and faster which made it well suited for the transport role. Her full serial number was 41-30606.

B-25 Mitchell color photographs part VII here:  https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/11/16/north-american-b-25-mitchell-color-photographs-part-vii-17th-photographic-reconnaissance-squadron/

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