North American B-25 Mitchell Color Photographs Part VII – 17th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron

The 17th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron first saw combat operating from Guadalcanal in February, 1943.  They were initially equipped with the F-5 Lightning, a photo reconnaissance version of the P-38.  In May 1945 they transferred to Puerto Princesa Airfield, Palawan, Philippines and by that time had been re-equipped with the B-25 Mitchell, where these photos were taken.

Most of these aircraft are B-25Js with the 8-gun strafer noses, indicating the Squadron was then taking a more active role than just taking photographs.  Several of these Mitchells have had the “cheek” guns on the fuselage sides removed, reportedly they proved difficult to adjust and were problematic for armorers.  A few aircraft have the “glass” noses indicating a Bombardier, it was not uncommon for squadrons to operate a mix of sub-types.

The airfield and parking areas were covered in “Marston Mat” or Pierced Steel Planking (PSP).  These were interlocking steel planks which could be assembled over any flat, packed surface, allowing the rapid constructions of airfields.

Many of these photographs show the Mitchells being serviced or maintained, excellent inspiration for modelers looking to construct dioramas.

Several of these photographs are attributed to the Fred Hill Collection, I assume they were all taken at approximately the same time by one photographer.

B-25 Mitchell color photographs part VIII here:


9 thoughts on “North American B-25 Mitchell Color Photographs Part VII – 17th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron

  1. That last photo is great, I had no idea that Tamiya tape came in sheets that big. That’s a good masking job though. 😉
    You’re right, some great diorama ideas, now . . . . if we could get some decent figures in 1/72nd. Of course, if it was a German subject . . . .

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The paint schemes on all the aircraft are interesting…

    US aircraft typically left the factory in NMF after Spring of ’44; if these photos were taken in May ’45, then either ALL of these aircraft were in service for over a year (quite unlikely), or they were all field camo’d in OD/NG. The latter is suggested by the irregular and non-standard demarcation between the OD and NG and the general good condition of the paint. The last image looks like they are fixin’ to paint a NMF and partially-primed airplane.

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      1. Indeed…, the 325th BG (?) in Italy painted the topsides of their B-25s OD AFTER the Luftwaffe wiped out half the Group on a night raid during a clear moon-lit night when the B-25s stood out, resplendent in their spiffy NMF finish. Many fighter units that forward-deployed into Normandy and the Continent in the Summer of ’44 also painted their topsides in various camo colors (lots of controversy whether they were US or Brit colors), learning from the Italy incident.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The 321st BG was one of the units that painted the uppers, I’ll run a set of photos of their Mitchells on Wednesday. The color looks very dark for OD, I’d be curious what you make of it.


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