Osprey Publishing continues to expand its “Combat Aircraft” series, this time with an installment on the B-25 Mitchel Units in the CBI. Like all the other books in this series, you can expect lots of period pictures, color profiles highlighting markings and main camouflages with excellent and detailed research.
The book is broken down in chronological order, which sort of follows a geographical order as the priorities in the CBI front shifted between India, Burma, and China.
These are the chapters and subsections on the book:
- Building an Air Offensive in the CBI
- India Air Task Force Operations
- Allied Plans and Japanese Offensives
- Burma Offensive From February to June 1944
- Disaster in China
- Victory in Burma, Delay in China
- Third Tactical Air Force
- Final Months of the War in China
There is also a very interesting appendix including the timeline of unit assignments for the 1st Bombardment Group (M) Provisional; 12th Bombardment Group (M), 341st Bombardment Group (M), plus to independent Photographic and Tactual Reconnaissance Squadrons
As mentioned before the author has done an excellent job researching the topic. You don’t just read reports of missions, but the combat actions are described within the overall strategical and tactical situation of the front. The extensive B&W images support and enhance the narrative.
The B-25 Mitchells in the CBI were always a small bombing force. They CBI Front was probably at the bottom of the Allied priorities and they were getting units transferred from other fronts, and often airframes that were transferred from other fronts as well, although this changed later in the war.
The Mitchells attached virtually any ground target you could imagine, but most of their missions were part of a war of interdiction against the Japanese army: Rail lines, rail bridges, shipping lines were the most common target. With the Japanese fighting a war so far from the homeland and having limited airplanes at hand, aerial guerrilla tactics were the most effective way to neutralize the enemy.
As the war evolved, tactics did too. From medium level concentrated bombing of targets, the B-25 moved to more low-level, ground-attack style of missions, for which the 75mm cannon of the –H version became a useful tool. They also locally modified standard bombs to have a “spike” that would impale them on the ground and destroy the rail lines, rather than seeing them bounce away and roll off the rail lines embankment.
If you are interested in the CBI history or interested in the B-25 service during War World II, this book is an excellent source of data. And with 30 color profiles, an inspiration for your next model.
I would like to thank Osprey Publishing and IPMS/USA for the review sample.